QUOTE OF THE MONTH

Scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.  Frederick Douglass

Reasons Why

parentingThis appeared on Facebook and I put it up on my wall with the caption: “Is this what parenthood does to a person! If so, I’m glad I escaped!”

While there weren’t many replies, one caught my interest and got me to thinking about what might lie behind the statement.

While it may have been meant innocently enough, the comment was “no this is not your normal situation and you did miss a lot.”

I took that, however meant, as a defensive lob, one meant to suggest that parenting is a great thing and I was much the poorer for having “missed” it.

Of course, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

I chalked it up as another of those, subtle or not so subtle put-downs by those with children of those of us without. The other one that I remembered vividly was a discussion about corporal punishment by parents (or caregivers) and the suggestion that I was unfit to comment, “since as I recall, you didn’t have children did you?”

I think I know where the defensiveness and consequent “I’m really better than you because you don’t have children” comes from

Dial back the time machine to the late 60’s when I graduated from high school. The sexes were still pretty much set in stone. I knew that a number of my classmates would probably be married within a year or so, but I was off to college. It was the beginning of that “sweet spot” in time–the convergence of the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the hippie movement, and the feminist movement. The Vietnam anti-war movement began in the mid-sixties and continued and escalated during the late 60’s and early 70’s. We marched on campuses, got tear-gassed, shut down campuses. Some campuses were more volatile than others, yet we all found ourselves involved in “teach-ins”  (where I first learned of the play Lysistrata by Aristophanes). 

Women were a big part of the movement but often relegated to second-class status behind the men. This mimicked that of the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks did not suddenly pop up one day on a bus in Montgomery Alabama, but had long been a worker in the field. She was of course kept much in the background in terms of leadership as were other African-American women of the day.

The Hippie movement, also a product of the 60’s was most renowned  for Haight-Asbury and Woodstock, but it signaled the advent of free-love, birth-control, and a defining break with the past and all it’s traditional values. The Hippies were also vehemently anti-war. The Beatles, most notably John Lennon became a major force for peace with “Imagine”.

Women in this movement two were pushed to the rear, often treated as secretaries and much needed lovers for the important work being done by the men in the “awakening”.  Angela Davis and others fought back.

Women looked to each other during this period and Betty Freidan, Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinem,  Kate Millet, Shirley Chisholm, and Bella Abzug were the emerging role models for women like myself who were just starting to look higher than the secretarial typewriter for our future. We read with relish The Feminine Mystique, and Sexual Politics. Later, immersed in the Church, I would cling to In Memory of Her and She Who Is, as the patriarchal stereotypes of the bible began to be dismantled by women of faith but also biblical expertise. Women like  Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Elizabeth Johnson became household names.

I was in that first wave of women admitted in law school in large numbers. We leaned on each other, we learned, and we excelled. Because we were steeped in the injustices of the past, we were angry, defensive, and could spot a “sexist pig” at twenty paces. Offering to hold a door for us was likely to be met with a angry look, and a statement like, “I am more than capable of opening my own door, thank you.”

Plenty of men retreated before us “ball-busting bitches” and sought more traditional women to welcome them home at night and bear their children.

That is the world out of which I emerged into my late 20’s, a time when most women start to realize that if parenthood is on their agenda, one best get busy.

As a look back at the cadre of young women I worked along side of I can recall what we talked about and how we felt quite vividly. We were in our late twenties, still working more often with men than with other women. Most judges were still male, most prosecutors, most defense attorneys, most cops. We were not insignificant, but we were far from a majority. Mostly we were treated with fairness, although there was a lot of what today would be unacceptable sexual harassment. To us it was business as usual. We slipped the grasp of unwanted advances (mostly from judges who somehow thought that being a judge’s mistress must be our dream????), and commanded salaries the likes of which our hardworking fathers (mothers of course didn’t even come close) had never attained in their working lifetimes.

Among those of us who were single, (most of us) the issue of children inevitably comes up. And of course it came up more regularly for single women than married, since we were single mostly by choice. Men were wonderful, but unnecessary as a financial crutch so mostly we were looking to take our time. I don’t count myself as being usual in having had good half dozen serious affairs, and my share of brief flings. There was no reason not to.

As best I can tell, we split about 50-50 on the child thing. About half arranged by any number of methods to get pregnant and have a child with no intent to have the father play any significant role in the raising of the child. The other half, myself included, opted out.

