A dear friend, a sister, recently wrote that she intended to emulate me by striving to go “a year without complaining”. She also recently traveled for the first time to Ghana, the nation of her origins, where she got engaged to the man of her dreams and became a vegetarian. Power to her. Rock on, Lyne’t.
As for her alleged role model, myself, I still strive to actually live without uttering a word of complaint or mincing my face into a little moue as I turn from a transgressor. My center gradually shifted from a constant state of discontent to a sort of calm in which the truly offensive sharply contrasts with the merely intolerable. I constrain myself. Only those sins which threaten to cause permanent damage receive the Corley stare and the unrelenting onslaught of terse phone calls. Of course, I also continue to stand for those who cannot stand for themselves, a subcategory of complaint which I will never forswear..
I walk through most of my days in a kind of happy stupor. I see what happens around me, but the door opens only for the joyful or for shocking horrors. One must bludgeon me with grief before I rouse myself to anger. Deny my health benefits, hurt a child, start a war? I’m on it. Cut in front of me at the run-off to the Rio Vista bridge? Go right ahead, son, I yield the extra minute which you’ll gain by your clever rudeness.
Early in this journey, the one and only Puma, Joyce Kramer, ventured to chastise me for trying to forego all complaint. She cautioned, along with several others, that I would find myself torn between the mission of this blog and the natural tendency of the advocate to combat injustice. She demonstrated prescience. I tip my sunhat in her south-easterly direction. The distinction often proves elusive but worth the effort. Some wrongs must be righted, or in the least, exposed.
Another wise friend, Jane Williams, mildly and early observed that my offerings became themselves mere chronicles of grievance disguised as self-righteous forbearance. Ah, Jane, you did not leave teaching so much as shifted to a more global manifestation of that noble calling!
At this stage, then, what have I left? Merely, I admit, the same quest to which my mother’s mother set me: Putting my best foot forward, and never stopping.
It’s the eighth day of the sixty-fifth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
Not avant garde
Not nouveau riche
Not high tech
Very much the same
And sometimes winning.
c. Corinne Corley, 1995 – 2019