On being ... dramatic

By Ingrid Sapona

There were lots of things I thought commendable about Barak Obama’s time in the White House. But, what I found most exemplary was the “No-drama Obama” approach. Indeed, throughout my adult life, that’s a way of being that I’ve striven toward and that’s something I look for in friends. The way I see it, dialing back the drama frees up energy you can apply to something productive.

Given Trump’s preference for high dudgeon, you probably think this topic’s been on my mind because of some tweet or comment he’s put out. But, Trump’s behavior isn’t what’s inspired today’s column. Instead, the behaviour of a woman I’m working with (I’ll call her Stephanie) is what’s caused me to reflect on self-induced drama.

By many standards, Stephanie has a charmed life. But, I sometimes wonder how she makes it through the daily drama. A simple example will give you a sense of what I’m talking about. She’s a mere 25 and, with her parents’ help, she just bought a condo. Before moving in, she decided she needed shelving for the bedroom closet. She found what she wanted at IKEA. As you might guess, some assembly was required. Not being the do-it-yourself type, she paid extra to have someone install it.

Having just moved in, her condo building’s directory hadn’t been updated to include her name and number. So, when the installers arrived but couldn’t find her name, they left. The morning after, we all heard about the “unbelievable” jerks IKEA sent who didn’t think to phone her cell. As expected, the appointment had to be rescheduled.

The day after the eventual installation, we heard all about how unbelievably rude the workers were. After showing them to the room where the closet was, she left them alone to start. When she returned, she was SHOCKED to see their tool bag on her bed. “If they needed space they could have moved stuff out of their way instead of putting their filthy bags on the bed. Who does that?” she asked incredulously. (I’m guessing workers who are in a hurry…)

She ranted about having to wash all the bed linens as soon as they left. My reaction was: really? All the linens? Surely she must have only needed to clean the bed cover. Oh no, she assured me – she had to wash the sheets too. Not being able to picture how the sheets might have gotten dirty, I asked if they were somehow exposed. She said they weren’t, but the whole idea of anyone putting anything on the bed was just “to disgusting for words”. Something tells me she’s gonna be doing a lot of laundry if that’s how she feels!

Not wanting to prolong the drama, I excused myself and got back to what I was doing. Later, a colleague who heard Stephanie’s rant about the tool-bag-on-the-bed incident confided in me that her mom would have felt the need to wash all the bed linens afterward too. Seems her mom doesn’t like it when stuff that was outside is brought indoors. In fact, she said, her mom’s rule was that they had to change into “indoor clothes” as soon as they got home. I said I could see that because if you’re outside playing you could track dirt and grime in. She calmly explained that the rule applied no matter where they came in from.

Though I find the idea of always changing into indoor clothes as extreme as Stephanie feeling the need to wash everything on the bed if someone puts something on it, I found myself more open to the indoor clothes rule because it was explained in such a matter-of-fact manner. The desire to keep one’s home clean is at the heart of both, I realize. But, Stephanie’s rant was also  about the trauma and effort she had to put into maintaining things as she likes them. My other colleague’s mom, on the other hand, made keeping the inside of their house pristine a straightforward exercise.

I basically don’t like drama because it seems a waste of energy. Just do what you need to do and  don’t make a big deal about it, I say. After all, I think there’s enough drama in life that’s out of our control — why create more?

© 2018 Ingrid Sapona


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