I can say that during my now more than sixty-four years, I spent roughly eight months considering the idea seriously, but I have to say it probably had more to do with the man I was seeing at the time than on the biological clock ticking. I cannot say what was the key reason I chose not to have children, only that it was a combination of over-population around the globe, the desire not to have my own free-wheeling lifestyle disrupted, a serious question whether I would be a “good” parent–having no real role model, and some lack of “mothering” instincts, that I felt should be stronger than they were.

Looking back, I recognize that children bring a certain joy, apparently some sense of accomplishment (though again why escapes me pretty much), and I think some security? about the future that is perceived rather than necessarily experienced. It seems to feed some egos, though not all from what I have seen. I think children are marvelous creatures, and I think being good at parenting is a very hard thing, a thing most people take for granted and therefore don’t do a very good job at. I’m glad I didn’t do it, but I am in awe of some people I know who have.

I definitely think it ought to be way harder to qualify to be a parent. It’s amazing to me that so many people turn out as well as they do given their crummy experience with parents. I wonder how amazing this world might be if so many people didn’t have to spend so much time overcoming their poor upbringing.

At one time, we in the feminist movement disliked our sisters who chose the traditional roles. We thought they made it hard for those of us who wanted to be treated equally in jobs, advancement and pay. I think that time has long past. We, or at least I, recognize that the ultimate freedom is to chose the life you wish, and it is certainly an honorable and important choice to choose parenting.

The opposite is also true. To not choose parenting can be smart, noble, and a recognition that it is a special profession, one not suited to everyone, and not simple the thing “most everyone can do”. It is not an accomplishment, but a sacred responsibility one should take on with eyes wide open.

I think it all points to the fact, that while all of us may have had the same “historical” background, we responded to it differently. It imprinted on us quite dis similarly and we apparently made different judgements about it. That is what makes us human I suspect and why we thrive overall. If Aristotle was right that there is a set of absolute moral precepts, we will, it seems, go on arguing forever about just what they are.

That Being Said. . . .

RIckyRicky (I got my Smarty glasses) Perry wants to be President, mostly to prove I guess, if we were not already aware (Dubya (I’m a painter now! Bush), that dumb can rule the free world too.

Ricky (I can only count to two) got his good-hair self caught up in a scandal, one of major proportions. Indictment for a CRIME, one that carries up to 99 years (doncha love how they always go one shy of 100?) to be specific.

The crux of the indictment is that the Rickster made a line-item veto in a bill, refusing to fund a state prosecutor’s division whose job it was to investigate public malfeasance. This was a unit run by a Democrat named Rosemary Lehmberg. Perry made no bones about the fact that he wanted Lehmberg to step down.

This might seem sinister since it could be seen as Perry’s attempt to shut down investigations regarding himself or those around him for behaving badly.

However, such does not seem to be the case. The reason for Perry’s actions seem to be the bad behavior of Lehmberg herself who was arrested for drunk driving and went on (with all the video anyone would like to see) to act like a belligerant, “don’t you know who I am” sorta brat. It is quite arguable that Ms. Lehmberg doesn’t deserve a position when she acts like a horse’s ass in public and abuses lawful police actions because she thinks she’s “above all that”.

Republicans of course are screaming that the whole mess is a political witch hunt designed to take down their Texan favorite son. Which would make sense, except that:

(1) the judge who appointed the special prosecutor who sought and obtained the indictment is a Republican, and

(2) the special prosecutor is also a Republican.

(3) Ricky is so damn dumb that nobody needs to help him off the cliff, he’ll trip and fall all by his silly self.

That being said, it looks to me at least that Perry is getting a bad rap here.

Firstly, the governor retains the power of the veto in the fairly insane state of Texas and it seems rather obvious to the mentally sound that veto implies threat by its very essence. It shouts to it’s target, “do what I want, or I’ll kill ya!” which by anybody’s estimation seems a bit intimidating.

So claiming that Rick was threatening Ms. Lehmberg seems more like a “duh” moment than a basis for wrongdoing. It comes with the territory. Rick (please run all mouth speaking through my handler) would have been better to shaddup, but people with special smart glasses have a tough time doing that.

