Rescuing Bumblebees

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This morning, while waiting for our yoga teacher to arrive, I sat outside in the sun with two other women, and prayed that I would not be invited to join their conversation.

“Have you let go?” one asked the other

“Yes, I have,” she answered, “I’ve let go of everything I can.”

“Have you become aware of the spaciousness around you,” the first woman wanted to know.

“Yes, it feels nice,” admitted the second.

“It takes awhile,” offered the first, “to understand that spaciousness comes from inside. It’s an internal process.”

Say what?

My yoga buddies were talking about the effects of a minor health issue. But, it’s just as likely they might have been discussing a son or daughter leaving for college, or a change in hair color.

I get tongue-tied during these esoteric conversations.

All I want to do is work up a sweat in my Ashtanga class. I don’t want to think about what I don’t comprehend about internal spaciousness.

I live in a tie-dye town surrounded by wine vineyards. Our economy is driven by the over consumption of alcohol. Limousines for hire happily drive tourists to wineries where they sip a Russian River Pinot while attempting to comprehend what the wine pourer is talking about. He’ll ask if they smell the soil in the wine. And whether they taste the fruit forward splash of raspberry and apricot with a finish of chocolate and cinnamon.

Say what?

All they want to do is get drunk, and flirt with their driver.

This is the Left Coast. I love it. It suits me. I live in a blue bubble. I love it that some old men on the Right use that term in the pejorative. It means they won’t be moving here anytime soon.

Since it’s a huge tourist draw, my little pocket of the Left Coast attracts an enormous number of daytrippers from all over the country. Once while wine tasting with friends from out of town we listened to a couple from Florida enter into a heated discussion with a couple from Seattle over guns. Naturally, the slow-witted mantra, guns don’t kill people, people do, was trotted out at high volume. To which the Seattle people responded: Tell that to the kid who is collateral damage in a shoot out.

The Florida couple was “outgunned” by the preponderance of Lefties.

All we want to do is convince the other side our paranoia is more worthy of outrage than theirs.

Yesterday on Facebook, that bastion of intolerance, someone deemed a celebrity sanctimonious. Irony is clearly lost on that dude along with self-awareness, and the definition of sanctimonious. No one is more sanctimonious than the guy who called out the celebrity as sanctimonious.

Isn’t that a great word, by the way?

All we want to do is castigate all those who do not share our worldview. I’m right, you’re wrong. Who can say it the loudest, and with the most venom?

I returned from yoga to find a terrified bumblebee pummeling itself against a sun-warmed window. Carefully, I wrapped him in a kitchen towel and escorted him safely out the door.

For a second he seemed to hover as if to say thank you for rescuing me. Or maybe he said fuck you for leaving the door open ushering him into a labyrinth of turmoil and despair.

I don’t understand the esoteric buzz or body language of bees. But, I aim to learn. Through this study maybe I’ll expand my consciousness, and come to understand the nature of internal spaciousness. It’s worth a try.

Or maybe not. One thing I do know is how easy it is to finish a bottle of Russian River Pinot Noir.

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THANK YOU! to all my commenters on the previous post. I appreciate you! It’s lovely to see everyone again after so long an absence. I’ll visit you all to catch up on what you’ve been up to!

Inappropriate Behavior

 

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“Have you thought about what I asked? It’s been two weeks, Hilda.”

Lynn, arms folded across her ample chest, leaned in the open doorway of Hilda’s office. Lynn in her leather skirt and black stilettos. Hilda thought Lynn’s attire wholly inappropriate for the staid atmosphere of the law firm. But Lynn was oh so good at her job. She seemed to snag new clients every week. She billed more hours, won more cases, and was easy on the partners’ eyes. Hilda had overheard two of them assessing Lynn. That’s what they said. The comment was a wake-up call for Hilda. The aging partners played by the ‘it’s always been done this way’ rulebook.

Hilda, in her navy blue suit and pearls, crinkled her crows’ feet allowing Lynn’s question to soak in.  She’d thought about little else.

Lynn tossed her grenade. “Has Howard ever made any inappropriate gestures or said inappropriate things to you?”

“Umm, no.”  Hilda closed her laptop, leaned toward Lynn. She’d like to be Lynn, but possessed the self-awareness to know she could never pull it off. Men liked her well enough, but not the bad boy sort Lynn attracted, and then swatted away like pesky mosquitoes when they came too close.

