One of my favorite expressions is “Nonsense,” but I rarely say it out loud. Instead, I think it and take secret delight in what I know and the speaker doesn’t. The trouble is others feel the same, and sometimes I see the word “stupid” spelled-out, letter by letter, passing left to right cartoon-fashion through the eyes of people listening to me.
And sometimes, I’m caught in warring, wordless “Nonsense” sessions, a meeting of unmoving objects and stagnant forces—an impasse of disregard.
I used to be proud of getting along with everyone, but that sense of myself has slipped recently. Your governor weakens when you get older, and, if I said half of what passes through my mind, I’d be the curmudgeon of the year, the decade, the new millennium. The only thing that saves me from that status is recognizing that, like nearly everyone I meet, I’m full of shit too.
The end of the school year presents a particular challenge. We’re tired and understandably a little tired of each other. The obligation of finishing breeds impatience, and I’m always wondering, “Why can’t everyone see my way is the best way?”
Yet, when I acquiesce, it works out. Which is to say, I often discover I was as wrong as they thought I was. So I swing between “Nonsense” and “Sorry,” passing through very little in between.
I’d like—officially and in this semi-public space—to issue one prophylactic “sorry” to cover all the ignorance, insensitivity, and testiness of the next few days… and all the days after that… and upcoming years.
In a few minutes, my mind will swing back to “nonsense” again.