Chill Out, People. Seriously.

Cinse Bonino
3 min readFeb 10, 2024

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Why do so many people get ridiculously judgmental when something surprises them? Why do they feel the knee-jerk need to attack someone when something, no matter how small, changes in their world? I returned a book to the library today, a book I liked enough to get about a third of the way through but not enough to finish. Anyway, I turned right as I exited through the side door and then turned right again. (Imagine me being a knight on a chessboard.) I wound up back at the front of the library. It was an uncharacteristically warm, February day in my little New England town. Well at least it was nowhere as cold as it used to be years ago at this time. There was no snow or ice on the ground either. The sun was shining and the temperature was creeping fairly close to 50º F though it had been about 30º quite recently. When I was almost abreast of the front steps of the library I overheard one woman ahead of me on the sidewalk say to another woman, “That’s ridiculous.” She was referring to the chain across the bottom of the old, pitted, concrete library steps preventing people from using them. She indicated the sign on the chain to her friend by doing that point-with-your-head thing people do when they want someone to take note of something. She did it with an appalled attitude. She seemed to be incredulous at the audacity of the library to limit access to the front entrance. The sign read, “SAFETY FIRST Please use side door. Thank you!” The sign also included a large snowflake symbol. I assumed the woman figured it was ludicrous for the library to act as if the steps were unsafe when there obviously was no snow. She didn’t understand, or perhaps agree with the fact, that the library had closed the steps for the entire winter season. She wasn’t considering how it could begin to snow if the temperature suddenly dipped down again or how the recent up and down fluctuations of temperatures actually created the ideal conditions for forming ice, ice that was sometimes not so easy to spot. Her friend took her cue from the woman’s outrage and mumbled some sort of agreement. I wondered why the first woman, the judgmental one, hadn’t been willing to ask a question, perhaps something along the lines of, “I wonder why they closed off the steps today?” She could have gone in the side door and asked the librarians. I’m sure they would have explained their reasoning to her in that lovely kind and helpful way that they explain everything to those of us who ask. But she didn’t. She just decided that it was ridiculous. Without any discovery. Without any exploration. It seems many of us are addicted to more than cheese or chocolate. The need for certainty just might be our number one addiction. I hope there’s some kind of 12-step program for that because I’m fairly certain that certainty is not on the human menu.

Cinse Bonino
2024

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Cinse Bonino

Cinse, a former professor with a background in the psychology of human learning, writes nonstop, and is addicted to capturing the human experience in words.