I scream, you scream …
Today, as I was having a cup of coffee with a friend at a restaurant, a toddler sitting a couple tables away began screaming.And I don’t just mean crying out a little. I mean screeeeeamming. Full on, full volume, little-kid screaming – the kind that made everyone in the restaurant pause – whether they were ordering, chewing or talking – until the noise subsided. My coffee mate and I looked at each other and kind of mutually rolled our eyes, laughing it off. Until it happened again. And again.It happened many times through the course of our coffee talk. We’d start chatting away, and blam! The wail would come out, building into an ear-crackling shriek. Finally, Little Mr. Screamer’s mom collected him up and shuttled him outside, leaving the restaurant eerily calm. After that episode, I began to think about the whole baby-yelling phenomenon, and it struck me: What if it were entirely acceptable for adults to process their feelings the same way as tiny children?Imagine it. Instead of being “mature,” whatever that is, society looked on explosive expressions of emotion as perfectly normal. A woman standing in line at the bank would become entirely sick of waiting forever and begin wailing. A man at the post office would start running and shrieking with joy and excitement after receiving a much-anticipated check in the mail. We know all the signals that kids demonstrate to show what they’re feeling when they’re tired, angry, bored, or whatever. A lot of times, raw emotion comes out as screaming, or shrieking, crying, or yelling. Other times, these emotions appear as tears. We accept this kind of behavior with little ones, but not with adults. Yell full-tilt in a movie theater or in a restaurant and you’ll likely be carted away by the men in little white suits. I guess it’s better that way, even though it’d probably be healthier for all of us to process our emotions right as they occur, in the most basic way possible. But it’s unnerving enough to have a 3-year-old peel the paint off the ceiling with his screams. To have 30-year-olds doing it constantly would create too much nerve damage for everyone.Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram, citizentelegram.com, in Rifle. She wonders when civilization decided that shrieking in frustration became decidedly uncool for grown-ups. Carrie can be reached at 625-3245, ext. 101, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Editor’s note: The Post Independent, in conjunction with Valley Life For All, continues a monthly series of profiles about people in our community who meet challenge with courage and perseverance.