What Will It Get You?

It is a languid, hot and muggy day here in Washington. Wilting under the relentless heat, DC denizens loosen their ties, endure the sweat rolling down their backs, and mutter about moving to some more pleasant locale as they wait on the Metro platform. The fact that the cars will be crowded with other, hot and sweaty bodies makes everyone grumpy. But not me!


And why is it, you ask, that I can be complacent—if not downright cheery—in the midst of such oppression? Because, my friends, as a Re-booter I understand that chronic griping is not an option.


Very unsatisfactory, I know, but there it is.


You get nowhere, zero, nada, nothing by whining about things you cannot change. In fact, it only makes it worse. And you know this!


Today, I am addressing yet another angle on one of my favorite topics: why it’s helpful to keep our mouths shut. Re-booters have reached a point in their maturity where they recognize that, more often than not, spouting off is not a favor—to us or to anyone around us. Easy to say, hard to do.


I’m going to give you a recent example from my life. I was in Santa Barbara when my dad hosted some out of town guests. These people have visited him over the years and have achieved a certain familiarity with how things work in our house. Of course, that was all before I moved back from the West Coast and assumed ownership of much of what goes on. At any rate, this couple is aware of my existence and have met me on more than one occasion—but I was in absentia during this particular visit. Well, as it turns out, the wife proved herself to be way more of a busybody, invasive species than I could have possibly dreamed; she took it upon herself to “clean and organize” our kitchen! This kitchen is not a pigsty or even embarrassing, but this particular woman decided that not only would she reorganize things, she would also throw out significant amounts of food in our fridge–unasked. So, when I returned to Washington, much to my displeasure, I discovered that she had thrown out perfectly good foodstuffs, moved around the pots and pans, discarded packaging I was saving for a particular purpose, and generally invaded an intimate space that was none of her freakin’ business!


Let the record reflect: I don’t care if there is a dead body in the refrigerator; unless I have asked you for assistance, leave the body alone and the door shut. Capiche?


So, what does this have to do with restraining oneself from chronic griping? I have fumed about this kitchen assault for a good week now, and have been sorely tempted to complain, repeatedly, to my dad (who was sleeping at the time this woman crowned herself Kitchen Captain) as well as call this woman up and make my feelings clear. But, I have not. In fact, in an exercise of tremendous self-discipline reflecting progress in my own ability to be sensible, I have asked myself if I could achieve any positive outcome by complaining to my dad or chewing out this New Hampshire busybody? Alas, the answer is no. Despite the visceral satisfaction I would gain from both of these activities, I have held back. I have not succumbed to this temptation because I know no good could possibly come from it.


A modest example, showing my smallness of temperament, but a victory in and of itself.  Oh, that, and the fact that I will be sure she never darkens my doorstep again.


So, the next time someone does something utterly thoughtless which makes you hot under the collar, I encourage you to reconsider before you start complaining to whatever poor sap has the misfortune of sharing your roof—it just ain’t worth it. You can find other, far more effective ways to handle your response to chronic irritation. As a Re-booter, what I have found is that the more I can cultivate serenity in my own reactions, the better my life experience. Think of all those folks griping about how hot it is on the Metro—all that caterwauling doesn’t improve the ride home.


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