Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Nervous breakdowns among the middle class

I really do wonder, sometimes, if life for the middle class in America isn't a little bit too good. It's so easy that there is nothing to toughen us. The reason I'm mentioning this today is that I was sitting near two parents in my community, listening to their conversation. (And yes, they knew I was there listening, so this was not covert listening on a private conversation.) Both of them were very unhappy, and their conversation was not leavened by any humor at all. Things just weren't going right for the two of them: a nanny was leaving, a business that was given to one as a "gift" just wasn't engaging enough, a cool restaurant was under construction, a big upcoming party was too much effort to plan, school volunteer work was too exhausting. I was actually saddened listening to these unhappy, beautiful, intelligent women. There's so much to envy in their lives and it all seems too much for them. As my friends will tell you, I'm a huge complainer, but I like to think of myself as being in the Joan Rivers/Phyllis Diller mode -- complaints with jokes intermixed. I enjoy complaining, but I also want to entertain my audience. (If you're wondering, I'm better looking, though not by much, than both of those ladies.) Basically, I'm pretty happy with my life, despite the imperfections that naturally mar it. I've got a lovely family, and we live in a lovely home, in a lovely community, in a beautiful part of the world. I enjoy my work and my friends. I have all the petty annoyances of a working mother but, while they wear me out, they don't wear me down. Frankly, I don't think I have a better temperament than those poor ladies I listened too. As I mentioned, and as my friends will confirm (especially poor Don Quixote, who gets the brunt of my complaints), there's a lot I feel impelled and compelled to whine about. But I never lose track of the good things, and I never let the whining slow me down. I suspect that I, more than those ladies, appreciate that life is not perfect and that, while it may be enjoyable to kvetch, one should never lose sight of the basic goodness inherent in being middle class in America.