Ever been sitting with your pals, cracking happily on about whatever however, when whoooomph, the Space Monster lands. Chomp, chomp, chomp the Space Monster is just eating through your words, your air, your very presence seems to disappear under their almighty, all consuming Self!
They somehow manage to state the bleeding obvious, reiterate the mundane and the everyday, the headlines skimmed off the Twitterverse as if no one else has ever thought about or heard of these things before. It’s not that Space Monsters are necessarily shouty (although sometimes they are), or continuous in the spieling, or even that arm wavy, hand wafty in their posturing – they just takeover. There are no words to stop the flow, should you get in an ‘oh get on, we’ve all heard this drivel before’ style comment or even a more moderate ‘I know!’ you’ll end up sounding churlish as the Monster goes all whirly on you. Somehow, they seem to corral the group around them, oozing sticky pawed knee pats, knowing gazes and other such squirmy coercions. By the time they eventually leave you’re feeling lightly pummelled, dazed and slightly tarnished. The group will likely heave a collective sigh of relief. The group space will start to slowly rebound and eventually conversation resumes.
It’s not that they are bad people, it’s that they consume everything – energy, attention, airspace – even the air itself!
Space Monsters are just that – they eat the group space, that intangible, invisible connectedness that happens when a bunch of people are connecting. Bump. They land and the skein breaks. Everyone knows it, feels it, but it’s so hard to actually describe what happened that we don’t. We stay and squirm a little, feel mildly invalidated and a smidgeon subsumed. In a nice-ish way
And therein lies the rub – Space Monsters aren’t bad people. Not at all. Far more dangerously they are often really, stickily ‘nice’.
So what to do when a monster lands? Well, as a wise person once said (probably) the best thing to do with monsters is make them useful. What is the monster telling us when it irritates us or mildly offends us? Often for me my irritation is a signpost of a frustration around voicelessness. Perhaps the monster’s irksomeness a nudge to speak up, to write those goddam Important Thoughts down and maybe even share them? Monsterly space munching often offends me. Perhaps the feeling of offended is a signpost to my values of belonging and loyalty: it’s a reminder that our friendship circle is incredibly important to me and our being together is something to protect and to be loyal too.
So maybe space monsters are there to scare us just enough to nudge us out of any lingering taking-for-grantednesses, to wake us up to what we value and care about?