Tag Archives: Facebook


Mostly, my Facebook experience is a happy one, filled with other people’s amusing anecdotes, pictures of delicious food, heartwarming snippets, cute kids, and kittens. I carefully curate my friends list and those whose notifications I see to keep it this way. I know it’s a bubble, not representative of humanity as a whole – and that’s how I like it.

This week I’m seeing chinks in my bubble, if I may mix metaphors. Of course, my friends are all lovely right-thinking (that is, left-leaning) people; but some of them, through no fault of their own, have other friends or relations who are not. I’m also in a neighbourhood Facebook group that does not screen for membership on the basis of whether or not you’re an asshole.

So it’s disheartening to discover that there are actually lots of Americans out there who conform exactly to the stereotype of the closed-minded, ignorant, xenophobic American the rest of the world often thinks of. The type I never encounter, to my knowledge, in real life. And, because they conduct their Facebook business mostly in their own hate-filled bubbles of like-minded people and jingoistic militaristic gun-totin’ Fox-news-watching memes, I can’t tell whether there are in fact more of them out there than sane, decent people or not.

Which is worrying.

I don’t think Irish people are inherently better than Americans. I imagine the ratio of assholes to non-assholes is probably about the same everywhere, give or take a few culturally specific beliefs or practices. And Facebook assholes might even seem like perfectly nice people if I met them out and about, seeing as how I’m a non-threatening white soccermom type who doesn’t fly the flag of her feminist anti-gun tree-hugging liberal pro-equality leanings at the supermarket checkout. I don’t often even wade into the fray online, though I’m not above a little passive-aggressive point-scoring grammar/punctuation/spelling correction when moved.

A friend asked this morning whether things are getting worse or she’s just getting older. I have to confess to having the same thoughts myself lately. On the whole, to save our sanity, I believe we have to decide that there’s just as much good as bad out there. That sometimes, often, there’s more.



I never ever phone someone for a chat any more. Is that weird? That’s probably deeply weird. It’s possible that I’ve turned into the Sandra Bullock character from The Net, if anyone else even remembers that film. She hid away in her room and even ordered her pizza online, so she didn’t have to talk to people.

I order my pizza online too, but it’s a nice friendly website and I’m not sitting alone in a room lit only by computer screens when I do it, so I think that part’s okay. Also, I go out and pick up the pizza, so I do interact with the people at the pizza place.

But I don’t ring anyone up just to talk to them; except my parents, because they’re not so au fait with the internet and I do admit that there’s a certain level of intimacy that hearing someone’s voice achieves that seeing their words appear on a screen doesn’t. And my husband, I ring him up at work, but not so much for chats as for those “Please buy milk/beer/wine/biscuits” conversations that have to happen to prevent me needing to make a last minute dash to the shops with two children in the worst part of the day.

I could just ask him by e-mail or chat. Sometimes I do. But I don’t avoid ringing him up.

I do avoid ringing other people up. I’m okay with business calls, like scheduling a dentist’s appointment or something. I’ll put it off for a few days, but then I’ll just do it. But the idea of ringing a friend, randomly, at any time of day, seems uncivilized now. It feels very self-centred of me to assume that they want to talk to me, and that they can just drop everything and do that, whenever I choose to ring them. And if I leave a message and they ring me back, then they’re doing the same to me, and we could play phone tag for ever. So much more considerate to send an e-mail that they can read and respond to whenever it’s convenient for them. Also, then I don’t have to ring them.

My father never liked being at the beck and call of the telephone. This seemed to me a ridiculously old-fashioned objection back in the day – sure, wouldn’t you always be only delighted to chat to someone if they rang up wanting to talk to you. I wasn’t one of those teenagers who was always hogging the line, but I did ring friends for chats back then. Apparently since then, I’ve come full circle back to my dad’s point-of-view for a more modern reason – I prefer the convenience of the Internet for my interactions with friends.

Maybe it was because I moved to America that I stopped making phone calls. I called my parents, but I had nobody else to call, really. I could keep in touch with Irish friends by e-mail. With the time difference, it made more sense. Those who weren’t into e-mail, well, our friendships languished, sometimes. Some of them were easily picked up every time we went home; some weren’t. I didn’t have new American friends to call on the phone yet. I didn’t need to ring my boyfriend every night because I lived with him now. His friends and their girlfriends became my friends, but I didn’t ring them and they didn’t ring me. Then we moved, then we moved again. We had a baby. Somebody said we should join Facebook because that was how people kept in touch these days. I joined Facebook.

