Grumbling and Grousing

Grumbling and Grousing (March 2022, Week 1 Day 1)

Grumbling and grousing doesn’t do anyone much good and yet…grumbling and grousing were the things filling the room. The people in the room were spread out to the corners and, if you were to have the privilege of sitting on a rafter looking down at the scene, were displaying a full array of personalities. There were the three women in the corner dressed in a way that made it clear they weren’t there to be looked at engrossed in the discussion of the Important Aspects of the question at hand. And to their right the solo man, solo in all meanings of the word, with his arms crossed and a furrowed brow. In the back corner were the older women, seven of them, leaning back in their seats, loose and calm, showing that they’d been there and seen that and weren’t expecting anything unexpected to come from the goings on but wouldn’t have missed being there for anything. Smack dab in the middle were, of course, the young men – full of themselves and sure they had all the answers while not having a lick of experience or knowledge of the issues. They were, of course, the loudest and the most domineering. The left side of the room was less fully attended but if you, from your perch, were to overlook the people on that side of the room, well, you’d be missing out. It was the people on the left side who had a chance of turning the tide and getting the grumbling and grousing to turn into something of merit, something of action. They were all individuals, though, both like and unlike the solo man, and when there are a large group of people the individuals don’t always have enough power to make change. There were a few of them starting to make eye contact, starting to think about coming together into a group of action. But only a few, and only furtively. They had all the right ideas and just needed a catalyst to turn those ideas, born of the grousing and grumbling, into something the others in the room could hear.

So, you, sitting up above it all, might start to think your vantage point gives you what’s really needed to solve the issue. It happens often enough, and it would be unrealistic to presume your immunity to such surges of confidence. You might, if you fought those urges just long enough, have seen that the person at the front of the room had the spark that was needed. You might even decide to join the fray and stand behind them, offering silent support instead of more Good Ideas for the rest to argue over. 

If you did that, though, we wouldn’t have a story. We wouldn’t need to be here. Your silent support and their spark would calm the waters, solve the problem, and send all of the people gathered in that room back to their own lives, their own problems, their own solutions. And where would be the sport in that?


This is part of the 2022 500-Word Short Story project. Comment with “Tell me more” if you’d like to vote for this to move to the next round.

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