What I learned about terrorism from a wicker basket

Wicker basket

I recently received a wicker basket that I’d ordered from Amazon. I’d bought it so I’d have somewhere to stash the Popple’s ever-growing stash of toys besides, you know, the floor.

“The stitching on the lining is wonky,” I said to Adrian.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“The white cloth lining in the basket. The stitching is messed up. Go look at it.”

He dutifully inspected the lining. “You mean these loose threads?”

I sighed. “No, the STITCHING. Look. It’s all out of alignment. Should I return it?”

Adrian stared at me. “You know the cat is just going to destroy this thing anyway, right?”

I knew he was right – our a-hole cat can’t stop himself from scratching wicker – but I was still annoyed. I went back to look at the basket again and again, knowing that it would bother me. I weighed up the hassle of having to return this giant basket to Amazon against the hassle of having to look at weird stitching every day.

And then it hit me.


Just a few days ago, a horrible terrorist incident killed several people, wounded more and terrified millions. And yet there I was, losing my shit over a few irregular stitches.

I felt like the worst kind of person. But in a way, my reaction kind of made sense.

You know how people always talk about trying to see the big picture? Well, I’ll never see it, because I’m too focused on trying to erase the little smudge in the corner of the picture. When something is too big to wrap my mind around – like terrorism and what this latest attack means for this country – I revert back to what I do best, and that’s picking away at the little things. I can see the weird stitching on that basket lining. I can feel it in my fingers. I can snip at the loose threads. It’s a manageable problem – not even really a problem at all.

In the end, the basket stayed. I filled it with the Popple’s toys, stuffed animals, trucks and plastic bits of God know’s what. It can barely contain them all. It is stuffed to the brim, threatening to overflow.

I think we all know what that feels like.

My Petit Canard

22 Replies to “What I learned about terrorism from a wicker basket”

  1. This has got me thinking… which on a Saturday evening is a challenge as I am half asleep! But it is something that I get… I moan about getting no sleep and trying to manage a toddler and a puppy (which was my idea) when there are people with real issues and real reasons to moan. These are the things that bring terror to my core, freeze me in fear and make my heart race if I so much as allow them to graze across my conscious thoughts. Focusing on the little things allows us to cope when we know that the bigger picture is one that we can’t cope with and have no control over. It is a very sad state we have gotten into where we are so unhappy with the state of the world and feel powerless to change it. It makes me think of the suffragetes. Has that time past completely? Are powerful politicians, the rich and violent organisations the only ones who can have any impact on our society now?

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      Focusing on the little things is probably the easiest way to cope when something big that we have no control over happens.

  2. What an analogy! Very true though that we need to forget the little non problems and think about the bigger picture. Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays x

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      It can be so hard to see the bigger picture some times, but I’m trying to get better at it.

  3. True this. We’re brilliant at sweating the small stuff like wonky stitching but as long the basket works and the toys fit, it’s no biggie. But sometimes it’s easier to worry about stuff like that than big scary things that we can’t influence

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      Exactly. The basket does what it’s supposed to do, at that’s all that should really matter.

  4. I always find myself thinking the same when I’m getting upset about what are really trivial things. But these little things often keep us sane because we’d go crazy if we dwelt on the horrible things people do. I work down the road from Westminster and we spent the day after the attack whinging about having to run down the balance on our cashless cards for a new system. We’d have never made it to work thinking about the dangers otherwise! Glad the basket is not too bad now #MarvMondays

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      You’re right – the little things help keep us sane.

  5. Such an interesting one. On the one hand, very ture, we need to see the bigger picture, on the other hand, should we put our energies into what we can control? #marvmondays

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      That makes sense – we can’t control terrorist attacks, so there’s not much point in worrying about them.

  6. It’s scary what’s going on this world! I’m exactly the same I worry about the small things but really there are so much more important things going on in the world! #marvmondays

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      It’s hard to strike the balance between seeing the bigger picture and not worrying about things we can’t change.

  7. Some things are just too big for my brain to comprehend so I do the same. I think its a self-preservation strategy. #DreamTeam

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      I agree – it’s definitely a self-preservation strategy.

  8. I love this post! Hubster is military and you’ll see spouses always focus in on the tiny things because we are helpless to change the big picture. We don’t choose where to live, when to live there, what school system our kids are in, and you cannot just up and quit one day when it gets too rough. We teach our new spouses that all of this leads to hyper vigilance in the tiny details…but you have to remind yourself to not go crazy or you won’t get out of bed for feelings of helplessness. Attacks like London, 9/11, Paris- they just remind us of this all over again. So here’s to getting out of bed and living with a silly basket that drives us batty! #DreamTeam

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      Hooray! Here’s to the tatty basket!

  9. I definitely think it’s a sort of self preservation, that we focus on smaller, unimportant things because it’s too frustrating and depesssing to always think about the big stuff. It’s interesting how people cope with these situations. #DreamTeam

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      We all have our own coping mechanisms – obsessing over tiny things seems to be mine.

  10. I think it makes a lot of sense to worry about the things you have some control over when huge events like london happen. That meaure of control over our lives becomes very important. #marvmondays

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      I agree, we feel like we need to control the things that we know that we can.

  11. That weird stitching has a lot to answer for!! #marvmondays

  12. Such a good analogy, no doubt little things like the poor stitches on the cloth of the wicker basket matters but when we look at the bigger terrible things happening in the society we just can’t help it as a human but to let go of the smaller things which is not life threatening.

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