“That’s not the right answer. Could it be possible you missed or ignored the innuendoes?” Lynn moved inside, closed the door, angled her shapely derriere on the edge of Hilda’s desk. She flexed her foot, and the delicate bones of her ankle moved as if to speak to Hilda, but she couldn’t decipher the code.

Hilda dug in her heels, pushed her wheeled chair away from Lynn’s scrutiny.

“I have two paralegals who say Howard does things, says things that he shouldn’t.

Hilda, what would it take for you to sign that affidavit admitting you were sexually harassed by Howard?” Lynn swung her legs around the desk to face Hilda who couldn’t help but note the elegance of the move, and the perfection of her calves.

“The truth, I suppose. If it actually happened.” Hilda cursed the perspiration that broke out on her upper lip.

“Hilda, We’ve been through this. Howard is 70 years old. He needs to go. But, he won’t go peacefully.” Lynn tucked a strand of hair behind her ear releasing a molecule of scent, jasmine, Hilda thought.

“What about his wife?” Hilda inched her chair away from Lynn’s sequined stilletos.

“Hilda, are you so sure that Howard never made a move on one of his secretaries or the paralegals or another partner?”

Hilda folded her arms over her chest to stop the sweat from dripping onto her ribcage.

“Hilda, don’t you get it? With Howard out the firm can easily afford two partnerships for the price of one. One of them is mine. I’m offering you the second.” Lynn crossed her legs. Her leather skirt hiked up her thigh. Hilda watched her smooth it back down to her knee.

“That’s cutthroat, Lynn.” Hilda raked her fingers through her fine, pale hair. It resettled into place, unmoved.

“Yes, it is, Hilda. I’m glad we can agree on that.” Lynn extended a hand, and Hilda had the ridiculous impression that she wanted Hilda to kiss it. She suppressed the urge to laugh.

“Take my hand, Hilda.” Lynn’s nails were painted a beautiful copper, and Hilda was astonished to note how well the color blended with Lynn’s ensemble. She wondered if Lynn changed her nail color every day to match her outfit.

Hilda unfolded her body from the chair. She thought this must be what it’s like to be very old. To feel the difficulty of an ordinary movement like rising from a chair, of having your muscles betray you, like a rusted hinge.

Finally, Hilda rose to her full height. Lynn cradled her elbow as if she were infirm, and required her help to stay upright. Together they walked out of Hilda’s office.

It was only as the two of them waited for the others in the tomblike morning gloom of the conference room that Hilda amplified that Yes of hers.

For SAM’s Master Class.. The last line was chosen by Rebecca and comes to us from Sylvia Plath’s, The Bell Jar. I changed one word.. us to them.

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Thanks for reading!

Reality Check

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“I’m not in a funk. If anyone’s in a funk, it’s you.”

Andromeda, if that’s really her name, pitched forward in her chair, then leaned back, threw her arms in the air, picked up both feet, then stomped them firmly back on the floor. I wasn’t the only one who laughed out loud when that threw her off balance. Those metal chairs are slippery. She nearly slid off onto the floor.

“It’s all ok, Andromeda. Lord knows I’m more often in a funk than not. I’m not making a judgment call here.”

That’s what she said. What does that even mean? She’s not making a judgment call. For a group moderator, Sharon does the best she can, but she’s out of her league with these morons. I could corral them like sheep. If she’d let me. Every time I try she tells me to use my inside voice. As if I’m a kid. I might not be old enough to drink, legally, but I can vote.

I helped elect my state’s two senators. So, maybe that didn’t go so well here in Kentucky, and maybe I should have found out for myself what they were sayin’, but hey, my vote counted.

“I think what Sharon was trying to say, Andromeda, was that you don’t seem like your fun-loving self today. I’d like to see you turn that frown upside down.”

Clive said that. What happened next wasn’t pretty. Andromeda jumped out of her chair so fast it clanked to the floor. We covered our ears when she screamed at Clive to take that fake accent of his back to where he came from across the Pacific. He corrected her, said it was the Atlantic, and she went cray cray on him. Sharon stepped between them, and the next thing you know blood was pouring from her nose all over that stupid white linoleum.

I’m telling you. All I need is five minutes with those douchebags, and I’ll have them all in a funk.

 

For Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word is FUNK: 3 :  SLUMP  <an economic funk>  <the team went into a funk>

Self-Righteous Rants

The self-righteous rule out the possibility that they are what has gone wrong.  – Mason Cooley

 

As I have a blog I can post anything I want. Those who visit choose to read it or not. That’s the way these things work. Read it or not. With one click it disappears.

Anyone can start a blog. They’re free. You can be up and running, ranting or writing in an hour.