Now the county from which the indictment arose is that one around Austin (the lair itself), and one of the high volume Democratic counties in the late-great state. So I suppose it’s possible that the grand jury was over-filled with Democratic citizens who handed the special prosecutor the surprise of his life in voting for the charges. He, (the now loathed Republican prosecutor) was quite possibly just goin’ through the motions, never anticipating that any group of citizens would “take him seriously”.

That being said, it all seems like a bad idea. There is little to be gained by the Democratic party as far as I can see, but I suspect that there is little to be gained or lost by the aging pretty boy. Everybody in his party is making sympathetic mewlings about what a gentleman he is, but soon they will all return to their own private interests which may or may not include trying to cut him down at the knees to further their own political fantasies.

As they say, “move along, there is nothing to see folks.”

Don’t get me wrong, Perry is a farce, and has done a whole ton of things that are reprehensible in my opinion, first and foremost revolving around health care in general and women specifically. He has systematically let his citizens suffer to maintain an ideological idiot’s position regarding health care period, and leads a state who has more uninsured than any state in the union. This he has done deliberately.

If he once had compassion for children who found themselves brought to this country as small children and argued that they deserved an education, he was disabused of that position by a slathering, spittle spewing right wing who nearly booed him off the stage for his heresy. Since then he’s been a hardliner when it comes to immigration issues, again, probably much to the detriment to his state.

That being said, this indictment still reeks of STUPID.

We got better things to do folks.

 

 

Conversations from the Marriage Cave

LucyDesiTelephoneMarried conversation is a thing unto itself. It takes a translator to make it intelligible to anyone other than the two persons directly involved.

Except some things are universal I guess. Meaning that all married people recognize the special meaning of various words and phrases that, well, are unknown to the non-married population.

For instance.

This morning as I was relaxing from a grueling jaunt into the wind to the next state with dog in tow, (hiking in the foothills of the Organs), my other half, (better is certainly a matter of opinion and  I’ll argue that I am that, as would he argue that he is), poised in the doorway to my office/craft/retreat room and said,

“Where did we get my last pair of sandals, babe?”

Now this question is loaded. First there is the use of “we”, which as I recall did not include him at all, rather “I” got his last pair of sandals. 

Then there is the use of “babe” which is a generic term husbands use from long use as bachelors when getting the wrong name attached to the woman in your bed was likely to result in the end of your getting laid, thus all “girlfriends” become “babe” or “sweetie” or “honey” or some term that can safely be applied to all females. This carries over to the marriage, where it’s still better to be safe than sorry even if you are swearing under oath to be monogamous.

Third there is the implied problem that necessitates knowing where the old sandals were purchased, which suggests that another pair might be needed.

I replied,

“I got them at Penny’s. Is there a problem with your sandals?”

“Yes, one of them is broke,” he uttered softly. “When you get over that way next time will you pick me up a new pair?”

Now this one is similarly loaded. First he is saying he doesn’t want to go to the mall (he hates malls). Secondly he is setting me up on a number of levels. First I can’t say, “why don’t you go”, because he’s not telling me to go today, just “anytime I happen to be there for another reason” so it would be unfair for me to protest that he should go himself since they are his feet.

I wrinkle my brow for a moment and respond, “I’ll go today when I get done at the pool.”

“Oh, no, you don’t have to go today!” He retorts again, that “anytime I’m in the area” will do.

Now this of course doesn’t mean that at all. In that little protestation are two things. First, I’m aware that he has balance issues and man with balance problems needs a secure shoe, so anytime I’m in the area darn well better be today!

And of course if I do continue to insist that I will go today, well, I better not complain about it EVER since he made it clear that I could do it “anytime”.

Ya see how this goes? You have to have a manual to follow the true gist of what’s being said.

I go on. “Instead of making gazpacho for dinner, we’ll have leftovers.”

“Fine,” he grins.

As I get a cup a coffee, I see the dish with the leftover mashed taters conspicuously empty on the counter. Somehow mashed potatoes goes well with fried eggs (his breakfast).

I confront him.

“Well that was bad of you. You ate all the potatoes from the leftovers.”

“Are there enough leftovers for today?” he queries.

“Well, I’ll have to boil some more potatoes.”

“No, I mean the Salisbury steak, I ate some yesterday.”

“You ate it yesterday????”

