Gossip girls: dare to care, OK!

I find it curious how some women can devour every piece of menial trivia about princess Kate’s trip to a hospital for nausea but then barely manage to sit through a friend’s recount of a bad day without at least one eye ball drifting to her iPhone.

I read my first gossip magazine in as long as I can remember just this weekend because a mag-loving friend of mine was over and we were lounging by a pool; I could see it provided good value in the same way I watch shit TV just for the chance to stop thinking for a good hour.

Perhaps it is pure harmless delight in voyeurism. But as a tumultuous storm rolled into Perth last night and I found myself raising the blinds so the chaos engulfed me as I slept, I came up with another theory. Perhaps we enjoy the feeling of non-threatening chaos around us best when we can know we have no control over it.

I relished the claps of thunder and bright shots of lightning burning the back of my eyelids as I tried to sleep, but had the same effect been caused by someone repeatedly flashing a torch in my face and occasionally clapping loudly in my ears I trust I’d have peaked to a tantrum faster than a hurricane.

Ergo, perhaps some of my fellow female friends enjoy the bright lights and outrageous antics of those they will never meet, but should that social chaos be in their own network or family they’d be reaching for the valium quicker than one can mouth cognitive behavioural therapy.

I seek solace in the knowledge that I can only try to understand gossip-loving women through some bizarre comparison with my equal passion for meteorological phenomena. It makes me feel superior. But there’s a glitch. I know that when I grab my morning coffee tomorrow I’ll be flicking through the newspaper and scanning headlines. I know that at one point I will be forced to choose whether to turn to continue reading from the headline along the lines of ‘War trial verdict handed down’ and ‘Clinical nurse reveals Kate’s baby test results’. I fear that my hypocrisy will be exposed as one eyeball drifts to Kate’s baby joy and the other my iPhone. Why? Because I haven’t had my coffee yet and I don’t want to cope with the real world until I have.

My concern is that many people’s apathy to the real world extends long after the coffee is consumed. I sometimes look at people and wonder: “At what point do you start caring about the real world?”

But then, of course, this raises the question of what constitutes the “real world”, and why should people subject themselves to the reality of the world’s horror when sometimes surviving one’s own mind is more terror than one can bear.

No, it’s okay to be an apathetic, vacuous, gossip-consuming twenty or thirty-something right now, ladies, because the economy benefits and there are probably enough people paying attention to the real issues to keep the balance steady. And ‘princess baby joy’ is something we’ve been trained to receive delight from since birth, and perhaps since the advent of oestrogen.

Yes, it’s okay to have a little lightness in your life. But just make sure you make some time to acknowledge the heavy stuff, too.

One day there will be a Tempest in your life that will leave you looking out for some support from the world, and I guarantee at that point you’ll be praying someone might care enough to keep both eyes on you.

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