A Nation of Whiners

whining about even the butterSpeaking of that last line of Mary Oliver’s poem where she says “When it’s over, I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened or full of argument,” could we DO  any MORE whining in this season when the earth lies dormant?

A shopkeeper I’m beginning to know tells me she is amazed at how much people complain about things. “It’s so cold!” they say the second they step into her shop. Or, “Where’s the SUN?!” Or, “Do you believe all this SNOW?!”

I think we all do it: whine, I mean. I practically make a living doing it, right here on the blog.

This past month I whined about it all:

  • How my husband caught the flu because, unlike me, HE hadn’t had the sense to get a flu shot.
  • How the awful cough he had caused him to lie beside me nights for two full weeks, spraying fountains of bacteria into the air with the regularity of Old Faithful.
  • How I I then caught the cough and began sending similar germ-plumes into the air over our bed for the next two weeks.
  • How I couldn’t get back from a recent trip away because of the blizzard Nemo, going on and on about how hard that was, even though I was in sunny Arizona.
  • I whined about having to wait for 12 hours all alone in the airport before the two ‘red-eye’ flights I spent pinned against the wall of the cabin, first by a ponytailed giant whose wide-load of a belly pressed upon my arm for two hours; and then by a pair of men who slept like the dead for five-and-half of the six-hour flight while I could only fantasize about visits to the bathroom at the back of the plane.

When you start in whining it’s hard to stop.

Anyway when I got home after that week away and realized that I still felt crummy, I finally made an appointment at the Urgent Care clinic. The very first thing the professionals there did, after hearing my story? They slapped a facemask over my nose and mouth and told me to keep it on ’til I left the hospital.

It was a facemask, yes, but I knew what else it was: It was a muzzle and by then it was just exactly what I needed.

muzzled hannibal