I am obsessed right now with the fact the I seem to be the only one at my house who changes the toilet paper when the roll is empty. Over and over again, I come to find a roll with half a piece of paper clinging to it, or a roll that is getting low where someone has placed a full roll on top of it, postponing the inevitable. Sometimes it's just a plain old empty cardboard tube, naked as the day it was born.
Now, at our house we buy large packages of toilet paper which don't really fit handily under the sink, so they stand guard out in plain sight in the bathroom. So, on the one hand, I haven't actually been left high and dry in these situations. On the other hand, if the new roll is right there, how hard could it be to change it?
I wrote once about how repetitive household tasks, like cleaning the bathtub, can be a quiet and sustaining act of love. And that can be true. But sometimes, my friends, it is that tiny thing, over and over, which becomes the insurmountable obstacle. It can just about drive you to the point of madness.
It turns out that I am not the only one who has had it "up to here" with the image of how an oyster can turn a tiny grain of sand into a pearl. In "Coping With Irritable People", Human Resources blogger Tom Bolt writes:
Is there any more overcooked analogy than the one about the lowly oyster taking a grain of sand and making it into a pearl? If we were to believe all of the motivational quotes, shallow platitudes, flowery poems and religious themes about creating something of beauty out of a painful irritation we would be surrendering our humanity.
He goes on, "People have choices. When irritations invade our lives we are not powerless to do something about it."
There it is: it is my anger and frustration that have become the insurmountable obstacle. I cannot make something beautiful out of this because I am already actively making something else: making myself crazy! And I won't get anywhere until I change my point of view. Perhaps, as Mr. Bolt suggests in his article, education is the key in changing irritating behaviors.
It seems I am not alone in my suffering.