It was a bit of a momentous thing, now I think about it. I have more friends now than I ever did before, if by friends you mean anything from “people I have encountered on the Internet and seem cool” to “bloke I am married to”. I can hide the depths of my weirdness behind my quick quips on Facebook and nobody will ever know.

But if you’re my friend, don’t be offended if I never ring you for a chat, okay? I’m just bad that way.

The Facebook Parenting Generation

There’s a certain joy about watching your friends’ children grow up – when you knew one or even both parents long before those little mischief-makers were a glint in anyone’s eyes. It would be lovely if we could all live on the same street as our childhood or high school or college best friends all our lives, just for that experience, but life doesn’t work that way. (And maybe for the best…)

However. This generation is the first to raise children communally in a way our parents never did, thanks to social media. I feel like I’m sharing the experience of parenthood with all the friends who are doing it at the same time because we’re right there on each other’s newsfeeds, with updates about poop and puke, teeth and tooth fairies, photos and disasters and cries for help and offers of solidarity. Our parents didn’t have this.

My mother may have had coffee mornings with her friends when they got together and discussed their perms or their handbags or their golf handicaps, other mothers may have gossiped over the garden fence about whatever it was that was going on in the world. They may even have talked to their best friends or their sisters about how best to potty train little Dennis or why Mary Margaret wouldn’t eat her dinner. But for the most part I’m willing to bet that the concept of Pinterest Parenting – only showing your best side to the public, I mean – was more prevalent then then than it is now, whatever the Internet would have you believe.

I mean, my mother was always very concerned about what the neighbours might think. The neighbours, I’m sure, had more to be thinking about than us, but that was how she saw it. The worst thing you could do was provide other people with things to talk about. And because you never heard about anyone else’s problems, you certainly weren’t going to admit that you had any. Life had to be seen to be “Pinterest perfect” a long time before Pinterest existed. (Though crafting ambitions were definitely not so lofty back then.)

But now, between blogs and Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, the Internet has taught us that whatever our kid is up to, someone else’s is at it worse. That whatever disaster just happened in your house, somebody out there has already cleaned it up in theirs. Or even if yours is the flat-out worst thing that could possibly happen, at least you can have the tiny satisfaction of telling everyone about it so that they can marvel at your terrible luck. (And, not so tiny after all, send virtual hugs and messages of support and empathy, and maybe even some offers of real-life help.)

More than that, I know my friends’ kids – at least the ones on Facebook; sorry, everyone else! – and they know mine at a much lovelier level than I could possibly have had the opportunity to do with all but those families living closest to us in the past. People post “I love that kid!” when my status relates the latest hilarious statement from my daughter or highly logical action of my son, and I know they do, sort of, just as much as I love to watch their children grow up online, exploit by exploit.

We may not all have the same close-knit real-life communities that our parents had, but I’d argue that our new ones are better. We’ve made parenting a communal experience instead of a lonely road of self-doubt and frustration. (Okay, sometimes that should be “as well as”.) It’s something we do with our friends – because heaven knows, we’re not going out partying with them every weekend any more. And this way, we can get to know everyone’s kids as well, whether they’re on our street or on another continent. Ain’t the Internet grand?

Rat’s arse

This morning it was still so humid that it was positively smelly outdoors, and I put on capris and a t-shirt and sandals again and complained loudly. Since then the deluge has reached us, the lawn (ahem) is dotted liberally with yellow leaves from the trees behind us, and everything’s a lot more autumnal. I made soup for lunch. It’s still humid, but getting better.


I went to a local clothing co-op used clothes/books/toys sale at the weekend, and I had to take the kids with me because their father was out on his Saturday morning long run. I promised they could each get a toy so long as they let me look in the big room with the clothes first. I was in search of one thing: snow boots for each child. I found a perfect pair for Mabel, but the price I paid was more than the $5 I happily forked over to the nice lady at the desk, because in the toy room a disgruntled Dash found the most horrible toy in the world, and I was powerless to refuse, since it cost a mere two dollars.

Plastic rat

It’s a plastic rat. It is remote controlled, and its little red eyes light up as it whizzes around the kitchen floor. It is the embodiment of evil. And now it lives in my house.

