Okay, so here's the scene: I'm washing the dishes, by hand, which I do every night since our dish washer decided to have an electronic breakdown and stop responding to any stimulus. I'm listening to The Archers, because it's what I do every night when I'm washing dishes, and as usual I'm enjoying it. Then it happens.
It's not the first time it has happened, and I'm sure it won't be the last. They're doing the recordings in quarantine right now, so it's all down to the individual actors working within their improvised home recording studios, so you can make some allowances, but ultimately it goes back to the people who lay on the finishing touches and they, THEY, could have done something, but they didn't. They left it in. I'm sure it makes it more real to them. But to those of us grappling with misophonia, it makes it problematic.
This isn't about Misophonia, though. If you want to know what that is you can ask WebMD or any other reputable source. No, this is about what I did next.
When I heard the sound it triggered a reaction, which in this case almost led to a broken plate. I set the plate down, and in full fury dried my hands, pulled out my phone, and tweeted the following:
Satisfied, I went back to washing and moved on with my life. The rage had bubbled down, I had shouted my fury, all was well with the world.
And THAT is what I want to talk about.
Cranky Old Man jokes aside, what I did was the equivalent of a man (back in the day) getting fed up with something he was seeing in the world and writing an open letter to the newspaper, or sending a letter to the editor, or some such. He would sit at the table with a pen and paper (or a typewriter) and carefully and deliberately choose the best words he could conjure to express perfectly just how angry he was that some people leave their bins out all week, or that kids were riding their bikes across his lawn and showed no respect for property, or that Matlock had been canceled. When he was done, he would carefully read over what he had written and make corrections, sometimes rewriting the letter several times to make sure it had the right punch. He might even have a few other members of the household or neighbors down the street read the missive to see if they had anything to add.
Then he would send it and wait for it to show up in the paper or be read on the air.
The thing of it is, there would be care and calculation in the effort. And it took time. Time that could be a cool-down so that maybe the offense seemed less horrible, or even more so, if it still seemed as bad then it even more-so justified the process.
But now, with Facebook and Twitter and various other social media outlets, people can immediately voice their opinion in the comment section of pretty much everything.
Don't like a Facebook post? Blast the person in the comments.
Don't like a tweet? Retweet with your own take, or even better, do a screenshot of the tweet and take it over to Facebook so you can make fun of the person there without them even knowing.
The world is at your fingertips. You can do or say anything in the moment, with no thought or care given to it at all. Fire away! It's your right, after all, to tell people what you think.
It's the lack of thought, of care with the response that is the problem I'm trying to point out here. I fired off that tweet in a moment of pure, unbridled irritation because I could, and when I was done I felt relieved. And what I said wasn't even that bad, all things considered. It was a total Cranky Old Man moment, and will likely be laughed off. I don't really see the BBC changing anything they're doing because some guy over across the pond in Maryland yelled at them. They've been making this show for longer than I've been alive. I don't even see them responding, nor should they be expected to. They have bigger fish to fry.
I just think if all of us gave a little more thought to what we put out there the internet would be a better place. There's a reason I chant "Don't read the comments, don't read the comments, don't read the comments" every time I look at anything on the web.
If you took the participants in a comment section and put them in a room the conversation would be vastly different, especially since half of them would likely be poorly constructed robots slowly leaking oil in the corner or bored, desperate people ranting about whatever topic is at hand, not out of true interest, but just to rile up everyone else in the room for some sick thrills.
Most people wouldn't be able to be as rude face-to-face, nor should they be.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to write a letter or ten. Those stupid bins don't stay by the road, people!
Photo by Shirley Tittermary on Unsplash