This morning, when I went up the stairs to open the doors and allow the pets wander down, but I found a high-quality invitation envelope on the ground addressed to me in fancy script. Inside was a letterpress printed card, on very nice paper, that said Significant Other requests the honor of your presence Monday, June 15th, 2020, for Dinner at Eight. White tie. Please RSVP.
“I shall be delighted to attend,” I wrote on the back of the card, using my finest penwomanship. Then I taped it to the kitchen door, so he would see it and the pets wouldn’t trample it. It’s been a cool rainy week. If I allowed muddy pet paws on his pristine invite, how would that come across? I thought. Which got me thinking about my own little mitts.
Clearly, a day of beauty was in order. Such high-hat events take days of personal preparation. One must arrive impeccable. Which of course brought up the tub issue.
I wasn’t raised with bathtubs. I come from a culture where water is precious. Baths were only for sick people. You had a high fever, you got an ice bath. So maybe there’s some psychological issue there as well. I’ll admit that. But I cannot see how one can ever get clean in a bathtub. It mystifies me.
Needless to say, I’m a shower person. The Significant Other? A bathtub person. I never foresaw myself using the basement regularly, so when we created the bathroom, we ended up installing a tub with a telephone hand shower. Happy compromise? Yes, at the time. Now? Not so happy.
And doing one’s hair in a bathtub? For me that’s a whole ‘nother level of hell. I use the bottle washer on the kitchenette instead. It works well. But my hair gets caught in the drain if I forget to use the mesh cover. At this point, I’m so tub averse, I’m currently sitting on the counter soaking my feet in the kitchenette sink as a prelude to giving myself a pedicure.
My SO finds all this ridiculous and amusing, but the man has issues with gas ranges that make my tub issues look tame. He can’t understand why a person who has lived through multiple bad wildfires is in love with gas ranges. He wanted an electric range in the kitchen, I said “hard pass.”
Ok, so why am I banging on about bathtubs and cooktops? Just as when you’re only experience with something is negative (me and the bathtub), when you’re only experience is positive (Der and the electric range), you have to work hard not to end up with a viewpoint that’s distorted either way.
If I want to live in harmony with my SO, I have to be willing to look at and accept his lived experiences. Our life is richer and better when accept our differing realities, jettison old ideas, embrace new ones, and create a new reality together. It’s not always easy, but this is the nature of living a common life. And love and respect make it possible.
I have no experience of racism. I have no negative experience with the police either. But I support Black Lives Matter. And the defund movement. I understand that systemic racism exists, it’s crippling our nation, and for the sake of every citizen it must stop. But let’s remember, the system, is local, state and federal government.
The word police, comes from the word policy, which comes from the Latin word politia (meaning state, government). Police exist to enforce the policies which government officials decide. And we the people decide via voting who those government officials are that make those policies that the police enforce.
The decision to send police into the streets against innocent lawfully protesting citizens the past two weeks in every case was made by elected officials, city mayors. We don’t talk about that for some reason. But we need to talk about it. Because it won’t change otherwise.
Local government said it’s “ok” to use choke holds, flash bangs, tear gas, batons, and tasers. Said it’s okay to treat peacefully protesting American civilians like hostile, foreign enemy combatants. Which brings me to Buffalo.
Buffalo’s mayor, Byron Brown, is a black male Democrat. He’s popular. He understands the BLM protests. But he made a decision to send in a special unit of “elite officers, trained in crowd control” into the streets, knowing what that unit was going to do.
The mayor knew this unit’s directive was to advance no matter what, like an army, and to hurt any people that stood in the way. This is why medics travel with this group. It’s assumed medics will be needed to treat the wounded folks left in this group’s wake.
The officers followed their orders. They advanced, hurting innocent unarmed people, like elderly white peaceful protester Martin Gugino, and then called the medics to tend to their victims. So, while I agree what the officers did was 100% wrong, it’s important not to turn a blind eye from this (or any) mayor’s role in choosing to put this specific unit on the street.
Watch the videos on that segment in slow mo. The officer that shoved the elderly Martin? He’s the same officer that tried to stop and render aid. The second officer involved, per his training, didn’t stop but kept advancing. Their superior officer, per his training, shoved the first officer onward so he’d advance as trained. The superior called for the medics, as he had been trained.
If there’s no compassion, why did the first officer try to stop? And watch the second video of the event. Lots of cops on that line stopped and looked. Black, white, male, female. They stopped and looked. But ultimately they advance, as per their directive. To write all these cops off as evil and violent is to overlook the complicated truth.
Violence is the method third-rate governments use avoid real solutions. Racism and police violence is real, systemic, and must be stopped for the good of all society. But it starts with replacing those in government who think violence is a solution to avoid addressing racism. Yes, the policing paradigm has to shift. But those in government direct that shift.
When the two officers were charged with assault on Martin, the others in the unit resigned in protest. I understand why they resigned en masse. The others knew what the training was, what the directive was, and what the mayor had ordered them into the streets to do. The mayor is taking no blame, and he should.
They should not have pushed an elderly man, that is assault. It doesn’t matter they didn’t know he was frail and did not see his balance and walking ability was less than normal. They caused his injury. But that’s what the mayor knowingly put them on the street to do.
