In 11th century Japan, a woman of the court named Sei Shonagon wrote a series of notes on things that both pleased and irritated her. Her work, “The Pillow Book,” was similar to a modern day journal and often jumps from one subject to another. Although I am completely comfortable with the fact that my own rendition of “The Pillow Book” will be undeniably less witty or clever, this is my take.
One is notified that one has received flowers. Excited, one rushes to the door only to find a bouquet of carnations wrapped with a glittering pink ribbon and cellophane. Although one should be happy that another has thought of them, one cannot help but be perturbed at another’s lack of floral taste. This is irritating because not only do the flowers not bring aesthetic pleasure, but the situation makes one feel pretentious.
When a song begins to play, one perks up, excited to hear an old favorite. However, the old favorite has been remixed and is, by no means, the song one loves. Furthermore, why did Vanilla Ice have to make the beginning of “Ice Ice Baby” so similar to Queen’s “Under Pressure?” Cheap, V-Ice. Just cheap.
One gets up on time in the morning, despite one’s preference to sleep just a bit longer. One changes clothes, pulls oneself together, all to arrive among a throng of flannel pajama-wearing, shower-needing colleagues. Indubitably, one finds this truly irritating and disrespectful.
When sharing a bed with another, the bed often begins to shrink. It is easy for one to become too hot, for one’s shoulder to fall asleep, one’s neck to cramp. When is the appropriate time to tell the other to move over, to give space? This predicament will forever be confounding.
When one takes extra time to carefully complete an assignment for class, only to discover the assignment will not be collected. It is furthermore frustrating to know that one is of a few that did said assignment. Harsh as it may be, it is frustrating when slackers are unknowingly rewarded.
However, when one is unprepared, for reasons that surely vary, and one arrives in class and learns that they have nothing due, one is truly, truly relieved. In addition to relief, one feels luck. The feeling of luck always lends to a feeling that something or someone is on one’s side. And that is nice, indeed.
When autumn strikes and one finds fallen leaves swept beneath one’s door. This reminder of autumn is indicative of change, which is the opposite of stagnation, and that is good. When one dreams realistically of a worry on one’s mind, wakes up, feels dreadful for a moment, but soon realizes that it was all a dream. This is certainly relieving. When standing alone in an elevator, one grows impatient of waiting for the doors to close. Why does the close door button never work? It seems to go that when another begins to approach, only then do the doors close, shutting the other out. And though one unsuccessfully fumbled for the open doors button, one feels responsible for the other whom has missed the elevator. On such occasions, one can but only think “I tried.”
Often around campus, another person talks loudly and opinionated. More than not, this matter is controversial and that person is making his or her stance on the subject to the general public. Allow me to step outside of the “one” for a moment: I personally despise this loud ostentation.
I have no problem with speaking one’s mind, for I am doing so now, but must you yell? Yelling gives a certain “Sermon on the Mount” quality to your words and I find such things incredibly irritating, especially if you are indeed preaching a sermon. To quote the bumper sticker, “Don’t preach in my school and I won’t think in your church.” Deal?
When one feels good about oneself on a particular day, for any particular reason, such things are delightful and good. What’s often better is seeing a friend that feels the same, because this makes two feel good. And often best, when one passes a stranger and that stranger feels good and smiles to show it, it makes one feel good because this feeling of goodness is being passed along from one to another. Great are such things accomplished by interactions with others.