So today on Facebook I posted a piece written by a black woman who was raised by white parents which Gloria Steinem had originally posted. It’s been up for a few hours and there’s only one comment. No likes. A friend of mine “unliked” it saying it was biased. I think it’s right on. The writer describes what it’s like to be black in a world where racial profiling is a part of our national profile. It’s a very moving and passionate piece expressing what the writer feels in her own life and asking us, the white people of the world, to do something. She says that prejudice can only be changed by the people who are prejudiced. We are all prejudiced. We can’t help it. No matter what the reality was of the shooting incident in Ferguson, the cops there would probably have hesitated if the guy had been white. Yes, he may have robbed a convenience store prior to the incident, but that mean he should be shot on sight? The only way we can have true equality as a society is if those of us who are in the position to speak up do so. What would it be like if everyone was “colorblind”? It’s not up to the underdog to change things, it’s up to the people of the world who never had to worry about being the underdog. Change happens at the top of any organization. If everyone made an effort to look at their own misplaced fear of those who are different than we are, interesting and positive things will happen.
Hybrid Drivers: Compassionate or Insane?
So every morning Stan and I go for a two mile walk long before most normal folks have even batted one eye. It’s really lovely here by the bay and one can hear many sweet, early morning noises. I used to listen to the news on my IPHONE but one day the battery died and I realized it was much nicer to hear only the natural noise of the neighborhood. We walk up a long set of stairs about half way through the walk and Stanley tries to delay things by pretending to have to pee or sniff the very important grasses along the way.
At the top of the stairs there is a fairly busy street that runs across Sausalito and up to the highway. The street is narrow and it is difficult for two cars to pass one another due to this narrowness as well as the cars parked on the side of the street. As we walk along this street we often pull into a small space between the parked cars to allow a car to safely pass us. I hear the cars coming and usually find a place to pull into with Stanley as I find it safer for both of us.
Now I think of myself as a patient person as well as one who tries to be courteous to others but these days I have noticed there is a war starting in our neighborhood. The hybrid car drivers are really angry and have no patience at all. I noticed this a few years ago on the highway when I became aware of the speed and aggression of Hybrid car drivers. It actually frightened me. So I began to hypothesize about why this was happening. Did the bulk of hybrid drivers buy the cars because they wanted to save money on gas? Did they buy hybrid cars because it was better for the environment? I really don’t know the answer to these questions but I do know that for the most part hybrid car drivers are really pissed they are in these cars in the first place and seem determined to show the rest of the world how aggressively they can drive and how fast they can go.
The other morning Stanley and I were honked at by a hybrid driver who had silently driven up on us and even though we were within our rights to be walking on the side of the road, the driver apparently felt we weren’t giving her enough attention.
The honk was really loud and made both of us jump. I turned, startled by the noise and thinking there was a real problem, only to see that this woman wanted to go even faster than she had been and I was delaying her by seconds by walking my dog around a car.
Now I am perplexed. Isn’t part of the thinking in having a hybrid about being environmentally aware and isn’t sound a part of that awareness?
Isn’t there another solution? Like rolling down her window and calling out,” Excuse me, please?”
The one thing I have managed to maintain (knock on wood!) in my old age is my hearing and those hybrids are really quiet! If I were driving one I would worry about honking at people at such close range thinking I might hurt their ears or be bothered by my rudeness.
The last time something like this happened a young man honked at me and I shouted out at him, “That’s very rude!”
I know, I know. I should learn to just ignore these people but I can’t because I think they have no idea what they are doing.
This young man stopped his car and asked me what I had said which was very strange as I know he heard me. Perhaps he wanted to become belligerent with a 5’5 inch 120 pound lady walking a beige Chihuahua who is really a mutt but is so much more! In any case I said that he would probably have a heart attack if he didn’t learn to calm down and become a more patient driver. Then I told him meditation might help and that there was a class in the evening right down the hill.
He sat there in his car with his mouth open and then just floored his gas pedal and shot off into the morning. You can’t tell me these folks are happy.
So here’s what I think. I think the hybrid drivers are sheepish about their cars and want to prove to the world how powerful they are both mechanically as well as spiritually and they are unable to do either.
I will never drive a hybrid car as I would never progress beyond my own driveway. I like to make a lot of noise when making an entrance!