Toy rat with red lighting-up eyes


My body is rebelling against the computer by giving me a sore wrist. It can’t really tell me any louder that I need to lay off the Facebook and go and read a book. And yet, here I still am. I’m getting better at surfing with my left hand, mind you.

Increasingly long-winded thoughts on Twitter, which is why I’m not very good on Twitter

Thoughts on Twitter, from the perspective of one who came from Facebook.

  • It’s very good for my editing, trying to get what I want to say down to 140 characters.
  • But it’s a terrible way to have an actual conversation.
  • The people, myself included, are more fickle. Because there’s no mutuality, you can follow and unfollow guilt-free. I follow someone famous for a while, their too-frequent, or too-boring tweets annoy me, I unfollow them. I suppose in FB we just hide the status updates; unfriending is a lot more drastic.
  • The people are more willing to listen to total strangers. On FB, generally speaking, I won’t friend someone I haven’t met unless I know exactly who they are and feel I have some sort of connection with them on a message board or through blogging. On Twitter a whole bunch of total strangers follow me. I don’t even know why, but it’s all very ego-stroking. (I mean, I don’t know why they follow me. I do know why it strokes the ego.)
  • And then, even more surprisingly, total strangers seem willing to engage with me in some sort of exchange. A usually frustrating one if I’m trying to actually impart information (see point 2 above) but not a bad one if we’re just tossing quips back and forth. Or insults. Whatever.
  • I’ve had a Facebook page for the blog for a couple of years now and it’s just creaking up to 73 likes. I’ve been on Twitter since January of this year and already I have 80 followers. How does that work? And then some of my followers are corporate-type things that, what, think I’ll just blindly follow them back? Does anyone do that? How is that good for business?
  • And then, I don’t understand how people can follow thousands of others. The Bloggess, to take a “famous” blogger, for example, has 320,000 followers. Lucky her. But she follows 19,000 herself. She can’t read 19,000 people’s tweets. Even if some of them don’t tweet much. I doubt if she even clicked the “Follow” button 19,000 times, for that matter. So how does this happen, and what’s the point? Do people just follow people to be nice, and then ignore them? I follow people whose tweets I want to see, but maybe I’m doing it wrong.

In summary, I’m finding Twitter surprisingly nice. It connects me with old and new people in the blogging community in an oddly different way from Facebook, in Ireland and the US (and elsewhere too for all I know). I thought it would just be covering the same ground again, but it’s complementary rather than duplicatory. So, um, go click the button over there and follow me.


The good thing about being thousands of miles from your loved ones at Christmas (sniff, sniff) is that at this point, when all around are wringing their hands and declaring to Facebook that they’re not remotely organized, will never be organized, and vow to be super-duper organized next year, you can sit smugly with your tea and muffin and bask in the glow of having it all in hand.

No doubt a large whale will now fall from the sky to crush me in my insufferable cockiness.

But, fingers crossed and stuff, I’m not too disorganized. Cards were posted, with photos, to the lucky few recipients. The parcels to Ireland went off last Wednesday – two days before the Post Office’s deadline for international mail, but up to the wire on my own personal last-chance-to-queue-up-child-free timeline. (And boy, I’m glad I did it child-free, especially when I discovered that the large box I’d so cleverly packed everything in was now too big for the regular customs form and needed a special iron-clad extra-information form to be filled in. I was also glad I’d covered up the graphics and lettering on the box I’d snaffled from outside the supermarket with plain paper, as I heard the woman behind me being told that she couldn’t mail that ex-wine-bottle-box as it was with all that other stuff visible on it. Well, you would feel a little silly if your presents all ended up at a vineyard in California.)

I have procured marzipan – from IKEA, of all places – to commence icing the Christmas cake, the children’s presents have arrived from far-flung Amazon (not the river), and I even have something for my husband that’s a tiny bit more imaginative than a CD and a book. (It’s not even a book and a sweater, so there.) I am counting the slippers I bought him yesterday in Target as part of his present too, even if he did ask me to buy them, they were not wrapped up, he’s been wearing them since last night, and  – oh yes – I don’t bring home a paycheck so I suppose, technically, he pays for everything. But I totally was going to get him slippers for Christmas because I knew he needed them, so it counts, right? I’m just so thoughtful and concerned for his cold feet that I didn’t want him to have to wait another day for them. Or even have to go to the bother of unwrapping them.

