Monday, June 11, 2012

Other People's Business

Today is Scott's 48th birthday. I took him to breakfast to begin celebrating. The restaurant only had 4 other people in it. 3 men sat in the corner together. It was 8:20 a.m. so the three were not in a hurry to get to work. None looked old enough to be retired. They were talking loudly. Voices carry in a high ceilinged room when it's not crowded. One voice was dominant. Blah blah food stamps. Blah blah unemployment. Blah blah socialism. Within minutes, he established to me a little bit about him. He is either unemployed or underemployed, he will vote for the Republican or Tea Party candidate in the elections in November, he is blue collar, upper lower class, mildly educated, watches Fox News, and will have the tendency to lean in the "ists" direction. Classist, racist, etc. He is either hard of hearing, or believes his views need to be shared with the widest possible audience. I knew he was wearing either a John Deere or Caterpillar ballcap before I glanced his way as we were leaving. He talked the way working class people have talked for centuries - everyone else is doing it wrong. And then I wondered about me. About all the attention paid to other people's business. Perhaps when I focus on other's shortcomings, or develop a negative impression too fast, it's because there's something that's poking at me about me. OPB. OPB is not my business, it's not anybody's business. Social networking sites try really hard to make it their business, because those things are in the business of connecting people, not to each other, but to the marketers who are paying to reach the people who have to have an opinion on OPB. I don't care if someone likes WalMart.  I truly do not care what you had for dinner last night. That's OPB. Something changes in the world when comments can be made on every damn thing anyone does or espouses or thinks. People might begin to believe that their opinion matters beyond its importance. When OPB becomes my business, or your business, then sides are taken. Lines are drawn. And the importance of those lines is blown all out of proportion. Someone outside of our own locked heads must be blamed - whoever that is, even if it's someone just like us we do not recognize in our finger pointing. I learned a lesson today. It does not matter what I think about those guys in the corner. It's not my business. And I'm reminded again I don't have to have an opinion on everything. Scott and I enjoyed our breakfast together, right after we agreed that those guys were talking loud. And then we ignored them, and concentrated on our business - enjoying our breakfast and celebrating Scott's special day.


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