Monday, July 27, 2015

This is news?

I guess nothing else is going on in the world because the news channels right now are running extended stories on Caitlyn Jenner's new reality show.

I dunno. I wish Caitlyn well in her new life but I suspect she's going to have it far, far easier than most transgender people because she's famous.

There was someone on one of the channels talking about 'acceptance' and how the big thing Caitlyn needs is acceptance right now and I have to admit, I found myself thinking about a lot of the people I knew, self included, growing up, who weren't transgender or gay or any of those other things, but who also didn't get a lot of acceptance - I was made fun of because I was a smart kid who cared about grades. A friend of mine was made fun of for a learning disability. Another friend because she was markedly less well-to-do than some of the other kids in the school (the first time I ever heard the term 'trailer trash,' it was applied to her. And I remember thinking that she was kinder and classier than the kids harassing her, and that they were the ones being trashy). Later on, I had a friend of Korean heritage who got harassed for THAT.

Acceptance in this life is a rarity. People by and large are jerks to one another. It shouldn't be so, but also, people shouldn't act like there are just a few protected classes that suffer from insufficient acceptance. Part of the reason I'm such a loner now is that I was so rejected by my peers as a tween that I just "learned" other people my age don't want to be around me. That's not really true but it's hard to scrub that emotional experience out of your brain.

And it's not that we need more rules or laws or anti-bullying measures or any kind of top-down crap. What we need is individual people deciding on their own not to be jerks to other people. If you legislate what people can say to other people, they're just going to think those things harder. You can't change someone's heart or mind by forcing them. I don't have any good solutions to bullying or people being rude to other people - well, maybe if someone is a horrible bully to lots of people, throw them out of school (I really wish that schools had the authority to tell parents, "You need to teach your kid not to be a jerk or he or she loses the privilege of going to school here")

(And now they're on to Bobbi Kristina Brown. I guess the only stuff happening in the world today involves famous people....)

Friday, July 17, 2015

spotted on tv

An ad, featuring Geraldo Rivera, where he is saying something like, "Are they looking hard enough to find El Chapo?"

And my immediate thought was, "Have you checked Al Capone's Vault?"

(link is for those who may be too young to remember it. I was a sufficiently-gullible teenager that I actually WATCHED the damn thing; secretly I was hoping they'd find remains of some of the guys he killed, or maybe gold he had hoarded. It was an early lesson in hype and disappointment....)

I don't know, but....

Maybe allowing MILITARY PEOPLE to carry even in "Gun Free Zones" is a good idea, mmmmm?

I mean, if there's anyone I trust to carry responsibly it's a guy (or woman) who's had military training.

I hate to say it but I suspect, because of policies our country has been following, we're gonna see more of these kinds of "lone wolf" attacks. There are a couple shopping centers near me that have recruitment centers, don't think I'm going to be shopping at those areas for a while. I just worry about what the next targets will be.....synagogues? churches? day-care centers? And how long is much of the American public going to pretend this isn't happening?

I'm disgusted that this is happening in my own country. I'm horrified at what ISIS is doing to religious "minorities" in the countries they have usurped (including Muslims who "aren't Muslim enough" according to them). I don't know what needs to be done, but nothing is not that thing.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A culture's last words

"I'm offfffeeeennnnnnded."

I really think that's gonna be it. It's not going to be outside forces that kills us off; we're going to collapse from the inside under the weight of all the offenses we believe to have suffered.

The good news is that there is probably enough of a remnant out there who will roll their eyes at that sentiment, roll up their sleeves, and try to rebuild the rubble of society.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Dealing with people

So, someone I do volunteer work with - let's call her Gina, not her real name - called last night. As she was calling obnoxiously late (IMHO; I get up crazy early and teach an 8 am class so I go to bed very early. Most of the people who actually care about me know this and don't call after 9 pm), I let voice mail take it.

I thought it was going to be letting me know details of the funeral of a mutual acquaintance (I can't go, teaching) but it was an "I need to meet with you" call.

Frack. Gina's upset about something. Gina's frequently upset about something. She calls me up - because I am the head of one of the subcommittees - and talks at me. And I just sit there and listen and tell myself that she doesn't get listened to at home which is why she does this. (We will leave aside the matter of the fact that I have v. few people to listen to ME.)

Anyway. Gina is one of those people I find working with fraught and stressful because some people, you know, what they say isn't really totally what they mean?

An example: a long time back, Gina said, "I don't want a leadership role in the group next year." And I was like, "Duly noted, okay" and didn't suggest to her she take one. Well, then I heard from ANOTHER person (let's call her Petunia) that Gina was upset because I didn't ask her for a leadership role. And I was like, "BUT SHE SAID SHE DIDN'T WANT ONE."

Apparently she's the kind of person who needs to be "stroked" by feeling "needed" for stuff and then refusing to do it. (If I wanted something that acted like a cat, I'd get a darn cat).

I have such a hard time with that. That breaks my brain. I tend to be pretty direct about stuff. If I don't want to do something, I will say: "I don't want to do X" and then I get annoyed if people keep asking me because I interpret that as pestering or nagging (and sadly, sometimes it's enough to make me relent and DO X just to get them off my back).