Tyler Clementi: The crime of Psychological Manslaughter
In reviewing the death of Tyler Clementi with friends and family, everyone had an opinion on what should be done to the two students who caused his sexual encounter to be publically broadcast and his resulting suicide. Some felt his death would be punishment enough for the two young people believing their lives would never be the same. The majority, however, felt there should be some type of retribution for this death paid by the two students who intentionally bullied Tyler.
A friend of mine, Joanne, invented a new term which seems apt to me. “Psychological manslaughter”.
We have Vehicular manslaughter, why not psychological manslaughter? I can think of many crimes this term might be attributed to. People who have been cruel to other people , abused others verbally, played tricks on them, manipulated and ignored others….the list goes on and on. The net result was the suicide of the tormented person. The crime of causing the suicide of Tyler deserves a conviction. If these two individuals had not been students at Rutgers, Tyler would still be alive.
Psychological manslaughter would be an accurate description of what happened in this case. I hope the courts consider the facts and consider a punishment that fits the crime. Bullying seems to be escalating in all age groups but particularly the young. Setting a boundary of acceptable behavior would be a good thing.
In our house in Maine there is a family wall where many memories are drawn or painted. The first measurement of a child’s height was done about 35 years ago when my daughter, Christina, was 2 years old. The wall is now covered with lots of memories and people who visit continue to make more of them. This house is the only house I own which I have owned for this long a period of time. In my real life outside of the months of summer I buy and sell real estate like a grass hopper. I love to move. I love exploring the new property and finding new nooks and crannies to hide in or hide things in. It makes me feel as if I am reinventing myself all over again which is a good feeling. I have noticed there are two different groups when it comes to houses: those that move and those that do not move. Neither group is better than the other , just a different mind-set. I think I like to move because movement seems to be a better feeling than stillness. Stillness can be sobering.
We are in an economy now where there is a lot of stillness interjected without sharp periods of insane fluctuation in the financial markets. Many still believe we are on an upswing. I do not and have not as you will know from my older posts. How can we pull ourselves out of this recession with so much accumulated debt in our government and those of other countries in the world?
So I say “STORE NUTS!”
Just like the squirrels do in time for a long winter we all need to store nuts. Don’t suggest this, our government officials tell us as we ned people to spend to end the recession That seems like a Catch 22 to me. Tell everyone to spend their savings so our economy will improve but what about what happens if people do just that and our economy gets even worse? We all need nuts in our trees to survive what looks like a very long winter.
So I have an idea. What if we all stored nuts and then added a few more for people who didn’t have enough?Wouldn’t that be a good plan? The world is different now and will become more different and less safe. If we band together and help each other life would be better for most.
I don’t have a huge network of family where I live but I do have a large network of friends I am grateful for. I would like to have a wall in my house here of all my friends heights and their small drawings as it would keep me company at night. Maybe I will begin that project soon.
More Erotic Fantasies from an older woman
Though I am not married, I believe in marriage. I like the word, “husband”. I know this may make some of you smirk. How can someone like me, an avowed feminist, be supportive of marriage? I think I believe in marriage because I believe in happy endings, holding hands, sending cards on birthdays, celebrating anniversaries, making a relationship romantic even if it is a long term one. I like to word “husband” because it means to me a nice man who is there for you in the long run. Someone to watch your back.
Last night at a dinner party with a group of friends the subject of marriage came up, and I said I hoped to remarry before I was dead. Several of my guests laughed and then a few comments were made like, “Why would you want to get married?” and “Why not just live with the person?” and “Would you want someone around all of the time?”
I am used to these kinds of comments but they still bother me. It seems to me that I should be allowed the same kind of romantic hopes one has when one is young. I have been single for a long time, actually since I was relatively young, and I haven’t lost my romantic desire to be with a significant other. I have no need for financial support nor do I want someone to take care of me. I just want to have a husband.
Yes, it’s true I have gone out with a lot of men. As Marilyn Monroe said so wisely, “Some girls just get asked more!” I have had a really good time over the last 15 years dating up a storm and I don’t regret a minute of it. Now that I am announcing to the world I want to settle down, the world laughs at me!
I wonder why this is. Is it because their own relationships have lost their romance? Is it because they feel uncomfortable when I speak of romantic love and how I would like to find it? Is it because they think I am “too old” to be thinking like this? I am embarrassing them in some way?
I don’t think you are ever too old to be a romantic. I think it is what those small moments are for when you have a really happy daydream about something romantic and you find a small smile on your face. I think it is when you see something about your beloved that reminds you how tenderly you feel about him. I think it is having the pleasure of seeing something in a store you know he would like and buying it for him.
