Monday, February 7, 2011

Take It down a Notch

My kitchen is a mess and it's distracting me a little bit. I usually can't get anything done in the morning before it's clean, but I'm trying to get my bearings again here after a week of being more or less housebound "thanks" to the blizzard (seems a little silly to me to call what we had here a blizzard, but who am I to argue with meteorology?) and a sick five-year-old who's been housebound with me. He's back at school today, as are two of my other three kids. The oldest is upstairs with a stomach ache. Ah, germs... How I resent you.

Where was I? Distraction. 'Kay. So I can't stop thinking about last night's episode of "Glee." (It's better to think about that than the Super Bowl; I'll just say so I can get it said that the Packers earned the win. They did. They played a better game with a better quarterback and a better offense. My black and gold is put away, salt-free, no tears shed.)

"Glee." It means happy. Joyful. And, I realized after however many weeks of not watching it (I only watch reruns of "The Office," "Buffy," "Angel," and "Firefly"), it means yelling. Lots and lots of yelling.

I've worked really hard the last year or so at subduing the yeller in me. She isn't very attractive, and she sounds like a crazed banshee (as opposed to the sane ones). That's no one you want to introduce your children to. I don't like her very much, and she's completely ineffective. So we had a chat, and I told her she wasn't welcome around here anymore. She still tries to sneak her way in, but I'm a good fighter.

And with all of my kids in school all day now (except when germs sneak in through those same cracks the banshee tries to squeeze through, perhaps), I'm used to quiet days. I don't listen to a lot of music when I'm home alone because (1) I can't concentrate on my editing when I'm humming along with Jim Croce and (2) I'm prone to feeling really lonely when I listen to music, regardless of the song style. So I live a quiet little existence here from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Then chaos erupts when the kids pour in through the front door. And it's a nice little chaos. It's good to have them home, hear their happy voices, see their happy little faces.

For a few hours.

Come dinner time, I'm holding my head, my elbows propped on the table, begging them to please, just, shhhh, don't yell, I'm right here, yes, you can have more milk, here, just, shhhh, please keep your voice down, stop yelling, holy cow.

So it struck me pretty hard last night how LOUD everyone on "Glee" is. Sue's yelling (and I love Sue!). The football team is yelling. Rachel is yelling. Coach Beast, Will, Fin. They're loud and scowling and grumpy and . . . I didn't like it. It made me uncomfortable. Maybe 9:30 p.m. is just too late to watch the show. Maybe it was WAY past my noise-tolerance time.

glee season 2 episode 8 Glee Season 2 Episode 8: Download and Torrent
But, darn, we're a yelling society aren't we? When did this start? Is each generation, as my husband suggested, used to raising its voices to be heard over the previous generation's voices? Is the debate culture getting to us? The need to interrupt each other in Bill O'Reilly fashion? With common politeness comes reasonable decibel levels. Throw out politeness and we all end up, sooner or later, with ruptured eardrums.

Go ahead. Pay attention to the TV shows you watch this week, whether it's reality TV or news programs or sitcoms or dramas. And then tell me people aren't yelling way way WAY more than they did in the good old days of "Three Is Company" and "Fantasy Island" and "The Love Boat."

Now I can clean my kitchen. In silence.


AngryBaker said...

I cannot function until the kitchen is clean. It sets the tone for the day.

As for yelling, yes, it is everywhere. And yes, my banshee is uglier and louder than yours. My son told me the other night that he didn't want us to talk like the people "in that commercial." I don't know which one he is talking about, but he said a teenager was talking with his mom and they were both being very mean and rude. Then he said, "Mom, I never want us to talk like that." I appreciate that he notices these things. Though what is up with my kids thinking that anything the show me has to me an inch away from my face? I cannot believe I still have both eyes.

And because we always need an article to reference, here's one from last year.

Bobbie said...

Great article. And it also made me a little sick to my stomach, especially with the closing line: "Don't make Mommy mad."

And yes! The shoving-the-paper-in-my-face thing drives me nuts! Papers, hands, pawing, mauling...I feel so claustrophobic by the end of the day. We're more involved as parents than our own parents were (at least I am, which is something my mom and I have talked about a lot), trying to do the right things, but we get kind of kidded out in the process. Maybe if we were involved less--gave them a little more space--we'd be less inclined toward the freaking out. Ugh. Impossible to do it all right, isn't it?