“Them” are the people on your Facebook or Twitter newsfeed who find a reason to complain about pretty much anything.
Service at lunch too slow? Rant about it to 562 of your closest friends. Your dry cleaner lost your blouse? Tell everyone that they should absolutely NEVER do business there again. Those apples from Publix spoiled in under a week? Rally support online and demand the store change its fruit suppliers.
The New York Times calls these tiny irksome rants “microcomplaints.” The term is simple. A microcomplaint is the expression of some extremely minor injustice or dissatisfaction with something in your life. The dog hair on your couch, and your ensuing tirade about said hair, is a microcomplaint. Feeling low about your cowlick and telling the internet at large is definitely a microcomplaint.
The New York Times attributes microcomplaints to a shifting moral culture, smartphones, loneliness and feelings of being left out.
The same spark and energy with which millennials fight large-scale injustices like racial tensions and human rights is also (unfortunately) channeled into the conveyance of everyday annoyances.
“Whine About It” is Buzzfeed’s drunken translation of microcomplaints. In the segment, Matt Bellassai drinks wine and proceeds to ramble on about anything and everything that might be bothersome. Take the common topics of airplanes. Yes, flying sucks. And the Internet is a great place to share your frustrations about it with the world. The Worst Types Of People On Airplanes shows Bellassai complaining about trivial mid-air matters. I’m still trying to decide if, by making ridiculous microcomplaints while drunk, he is trying to make a statement about a society that finds this acceptable. So meta.
No place have I found the microcomplaint to be more prevalent than Gainesville Word Of Mouth. GWOM is a Facebook group meant to inform citizens in the area about businesses — both good and bad. What tends to to be posted are restaurant and business reviews that, to me, don’t accurately portray a restaurant. Some of the grievances are subjective, meaning the bad food a person is describing could be delicious to somebody else. Others are just plain sad. Listen, Facebook users, I don’t really care if your sub from Jimmy John’s was soggy. It happens. You might want to die for like five seconds, but I promise, life will go on.
So what’s the best way to deal with a serial microcomplainer? Just don’t read their asinine comments. I can’t tell you how many times I could have had a full-blown war with someone on my Facebook newsfeed.
But I’m better than that. And I’m not saying that reviews have no purpose in society. If Amazon didn’t allow reviews, how in the world would I know which flat iron to buy my mom for Chanukah?
Planes, trains and automobiles remain the primary means of transportation internationally. But imagine traveling 125 mph from Miami to Orlando on a high-speed rail line. Other countries offer high-speed rail, so why not the United States?
In Japan, maglev trains travel as fast as 370 mph. The key to the high speeds comes from the lack of tracks. Rather than using tracks to guide the trains, maglev trains use magnetized guideways that keep the train afloat. This friction-less movement allows the trains to reach higher speeds.
European countries also have high-speed rails but not to the speed of the trains in Japan. Most of the trains in Europe travel around 130 mph, but some reach close to 200 mph. The trains offer quick travel to people in most of western Europe and extend into Sweden and Hungary. Costs to ride the train range from five to 30 Euros (approximately $5.30 and $31.80 respectively).
Vast geography within the U.S. and lengthy distances make it difficult to build here. The American rail lines such as Amtrak lack in comparison to that of its high-speed counterparts. The trains travel over 100 mph but not to the speed of the bullet trains in Europe and Japan. Lack of government funding from states has made it difficult for high-speed trains to make ground in the U.S. Some states such as California, Florida and Texas have proposed plans to build high-speed rails through private funding. The plan in Florida is to have a rail from Miami to Orlando traveling around 125 mph. This service is expected to begin in 2017, according to CNN.
I believe high-speed rails in the United States would make for easier travel with less hassle than traveling through an airport. They would also save time in comparison to traveling by car. The technology is available, as seen in Europe and Japan, now it is time for the U.S. to embrace it.
According to HGTV, the tiny house trend is sweeping the nation. The show “Tiny House Hunters” debuted in November 2014 and follows people as they search for homes under 600 square feet. The houses are commonly based on typical foundations, skids, trees, flatbed trailers or even inside old school buses or shipping containers.
Why, you ask?
According to thetinylife.com, tiny living “is a social movement where people are choosing to downsize the space they live in. The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, whereas the typical small or tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet. Tiny houses come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but they enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space.”
The most popular reasons for people to join this movement are environmental and financial concerns and the desire for more time and freedom to enjoy life.
In 2013, CBS News reported that many Americans spend one-third to one-half of their income on housing expenses. This number is up from 22.8 percent in 2008.
“The study by the Center for Housing Policy found median housing costs of working renters rose nearly 6 percent between 2008 and 2011, while their median incomes fell more than 3 percent,” according to CBS.
Because of the high cost of living, “fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to a survey of 1,000 adults,” CNN Money reported. “Meanwhile, 50 percent of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27 percent had no savings at all.”
An alternative to the skyrocketing cost of living that many are choosing is to live smaller. Literally. And thanks to improvements in technology, it is becoming easier to downsize without losing the modern conveniences of a larger home.
Say goodbye to the bulky 20th century “tube”. Televisions are now thin and able to be mounted on the wall.
In August 2015, LG revealed it’s latest invention: a flexible paper-thin television. According to LG, “the flexible panel has a high-definition class resolution of 1200 x 810 with almost 1 million megapixels. And the panel can be rolled up to a radius of 3 centimeters without affecting the function of the display.”
Computers are also distant cousins of their bulky predecessors, which required a large monitor, computer tower, speakers, mouse and a desk to set it all on. Innovation has made it practical to use a thin laptop or tablet as your everyday computer, which significantly cuts back on the space requirement to be connected to the world wide web.
And thanks to that computer or tablet, you can ditch the bulky book shelves. E-books are available on your Kindle, iPad, computer or smartphone for you to read for a low price.
Water heaters traditionally take up a small closet in a home. However, that small closet in a tiny house is a lot of valuable storage space. With tankless or demand-type water heaters, those who want to live the tiny life don’t have to sacrifice hot water.
According to Energy.gov, “tankless water heaters, also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters, provide hot water only as it is needed. They don’t produce standby energy losses associated with storage water heaters, which can save you money.”
The initial cost of a smaller water heater is greater, however, ENERGY STAR estimates that a typical family will save $100 per year or more with its qualified tankless water heater.
A standard washer and dryer takes up a lot of space in a 100 square foot home, so the logical answer is a stackable machine. However, stackable machines are tiny and may require you to do multiple loads of laundry. Now tiny home owners have the option to save space without losing the convenience of doing all of their laundry in one load. A combination washer and dryer takes up the the space of one machine but is able to clean and dry clothing.
Thanks to these innovations, tiny house dwellers can still enjoy the luxury modernity and convenience without losing valuable square footage.
And if you ever want to give the tiny life style a trial run before taking the plunge, test it out at Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a nature lodging experience with luxury tiny home cabins that you can rent by the night.