The Beam in Your Eye–and Not the Good Kind
I cannot stand gossip. No, wait. It’s more than that. It’s discussion of other people at a level that I never even considered gossip before but now, it irritates me to the point of wanting to throw people out restaurant windows.
I think this is what that Bible verse means about noticing the speck of dust in your neighbor’s eye while ignoring the wooden beam in your own.
It’s nothing new. What is so, however, is that I’ve become acutely aware of it. People gathering to discuss someone else’s business before attending to their own. Case in point….
When I accompanied Aislinn to a wedding shoot in Panama City last weekend, I made it into my play time. No writing, no editing, no work. Just…playing–for a big change! I was so enjoying myself, wandering around by the water’s edge, smelling the flowers near the pier on the bay, relishing the breezes, taking long naps. Then I decided to have a slice of key lime pie in their restaurant and was seated at a beautiful window overlooking the bay. Ah, heaven.
Then two women in their late 20’s to early 30’s arrived and sat at the table next to mine. It was close enough that I could not avoid hearing their conversation, which wasn’t exactly soft or discreet. It went something like this:
Blonde: Darling, it’s so good to see you!
Brunette: You, too! How’s your divorce going?
Blonde: [ordering a Crown and Coke] He’s fighting me for custody and saying I drink too much, plus he found out about the cute Seal I was seeing when he was out of town. How are you?
Brunette: I’m good. My car got repossessed so I had to get a taxi here, and I don’t know how much longer we can avoid foreclosure. I borrowed more money from Daddy, so we don’t have to do anything for another 6 months.
[further small talk about their problems]
Blonde: So let’s get down to the business of why we needed to meet here to talk.
Brunette: Great! [orders her second margarita] I’ve been dying to talk to you about what to do.
Blonde: Me, too. I think it’s time for an intervention. Red is out of control!
Brunette: Agreed. Have you seen what she’s been wearing lately? Somebody needs to give her a lesson in how to dress. Those colors are not good for her.
Blonde: I know! And I just want to scream every time I see her because all her clothes are last season’s colors. Do you think she’s losing her eyesight?
Brunette: Or maybe she can’t afford this season’s fashions?
Blonde: Or maybe her new boyfriend thinks she shouldn’t wear bright colors? Maybe we could get together with her for drinks and drop a few hints.
Brunette: Think so? I mean, there’s got to be something we can do.
I finished my dessert and left before they did, and when I paid my tab, they were still conspiring over how to fix Red’s wardrobe and potential other problems with finances, relationships, career. I found it so amusing that both women had huge problems of their own that neither, based on a few comments here and there, were doing anything to correct yet they had detailed plans for how to fix someone else’s problems.
I so wanted to say, “Why are you so concerned about whether her magenta sweater dress clashes with her hair and how that’s ruining her life? Even from your own accounts, she’s deliriously happy these days. Why are you spending so much time on someone else’s minor “problem” when you have so much work to do on your own issues?”
It occurs to me that the cleaner and more serene my own life becomes, the less inclined I am to care about fixing someone else’s problems.