Wit's End

Insights into the little things that make caregivers nuts, when they are otherwise doing the most important job in the world, gracefully.

Miss Manners Would Not Approve

Miss Manners Would Not Approve

One of the few pluses about living in the last house on Stretched Tether Lane is it keeps things in perspective.

Being on the verge of a nervous breakdown at all times, while not without its share of problems, can be instructive. There’s real clarity on certain issues out here. You get to see what is and what is not worth being upset about.

It’s been a big shift for me. But now that I’m spending more time on Last Straw Street, I know this to be true: life is too short to get worked-up about big problems.

First on my list of enraging items that might seem trivial to you but aren’t trivial to me in my current state thank you very much is the use of “No Reply” as a form of communication.  You may have had this experience. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that if you have recently communicated with anyone who considers their status in life to be anything above itinerant tinker, you’ve sent an email or a text, you’ve left a message, or perhaps you have even posted a letter, to which the response has been the very definition of passive-aggression.

Doctors are particularly skilled at this.

But municipal officials, newspaper editors, and anyone who has the word “artistic” in their job description are no slouches, either. Because, the thing is: people are just too darn busy these days to get back to you, aren’t they? And so are their many assistants.

Unless, of course, you’re worth getting back to.

Oh for the days of earlier generations when people had the luxury of being able to say time-consuming things like “Thanks for your note.” Life was simpler then. Not that people didn’t have busy calendars. But preoccupations like the Great Depression and the Second World War weren’t as time sensitive as the average food blog is today.

In the days when it took six years to defeat the Nazis – as opposed to releasing three new versions of Microsoft Office — people had the luxury of being able to pick up a telephone and to say things like “I’ve received a message that you called.” Sometimes they actually wrote letters in reply to people who had written them. It was a different age.

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