Reality

I’m always amazed when people pin their hopes on others: mates who will fulfill all their needs; children who will take care of them in old age; siblings who will call regularly or visit, or extend invitations to visit them; friends who will be kind, thoughtful, and noncompetitive; businesses that will conduct affairs honestly; and especially, politicians who will put country over party.

If I’ve learned anything over the many decades I’ve lived, it’s that more often than not, reality falls short of ideals: mates fulfill some needs but not others; children have valid (and, sometimes, not) reasons for being unavailable; siblings forget to call, or have valid (and, sometimes, not) reasons for not visiting, or extending invitations; friends become thoughtless or competitive; businesses care more about profit than product safety; and politicians…well…..

We can complain endlessly about the way things are, voice our anger and frustration over the selfishness, greed, entitlement, and epidemic cruelty and corruption, demand justice, and continue to pin our hopes on investigations and investigators, courts, judges, and others to set things right, but in the end, it falls to us.

It’s like the empty toilet paper roll in your house, the one that seems left just for you, the one with several useless shreds hanging off it. You can rant at your kids and mate all day about responsibilities, the importance of considering others who need to do their business, and even stick reminders all over the house and washroom; but in the end, you’ll just wind up frustrated and angry.

So maybe it’s time to accept reality, the same reality we accepted in the 2018 election. November 3, 2020 is 587 days away. Let’s replace that roll.

©2019 All Rights Reserved

What?

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When I was living in New York, I had a friend who worked at night, and had to take the subway to her job. Naturally, her friends and family were concerned about her safety. One day, over coffee, she told a few of us she had never been bothered. We were surprised. We had all had unpleasant experiences of one kind or another on our commutes—men who groped us during rush hour crowding; men who followed us to or from our destinations; men who sat next to us in nearly empty subway cars. We all carried small cans of hair spray or deodorant in pockets where we could reach them quickly. Some of us carried pocket knives. Most of us wore whistles around our necks.  We wanted to know her secret.

“Well,” she said, “as soon as I get on the train, I start talking to myself, as incoherently and erratically as possible. And I also make guttural noises and hisses. No one wants to mess with a person like that. They’re too unpredictable.”

***

Like so many women, I was horrified by this week’s events—the attacks on sexual assault victims, brazen assertion of white male privilege, glaring hypocrisy, distortion of history, outright lies, and overwhelming corruption of process by the ruling party culminating in an abrupt judicial confirmation.

I was horrified and sickened and outraged by it all, and even more so today when the ruling party’s shills took to the media to gloat over their success and condemn the victims and protesters who amassed in the Capitol before the confirmation.

I’m not arguing against protests. I’m wholly in favor of them. It’s important for those in power to see our faces, hear our voices, witness our dissatisfaction. But it’s also important to realize that in the face of the kind of recalcitrant evil embodied by 45, his administration, and the representatives who place party above all, our protests will be ignored, and, worse, reshaped for mass consumption as the true evil.

I spent time this morning on social media reading posts and tweets which were alternately eloquent and purposeful, and ugly and self-defeating; and I wondered, in all that cacophony, what message will be heard?

I applaud the chorus of voices rising through the nation, and count mine as one of them, but I worry about how predictable our voices are, and how unsuccessful they’ve been at countering the single malignant voice used by those in power.

It feels as if they are counting on us to be so furious about everything that we are in constant disarray. It not only gives them more fodder for their campaign of lies, it puts us on the defensive.

What do you think would happen if, for the immediate future, we answered their constant lies and taunts on social media with silence, and quietly focused on supporting our candidates? Getting young and old registered, and to the polls?

Perhaps it’s time to behave unpredictably. Mess with their heads. Make them wonder what we’re up to….

©2018 All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

bubble universe

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A bubble would be nice, don’t you think?

With the current flu epidemic, it would be really nice. I could wrap myself up, knowing I’d be safe from airborne microbes just waiting to invade my throat and lungs, and venture out into the world without a care.

Of course, the bubble would have to be flexible, so that I could maneuver comfortably, and sheathe my fingers while still allowing them to pick the best fruits and vegetables from the bins. And the best bubbles would be heated, and have smart phone technology built in….

Or, maybe that’s asking too much.

~~~

In the past couple of days, I’ve been hearing this repeatedly:  “We can’t know what’s in his heart.”

Really?

It’s not difficult to know what’s in someone’s heart.

For example:

If you receive a letter of introduction from a large company saying they have acquired the company where you work, and want to assure a smooth transition, but also want you to reapply for your job, can you know what’s in your new employers’ hearts regarding your job security?

If your teachers say they do not accept late papers, can you know what’s in their hearts when they scowl and refuse to take the late papers you offer?

And if an acquaintance says she doesn’t want to talk to you anymore, then hangs up on you if you call, can you know how she feels about you?

~~~

It doesn’t take much to know what’s in people’s hearts when they demonstrate it through word and deed.

Think of it as an equation:  LANGUAGE + ACTION/EVIDENCE = POSITION

So:

—new bosses wanting smooth transition + required job reapplication = they’re not keeping everyone;

—no late paper policy + glowering while refusing a late paper = disdain for students who think they’re above the rules;

and

—saying “Don’t call me” + hanging up = “I don’t want you in my life. Go away.”

~~~

It feels so straightforward —

LANGUAGE + ACTION/EVIDENCE = POSITION

— that one would have to be living in some kind of grotesque bubble to continue rationalizing away what is so patently clear, asserting what is contrary to the facts when doing so offers no convenience, no protection, no security.

It boggles….

…unless the alternate world within that bubble is preferable to facing the truth outside it, or the inhabitant feels more at home inside all that ugliness.

©2018 All Rights Reserved