We humans just love to speculate, don’t you think? Perhaps it stems from some prehistoric gene pool, who knows?

Many of us speculate on the markets or other ventures in hope of a gain, although we know full well that we run the risk of loss. Or we may hear of a “get rich fast” scheme and engage in risky business transactions on the chance of quick or considerable profits. And why not? Who doesn’t want to make a few extra bucks—if you have the stomach for it, that is.

Silly season aka as the 2015 local election is looming before us. Republicans and Democrats alike are speculating on who will get the nod for supervisor, council member and town justice. We are barely into 2015 and the news pundits already are speculating on the 2016 presidential race.

The best-kept secret in Washington is out: Hillary Clinton announced last month she will seek 2016 presidential bid. Really? Could have fooled me. A host of Republican hopefuls are hogging the camera and airwaves in hopes of receiving the go-ahead from their party — and the news media eats it up.

The talking heads speculate ad nauseam with color-coded charts, magic walls and daily polls. The viewer either stays tuned or tunes out. It depends on one’s mindset: Some love the brouhaha of politics and others are so mistrustful that they couldn’t care less. Funny, though, sometimes those who belong to the “couldn’t care less” crowd run their mouths about crooked politicians, yet they refuse to vote. They would rather sit around and speculate on how this country is going to the dogs. Go figure!

For centuries there has been speculation of life on Mars due to the planet’s proximity to earth. To date, there has no absolute evidence of life on Mars. However, there is some cumulative evidence that Mars was once inhabitable or may harbor life forms. Consequently, we receive mixed messages. Many folks are certain that life on Mars exists— and who am I to dispute this? I’ll leave it to science and astronomers to figure it out.

Speculation on life situations and issues can be funny, silly, or call reputations into question— and we do it all the time. Recently a friend and I decided to head to Tanger Outlets for some “light shopping” —a pair of sneakers for my friend and a dress for me. The stores are located diagonally across the parking lot from each other. Sounds easy, right? Read on.

That particular day I forgot my cell phone, but decided to sally-forth without it. We agreed that after making our “easy” purchases, we would meet at either store. It was a cold damp day and I was still recovering from a flu-like illness. I was tired and admittedly a tad cranky. The dress I had my eye on was in stock and lucky for me, they had my size. An acknowledged clothes horse, I did see some lovely things; but to my credit, I beat down the impulse to do more shopping, knowing my friend would soon appear.

I spent some time lollygagging in the dress store; however, I have the patience of a fly and decided to walk across the parking lot to the sneaker store. Unbeknownst to me, my friend had finished shopping at the same time and was headed to the dress store. You get the picture. This walk across the great divide of the parking lot was repeated numerous times. What little patience I possess turned into a major irritation. “Team indignation” took over and hit a homer out of the park:

“How long does it take to buy a pair of sneakers?”

“How inconsiderate.”

“I’m freezing, hungry and have to use the bathroom. Do I risk leaving the store, again?”

“I’m piss*d off!

“How stupid of me to leave my cell phone behind.”

“Team anxiety” was up to bat and tied the score:

“What if something happened?”

“What if my friend is sick, or…. dead?”

Just then, I heard an ambulance siren and concluded that my friend was in it. “That’s it!” I thought. Making a bee-line to mall security, I literally bumped into my friend. Incredulous, we stared at each other for what seemed like forever and simultaneously said: “Where the hell were you?”

If there was a surveillance camera in the area it would have shown us circling each other for over two hours. And guess what? Our thought patterns were identical. We agreed to call it a day, and chalked it up to a comedy of errors.
But what of those speculations that are harmful?

A couple married to others are spotted innocently enjoying coffee together in Starbucks. Maybe they ran into each other, maybe not. Nevertheless, this is the kind of stuff the gossip mongers feed on. It’s too juicy a tidbit not to cause some damaging speculation. In a small town these stories take on gigantic proportions.

Most everyone loves to speculate about their job security and perhaps, with reason. But instead of “Psst” don’t tell anyone, but I think…..” C’mon, go to the boss and ask. It’s usually an overdose of drama with a sprinkle of truth that causes emotional indigestion.

Some people speculate about the “Kardashians.” Honestly, folks, I might be living in a “Ceil world” but I never saw a “Kardashian” or heard of them until I was in Starbucks (alone!) enjoying a Chai Latte. Two girls at the next table were having a heated discussion over the TV show, “Keeping up with the Kardashians.“ After I returned home, I Googled “Kardashian” and was astonished on how much press and speculation about nonsense was posted.

If we, as a society, have a propensity to speculate perhaps it would serve the common good if we ran our mouths over issues that that has tons of evidence to back it up. Forget the Kardashians, rumor mills, and such. Instead speculate on what we can do about the major global, social and environmental issues: Terrorism, obesity, climate change, starving refugees, unemployment, income disparity, poverty, racism, sexism—and that’s my short list.

I would like to think that we humans would rather avoid speculation and stick to reality. But, alas, the truth be told: Speculation is probably more enticing and besides, it sells!

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Iannelli Celia 2014

Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in ‘retirement’ — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.

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Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.