The girl standing ahead of me recently in the post office was distraught. She turned to me and through her face mask told me the experience was a ‘nightmare’. Was it because of her face mask, I asked? Apparently not, though she admitted it didn’t help. The reason she was having a nightmare was because she had been waiting for nearly a quarter of an hour. Yes that’s right. A quarter of one hour.
Now I’ve had nightmares where I’m being attacked by a spider the size of a whale. I’ve had nightmares were nuclear warheads are about to hit my hometown, but I can honestly say I’ve never woke up in a cold sweat after dreaming of a fifteen minute queue for a book of first-class stamps.
TAKING EXCITEMENT TO A DIFFERENT LEVEL
Conversely, a couple of days earlier I’d attended a webinar where the administrator kept saying how super excited he was to be there. Super excited. I wondered what level of excitement you have to reach before you become super excited.
I’ve been excited at football matches when I become a 11-year-old again, I’ve been excited when tickets have dropped through my door for a gig or when I’m going on holiday. But did any of those qualify for super excitement?
I looked at his expression for a clue. He just smiled a lot. Maybe super excitement took you to a place of extreme serenity beyond screaming and hugging strangers (pre-covid of course. Now we’d just fist-pump till our knuckles bled).
Then I asked the administrator a question. It was just a simple question about song promotion on social media. He replied by saying my question was awesome. It was not awesome. It was merely a good, solid question. But this man, already at a level of excitement beyond my comprehension, considered my question to transport him to a state of awe.
Bless him. The guy just needs to get away from his laptop screen and look around him a little more to understand awesome. Look at pictures of the earth from space. The great pyramids of Giza. Victoria Falls. The surface of Mars. Then maybe re-evaluate my query about Facebook.
WHEN EXAGGERATION BECOMES THE NORM
But to be fair, he was just representing the general social propensity towards exaggeration. I pine for the days when answering ‘yes’ to a question was sufficient. Slowly it seems, ‘yes’ was phased out and replaced by ‘absolutely’. When, why and by whom was it decided that yes was not absolute enough?
Maybe it was the need to be really positive about almost everything, probably devised by political speech writers and spin-doctors, eager for us to live under a ‘blanket of transparency’ (not talking bullshit to you and me), where people no longer have problems, instead have the seemingly more digestible and manageable ‘challenges’.
Wars have been replaced by conflicts. Based on this WW2 could be gradually re-named in the history books as the Second World Conflict Challenge.
I’m exaggerating of course, but isn’t that what we do nowadays?
During the recent lockdown I’ve been told by more than one person that the inconvenience of social restrictions were like ‘being in a war’. Really? I would challenge anyone from the UK to say to someone from Syria whose family and home have been destroyed by constant bombing and have no recognisable social structure in place that having to wipe down a bag of Dorito’s was like being in a war.
WHAT WOULD WILLIAM SAY?
I tried to offload my irritation regarding everyday levels of exaggeration to my friend but she was too busy being ‘gutted’. Apparently Next online didn’t have the top she wanted in her size and the disappointment at this was the equivalent of having her internal organs laid bare and sliced into sections by a razor-sharp knife.
Scottish Knight William Wallace was, quite literally, gutted in August 1305. After being strung up to the point of near-death, his male parts were severed before later having his body cut into four separate parts. Now that is a whole different level of disappointment. I hope he was wearing a top in his size, just so he knew he looked good ahead of the most excruciatingly painful experience imaginable.
But all I can say for sure is that he wouldn’t be super-excited about the situation. Nope, not even close.