Layin’ the angst on the line

August 26, 2021


I don’t know how to write this. No matter what, I’ll do a crap job, so let’s dive in. Since the pandemic began, people began to have Strong Feelings about everything. For the most part, and since I don’t like conflict of any kind, I just listen and make ‘mm-hmm’ kinds of sounds, since I think that everyone gets to feel however they like. ‘God made us all differently’ and all that.

However. As with all polarizing subjects – COVID, politics, religion – whenever the tone of the conversation turns (going to to make sure I’m saying what I’m feeling) derogatory, belittling, uncaring, mocking, one-sided, “I’m on the right and anyone who thinks differently is an idiot”….. then I die a little inside and Oppositional Lauren kicks in and hops over to the other side. No matter what. I am so bothered by people who address an issue with a narrow focus and unkindness.

I hide a lot. I’m not very social anyway, but I find that social situations are becoming much more uncomfortable to bear because of the conversation. Personally? (Not that anyone cares) I’m pro-vaccine, pro-mask when it’s required. I wish we didn’t have mandates because I thought everyone might want to pitch in and help make this situation better. I’m not mad when people who make ‘understanding this situation’ their job do their job and try to help an ungodly mess get better.

A couple of months into the pandemic I wrote a drunken poem. (I was drinking quite a lot those days.) I check in on it every so often and it still resonates. (Huh. It seems that I already wrote this post….)

****** April 27, 2020

I am a very oppositional person. If you say something, in my soul, I am probably disagreeing with you somewhat. I think about the other side of the issue and why other people might think the other way. I will say nothing out loud. I am very non-confrontational. If two people start to debate an issue, Little Lauren inside me wants to do a little dance to distract you from your conversation. If the conversation is civil, the Tiny Death inside me is bearable.


Once words like ‘stupid’, ‘ridiulous’, ‘insane’, ‘asinine’, ‘jerk’ (go on) enter the conversation, I am done. It doesn’t matter what the conversation is about: coronavirus, politics, school policy, grocery store offerings, etc. Once negative, critical words enter the picture, I can’t listen anymore. I am non-confrontational, though, so if I am in the room I will smile and think about how delicious bread is. If I am not in the room and reading it online, I will roll my eyes, drink copious amounts of alcohol, then rage at Lloyd. (Poor Lloyd.)

In college, we had to take Human Relations (was that the name?) and the lesson of ‘I’ Messages was great. Stating something from how it makes you feel is a non-awful way to state your position. “I wish I understood the reasoning behind that decision” is better than “Those stupid idiots don’t know what they’re talking about.”

My comfort spaces are going away. I avoid people more than usual – not because I am afraid of the virus – but because I am uncomfortable around their feelings and how they are expressed. If they are sad, I want them to be happy. If they are glib, I want them to be more serious. If……

As you can see, this is a problem for only me. I absolutely do not need others to fix me. 

The lines are drawn.
Sides are picked.
The arrogance of opinion
Pushes friends and families apart.

  The mouse watches and nibbles cheese
  Followed by generous sips of whiskey.

Places of solace are now the
Battlefields of ‘Right’,
With only ridicule and disdain,
And other faces of terror.

  The mouse gets a scoop of ice cream.
  More whiskey, too.

Everyone gets to have their opinion -
Voicing their anxieties and angers
Against environment, government, 
employment, management.

  The mouse can’t find the remote.

The people have become cats,
Battling with dogs.
Each fighting for supremacy,
Biting flesh from all others.

  The mouse sips more whiskey,
  Curled up in its crevice.

    It knows it will survive.
    Or not. 

**************** ...... apparently I survived. Ok, let's review. I absolutely don't want to talk about this ever. If you bring it up, I will look at you blankly and talk about bread. Any comments have to be about your favorite kind of bread. 

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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6 Responses to “Layin’ the angst on the line”

  1. Brad Said on:

    Your last paragraph went off the edge of the reading area, but I was able to copy it and see that it says: “Any comments have to be about your favorite kind of bread.”

    I laughed when I saw that because that’s such a “you” question. Hehe… I barely know that there are “kinds” of bread, and the bread I like the most is the stuff that horrifies most people… the soft, spongy, chemical-filled white bread. Like Wonder Bread, but not Wonder Bread, because that’s so expensive. I get the grocery store brand. Probably no nutritional value. But so soft. I wonder if I could ever stack a bunch of it together and lie down on it. …but that’s probably weird to say, right? Never mind…


  2. Lauren Said on:

    Here’s the last paragraph:

    **************** …… apparently I survived. Ok, let’s review. I absolutely don’t want to talk about this ever. If you bring it up, I will look at you blankly and talk about bread. Any comments have to be about your favorite kind of bread.


  3. Jill Said on:

    I wanna hang out with the mouse and eat crusty french bread. And drink, of course.


  4. Lauren's dad Said on:

    Soggy Bread Story

    From a letter your Grandpa Martin wrote in Brasil, 1936:
    “We (Grandad and Grandma) leave at noon on Saturday…riding five and on-half hours(on muleback)…we come to the place where we will spend the night. Mr. Rama Kunzendorff and his family are very hospitable and receive us with a warm welcome. Soon the hostess calls us for supper. It consists of soggy cornbread and eggs fried in grease, butter, cottage cheese and coffee. Since we are tired from the long ride, we soon retire after supper…. The mattress is a cornhusk mattress and the cover a featherbed. The odor of the beds is not very pleasing, for people never change clothes for the night, but sleep in their working clothes. …We ate breakfast consisting of the same as the supper. …The next place…the beds are the same, but dirtier.”


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