Mindless Language

We don’t hear ourselves speak when our brains are on automatic pilot, which is most of the time. It happens to all of us. My morning meditation practice now includes observing a feeling of annoyance rising within me when I hear superfluous language.  

Two presidents, the previous and the current, have influenced our speech in a subtle way that challenges my equanimity. One of them often said, “Look…” as he began to answer a question. The other has coined annoying verbs, like “hugely.” 

Now, I’m hearing intelligent people on the entire tiny spectrum of political discourse using both. When someone begins an answer with “Look…” I find myself thinking, “Look at what?…I was listening until you said, ‘look’!” It makes me anticipate a lecture, and I want to tune out.

When I hear people using fake adverbs, I think, “Why not use a real word and demonstrate that you have a vocabulary?” Who needs adverbs anyway? Adverbs are just hyperbolic symbols, like exclamation marks! The current president is hugely hyperbolic! And so annoying! 

I made the mistake this morning of believing that early voting meant early. All I could find online showing the time of day said early voting starts at 7 a.m. “in most locations.” The website for my local library, the early voting location for my district, showed the dates and not the times. This was my second trip to vote early. Last week, the line was too long…as long as my to-do list. 

When I arrived at the library early this morning, coffee in hand, I read the times on a sign: “Early voting, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.” I got back home at 7:15…in time to eat an early breakfast. 

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