What I learned about terrorism from a 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.