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.

 

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556: Hope

hope

Every day, I hope.

I hope it will get better, that it won’t hurt so much.

I hope that I will be able to slow down and not be at everyone else’s beck and call.

I hope that I can say no. And mean it.

I hope that I can sleep until I want to get out of bed, instead of rolling out every morning before dawn because I have obligations to meet.

I hope that I make it through the next six weeks of no-money until I get paid again (a yearly problem, and January has thirty-one long, cold, and dark days).

I hope that Christmas will again just pass, without requiring from me efforts to be social that I just do not have the resources for.

I hope and I am chagrined that I still hope.

I hope that the house I currently am spending all my free time remodeling (paint smears in my hair and decorating both my forearms, random punctures, scratches, and broken nails) soon will become a respite and sanctuary – a place of peace and repose.

I hope that it will get better – that it won’t hurt quite so much.

I hope, even when it appears fruitless to hope.Hope-2-570x379

I hope.

 

 

242: Appearances

My closet

My closet

I have been thinking about appearances. Appearances, if I can comprehensively define this term, means the mask or wall that is erected to make others think you are what you want them to think you are. Think about that for a minute….it even SOUNDS stupid. I know we are social creatures, and care a very great deal about what others in our social strata think about who we are and what we do, but seriously?

Just THINK of all the money we could save if we were not so preoccupied with keeping up with the neighbors and the various advertising campaigns that we see on the TV and hear on the radio, that are cleverly designed to create needs out of wants. People NEED relatively few things, but our wants are immeasurable and uncountable, and they never, ever, end. As long as we draw breath, there are wants. For example, I like shiny things, and I never get enough of them – most girls are just like me. My sweet husband has cottoned on to this fact, and occasionally and for no particular reason, he will bring me a shiny thing: not an expensive one, because we don’t have the income for that, but a nice one, nonetheless, because I am not concerned about cost, and it really, really, really IS the thought that counts (with shiny things, especially). Besides, if the shiny things are not expensive, it is not such a disaster when things happen to my shiny things. I really hate it when other people take my shiny things because they think I have too many shiny things, and that I surely won’t miss just this one little thing they have decided they can take from me….WRONG. I have my shiny things because I like them, and they might not cost much money, but I got them because I like them. Go get your own shiny things , and pay for your own. THEN they are yours. If you take one from someone else, it is NEVER yours. Ever.

I like to dress in matching colors, unless I am in a REALLY bad mood – then I dress in black. That’s usually when I get the most compliments, too, darn it. I prefer wild colors – not all at once – but still. If there is a screaming acid green garment at the bottom of the rummage sale pile, THAT is the one I am reaching for. I have, maybe, ONE white shirt. I know that people cringe at my clothing choices, but console yourself with this: the worse it is for you, the better it is for me. If I am in wild colors, it is a good day. Is that too much to ask? Besides, I am providing to you (free of charge, I might add) entertainment for the day. Enjoy. Gratis.

223: Juggling

One of the annoying things about being grownup is that you must learn to juggle. It is only one of the annoying things about being a grownup, but it is one of the most difficult parts of being grown up to master. By juggle, I do not mean actual juggling, the sort done in entertainment acts by people who juggle balls, flaming torches or swords. By juggling, I mean managing all the disparate parts of your life and all the attendant responsibilities that go with each sphere of your influence (I mentioned balls again, didn’t I?).

Most adults have several spheres of influence: their personal lives, their family lives (not the same thing), their spiritual lives, their work lives, perhaps their school lives, and lastly, their social lives. Did I forget any? Each of these spheres sometimes overlap others, but generally, we have different responsibilities for each one of them. I must bathe and care for myself and this body I live in, including periodic visits to medical professionals for checkups and repair. I also handle some of that for my family, too, at least while my children were little, until they matured enough to begin assuming that responsibility for themselves. There are also other family obligations, everything from Sunday dinner at mom’s, to which family member we will celebrate Thanksgiving with this year, to burial arrangements for my husband’s father. Then there are the spiritual and social responsibilities that go along with my faith and my church family, too – missions, offerings and gifts of materials and time, prayer and scripture study, and more. Then there is the sphere of work: not only the actual work part, but the social atmosphere and culture of work. Work would be enough all by itself without all that other crap, but there it is….some people don’t have enough of a life of their own, and must try to create their entire lives around their work, and get everyone at work to socialize as if we actually were a family and everybody liked everybody else, and not as if we were just thrown together by circumstance, which is actually a lot closer to the truth. Sheesh. And then, there are those of us who are enrolled in school, each of them with another culture and social obligations, not to mention the class work and due dates. Lastly, there is the social life – the recreation time we take with the people we actually like and WANT to spend time with, not the ones we are obligated to socialize with in the other spheres. THAT is the juggling act I am talking about; managing to keep all of these separate spheres of our influence in the air and functioning (at least to some degree) all at the same time.

Sometimes I manage that act pretty well, and then, at other times, one or more of these spheres hits the ground with a sickening thud as I “drop the ball.” This usually happens because another sphere is taking up far more time and energy that it deserves.

Here lately, I have had several spheres drop. Wobble, wobble, drop it like it’s hot, drop is what I am talking about. Drop and SPLAT. Spilled milk drop – no recovery possible. You know what, though? Life DOES go on….even if my grip is not too good these days!

184: Friends: More or Less

Some people are genetically programmed to be with, and actually enjoy being with, other people. Others are perfectly content to be less socially engaged. Still fewer are OK avoiding everybody. I am not a hermit, but neither do I actively seek out company, and I tend to decline most invitations to socialize – at least, all those I can safely get out of.