Or if someone does something that irritates me, my response is one of two things:

1. I go to the person and say, "You may not realize this, but when you did Y, it irritated me, and here's why it did" and usually they apologize and it's cool


2. I figure, "Meh, not worth getting upset over" and forget about it and keep going. Much of the time the annoying thing is an isolated incident.

But I don't keep punishing people. And I don't expect people to be freaking mind-readers, which is something a few people in my life do that makes me crazy. Part of it, I know, is my stuff: as I said, I tend to be fairly direct (or else, just shrug and go "not worth being upset") and I also tend to be, if not QUITE on the Asperger's spectrum, close to it, so I don't always get subtext and all the million insane things that some people (mostly women, in my experience, but that may just be my experience) do that strikes me as passive-aggressive. For example: not telling someone you are upset with them over something they did but continuing to snip at them and stuff - that's passive- aggressive. If I did something that insulted someone, I want to KNOW because nine times out of ten it was me being awkward or phrasing something badly and an apology should fix it. (I know when it's the reverse situation, and I'm the aggrieved party, and the person I call out for being rude goes, "Wow, that really came out wrong, I'm sorry" I'm totally like, "It's cool, we all do it sometimes." Intentions matter)

I find it exhausting to deal with people who have so much subtext going on, because I feel like I have to walk on eggshells and I feel like there are all these rules I'm not privy to. (In a way, it's kind of like "microaggression culture," where people are LOOKING to be offended and don't seem willing to extend the grace of saying, "Maybe that person is just socially awkward" or "Maybe that person didn't intend offense but what they said came out wrong" or perhaps even, "Maybe I'm being a little too sensitive here.")

So anyway. I have to call Gina back some time and "meet" with her, which displeases me. But I'm also not answering the damn phone after 9 pm and if she won't listen to my requests not to call that late, I'll just have to train her by not answering.

Friday, July 03, 2015


There's been some discussion of county clerks and the granting of marriage licenses, and concern that clerks may be required to do something that is objectionable to their personal beliefs.

Again, I can kinda see both arguments on this: when you sign up for a job, you sign up for all the requirements of the job. If the job changes to include duties you regard as immoral, perhaps it's time to find a new job*. But I also see that that's not really practical (and honestly, all jobs contain objectionable things)

(* For example, pharmacists not wanting to sell birth control pills that a doctor has prescribed)

However, it's also been suggested: well, in counties that have more than one clerk, hopefully one will be okay with issuing same-sex marriage licenses, and so you could just let it be known that same-sex couples come in THEN.

(I also think, just as there exists a list of religious groups - like Quakers, for example - who are "on the list" to be able to claim Conscientious Objector status because of their faith, if they so choose, maybe make a list - Catholics, conservative Jews, Southern Baptists, Church of Christ* - of denominations where gay marriage has not been approved, and if someone is part of that denomination, they can claim Conscientious Objector status to issuing same-sex licenses)

(*I'm guessing on that last one but I bet I'm correct)

And yeah. I can see an objection rising: "But what if there is only one clerk in a small county, and he's a Southern Baptist?" or "What if the only Unitarian clerk works really limited hours?"

And yeah, then it becomes inconvenient for a same-sex couple to get a license. Or they have to drive to another county or even another state.

But you know what? Just as there is no guarantee against one's being offended, there is no guarantee - it's not in the Constitution, for sure - against having to deal with inconvenience.

And you know what? As a single woman who lives alone, inconveniences are a regular part of my life. Yes, you can argue that a marriage license and obtaining it is a big deal, and you can argue it's "humiliating" to have to drive to another county for one.

But it's also humiliating to be without water for a week, because of some plumbing problem and the first day the plumbers are available AND you can be home from work is a week in the future. So you flush toilets with a bucket of water you filled up at work and carried home in the back of your car. And you use baby wipes to bathe. And it IS awful, and it does feel kind of humiliating - and I've been there.

And inconvenient: if my car gets called in for a recall and it takes more than a couple hours to fix, I'm having to call on people from church or colleagues to drive me places. To and from work. To the grocery, if it's an extended thing. And that's inconvenient for both me and them. And it *feels* humiliating to me to have to call people up and ask them for help.

And I live in a small town. There's stuff I use regularly that none of our few local groceries sells. So I have to drive to the next state (where the next town of any size is) and shop for it there. And that's a pain in the neck for stuff I use regularly.

I dunno. There's a point where "offensive to the faith of someone" buts up against "inconvenient to the other" and it seems a little shabby to me to want to cause offense JUST to avoid inconvenience - because an awful lot of us deal with all kind of petty annoying inconveniences on an almost daily basis. (And I would note - if you do it right, you should only ever need ONE marriage license for your entire life, whereas I may have to have extensive work done on my car five our six times during the 10 years I might have it)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

a quick observation on the election

If the 2016 presidential race becomes a Clinton vs. Trump race, I WILL be voting third-party.

Or staying home.

(He is such a buffoon. I have a friend who says, "He could be good if he listens to well-chosen advisors" but I think that is highly, highly unlikely; it seems more likely to me the first time someone gave him advice that didn't fit his concept of the world he would fire that person. Also diplomacy is not only not his strong suit; it's not even in his deck of cards. And I get, we don't want a limp noodle when dealing with dictators of other nations, but we also don't want someone who will say exactly the wrong thing.)

I dunno. I'm trying not to answer the question, "How screwed are we?"