“You told me to, and a man always eats what his wife tells him too.” (the grinning again)

“You never eat what I tell you to!”

“Well don’t worry about the sandals then, get them another day.”

“No, I’ll get them today. I’ll figure something else out for dinner.”

“Well, I’m off to the pool.” as I start for the door.

“Oh, what size shoes again?”

“10 1/2, the standard size for all married men.” he intones.

“Riiigggghhhtttttt.”

I can hear him as I open the car door, “game, set and match!”

I’m sure he said that.

I’m sure.

The echo of his chuckling haunts me during the drive into town.

 

 

I Feel So Loved

wowI mean seriously people, I (we) are the subject of so much warfare these days. There is a war against America (of which I am a card-carrying member), a war on women (yep, got the requisite lady parts), and now a war on whites (even with a tan uhuh, still basically bleached out fish-belly colorless blah hued).

I don’t know whether to order my AK-47 or start hoarding canned peaches. Do you think fatigues look good on pale-face?

It’s not everybody who can be worth being a subject of abject hatred rising to the level of open war ya know.

I was sitting in my front yard just watching the sun rise, when I heard it blurted on the TV–“GOP warns of growing war on white people”. Well I gotta tell ya, I immediately ducked inside and took cover. While drones may not be smart enough to tell civilians from combatants, I figure it can sure recognize  colors. MY SKIN BETRAYS ME–doncha know that tanning is but a stealth move?

That black guy in the WHITE house (WTF with that?) is all to blame. And the Democrats of course, who have (the white ones at least) been brainstrained of their senses into complicity.

See? Doesn’t the picture here make you feel all nostalgic?

white_peopleI mean unlock the doors and throw up the shades, this is AMERICA for goodness sake, home of the white people, with just a few of them variously colored folks mixed in as ya know, gardeners, maids, and bus drivers, to make it look pretty. After all, it would be pretty bland if the whole country were non-stop WHITE. Boring! Just an accent of color here and there, just enough, not too much to make people nervous.  Like this:

WhitefearSee the difference?

Wholesome?

and then,

Scary!!!!

And it’s not just black folk, it’s brown too.

Hey, I know from personal experience. Virtually every one I hire to do work around my house, speaks NOT ENGLISH.

I just know they are plotting how to murder me in my bed! Or at least how to take over my whiteness and make it brown-ness. Even some of my neighbors (actually most of them) are ya know, shall we say, overly tanned.

That can’t be good. Heaven knows, New Mexico has been white for well, as long as I can remember anyway, and things are not looking good these days. Between the blacks, the browns, the reds (anybody wanna explain where that designation came from) and the yeller’s, I’m feeling damned uncomfortable most all the time. I mean how DARE these NON-WHITE persons act like it’s theirs. Seriously, cheeky to the max!

And don’t think it’s just me.

Here’s a smattering of brilliant rhetoric from those erudite thinkers who comment at Breitbart.

Dennis pointed out:

White Guilt. Whites have been subtly conditioned to believe they are the root of all problems. They have; however, been the force behind all modern advances in medicine, sanitation, food, comfort, etc. I don’ see the african, mexican, middle-eastern nations making big advances in civilization, do you?

You got me there fella. Oh, damn, using the alphabet aren’t we? Ever been to the pyramids? Machu Picchu? Birthplace of humanity?

Nedarc warns:

Yes I know, and some would call it a ‘stretch’ but I think this is one reason Liberals want an unarmed population which gives the Criminal a situation like “shooting fish in a barrel” syndrome, and then if the Perp. is a Black and the Vicim White (which is the most common) the MSM Never mentions the race unless it is a White Perpetrator… THIS ALONE SHOULD PROMPT EVERY WHITE ADULT TO GET A GUN !!!

Would that be liberal whites or liberal blacks? I’m stuck on “shooting fish in a barrel” being a “syndrome” Is that in the DSM? That stupid MSM, always a black thing, but hey anything to support your local gun seller!

Marbran reminded us:

The left will not stop until they have destroyed this nation and instituted full socialism/communism. They crave to be at the top, away from those smelly unwashed masses that they have brought into this country. UFB.

