I am taking a break from complaining—not that I complain a lot. However, I have come to the realization that the things I tend to complain about are things that I cannot—or at least not at this moment—change, for whatever reason. And so it is really not worth the time and energy to complain about them.
My son, on the other hand, has taken up complaining with a vengeance. We got in the car the other day, and someone on an NPR talk show used the word, “acrossed” which, of course, isn’t a word.
“I hate when people say ‘acrossed,’” he informed me. “That’s just wrong!”
“I know,” I agreed. “Me too.” I turned to back out of the parking space. Now, W was focused on the back of the car to our right.
“I can’t believe the dealer put their insignia on the car crooked. You’d think they could at least put it on there straight,” he commented. Silence ensued for a minute while he thought about his words, and then he said, “Apparently, I am just complaining tonight.”
We had only traveled a few feet when he said, “Can you believe how that person parked? Who would park like that?”
As we drove, he found myriad complaints—from the items in people’s yards to the cars passing us. And he jumped on everything I said. “Oh yuck!” I said, commenting on a particularly nasty roadkill as I quickly turned away.
“What?” he asked, suddenly looking at my side of the road rather than his.
“A squirrel,” I told him.
“Someone hit a squirrel? Who would do such a thing?” By this point, he was having difficulty keeping a straight face. “How rude!”
As we drove, he continued to complain about everything he could. A tree that was not growing straight; a person running on the side of the road; a shrink-wrapped boat that has not moved from the same yard in several years. Anything was fodder for his complaining, and by the time we reached our destination, I was laughing, and he had cracked a smile that he couldn’t extinguish.
Complaining seems to suit him for now, but I’m glad I’m taking a break. I just thought this break would be more… well… peaceful.