606: Independence and helping

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I prefer to do things myself.

Partly this is my nature, and more than that, this is my experience. I have been taught through many harsh life lessons that things do not happen unless I can make them happen all by my little old self. I have had many people who were supposed to be very important people to me, who were supposed to have my best interests at heart, who were supposed to be there for me when I was down and out – who weren’t. I learned that I can only count on what I can get done myself, with my own admittedly meager muscle, brain, wit, courage, and brawn.

I fight hard not to ask for help, and give in only when I cannot do it by myself. Even then, I usually have tried everything I know to do to get it done first, before I submit and give in, acknowledge my weakness, and ask for help. I do it only when I can’t, and I’ve tried.

So, when I ask you for help, hat in hand and humble, you need to understand what it costs me to ask you.

When you give me an exasperated glance, that long-suffering sigh, with that “how dare you importune me for this ridiculous, unnecessary, paltry, pittance of a request, you annoying woman” look you have perfected on your face?

Guess how I feel.

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595: Different Views

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Lots of people like to claim fact to support their opinion, and that is generally a good thing – having factual support for the opinion that you hold. It does not, however, mean that your opinion is correct because you have a fact (or several) to cite.

Facts are data. Your opinion is your interpretation of how that fact came into being (cause), your opinion on how that fact has applied (effect) to the situation, and your opinion on how best to ameliorate that fact or situation you think it applies to (solution). Once you state your fact, everything else you spout is opinion. Understand that truth. Even if you have historical precedent that your opinion worked out one way in the past, it does not always mean that it will work out that way now, in the present.

Two people can see the same fact and interpret it widely differently based on the filters, experience, education, and logic they bring with them to interpret those facts, which they use to form their opinions.

Therein lies the rub, particularly when the issues that are being discussed are political ones, or social issues. Those are not simple issues, in part because they affect people of widely differing values, cultures, and circumstances. A solution that works for one segment of the population disenfranchises other segments – a truth that continually evades lawmakers.

I am apparently among the very small minority of people who can respect someone whose opinion differs from mine. I still do not think they are correct, but I can respect that they have some basis for their opinion in fact – exactly like I do. Even when I think they are completely wrong, and they have no basis in fact that I can determine, they are still a human being entitled to their opinion – exactly like I am. YES, it is best if opinions can be formed with factual bases, but understand even when they ARE, we can still legitimately differ in our opinions.

And *I* can respect that.

 

591: Merry Go Round

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There is a song I first heard in a Harry Chapin concert that says “all my life’s a circle, sunrise to sundown” and that is so accurate.

I am on life’s merry go round, listening to the manic music as the cylinder turns to the hurdy-gurdy tune. I watch the blur as what I suspect is the “real life” continues beyond the passing swirl as the ride (that I am somehow on) flashes past what I can clearly see (even if I see it in glimpses) is a slower, more sedate, more relaxed pace. As I ride my pony (up in the morning, highs and lows during the day and down at night), I see others who are also on this ride (my fellow inmates) on their fantastical mounts (each at once more beautiful and macabre than the last) bobbing up and down as I am, on the waves of the un-soothing music.

When did I buy my ticket for this ride? Was that when I was born, or did I choose it somewhere along the way?

When did I stand in line to get on this ride – was that my long years of schooling? Was that when I accepted my first paying job? Was it when I married?

How did I end up here?

More importantly, those I can glimpse who are clearly not on this merry go round, are they more content with their experience, as it appears that they are?

And most important of all – if I choose to go the other way (scary thought, that, as this manic ride is all I’ve ever known) – how do I get OFF this ride?

589: Choice

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I love you.

I do not want to continue seriously rethinking that statement.

I empathize with your frustration when I challenge your belief statements. Making personal attacks against me does, at least temporarily, achieve your objective: I lose interest in the intellectual debate and focus on the hurt instead, and you are no longer intellectually uncomfortable since I am no longer challenging you, and indeed, I usually withdraw to lick my wounds.