So that’s how organized I am. We also have a tree, though there will be no presents under it until Christmas Eve, because three-year-olds are not known for their self-restraint. What we don’t have is any actual plans for the day, or any of the days surrounding the day. I don’t know what we’re going to eat or who we’re going to see or even what I’m going to wear (which is really a moot point if we don’t see anyone). Maybe we’ll spend Christmas Day in our pyjamas, eating muffins and drinking Prosecco (just the adults, I promise), and watching cartoons.

That doesn’t sound so bad, really.

Saturday miscellany

Sunday Miscellany is a long-running “music and musings” (as they call it) programme on Irish radio. Every Sunday morning of my life, until I moved out (even, come to think of it, if I was hungoverly drinking a cup of tea at my boyfriend’s house because I’d, ahem, missed the last train), it was the soundtrack to breakfast before going to mass. It features soothing or energising pieces of music interspersed with short memoir-style essays, usually read by their authors. Its theme tune is probably one of the most comforting sounds I could ever wish to hear.

It was many years before I connected the written word “miscellany” with the missal-eny (missal, obviously, because it was church day) I’d heard about for so long.

I don’t have any soothing music, and right now it’s still Saturday, but here are some snippets anyway. Imagine them being read by the author while you eat your rice krispies and wait for the toast to pop.


Hooray! A new person likes me! I’ve been stuck at 12 on my Facebook likes for ages, and suddenly tonight it’s 13. It’s been particularly trying, because the first day I set it up, I got 15 likes straight away, and I thought, “This is easy! I’ll have 50 or 60 luvvies in no time,” but then it wasn’t working properly and I had to take it down and start from scratch the next day, and I’m still not back up to the original 15. So, you know, if you’re on Facebook and you’d like to like me, please do. If you don’t want the updates, you can always hide them, but otherwise it’s an easy way to get a notification whenever I write a new post. And you get bonus super-secret only-for-FB-likers updates every now and then (but not annoyingly often) too.

I’ve just finished Operating Instructions; a book that I’ve seen recommended as new-parent reading ever since I was pregnant. It was good: somewhat surprisingly God-filled, but in a very diffident way. Americans (I generalize; forgive me) are so much more out there about their faith. Every time I click Next Blog on Blogger (which I have to do quite often because they’ve sneakily set it up so that to get to my dashboard I have to go forward and then back again; I won’t object because presumably other people have to click to my blog for the same reason, and what goes around comes around), I’m amazed by how often God is invoked in the next blogger’s About or Description or something. Irish people keep quiet about their beliefs even when they’re strong – especially when they’re strong, I’d say. The prosletysing life is not for us. Evangelical Irishmen are few and far between, except when drunk. (I generalise, but I’m allowed.)

It was quite similar to Anne Enright’s Making Babies, I thought, which was given to me when I was pregnant. I started it and tailed off, but when Monkey was about six months old I picked it up again and every word resonated with me, hilariously or sentimentally. If you enjoyed the one, I recommend the other.

Mabel didn’t nap yesterday, and in consequence went to sleep in a swift ten minutes at bedtime. She always falls asleep with me on her right, with her feet hanging off the side of the bed. Tonight we are not so lucky; I’m currently listening to her on the baby monitor, conning Daddy into singing songs and reading more stories.

My new glasses have been hurting the bridge of my nose, making me look – when I take them off – even more like my grandmother than I usually do. Her not-inconsequential nose was pinched at the top not by glasses but rather by old age, the rest of her flesh having dropped a little around the cartilage, leaving little indents on either side. (My nose is not the impressive Roman one of my maternal grandmother and some of my cousins, but it’s a mini version of it.) I took them in to have the small, hard pads replaced by some more cushy silicone ones.

The nice (but not cute) Jason-Long-wannabe hipster nerd who had sold them to me was there again, spieling his spiel to some other poor sightless fool. He had been helpful, offering opinions and bringing along new selections, one of which was the pair I ended up with. At one point I tried on a pair, looked in the mirror, and remarked, “A little too Lisa Loeb, don’t you think?” He laughed encouragingly, but even before I said it I thought that I probably had ten years on him and wondered if he’d know what I was talking about. Then I rationalised that she was more popular over here and probably had more hits than just the one I know, and that the glasses were a fairly constant part of her image, as far as I knew. So I said it anyway. It’s amazing how many thoughts you can fit in the instant before you make even the most offhand of comments.

