On Swooning

Years ago, one of my sisters was part of those Home Interior parties. (They sell home decor and such.)

There is a bit of a pyramid nature to it, it seems, because for months the local host, or procurator or whatever it is kept trying to convince my sister to become one. She, and others.

As I was told by my mother, who attended one such meeting, the hostess offered to my sister, (or anyone else in the group who wanted to take on the position) a brand new spherical key chain, covered in “50% real mink fur.”

Neither my mother nor my sister were impressed by this. Believe it or not, though, they were the only two who felt that way. To paraphrase my mother who told the story later:

Grown women were falling over themselves going apeshit over this piece of trash like it was the Holy Grail.

My sister parted with Home Interior not long afterward.

Both my sister and I, as well as my other siblings get it honest. Mom has never been easily impressed by such things. Dad wasn’t either. Whether it be people, clothing, or in this case, a spherical  key chain covered in 50% real mink fur, we don’t often swoon. We just don’t feel that many things are a big to-do. We are not moved to applause by every little thing.

There are probably many reasons for this. Genetics being one, like I said. Having lived at times a difficult life wherein priorities present themselves. An overall simpler view on life than many folks. Even our natural introversion. However I think for the most part it is that we save big reactions for big things.

Many will claim that different people get excited about different things, and that I shouldn’t judge. True, to a point. But let’s be as honest as possible with this; don’t you think that there are levels of excitement to life? Is there not something a bit disconcerting about swooning as much over a key chain as a marriage proposal? I have to believe I am better off with a high swoon threshold than to feel my heart flutter after signing up earlier for the webinar.

Swoon is the operative word here. I didn’t say appreciation, or anticipation. I am not talking about having fun or feeling excited. I am talking about, hand covering your mouth, jumping up and down, somebody get me a pillow because I am about to pass out swooning.

I am often amazed, and at times disgusted by how easily people can get to this level over something, whether an object, an experience, or another person. This lifelong bafflement of mine has only been enhanced with the advent of social media, where every third post, Tweet, or Facebook update has something to do with just how “mind-blowingly stoked” somebody is to be among the first 1,000 people to get a copy of Seth Godin’s new e-book…a full week before everybody else can. Do they talk this way on dates??

Don’t misunderstand, because I can hear the objections as I type. Like I wrote earlier, I do think life should be enjoyed, and everyday enthusiasm does deepen our existence. But that is just the point. It should be everyday enthusiasm. Not wetting yourself excitement at something every single day.

Yes, there are times when I think that people who swoon over e-books and key chains get ahead a tad faster in life. When their twitterpation is conflated with enthusiasm or appreciation. That can get some people to the front of the line and past the velvet ropes to be sure. Yet if your excitement system doesn’t have some sort of tiered structure, what are you going to have left to enjoy later? If you are drooling about the e-book release by your favorite author which you just bought before all of your friends, are you going to be able to muster anything intelligent to say or do should you one day get to meet your favorite author? Breath and prioritize. If you can do it with your anger, you can do it with your swooning.

I get excited. I have jumped in the air over things, slapped high fives, and been unable to sleep in anticipation of the important moments. On occasion I have screamed with incoherent but justifiable exuberance into the night. One day I may even swoon, and suffer temporary respiratory failure. (Though it would require extreme and rare circumstances, like Ellen Page smiling at me at a party or something.) Yet I am proud, not ashamed to admit that in most cases as good things happen, I remain level headed enough to absorb the whole experience without tweaking. And I humbly submit that you can too.

How easily do you swoon?

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1 Comment

  1. The beginning reminded me of how I describe my mom and her being impressed by things.

    “My mom is super-Catholic and the pope could jetpack onto our lawn and she'd just be like “Excuse me Your Holiness, are you going to stand there or help me bring the groceries in?”

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