The sound tickled just beneath Clara’s ears, almost subsonic in its depth. She worked her jaw to relieve the pressure, but it didn’t help much. She turned her attention back to the photograph, desperately seeking any reason to label it a hoax.
A bell rang in the next room, startling her away from her studies. Clara rose to check on the brownies. They were done to a perfect chewy toughness, just the way she liked them. She grabbed a bag of candy from the counter and methodically pushed a caramel into the center of each brownie square. By the time the brownies were cool enough to cut and plate, the caramels would be perfectly gooey.
She left dessert unattended on the kitchen counter and returned to her home office. Her head twitched to the right, then back to center. That sound again. She gritted her teeth and sat down at her desk. She would have laughed aloud if that sound weren’t setting all of her nerves on edge. So irritating. And only in here, while she’s trying to work.
Clara gave up for the day, closing her files and returning to the kitchen for a brownie and a nice tall glass of milk.
It’s like this, see. I read this blog. Yeah, I know, ‘well, duh, April, you read tons of blogs, what’s your point?’ I read this blog and I get annoyed. Sometimes I even get angry.
The author makes a lot of generalizations that I just don’t agree with, most of them because either I or someone close to me has lived the exceptions. But I keep reading, because I appreciate good writing, because I learn new things, but more than any other reason, because it’s still a window to a world that’s not my own.
I didn’t have those reasons thought out when I began this post; I started writing it to explore the relationship between my reading that blog and my compulsion to read the comments on controversial news articles.
I wondered if I’m just a glutton for punishment. I have a lot of firmly held beliefs on human rights, women’s rights, and healthcare, and I find articles all the time on these topics; it’s not like they’re obscure interests. Where I screw up is in reading opinions. I absolutely cannot resist reading editorials and commentary on any subject that I know brings out fast and furious opposition. And then I get seriously disgusted with what I’m reading.
So why do I do it? I have plenty of nonsensical injustice to deal with in real life. Why should I let myself get so worked up about the Internet? My best guess is that it’s safe. It’s instant gratification. It’s expected. Nobody uses the Internet to agree with people, do they?
But safe, that’s a reasonable reason. It’s a lot safer to read and disagree in my head, never commenting or replying, never setting my thoughts free to cause problems in real life. Safer to just tumble them around in my own head until I find something I need to explore further, and that I can do here, with my small audience.
It’s not punishment, and it’s not silly. It’s just another method of coping. Hey, whatever works, right? So now I know. It’s so fulfilling to start with ‘I don’t know,’ but to finish with ‘this is why,’ don’t you think?