Which is it, socialism or communism? You guys gotta choose one or the other, it can’t be both. Why does “poor” always mean “smelly”?  Did the left bring “them” into this country? Or perchance was it WHITE plantation owners? Pesky facts.

momsense preaches to her kids that:

White Libs are the ones instituting the anti-white racism. They think that if the savages go native they and their perks, property and privileges will still be safe, and life will still be good. Unfortunately, as always, the working class will be the ones exterminated– just as they always have been the ones to bear the brunt of all the integration fiasco.

Gotta be impressed with Breitbart. Plain unadulterated, in-your-face racism is gladly accepted to their pages. Integration was a fiasco, and no doubt utterly to blame for your ugly self.

However Dan Poole thinks beauty is just skin deep:

From 1776-1965, America’s population was 85% White:15% non-white. Some years it reached as high as 89%. As such, it was us Whites who built this country, sustained it, and made it a nice place to live. We are being cleansed from our own home as a direct result of the 1965 immigration act, and in 20 years time, we will become a minority. The country will become like Honduras, Venezuela, etc. as the White population continues to shrink.

The war on Whites is a war on who we are. It is not an attack on “beliefs” or “principles.” It is an attack on an entire race – our race. It is an attack derived from fanatical hatred and jealousy. What they are really against is the existence of White people like us.

One last thing: While there are individual exceptions to this rule of nature (wolves in sheeps clothing, so to speak), the truth is that on the whole, our “skin color,” as it’s derisively called, is a reflection and an expression of who we are inside. It is not some random, irrelevant coating. The rich, beautiful history of Europe is not the result of “ideas” or “systems,” it is the result of the people who inhabit the continent – and those people are all of the same race and all share the same general phenotype. That is no coincidence.

Now that’s a celebration of stupid! But oh, it feels so good to be a mechanic and still know that you are better than the anyone of color who is curing cancer, defending your country, ruling their country, entertaining millions worldwide, or going into space. Yeah, living in a dream is pretty darn nice. You must feel sooooo special.

snapperman belched:

Without the white man, the US would be Liberia or Venezuela.

Aww, who let the dog out?

tobytylersf pointed out how WHITE MEN suffer:

Obviously you don’t work in an American office, where over 64 percent of all managers nowadays are women.

I personally haven’t had a white male boss since 1993. How about you?

to which M Smith noted:

I personally have had nothing but males since 1999, except for a brief stint with a bimbo in 2007. She giggled a lot and tried to pretend she was under 50, flirting with all the married guys. Didn’t know squat.

Does this mean you won’t defend me in the war boys?

See? I’m not alone. All these find simians recognize as I do that white folks are in grave jeopardy. The question is, from what are they in jeopardy? Methinks atrophied brain cells.

And life somehow trudges on.

womanarmed

Once Upon a Time on the Internet

onlinefriends_img2The Internet and I go back a long way.

Not to the beginning, but at a time when you could actually go to the bookstore and buy books containing “online sites”. Yes there was a time that online sites numbered in the tens of thousands and not tens of millions.

I soon discovered that there was a thing called “IRC” which stands for Internet Relay Chat. It’s actually still in existence and there are claims that worldwide millions still use it.

Basically you downloaded a MIRC program, attached to a server and entered the realm of make-believe. Virtual “rooms” were created and then peopled by anyone who happened to have an interest in the subject matter. While many were no doubt benign, “Quilter’s Corner”, many if not a whole lot were sexually oriented.

It gave birth to a whole new genre of talent called “virtual sex” where folks paired off in whatever couplings that suited them and publicly “wrote” out their sexual encounter. Meanwhile all sorts of conversations ensued in the room, having everything, nothing, or nearly nothing to do with the sexual “story” or “stories” that were unfolding. The text went by in a blur, and there were also ways to have private conversations while participating or watching the main room.

Some rooms were sexual by name, but never had any sex, people just talked back and forth, making jokes, and so forth. Channel operators controlled the room, having the ability to “kick out” people who were disturbing the peace and fun of the rest. Pictures were sent back and forth from individual to individual, music segments, and so forth.

I was a participant in one and for a couple of years, spent a lot of hours talking. I got to know a lot of people very well. I later met some of them.

But we all knew that lurking in any room was the possibility of a fake. A fake was person who pretended to be other than they really were. Oh  I don’t mean just fatter or balder, older or something like that, but gender benders were common. Men who pretended to be women, and I suppose the opposite.

