Let Green Couches Go
It was still there.
My neighbors down the street moved out, leaving a large, green, faux-leather sleeper sofa on the parking strip (or, my preferred name, the “tree lawn”).
The first two days it was there I thought it was just awaiting pick up. Days three and four still seemed reasonable—everything takes longer during COVID. By the fifth day, it had become a thing.
Day six, I looked out the window.
It was still there. Irking me. Taunting me.
The green couch itself wasn’t doing any of those things. If it had, this would be a very different and much creepier story.
No, I was making choices. I chose to look out the window. I chose to track the days. I chose to be annoyed.
My choice—not that of the couch or anyone else.
What difference did it make if the sofa was still there? Why would I intentionally take on the irritation of something so minor?
I’ve been similarly annoyed by (among other things): commenters on Twitter; people using the express lane at the store that clearly have more that 12 items; carts left in the middle of parking spots; drivers and cyclists who don’t use turn signals (though that last one is kinda real).
All of these are “green couches”—something that, by any meaningful metric, is inconsequential. When we spend our time dwelling on these irritations, especially regarding things that do not appreciably impact our lives, we devalue the power of our thoughts and squander our mental energy.
And I don’t know about you, but I need all the energy I can muster.
The couch is now gone. Picked up one day (I’d stopped counting!) and out of my life. But the lesson remains: our energy is too precious to waste. Let green couches go.*
*One might even say “let sleeper sofas lie.”
I am a big fan of idioms (expressions that have a non-literal meaning beyond the words they contain, such as “let sleeping dogs lie”). They’re quirky, and besides, playing games with words facilitates creative language flow and often compels listeners to pay closer attention.
- This week, pick a silly or obscure (but non-offensive) idiom and use it liberally in your conversations. Here are few of my favorites. (Source: theidioms.com)
- Cut the mustard: “Sorry, Jim, but that excuse just doesn’t cut the mustard.”
- Dollars to doughnuts: “I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that the Jets are going to lose this week.”
- Full of beans: “What a great meeting! You were certainly full of beans this morning.”
- Get down to brass tacks: “We’ve been kicking this idea around for a while. It’s time to get down to brass tacks.”
- Put the cat among the pigeons: “I’m not trying to put the cat among the pigeons, but what if we tried to push the deadline up a bit?”
- Unring the bell: “Let’s make a solid plan; we can’t unring the bell.”
(other) Smart People
“Thoughts have power; thoughts are energy. And you can make your world or break it by your own thinking.”
—Susan L. Taylor, entrepreneur, editor, philanthropist
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