I think sometimes if people could still try to believe in magic they would be happier and have more fun, be more relaxed, and have more meaningful relationships. I am used to people laughing at me because I say things they may have felt but are uncomfortable hearing. Fantasies are not for the faint hearted.
In recent years I have run into a few men who have tried to have a relationship with me despite that fact that they are married. This is such sad behavior. I find it not only bad behavior but also insulting to me. These men prefer, it seems, to compartmentalize their relationships: one for the family, one for love and sex, one for business, etc.
So what am I saying here? I believe in romance despite the fact that I am old yet I find it difficult to speak about my beliefs as most people I know seem uncomfortable with dreams and romance. Romance, to me, means loyalty, faithfulness, passion, support and most of all, flatly refusing to give up my hopes as they get me through the night! And that means a lot particularly in today’s’ world.
So to all of my friends who make fun of my desire, I ask that you change your tune and support me. You may find it fun to dream as well!
Larry Rivers From the Grave: Another case of sexual abuse
All right, guys, let’s be honest here. Larry Rivers was a well-known artist who left his estate in the hands of a foundation. The foundation gave most of his work to NYU. When NYU found there were films in the collection of River’s young daughters that the daughters wanted returned to them because of the very personal nature of the films, NYU did the right thing and returned the films. They didn’t return them to the daughters, however, but to the foundation.
The Foundation in charge of Larry Rivers’s estate refuses to return to his daughters films that Rivers made when the girls were 11 because they might be of value. These films were of his daughters who are partially naked and Rivers questions the daughters in the films about their changing bodies. The daughters have now asked for the return of these films and are having a hard time getting them back. NYU has done the right thing and returned them to the foundation but the foundation refuses to take the final step and give them back to River’s daughters. The daughters are waiting and still reliving their childhood experience in all its inappropriate and manipulative behavior by a parent.
Why is this difficult decision for the Larry Rivers Foundation? The foundation board is probably made up of men as it would be hard to believe a group of women would hear this story and allow the films to be kept and viewed as “art”. If these films are thought to be art then what about all the child pornography on the internet. Is this art as well? Are we as a society so bent on preserving art that we can’t discern between what is sexual abuse and what is art? If the victims of the crime report it and are still told they can’t have the evidence back, what kind of society are we running here?
These young girls were manipulated by their narcissistic and perverted father under the umbrella of “ART” and now deserve to be left in privacy with the evidence of his abuse and manipulation buried forever. Shame on the Larry Rivers Foundation for carrying on like this. Their only motive can be greed which is the usual suspect in all cases like this.
People are either getting better or getting worse as I see it. I haven’t been able to measure which side is growing the fastest yet but I have no doubt we will find that out in very short order. The angry and bitter group is getting frightened and more angry while the optimistic group is growing more positive and more compassionate. It truly is the dawn of the new era where survival will depend on cooperation: cooperation is a quality we Americans espouse but generally do not live by as we pride ourselves on our independence. We like the idea of every man for himself even though we now include women. There is a lot of rudeness going around and a whole lot of lack of respect. Families no longer have any loyalty to one another and grudges rise up out of nowhere and continue for years for no reason. No one knows how to solve things between people. Everyone holds on to the past as if it were a scaffolding for their lives. Yesterday I had a man come to clean my carpets. He was a sweet old man from the Czech republic and I left to go out and do some errands. When I returned I let myself in rather quietly and found him staring intently at the family photo’s which line my front hall. He looked as if he were trying to understand a science experiment.I wanted to take him out to dinner and explain to him that no one had total happiness . Families might look good in photo’s but many were filled with painful relationships. I wanted to adopt him for Thanksgiving dinner and invite many other abandoned souls. This is the way of the future. We need to create a new scaffolding based on love and reaching out to people not fighting with them.