Since we got to know people over a long period, it was fairly shocking to discover when you had been taken in. One guy talked to a woman for months, sent her mail. They were “in love” and planning to marry. He went to surprise her at her home, in another state for her birthday, only to be met by a husband at the door. She later explained, that it was only “pretend”, and she hadn’t meant any harm. Well as he told me some months later, it sure harmed him. He sat in a hotel room alone for several days waiting for his return flight, completely broken.

In our room, there was one girl who was the “life” of the party every night. Always fun and friendly. After months, one night a man claiming to be her brother came in and informed us she had been killed in a car accident. He had discovered “the room” on her computer while packing up her things to remove from her apartment.

Some weeks later we learned that “she” was a he, and had been simply gaming everyone from the start.

There were probably not a lot of these folks. As I said, I met quite a few, and certainly talked to more on the phone. There were conversations of others getting together and obviously groups didn’t get together to engage in this display of pretense, so most people were legit. (People organized meet ups for weekends across the country were a “rooms” participants would get together.)

One always wonders why people do this.

I hadn’t thought about it for a long time. My husband and I first met through “newsgroups” on the Internet, moved to IRC and then met. But all that happened within about two months. That was nearly 15 years ago.

Today I ran into an article entitled “The Weird Reasons Why People Make Up False Identities on the Internet” and that got me curious again. Most of the stories in the article are about people not engaged in chat so much as using the Internet and the capability of false personas to improve their own bottom line. Others are more curious, involving much time to invent and continue. Why would someone create a young girl with cancer and then have her die? Why a lesbian reporter in Syria who gets arrested?

I remember the “girl” who turned out to be a guy from IRC. I remember the “memorial room” we set up and gathered at to remember her. I remember how angry we were when we found out.

I guess I’m missing the pay off to the liar. I still don’t get that.

But I will tell you one thing. A number of those people were mighty fine folks. I remember them to this day and the one’s I met were the same in person as online. I often wonder what has become of Sayten and Angus, of Jules, and Floppy. Maybe they are still there. But I doubt it.

Funny how an article triggers such memories of times so long ago. What weird memories. Now the fake Facebook personality is common I guess. I still don’t get the point.

 

Life Ain’t Fair. I’m the Proof

life-aint-fairThis is not up for debate. It’s not. It’s a lesson to be learned by every single human being ever. It is beyond true. It’s so true, that it probably isn’t proven by the exception. I doubt there can be an exception because even if your life is perfect from start to finish, it has a finish.

Duh.

I knew a guy once who was obsessed with the idea that people who were undeserving often got rewarded. Actually, it wasn’t a tit-for-tat sort of thing so much as it was random reward unattached to random behavior, good or otherwise.

It fairly drives some folks crazy. It sure did him. People who “do everything right” get hugely annoyed when people who don’t “do everything right” seem to be happy. They want them to suffer. It’s like fundigelicals reminding us liberals that “if you don’t repent, you’ll go to hell”. They always smile when they say that, because they are very sure we won’t and so they can be happy knowing “we’ll get ours” come judgment day. They presume of course a judgment day.

It’s why the workers in the vineyard got so pissed when the boss paid the workers who only worked an hour the same as those that had worked a full day. “Unfair!!!” The boss said, “hey, what’s that got to do with you? You got what YOU bargained for didn’t ya?”

Some folks just can’t handle that. Which leads me to believe that they find “doing everything right” a major pain, and they don’t do it because it’s the right thing to do, but because they want the reward. So getting a reward for not doing everything right, might just mean that they won’t get a reward for doing everything right. Kind of puts a monkey wrench in the whole salvation thing don’t it?

It also makes God sort of insane.

Or?

Perhaps God sees things in a way that humans don’t. At least for all the literalists out there, the Bible suggests that God does see not as humans but as God. So perhaps, just perhaps, our assumptions of what is the “right thing to do” aren’t so clear. At least to the point that it might be better if we keep our damn mouths shut when we “disapprove” of what others are doing.

Not talking here folks about murder and abuse and other dictatorial behaviors, but more ambiguous things like gay marriage, and women’s health rights, and stuff like that. Unless you are a hard-nosed self-styled pope (meaning your interpretation of scripture is infallible until God tells you different), most of us concede that there’s a lot of grey in some social policy areas. If that is true, then we best not tell others how to behave regarding them I suspect.

