It's icy today in my beloved Salem. So icy that schools were on a two-hour delay. Key word "were." Delays are
always met with cheers in our house. More time for sleep, breakfast, listening to music, whatevs. Delay means time and we like time. But then, the BEST message rolled in. SCHOOL IS CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER. First the text, then the email, and finally the voice mail. I don't listen to voicemails (a behated activity), so I glanced down at the transcript:
...due to inclement weather and significant gas shortages...
The 'ol converter heard a few things wrong, garbling aspects of the message, but this one word--swapping “gas" for "staff"-- was notable, triggering panic in chats, Next Door, and concerned Facebook groups around town.
-Gas shortages! Noooo, we better get to the pump this morning!
-Don't we pay enough in tax dollars? Damn school district.
-If the district can't even pay for gas, how can we expect our kids to even get an education?
-Oh shit. What am I going to do with my kids today? Will they have enough gas next week?
You get the drift. Uproar, concern, anger, the general roller coaster of emotions festering in many households this morning. Felt and untrue.
Have you ever noticed how often we settle on emotions and beliefs for conversations or events that never happened? Montaigne famously wrote, "My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened." Whether its rampant misinformation spread through the telephone game that is social media or chatter in our heads swirling with half-baked narratives, we are really good at believing all sorts of nonsense and then acting on it. We all do it and sometimes the consequences are a real pain in the ass. Misunderstandings brew, relationships suffer, our faces age prematurely with all the cringing and frowning,
Well friends, I am terribly vain and prefer not to have my face wrinkle via misunderstanding. When silliness abounds in all its various forms, I'm choosing to create some distance, a little space, if you will, before letting a truth response settle in. It's a work in progress, letting thoughts just be thoughts, drifting through my consciousness like clouds in my sunny, blue sky. My face is already more content.
I hope you will join me in my botox-free zone. In the meantime, due to inclement feathers and significant laugh shortages, there will be no school today.