When little things go wrong

When little things go wrong 
Tirana Times - http://tiranatimes.com/

By Alba Cela 

Little drops of water 

Little grains of sand 

Make the mighty ocean 

And the pleasant land. 

Thus the little minutes 

Humble though they be 

Make the mighty age 

Of eternity. 

Ebenezer C. Brewer 

It is 5 pm and everyone trapped in the office world knows this is the most blessed hour of the working week days. It’s coffee time. Coffee is a magic liquid that revives the tired soul and the tired eyes. The ritual of coffee for me entails dragging one of my office mates to a quiet little place where I can sit sipping from the cup in contemplation of all the little charming things I could have done instead of staring hysterically at the computer screen. 

Little things are usually the most significant message bearers in life. 

Sometimes the messages are mixed and one gets confused. Little things should not be underestimated. When it comes to drawing a general conclusion they can be elusive. 

In our coffee place my friend gets up to visit the rest room. I can see her twisted face perplexed at something unusual when she comes back. “You know what? Little things in this country are upside down,” she says. “Like in the bathroom there is this big sign in nervous capital letters that’s says ‘DO not throw anything in the toilet!’ Now you might think this is the greatest problem this toilet has. Careless irresponsible people that throw toilet paper in it! But when you look around the toilet is broken, it smells awful, the sink has no running water and the door does not close properly. Yet no one takes care to fix these things. They put up that sign. That is their concern.” Thus the little sign tells my friend the blame rests upon the owners, thus upon the few who should change the structural impediments to having a clean and proper toilet. 

Another similar episode happens while taking an evening stroll with another friend. We go through a newly restored park, in the area where a big hole left over from an ambiguous building project used to make the scenery ugly. It was always littered. Now in its place stands a simple park. As we walk through my friend complains about the park that has not escaped the curse of litter. According to him it’s the municipality which does not work properly, which does not send in the caretakers to clean it up. I hesitate. I blame the people. Yet as my friend eloquently puts it, one cannot aspire to unrealistic things. 

Back to the coffee place, just on another day. The music is blasting out form the boxes and it is loud. It is also much uncoordinated. Turbo folk rhythms blend in with consecutive retro and some weird mixture of house. It is causing me a headache. From the faces of my friends who listen in stupor with raised eyebrows and twisted lips I see the headache can spread out like wildfire. Collective pain caused by bad music. Very common if you look around. Music that does not fit the nature of the place. The nature of the particular hour of the day. Lunch break with reggeaton. Coffee with the 80’s. 

I am wondering what kind of DJs these places employ. Why don’t they check the mixes tat they put on. It would help to create a much more friendly and meaningful atmosphere. Yet, the owner might think that a bad mix (which to him does not sound anything bad or good) is suitable for the popular music taste. 

I am not always so attentive to little things. I believe very few people are. Overwhelmed by the big picture, the overwhelming chaos, the feeling of hopelessness at the face of cacophony, one is likely to miss the details. 

And yet so often it’s exactly little things who act as he most important messengers in life. At the end of the day the little things tell us that something is wrong with the way we adjust our free rider instincts. There is something wrong about blaming the few and the many. Something that should be changed. Starting with little steps, from little things.