Monday, May 7, 2012

the sickness that never goes away

My parents passed the sickness along to me a long, long time ago. It festered among classmates, colleagues, workshops, publications. It hides sometimes, even lies dormant when I decide that I'm never using capital letters again (that lasted all of a week), but it never, never goes away.

The sickness is paying way too much attention to the English language.

To words chosen or forgone, spelling, punctuation. To grammar, sentence structure, and the gosh darn Oxford comma. To poetic license, parenthetical usage, intentional rule-breaking, and consistency.

You might say it's a good thing, it's good to care. It's good, this somehow lost art of paying attention to the words written, to the message shared, to the intention and the execution and the meaning.

But it's not a good thing. 

It's a sickness.

It's a plague, even, because of those who so obviously do not care. They do not pay attention, they do not intend nor do they execute. And by God they are not consistent.

It's the inconsistency that tears at me. 

I can almost stand to read someone who says "I went too the store, then we went too the city for a walk" because some semblance of consistency lives there in the realm of ignorance. I can almost trick myself into beliving that maybe they're just a little confused. 

But those who write "Youre car is dirty today" or "Your so right" or, no, I can't finish, I'm already shuddering.

There are wonderful, kind people out there with good lives and good stories to share, and I cannot bear witness because I can't stand to read what they write. This I've known. This I forget from time to time, and am jarred back to reality when participating in some link-up or another, discovering new blogs. 

There are printed books I find difficulty in reading, because even with a writer and at least two editors, the word "immanent" appears when I'm sure she meant "imminent." This I've known.

There are wedding vendors whose communication I immediately send to the trash bin because they spelled the word "catering" incorrectly. This I've recently discovered, with the ever-present, pestering feeling that maybe I'm too picky. 

The most recent glaring notice from the universe that I'm too picky came in the form of inspiration... 

or, what should have been inspiration. 

The lovely blog Emmaline Bride posted this morning a lovely little reception idea, 5 Things You Should Know About the Bride/Groom. They showcased a set of cute green cards by La Belle Vie Design: one highlighting five things about the groom and one highlighting five things about the bride. I made sure to click through from my reader because it's a really cute idea and I wanted to know more. Hell, maybe I'd even pin it!

But then I noticed it.

Both of the cards use small caps, which is awesome and, I think, an elegant way to spruce up any printed material. But small caps does not equal capitalization.

The groom's card uses capitalization throughout but the bride's does not. Why use "He" and "she"? Why "Amy" and "chris"? Why is "Skillet" (seriously, that's a band?) capitalized, yet "top chef" is not? The first letter of each of his five things is capitalized, and the first letter of each of her five things is not. I kid you not, these are the questions I asked myself as I inspected this formerly Pin-able detail.

What is this nonsense?

I understand that on my wedding day I will absolutely not be worried about whether or not the car uses small caps consistently, but at the same time it's a little frightening that I've seen inconsistent or incomplete work from vendors so much in my wedding planning adventure.

Am I really the only one who pays attention to this level of detail?

Like I said, it's a sickness. I only wish we all had it festering within.

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