Meredith C. Carroll: Meredith Pro Tem
July 9, 2012
It doesn’t take much to get me all riled up. Outrage is an emotion I experience almost as often as exhaustion, and I have two kids under the age of four, so you do the math.
I have this uncanny ability to get all Incredible Hulk-like as a result of tremendously insignificant events, like when someone doesn’t give me the “thanks” wave when I kindly take .04 seconds out of my schedule to motion them permission to drive in front of me into a line of traffic. How dare they not acknowledge my selflessness! I mean, is it so hard to flip your hand up as a gesture of appreciation after I have put your need to get somewhere literally in front of mine?
Or when shoppers in the narrow aisles of the supermarket absentmindedly leave their carts unattended for .07 seconds, thereby blocking my path as they study condiments or jarred pasta sauces elsewhere – and almost always when I am already late for something on my aforementioned schedule. (The point is that I have a schedule, people. Please mind and respect the schedule).
So you’d think I’d be the first to jump on the outrage bandwagon when I learn of even more outrageous transgressions. And yet almost daily I seem to read a story where other people are outraged about topics that leave me feeling not only indifferent, but amused and irked simultaneously that there are those who clearly have nothing better happening in their schedule that they have time to get worked up about non-outrageous events.
Take, for instance, a story that held steady on the front page of the Internet for most of last week: The baby bikini onesie – an infant bodysuit like a T-shirt that snaps at the crotch, which is printed on the front with the image of a midsection that looks as if it belongs on a grown woman who is wearing nothing more than a kinda sorta but not really at all revealing red polka doted bikini – that is apparently on sale at some department store in Mississippi.
“Vulgar,” “inappropriate” and “lock up your daughters” were some of the outraged reactions in various publications to the novelty onesie. But when there exist other onesies with things like “Hung like Daddy” and “I’m with the MILF” printed on them, I find it difficult to get worked up over a cartoon image even less racy than the granny panties made popular by dowdy housewives in the 1950s.
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There was also the article in The New York Times last month about how tween and teen girls heading off to summer camp these days get waxed (legs, underarms, bikini, eyebrow, lip) for the occasion, which resulted in an endless barrage of bickering and commentary in major and minor news outlets about the right age for girls to start waxing – which I think most would agree would be the age when there’s something to wax. Or, I would have thought, anyway (The consensus on the right age, on average, seemed to be roughly the night before a girl’s wedding).
Earlier this spring the outrage du jour was the breast-feeding mom on the cover of Time magazine. Most of those outraged seemed to be the same ones who are outraged when others are outraged about women who breast feed in public. So that their outrage was due in part to a woman breast feeding too publicly was minorly outrageous and majorly hilarious (Yes, the other part of the outrage with the Time cover had to do with the fact that the young boy drinking his mom’s milk was made to look like he was man enough to make a boy of his own. But still).
Other outrageously non-outrageous recent news items? “Katie Holmes files for divorce from Tom Cruise!” (Alternate headline: “Katie Homes terminates marriage contract sooner than Vegas oddsmakers predicted!”) and “Katie Perry’s film tanks at the weekend box office” (Alternative headline: “Moviegoers to Hollywood: Who?”) and “Jessica Simpson still hasn’t lost her baby weight!” (Alternative headline: “Is that what we’re calling her chins this month?”).
There is a distinct possibility, however, that perhaps lately I’m just getting less green like David Banner and more soft and giggly like the Pillsbury Doughboy. I recently ordered some outdoor furniture and when, after 10 days, an email with the shipping information still hadn’t arrived, they finally told me on the phone they didn’t actually have the furniture and outrageously, hadn’t really planned on letting me know.
“I’m sure you can understand my frustration,” I said with a remarkable amount of non-outrage to the customer service representative with whom I spoke.
“Ma’am,” she replied, “my heart goes out to you. I know what it’s like to take the time to really find what you want, and then order and wait to enjoy it with your family, and then it doesn’t come, and that kind of disappointment can keep you up at night. I understand. I really do, so please accept my deepest sympathies as well as my apology.”
But the thing is, she had it all wrong. After all, it’s just patio furniture. My family only wanted something to sit on outside while the weather is still warm, and those days are fast becoming numbered.
In other words, it’s all about my schedule.
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