Saturday, September 22, 2012

In Praise of the Mundane and Trivial

There is so much sadness in the world that sandwiches me in, that I need to take a break from it all, in the same way that I need the occasional junk food overdose to balance out my healthy diet.

I used to be a news junky and I like to consider myself a "global citizen" so it's important for me to be informed, but it easily gets to be too much too fast.  These days I prefer to get my sound bytes from Comedy Central along with a quick perusal of the paper at work and CNN in the background while I'm getting dressed in the morning.  Oh, and the constant streaming of NPR that my sweetheart has tinging the background of our daily lives with intelligent commentary and the occasional pledge drive.

The reason I love a bit of celebrity gossip or an episode or two of the Kardashians along with some of my favorite podcasts like The Satellite Sisters, Pop My Culture, The Chaos Chronicles and How Was Your Week? is because life needs some levity.  There's enough horror to have us all overdosing or throwing ourselves in front of the nearest train, but when we allow a bit of humor or fashion or silliness into all that intensity, it just lets us breathe a bit again.  And laugh.  Laughter is highly underrated.

Just yesterday, I was doing some standardized test practice with my students (Ugh!), and we came across a word problem that we needed to deconstruct for mathematical reasons.  I can only assume the statistics they used were not made up: they stated that the average child laughs 400 times a day and the average adult just 20.  Because I work with children I would say I laugh at least 10 times as much as the average adult, but that still puts me at half of the amount children do.  I hope that statistic is seriously skewed, but I fear it may not be.

My personal manifesto (simple as it is) is to practice kindness and to have fun.  The kindness part comes out in my interactions and reactions with people and the way I choose to live.  The fun part is the gravy that coats the kind life I try to live.  Therefore, I try to laugh a lot and very often I laugh when I am in active pursuit of the mundane and trivial.

I won't be so far as to say that reading US Weekly or watching 30 ROCK is a form of meditation, but it most certainly is a form of relaxation and escape that allows the thinking me to rest a bit and just be the receptacle for a bit of (hopefully) harmless nonsense.  Everybody's version of fun is different, but in between the massive (yet happy) responsibilities of life, my solitary fun interludes are likely to include:

  • crosswords
  • realistic fiction with wit (Amy Bloom is my next author I'll be downloading on to my Kindle)
  • all magazines of a celebrity, inspiring or fashion bent (though PEOPLE is a bit too "geriatric" for me: I want celebs and celebs only, not "real-life" people - it's too real-life for me!)
  • facebook (I'm surprised and not happy with the amount of time I spend on it, but there you go.  I'm not judging myself today.)
  • E TV (Again: not proud)
  • jigsaw puzzles with my family humming in the background (not literally, of course: I don't pay them to entertain me while I interlock pieces)
  • the bathtub (along with many of the above-mentioned pleasures, though not the jigsaws)

Out of pride, I need to say that I do engage in cerebral pursuits: it's just not what this blog is about.  I'll save my intelligent meanderings and hobbies for another blog.

In the meantime, have a happy, fun Sunday, folks, and make sure your interludes are full of trivial pursuits that give you pleasure!  That's my new and ongoing start for this day!  (And as I write this on my lapdesk propped up in bed by my plethora of down pillows, I am in quick reach of my Vanity Fair, a new Zadie Smith novel, my New York Times Sunday puzzle and a cup of joe.  Ah, happiness in the confines of my bed.  What could be better?)

Beds are the best!

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