In any case, I personally believe that everyone is “saved”, which makes it all unnecessary to bewail whether anyone is getting their just desserts or not, or being failed by their supreme deity in any way. Unlike the fundigelicals, I do not have to resort to “God’s ways are mysterious” and “God had some reason for inflicting me with this misery that I’ll understand some day.” If I do a good thing it’s because I want to, not because I NEED to.

It’s enough that “shit happens”.

For me at least.

I’m a decent enough person. Far from the best kind of person I can conceive of. I have plenty of people I know who are much better than I am. They are kinder for sure.

Case in point. I was getting blood work done a few weeks ago as part of a general updating of my health records. After slapping my inner arms and squeezing my upper arms to death trying to “pop up a vein”, the blood sucker said this: “Do they usually taking blood from your hand instead of your arm?”

I replied, “yeah, the one’s who can’t do the arm, do the hand”.

Now the Contrarian said that my mistake was in being snarky/sarcastic BEFORE I had properly secured the end of relationship with said person. After all, she still wielded the mighty needle when I dissed her. There is some truth to that observation.

So you see, I am a sarcastic, snarky, bitch type person when I’m (a) in a hurry (b) tired or (c) just damn well feel like it.

This served me quite well when I was a defense attorney. I could utter questions at cop or citizen with such jaw-dropping “and your mama too” sarcasm that I would often see a judge turn away suddenly to hide his snicker before the jury, while a prosecutor jumped out of his/her shorts to bellow “OBJECTION, ARGUMENTATIVE”. I of course would smile softly and whisper, “withdrawn”, as the witness shot daggers of ineffectual rage which of course all missed their target, for their mouths were forever silenced by the loudly following “NO FURTHER QUESTIONS!”

It probably serves me less well now. But it is who I am in the last analysis, and I always feel fairly fake and pretentious when I put on that “oh, no take all the time in the world packing my groceries. I can surely see that changing items in and out until one achieves the perfect fit, is the way it should be done” look on my face.

But back to the topic at hand. Reward.

Yes, I’m not a deserving person, I have a trail of bleeding bodies who all feel “abused” by my acidic tongue, to prove it, one that trails back at least to junior high.

But guess what? My life has turned out fairly wonderfully from my point of view. And nobody else’s point of view matters. And that really galls the hell out of a few people I know. And ya know, that sort of makes me feel even happier.

As they say, a life lived well is the best revenge.

You Really Can’t Go Home Again

yacan'tI’m in one of those head scratching modes. I’m thinking that perhaps I’m the “duh” one, not the others.

The others?

Oh, all those folks I expected more of and got so much less from.

Truth be told, they probably think the same of me.

But I conclude that it was really all my fault from the beginning. And they were generous in their open-armed acceptance. And I was a fraud.

Once upon a time I lived in a place called Flint. It was a factory town, where most everyone got their paycheck one way or another because of cars. We lived in a subdivision called “Mayfair” and my childhood was, as others no doubt saw it, “idyllic”.

People love that term.They mean, you grew up thinking you were fairly normal and you had enough to eat, and TV to watch, and a yard to play in, and got new clothes for the new school year, and a decent load of presents at Christmas. You got to swim in lakes in the summer, and skate on ice ponds in the winter. You ate blueberry pie from wild blueberries picked by your aunts and uncles and cousins. That sort of idyllic.

For no good reason that I ever figured out, kids like to join cliques. Being a “only” child, I was always looking for friends. My best friend as a small child was one of the kids across the street. She was a year older, but when you are young enough, that was okay. Still she was different than me. She came from a big family, me the “only”. She slept in until 9 or 10 in the morning, while I knocked on her door at 8, having waited an excruciating hour at that, to be told by her mom, that she hadn’t gotten up yet.

I sat some more.

Then when I got to older pre-teens I was with another group. I was, for a while, second to the leader, a dark haired girl name Patty something or other, who told us about the $400 dollar couch her parents had, which seemed to make her rich.

You were either on Patty’s good side or bad, and when on the bad, nobody else would play with you, meaning you couldn’t play jump rope with the gang. I tried hard to be on the good side of Patty. It was painful to fail. I was, as you can tell, not principled. I shunned who she shunned and did my best to lick her shoes.

