I want to complain. But I can't do it without laughing or at the very least, just plain thinking that I've no right, no right at all. My life is too good to complain. There are starving children in Africa. Kids still in refugee camps in Palestine. Injustices and inequalities that matter absolutely everywhere. I mean what right do I have to complain?
Watch this. And see how petty it is:
The guys came today to finish my deck. Or at least I thought that's why they came. They had put the wrong stuff on it — um, about a year ago, when they started building it. So. The side railing is salvage from the old deck: stained and oiled, and beautifully aged. The decking itself, for some reason, they slapped with brown latex. Brown latex! Now what was that about? Oh. And the non-existant lights are nothing more than circlets of wire just hanging there under the deck. The deck lights have been sitting in my living room for about the same duration — i.e. since last summer.
So. The guys came today to refinish my deck. Last week they power-washed it. This week they were supposed to sand it down, so that that latexy crap would disappear, and the whole thing can be stained and oiled and just be uniform like the beautiful old deck was (RIP).
I thought — great — and headed out to paradise to run Rosh through the trails and the dunes. And stopped in at the market for groceries to fill the empty frig and cupboards. And got some gas. And this. And that. So. We're talking maybe a solid 2-3 hours, right?
Come back, and find, what?
They redid the deck exactly as before. More latex crap! A high decibel (internal) aaarrrggghhh — and then the pause. Pull yourself together, she said to self.
It's just a deck.
Does it really matter if it's dead yucky brown while the sides are vibrant oiled redwood with the grain happily winking through? I mean, there's still warfare in Afghanistan. I mean, lookit Palestine! Arab Spring, important stuff — not to mention the Amazigh Spring (okay, that's wishful thinking — they tried that already and it did no good). In other words, there are important things going on in the world. Even in my own life. Why aaarrrggghhh over my deck's unfinished state?
I think the answer is redirection. Maybe if I worry about my aaarrrggghhh deck, everything's really okay in the world. Maybe it means that somewhere on earth there's a little spot of peace and quiet and petty concerns. Where someone's living high on the hog somewhere where nothing much is going on. Maybe it's a good model for how to be. Maybe it gives hope for a possible future of backyard BBQs and sleeping on a chaise. Something to aspire to! Maybe it's important that somewhere in the world an aaarrrggghhy unfinished deck is the biggest problem at hand. And that in this idyllic place on earth, the credit card gets paid off on time, and the house isn't foreclosed on, and the viruses aren't killers, and the dogs don't have rabies, and that the water is potable and plenty at the moment, and that the big one hasn't struck yet, and —
Maybe we really should sweat the small stuff.
Because when the big stuff hits, we really just need to focus, and we don't have the luxury to indulge our inner-aaarrrggghhh.