I understand mayors wanting to stop looters. One of the stores I go to all the time when I’m in So Cal was looted. The people who own this store are the best. They’ve been 40 years in this spot, truly serving their whole community, the whole region. They support BLM.
Because the word “pharmacy” is in their name, they got looted. But it’s an alternative medicine store that only sells herbal medicines and vitamins and the like. The owner was even jumped and beaten by three looters while standing by the store. He’s like 70.
Floor, windows, cases, refrigerators, computers all need replacing now.And insurance? They said they aren’t covering the damages. I guess looting is an act of God now? The customers started them a gofundme page. You can see pictures and read about the damage there.
Could that store have used police protection? Sure. But would there have been looters if there had been no protests, if the current (or any previous) mayor had addressed the citizens concerns about racism and police violence long ago?
Honestly, people have to vote in mayors (insert any office) that are going to prioritize the concerns of the people. And in this day and age, small groups decide big races. There isn’t a large black population in the US, but when that population turns out to vote, it changes everything – in a good way.
I don’t see anyone in any of those massive protests out there handing out voter registration forms. Getting people registered so that in the next election the whole power structure can be changed is critical. I don’t see anybody doing it. But I hope to God it’s happening.
People who protest with the expectation that people in power — the people who set the cops on them — will change the system, are living in a fantasy. It’s like watching people take Mitt Romney seriously as a social activist. Walking with Christians for social change during a BLM protest, doesn’t meant you are a Christian for social change.
If you have to reach back to your father, 60 years ago, to find a instance of social activism to remotely connect to yourself? You aren’t interested in social activism. You’re senate record proves that. You’re just another Republican who rubber stamps everything the POTUS does.
Taking a walk doesn’t change who you really are, or what you really believe, or who you really represent when you sit in the senate. If anyone would like to know how Mitt really feels, please review his 2012 video. Nothing’s changed.
Social activism is a central tenet of Christianity. Just ask James, who grew up with Jesus for a big brother. James, Jesus’s younger half-brother, tells us about the criticality of social activism in his letter (James Chap 2).
You either walk the walk, or you’re just talking the talk. You’re doing the good you can, or your walking by on the other side. Faith without works is dead. The Significant Other never walks by. It’s one of my favorite things about him. He’s like my Da in that respect.
This week, he came across a woman with a box full of desk items crying in his building’s stairwell So he stopped and socially distanced, in a mask, sat with her. Her small interior design business was struggling. She was losing her office in the building on the 15th.
She couldn’t work from home for various reasons. She had an assistant. She needed a smaller, cheaper office. But with all the moving costs, and coronavirus, and …. it seemed like the end of her dream.
Being intrepidly entrepreneurial himself, he understood. He asked how much essential space she would need for just herself and her employee. Not very much. So he took her up a couple floors to his office and showed her his small, glass-encased conference room, which had its own door to the main hallway.
“Would that be enough space?” It would. “You’d be in a fishbowl.” She could put up frosted window film on the glass. And the rent? Based on the footage, she could afford it to the end of the year. The building landlord was okay with the sublet. He’d even change the interior/exterior locks on the conference room and have a new plate made for the door, Suite ###B
If her business gets back on its feet, she’ll move into any suitable empty space in the building, if not, they’d at least all tried. Either way, Der would eventually get his conference room back. Meanwhile, he’d catch a break on his rent, she’d keep her business, and the landlord could rent her old much larger offices. Win, win, win.
Der’s office helped her move in the following day. They even gave her business website a big upgrade and suggested a new marketing strategy. All she had to do was transfer her phone and internet lines up a few floors and and hang some vinyl film. She was over the moon.
Someone made a choice not to pass a suffering person by. Someone stopped, listened, and tried to help in the way most appropriate. And because of that, two people kept their jobs, property got rented, money circulate, and the economy was helped along.
Not all social activism happens in the street. Sometimes, probably most of the time, it happens in stairwells. And the impact is so small, world never hears about it. But it’s the small kindness which keep the world turning in a positive spin.
I’d be up for talking to someone in the stairwell right now. I think talking to the public health officer now and then to confirm I’m still in quarantine is my biggest contribution to society right now.
Although, I bought a small piece of art to support a street artist I love, David Zinn. His mastery of color, design and perspective are incredible. He works out of Michigan, but sometimes he bounces into Canada.
And my old yoga studio in So Cal recently started streaming their classes. Only $9 a class. So supporting them too. Real people doing real yoga. Honest thoughtful practice to slowly heal the body and soul. Love that place.
So, I’m doing small things to support great people out there doing wonderful things and that’s gotta count for something.
Meanwhile, back to doing the good I can — in this case for the one I love. I’m going to spend the afternoon experimenting with hot rollers. There’s not much of a cut or style left to my hair after so many months without a salon trip. But I need to figure out a solid updo for Monday’s white tie affair.
Although how long really will the hair be up? The Friday love song (well, it’s a song, and it’s definitely about a kind of love) has got me thinking not long. Especially as his plan is to show up and show out, smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy. (See I got there.)
Better get my Hallelujah tuned up.