Fourth of July in Real Time
Vail is filled with older couples who appear to be happy. They are well dressed, not fat and drink a lot. The other night I went to a great concert of Mozart and I liked it so much the next night I went back to hear the Blues and really fell in love. It’s a good thing to develop interests at an advanced age. I read in the NY Times that the Tibetans have developed a gene over the past 3000 years which enables them to survive high altitude better than the Chinese. Apparently altitude cuts down on the fertility rate of a society. I wonder if this affects desire as well. I wonder this because all of these older couples in Vail look as if they are not really that happy. Maybe it’s the altitude. Retiring to Vail and spending all your time with the same people isn’t my idea of fun but I am hyperactive. The man next to me at the concert was very engaging but only when his wife left her seat. She seemed unhappy he was speaking with me. I find this behavior insulting to me. I don’t want someone’s husband and never will. Now I may lust after some of them but that is done in the privacy of my own head. Vail is basically a lustful place for reasons I can’t explain. Maybe it’s the sensual shape of the mountains or the smell of the larkspur but it is a lustful place. I bet Tibet would be as well. It would be better if the Chinese suffered from a lack of desire rather than the Tibetans. I would rather have more Tibetans on this earth. Paul Krugman stated today that you can’t describe our economy as a recession as we have GDP growth. He also stated he thought there would be unemployment of over 10 % by the end of the year. I don’t even put my seat belt on anymore. It seems all over our world things are recreating themselves and then destroying them all over the place. I think the market will drop to under 6000. When I said this a year ago people thought I was crazy and said so. I think our houses will lose even more value and the oil spill will never be stopped. I think there will be a nuclear incident somewhere in the world and some badly behaved country will make a big mess for all of the rest of us. But, you know what? There’s nothing we can do but enjoy the present moment wherever we are and whomever we are with. We can really try not to be irritated by bad behavior by others like the mean man who brought a chair and plunked it down right in front of me and my friend today at the parade blocking our view. We can stop and listen a lot. This is now my favorite new thing to do. Just stop and listen and try to make a list of all the different things I hear.
I dreamt I was taller…
Last night I dreamt I was taller and was so happy. In my dream I was standing on a doctor’s scale and had extended the height stick so I could show the doctor I had grown. I was surprised, myself, about this event. In my dream I felt more powerful and straighter and happy that I had grown taller. It made me feel as if I was going to be more successful in the world and that I looked infinitely younger.
I think I had the dream because I am finally emerging from a dark and enclosed cocoon of relative misery I have surrounded myself with over the past few months. While the world fell apart with environmental and economic disasters, I felt an extreme need to hide from everything and so I did. It seemed safer to remain at home, sequestered, and not venture out into the world much. I am interested to see that this period appears to be over.
This morning I applied for a job, planned three trips, and emailed people I have been out of touch with. Last night I went to an extraordinary place where I saw a collection of photographs that amazed me with their character and life. I was invited by a couple I have recently met and who are very interested in photography. They have collected an extraordinary group of photographs which captivate the observer. They are not in any ordinary museum, but rather in a space created especially for them by the couple.
I found this visit inspiring and am grateful to have been included in the group viewing these photographs. Mostly I am in awe of what life is offering me at the moment. From a vast and deserted wasteland I am now entering the excitement zone where anything is possible. I find myself meeting new and interesting people, planning trips to places I have always wanted to go to, and seeing opportunity rather than dismay.
Something has shifted in the world: it is as if all the old and bitter things have vanished from my vision and only the light is shining through. I still think life is not going to be what it was for most of us. I wouldn’t run out and invest in the market or buy a very fancy house, but I would take a look at whoever crossed my path and take the time to communicate with that person.
We are going to be presented with new opportunities now and these opportunities will be filled with wonder. I know our job is to accept these opportunities as gifts we must open and gratitude is the most welcoming and acceptable form of response.
I wrote a while ago about Fergie and her shame and it was interesting to read what people thought. Some were sad about it as I was and some thought it was unimportant in light of what was going on in the world. I agree with both sides of the coin. When I saw the tape in which she was caught accepting a bribe I felt very sad for her and ashamed as well.I think, to me, it was a bleak example of what life is reduced to today for some people.I can’t explain it beyond that. It was more than salacious gossip, and more than frivolity in light of the world. It was a vision of what the world had done to a woman who had once had so much and now had nothing. No money, no self-esteem, no place in the world, and now she will be lost forever like so many others. We live in a time where many of us have lost a lot: some are living simpler lives and finding they enjoy it more and some have not felt any pinch at all. This last group is in the extreme minority, obviously but what feels different to me now is those that still maintain arrogance and lack in compassion are falling off the edge of the earth. In our world now we either look at what is happening with compassion or with fear. If we can use the lense of compassion I believe we will be able to help others who need help. If we use the lense of fear we will slowly drown pulling down others around us.
It’s like the dinner hour in some houses where the children all look to see who has more on their plate or Christmas Day when presents are counted in piles with names on them.
I will always remember the look of hopelessness in Fergie’s eyes. It is the same look many of us have. Sure I don’t spend much time thinking about her, but viewing that tape made me feel what it is like to be desperate.