This is infantile behavior on your part, and it is beneath you. I would like to believe it is beneath you. It has happened often enough that I am seriously rethinking that statement, as well. I do not deserve personal attacks from you, I do not accept them from you, I will not continue to receive them from you. If you are incapable of indulging in intellectual debate without resorting to such remarks when the water begins to heat, that is your own personal failing, and not mine.

After reflection, your choices are two. You can stop engaging in intellectual debate with me, and enjoy the fact that I love you, with all that entails. Or you can choose door number two. When it comes to personal attacks, I do have, unfortunately, some small experience upon which to draw.

I do not need you. I love you, and that is another kettle of fish entirely. At the moment, these fish are smelling pretty rank. I am, as yet, unwilling to scuttle the kettle, but it is always an option. I am not threatening you, I am merely stating some facts for your consideration.

Your choice.

561: It’s only a book

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It’s only a book that tempts me

to ignore the dishes in the sink, the laundry in the basket, the litterbox,

the papers waiting to be graded.

It’s only a book that tempts me

to stay up and read the last half (when it’s already midnight)

and I have to go to work tomorrow.

It’s only a book, and when I read it, I hear nothing, am aware of nothing else in the universe, including

alarm clocks, phone calls, microwave timer buzzers, the purring cat in my lap who

prickles my leg as she makes bread against my thigh.

It’s only a book that calls me

into another’s life, another world, another reality, another experience of someone else’s imagination.

It’s only a book. I’m hooked.

558: January Audition

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Hubs and I went (for the second time) to audition for a local community theater production. What play? Does that matter? Hmmmm……

It was the second time because we had word of the date and time of the scheduled auditions, and went on Tuesday – to find a dark theater, with no humans in sight. So, we called to verify that things had not been called off or rescheduled, or we just made a mistake, and when we finally got a call back, the director made a special effort to include us and told us we could come privately and deliver our minute monologue (and fill out contact paperwork). So we went.

My monologue is about being a schoolteacher in January. Since I got some laughs, I will reproduce it here for you to judge for yourself:

NINE MORE DAYS. It is NINE more days until the end of January – and January has THIRTY-ONE DAYS. Normally, getting to the end of the month is not an issue, even though I am a schoolteacher who gets paid only once a month, on the last working day of the month. But January is a special case, and has been a special case for every one of the twenty-six years that I have been a schoolteacher. You’d think after all that experience, it would get easier, but NO. I actually think is gets exponentially more difficult with added experience.

See – the last paycheck came at the end of teaching in December – about the middle of the month. Then there was Christmas – a money-sucking time if ever there was one, and THEN, there is New Year’s – ditto. And those happen in the first two weeks. After that, there are four weeks – thirty-one days – of sheer endurance.

We are talking peanut butter and crackers, searching in the couch cushions and under the car seats for loose change to buy gas….that sort of thing.  It would be different if there was a way to earn extra money, but unfortunately, nobody, but nobody wants to see me naked, so it just isn’t happening. *sigh*

554: Funny

It is funny how most outspoken people are convinced of the rightness of their views. Those who are less outspoken generally are more willing to consider someone else’s point of view instead of being so busy proclaiming their own. People who see only the rightness of their own views are tiring people. They do not allow for different circumstances, or different experiences in their view of the way the world should be. This is not an indictment of liberals or conservatives, Americans or any other nationalities, religious/spiritual/non-spiritual people, environmentalists or hunters, pro-choice or pro-life, or any other of the labels that serve mightily to divide people and stratify humanity on the side of one fence or the other.

It’s funny how every single person has things, issues, behaviors, and actions that they consider to be right, wrong, and proper, or socially acceptable. And in holding those views, often we slight someone else who has different circumstances, and/or different experiences that have shaped THEIR right, wrong, and proper.

It is funny how even within a single country, a single state, or a single town, there are different sorts of people, from various backgrounds, with different life experiences. Factor in different countries, different cultures, different languages, and all those other differences that make up the people living today, and you can begin to understand why one view of right, wrong, and proper does not fit everyone.

Yes, I have some views of what is right and what is wrong. And I try hard to live my life in accordance with those views. But I can live peaceably among people who do not share my views, my precious views, those things I consider right and wrong. It is possible.

It is funny how that is actually possible. The sad part is how few are willing to try doing just that.