Then there was the middle school years. I tried hard to be in the “in” group. The one that played sports, and were cheerleaders, and that sort of stuff. I was successful for a bit, but the funny thing was, that I was always hanging on by my fingertips, and I knew that.  If we were going to meet at someone’s house to go out for pizza say, I had to be there early, because they would not wait for me. I was one they “put up with” until they didn’t.

Either they didn’t or I grew tired of trying to be “in” and being left “out” too much.

So I drifted to another group whose main attribute seemed to be a general dislike for almost everything that had to do with “that” school and “those” people. We hung out with some guys from another school. We were starting to drive now, and that broadened our horizons.

I felt accepted by them. But still, I probably never felt completely at ease. I was always having to “try”. We had fun for a few years, mostly going to dances, and walking to strip malls and drinking cokes and eating fries. We hung out every evening after school until it was time to go home.

Then we graduated, and I went off to college, and they went off to marriages and babies, and finally I left Flint, only visiting now and then to see family.

And I didn’t contact them, and they didn’t contact me, because I suppose we all knew it was never a proper fit. I was the one who got good grades in spite of trying to look very much that I didn’t care. I was the one who apparently had dreams they did not.

Not that they didn’t have dreams of course, they had them I’m sure, but they were very different from mine, and there was nothing to keep up “friends” after graduation.

I saw Flint as a place to escape from, they saw it as home. I saw education as the means to a life where I did important things, met important people, talked about important things. I met mayors and congressmen, and brilliant jurists  and traveled on “business”, and they did what they did.

I no doubt felt superior, based on my assumption that everybody should want what I wanted, which is surely stupid on my part. But as the years went by, we had less and less in common surely.

Now we are all on the cusp of being real senior citizens, and we’ve reconnected and had those chats about the “old days”. And it was fine for a while. I tried to interact with those from the old groups whom I abandoned in my middle school years, and that was kinda sad.

Some were polite, some were friendly, until we realized that we believed radically different things. Several cut me out of their Facebook life. Others just ignored me. Even though I would dutifully “like” their constant “if you love your daughter share this”, and fishing trips and other stuff, they never returned the favor. My links to my writing was left with stony silence. My birthday was left unremarked about.

What the hell did I do to you?

Some were  “friends” and we maintained the facade a bit longer. A few (those who share my general uber liberal beliefs) still share and “like” a lot, and chat on the side sometimes. But mostly even those who were my “best friends” for a good four years of the high school years, have silently slipped away, no longer interested.

Perhaps my beliefs offend them too. Who knows? As I said, they were open to me, while I always was trying to fit into that square hole with them. So I account it as no one’s fault, just water seeking it’s own level.

I cannot fathom the thought of living in that town still, and having always lived there. I’ve lived in four parts of the country, five really, and I don’t find that a lot frankly, from the friends I have now. We are all people who have traveled from location to location following jobs or dreams. It makes us different from people who haven’t I guess. Or at least it seems so.

I don’t bemoan any of it really. My life is too special to me here and now to lament that I don’t have friendships that are real with people I haven’t seen in 40 years. I just find it curious. And then I don’t. For if we had nothing much in common then, then it can only be worse now.

Mostly, I find that people who stayed in Flint became people I don’t like much. Not all, some seem to have escaped the provincialism and the tribal indrawn mentality. But most are hatin’ kind of people. I don’t know enough about their lives to judge. They say that each generation has it better than the last. My gut tells me that this was not true for most of them.

I guess its good mirror. My desire to learn served me well, bringing me out of a stultifying world and into a cosmopolitan environment where I met people from all over the world, enjoyed other cultures, and lost any sense of “them or us” in my thinking.

I’m a boomer, through and through, an Idealist. I scratch my head and wonder, “how can you think like that????” But dirty factory towns apparently do that to people. Flint became a mean place, in some ways worse that Detroit, because it was always “at least we aren’t Detroit”, and the fall was all the harder I suspect.

Or maybe this is all just me trying to defend me. Funny thing is, I don’t care. Aging does that. No more time for people who aren’t  on the same page. As the meme says, “not my monkeys, not my circus”.

May your life bring you peace–mine has to a degree I would never have thought imaginable. I imagine that pisses some of you off. And that tickles me frankly.

 

“It seems to me that in the orbit of our world you are the North Pole, I the South–so much in balance, in agreement–and yet… the whole world lies between.”
Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again