So none of us got raptured today. Did you? When we came home from Monkey’s soccer game this morning (wherein the reds massacred the purples by about ten goals to nil, but none of them were scored by him; he’s more into defence, which he pronounces in the American way with the accent on the “dee”, to my chagrin) the Jehovah’s Witnesses were making the rounds of our neighbours, and I wondered if it would be interesting, or politic, to bring up the whole notion of the world ending this afternoon with them. But they didn’t call to our door, even though they must have seen us arrive. Maybe we looked beyond redemption, one way or the other.

Administrative issues

[Update: Okay, so it might take a couple of tries to get this to work the way I want it to. If you already clicked the button, but it looks as if you didn’t, go ahead and click it again. If you like. Not that I want to pressure you into anything. But I had to reinstall it and it’s gone back from 15 lovely people to 0 and I’m a bit sad about that…]

I am, I admit, a teensy bit addicted to Facebook. It began innocently enough, a couple of Novembers ago when we were trying to catch up with people we might see at home over Christmas, and a friend who is somewhat more on the cutting edge of technology than we are – I’m more trailing-after-the-bandwagon-still-considering-things than early-adopter – said thst B and I should get on Facebook to make it easier to keep up with friends. Before then I had assumed that FB was much like MySpace – something for the Young People and the Music People and People Who Were Not Me.

But then it turned out that Facebook was full of people who were me, or at least very like me in many respects. Since that time, of course, it’s all gone to hell in a handbasket and people like my aged uncles and uncles-in-law are on it too, which I think might be going a bit too far when I remember who may have just read my thrilling update about an underwire having gone bendy in the dryer again. I try to maintain a respectful division of generations and I don’t go round searching for nieces and nephews to befriend, but if one extends an invitation to me, I won’t be rude and refuse. (Although I reserve the right to hide their updates, especially if they’re overwhelmingly about Manchester United.)

Anyway, these days I spend far too much time obsessively refreshing to see if anyone has done anything interesting, or refining my bons mots and aphorisms (and petits fours and whatnot) in the hopes of igniting empathetic comment and witty discourse among my followers. I mean, friends. I mean, friends and “friends”.

So, you might observe, if you’re a particularly noticing sort of person, a new button over there on the right. I hope you’re not offended by it. (If you are, look away again. Just pretend it’s not there.) I just thought it might be nice to have a quick way for people to interact without having to comment, and a handy method of sending a link straight to anyone who might be interested in reading a new update. If you “like” the blog but don’t want the updates, you can always hide them and I’ll be none the wiser.

So go on, have a wee click there.

Oscars, vegetarian lasagne, and IKEA pencils

I amused myself greatly on Sunday night by live-Facebooking the Oscars. It turned out I was not the only one among my friends to be sitting at home watching TV with a laptop on my knee, and we ended up with a spontaneous virtual Oscars party. I was so entertained by thinking up smart comments (smart in the Irish sense of cheeky, not the American sense of erudite) for my status updates and scanning my friends’ comment threads to see what further nonsense I could add to the proceedings, that I ended up watching the whole thing. Though I may have missed a few nuances of the speeches.

On Monday I made vegetarian lasagne. I took some photos along the way and it turned out delicious enough to blog, I thought.

vegetables fryingFirst, I chopped a large onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, one courgette (zucchini), one summer squash (the yellow ones), and sauteed them all with a tub of ready-sliced mushrooms. (You could slice your own, but I’m lazy.) I usually do half an aubergine (eggplant) too, but they were out of eggplants in the supermarket. And I never manage to use up the other half becuase I don’t really like aubergine, so maybe it’s just as well.

sauce in panWhen the vegetables were soft, I added half a big jar of pasta sauce, a tin of fire-roasted tomatoes, and a small jar of roasted red peppers. You could, of course, just use a normal red pepper at the sauteeing stage, but I like the roasted ones. I tossed in half a carton of tomato soup that was sitting in the fridge too. Salt, pepper, dried oregano and a teaspoon of fresh pesto. Simmer for as long as you can bear it, or as long as it takes to make the white sauce.