By the same token, some people make friends easily and often. Others claim acquaintances, but few real friends. Still fewer don’t want friends, and don’t look for any. Again, I claim some friends, but relatively few. That does not mean I am a hermit, or that I am basically impolite to drive people off. Neither, however, do I tell all my heartfelt secrets within minutes of meeting someone!

There are a few people I consider real friends, who might be shocked to learn that I value them as highly as I do. Even though at first glance people might think I am gregarious, that is just not the case: I am far more private than I appear. Becoming real friends is a real undertaking, involving effort, inconvenience and occasionally, actual angst. I have enough to do to maintain a reasonable marriage, much less a friendship.

54: social classes

I am currently living and working in Morocco, a country in north Africa. Social classes here are fairly easy to determine. They are, just like back home in the United States, determined by education and wealth, just the same as nearly every other country I have visited: Italy, Greece, France, England, Barbados, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Malaysia, you get the picture. Humans are humans, regardless of location on this mudball we all call home. My question for pondering today is why are education and wealth the determining factors in social status? Why not age, like I have heard is important in Asian cultures? Surely a wise old grandma or grandpa is deserving of honor and respect, at least more so that some teen idol who sang a song that sold a million copies, right? Sadly, not.

Here in Morocco, like in a number of the other places I have visited, I am marked as a wealthy non-native by the color of my skin and my conspicuous non-Muslim dress. Because of this, I am instantly perceived as a wealthy person of rank. This would be amusing if it were not so embarassing. Even when I do choose to conform and wear a djellabah, the long, concealing robe-like garment of the traditional Moroccan woman, I still manage to “look wrong,” and am pretty quickly singled out as an American, or an European.  That means when I ask, in Arabic, “B’ShHall?” meaning ‘How much?’ I will be usually quoted a price that is inflated enough to ensure a really good profit, but hopefully not too much to make me shake my head and walk away – which I do a LOT, because I am not a rich American, I am a relatively poor one. My local merchants have finally learned that I am a regular, and so I am beginning to hear the same prices that are quoted to everybody else. Just because my skin is white does not put more spendable dirhams into my pockets, despite the common perception here to the contrary.

Yes, I am educated, probably far beyond my common sense. That is because I had a wonderful government (back in the day) that actually wanted its citizens to be college educated, and was willing to subsidize that effort, so I was able to graduate without undue financial strain on my lower-middle class family. My own two children, unlike my experience, are struggling, as am I in helping them, to pay for tuition in order to finish college. This is so, of course, that my children will possess all of the advantages that I had due to my own collegiate education (not too sure what all of those were, but I am sure that there actually were a few, at least). And, I am aware that the education I got allowed me to take a job that was fairly advantageous, compared to jobs that did not require those collegiate hoop-jumps. I hoop-jumped my way into a career as a teacher, which is the highest paying regular job I know of that allows you nearly four months off a year- with pay. That makes it an OK job, since every job I know of does also come with drawbacks, too. Being a teacher certainly does not enhance my social status, however, regardless of my white skin or my education, because it does not pay enough to elevate me into the respected ranks of the wealthy. I am middling well-off, not wealthy. There are a lot of skilled tradespeople who earn far more annually than I do, as an educated career person.  Hired a plumber lately? Or an electrician? THERE is a good-paying job! What apparently keeps THEM out of the ranks of the higher social classes is the lack of collegiate diplomas, because they certainly earn more than I do.

Why is money and education the benchmark of a higher social class? Of respect? I know lots of educated people that are absolute idiots when it comes to common sense. Look at all of them who elected Barak Obama, for a prime example. I know the hallmark of a civilized society is how it cares for its least able citizens, but, come on, people! Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Neal Boortz, who is Not exactly my favorite person, published an editorial about becoming a well-to-do person. There are three rules. The first is get an education. The second is don’t get pregnant (father a child) before you get marrried. The third is find a job, any job, and keep it until you find another one that pays better.  You can read it for yourself at :

http://www.boortz.com/weblogs/nealz-nuze/2012/jan/17/poverty-matter-choice/ 

 

27: Disgusting Abdominal Noises

Why is it OK for guys to fart and not OK for girls?

Everybody eats to live, and the process of digestion, especially if one consumes a high fiber diet (which by the way is recommended for good health), produces gas. For some social and cultural reason that surely is written down somewhere, it is socially acceptable for guys to pass gas just about anywhere and anytime without anyone freaking out, other than perhaps a giggle or two.

But let a girl pass gas, and everyone is horrified, a serious social faux pas has just occurred. Why is this? It is not as if girl gas smells worse than guy gas, in fact the opposite is usually true. Guys can make you gag. Seriously. And it is not as if girl gas is louder and more noticable than guy gas, again, the opposite is usually true. Guys can sound like a bass bassoon blowing it out. Girls usually have polite little squeaky gas, which is much quiter and less noticable: except that it isn’t. EVERYBODY notices when a girl passes gas. Even if they pretend not to.

This would make a good topic for a doctoral research paper – WHY is it that disgusting abdominal noises are OK for guys and not for girls? Is it that whole “sugar and spice and everything nice”  thing? Guys were “snails and puppy dog tails” as I recall that nursery rhyme, and it was OK for them to get really, really dirty too. It just isn’t fair!

Everybody gets gas. Everybody should be able to pass it, because there certainly is more room on the outside than there is on the inside. And gas HURTS when you don’t let it go. Why suffer? I suggest getting really, really close to someone you don’t care much for, and then letting go. Should be entertaining, and a huge relief, all at the same time. Girls unite! Pass that gas!