Mabel helpingHere’s Mabel helping by balancing pencils on the empty mushroom container. After that she was a little less helpful and decided to empty out the pencil holder all over the floor. Twice.

pen holder from aboveTake a moment to appreciate how many little IKEA pencils we have. I think it may be time we mounted a pencil-returning mission.

IKEA pencilsThen I made the white sauce, of which process there are no photos because it’s not very picturesque. Visualize, if you will, in your mind’s eye, me melting some butter in a saucepan, then stirring in a tablespoon of flour, seasoning it, and stirring some more. Then adding milk, gradually, in between stirring a lot more.

Somewhere around this point Mabel started chomping on a magnet from the fridge.
“We don’t eat fridge magnets, Mabel,” I said.
“We don’t eat fridge magnets?”
I continued stirring to the sounds of Mabel methodically removing each magnetic letter from the fridge, slurping it noisily, and dropping it to the floor.

lasagne in progressWhen I’d added all my milk and the sauce was too thin, I turned off the heat and put in most of a bag of grated cheese (sorry, JeCaThRe) and some extra parmesan. Sauce thickened up nicely. I built my lasagne. This is layer two of tomato/veg sauce going on.

cheese on topAnd the finished product, pre-oven, with the last of the cheese on top.

cooked lasagneOut of the oven. 350 F for 30-40 minutes, or until it looks like this. Let it cool down a bit before you serve it up, or you’ll burn your tongue.

food on plateOn the plate. My lasagne always lacks cohesiveness on the first night, but it tastes divine. On the second and third nights it sticks together better, and tastes almost as good.

This was the third night. There is no more.

Desperately seeking a sense of perspective

Or, how not to step away from the Facebook:

One day, after careful consideration, you may decide that world domination by blog is too slow in coming and that it’s time to expand your readership a tiny bit. So you think you might use the privacy controls you’ve recently discovered in Facebook to send the link to a few carefully selected friends – just the ones who might possibly be interested in your parental ravings, and not, by any means, the ones who are your nephews and nieces or aged uncles or ex-co-workers whose friend requests you felt too guilty to turn down. Those people do not need to know about the current deployment of your boobs, which apparently is all you blog about these days.

So you carefully click on the Make Group link in the sidebar, and slowly, deliberatingly, you compile a list of those friends you think might possibly, some day, be people who might not mind being told about your blog. You run your mind over all your blog entries to make sure you haven’t inadvertently insulted any of these people in a blog post at some point in the last five years.

There. You’ve made a group. Hmm.

Then, just as you’re wondering how you do the next thing, you get an e-mail from one of those people saying she saw you put her in a group about your blog, and what’s its address please?

You panic, thusly: Shite. Not a group, it should have been a list. How do I delete a group? Here? Here? Did everyone get a notification that I put them in a group called “People I might tell about my blog” or something? Now will they all get a notification telling them that I just removed them from a group called “People I might tell about my blog”? Arrgh.

You delete the group and post a hasty general update about how people shouldn’t mix up groups and lists. Silly old you. Silly old Facebook. Ha ha ha.

So you take a deep breath, go back to the start, and make a list instead. You select the same people as before and put them on a list of your own. You go to your update box and type a carefully worded self-deprecating introduction to your blog and add the link. Your four-year-old wanders in looking for a cookie just as you press Share.

And you realise that you just shared that link with all 135 of your closest Facebook buddies.

You hyperventilate, remark calmly to the child that you’ve done something silly, and grope wildly (if you can grope with a trackpad) for the tiny x that brings relief. You click the tiny x and see the blessed words “Delete this update?” appear, to which you click in the affirmative. You look in vain for the “Turn back time so this never happened at all” button. You wonder how many of your friends were watching their Facebook news feed at just that moment, and what exactly they saw, and how long it persists for. The four-year-old continues to ask for a cookie.

Finally, you have managed to (a) give him a damn cookie, (b) retype the self-deprecating introduction, and (c) send the update only to the people on your list. You make another cup of tea to help the shakes dissipate. You are not cut out for a position of high-pressure and time-sensitive computer finagling.

And then you potter about updating your profile and blithely adding “Blogging” to your interests. All 135 of your friends are told that you have just done this, and at least one of them immediately comments to ask where they can find your blog.

You rest your head on the table and try to remember that this isn’t nearly as big a deal as you think it is.