So why don’t more trolls do just that and leave Facebook, and the comments sections of other blogs to the people who want to read what is posted?

oh those trolls..
oh those trolls..

Here are a few reasons:

  1. Homophobes. They think they might be gay, but like Michelle Bachman’s hubs, they don’t want to be gay, and that drives them to drink or pray. And they are most definitely angry praying drunks.
  2. Racists. They hate everyone with skin darker than theirs, even Italians, damn swarthy Mediterraneans.
  3. Sexists. Women are unworthy of their attention in general. But a reasoned, well-informed woman is to be demeaned and degraded so they might feel more like a manly man. Like Mr. Clean that big, buff, bald dude, their idol, second only to the Marlboro Man. (see item #1)
  4. Of course women can be sexists too. Look at Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin. They hate everyone. Or pretend to for the awesome publicity.
  5. Disdain for Intelligence. Who needs school or books, dammit. They can pull on their boots without anyone’s help and make something of themselves. This is the mothereffing USofA.
  6. FoxNews Watchers. (see item #5) Unbelievably they believe what they hear on FoxNews with no realization whatsoever how brilliant FoxNews is at dumbing them down even more than they were already dumbed.

What prompted my tirade? Facebook, of course, what else? I post the exchange here unedited, and that includes spelling and punctuation. Only the names are missing to protect the guilty. Decide for yourself. And this is a mild exchange. It’s ugly out there. Parenthesis were not part of the exchange. They are my questions to you.

Original Poster, G:555596_3537752124904_1349897489_n

Troll: And not too many years earlier there was no personal income tax.

(What does this have to do with corporate taxes?)

Me: If by not too many years you mean 1862 becoming permanent in 1913. You can tax commodities or income, but you end up paying for the services you have become so accustomed to one way or another. And in no way do corporations pay their fair share. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005921.html

Troll:  Nor do most people pay. I’m gonna guess u are with the lets do good with their money theme

Original poster, G: It’s refreshing to get an intelligent response. Thanks for the information, Steph.

Troll: Ahhhh G. — you ment one you agree with? I know you like those other peoples money. Unintelligent as I may be.

(What is there to agree or disagree with up to this point? That corporations don’t pay their fair share? Really?)

Original poster, G. It’s not your intelligence as much as your attitude.

Troll: OK here we go— a slap from someone who spent their entire life within 3 zip codes and the VIEW. As I replied on your posting before — this site is where one is most likely to be called one name or another. That happens when you have nothing to back up your spewing. Stick to recipies and animal rescue if you don’t want a rebuttal on your false/slanted posting. Hows that for attitude?

(Can someone tell me what name was called? Or what was spewed other than his nasty response?)

Me:  Wow, breathtakingly rude. A rebuttal of what? Taxes corporations pay? Easy to verify. History of the IRS? Written as a matter-of-fact that takes no position one way or another. Whatever slant you’ve attached to it is your own. And what rebuttal have you posted? Whatever zip code you’ve ended up in affords you a very narrow view of the good in people. That’s sad.

Troll:  What is sad is your objection to an opposing viewpoint. Breath easy Steph. It was a conversation until such time as your edict of your version of your truth. Glad to discuss any and all topics with u. However when a poster G. or u want to start name call be prepared for a response.

(What version of a truth does he refer to? What names were called? Do you think he knows the definition of edict?)

I’m calling him a name here, and it gives me great pleasure to do so.

I’m sure it wouldn’t interest him to know he could change his brain by learning something new. Learn a new language, or better yet, work on his first language. Read a book on psychology or evolutionary biology, or even the Cat in the Hat. When we learn new things neurotransmitters are released in the brain. We feel good. We feel productive, time slows down. In the case of trolls they might lose that old man, get off my lawn attitude, and begin to enjoy life.

But, if they only care to stay mired in their own muck, I would advise:

Start you own blog!

Empathy for the American Dream

“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”   – F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

At unexpected moments anxiety sneaks up on me like a feral cat. The “attacks,” to use the parlance of the affliction, range from mild to (rarely) incapacitating. They come out of nowhere, are just suddenly there.

If you were nearby during an episode you might not realize I was in its’ throes. I take a deep breath, and tell myself it will pass. When all else fails I have an anti-anxiety drug. Many others have far more debilitating attacks that they are unable to hide. But mine, so far, I can control. I might become quiet, excuse myself from the room, or exit a social event (though I rarely attend social events).

But, you may notice that I’d suddenly changed my demeanor. It’s possible you may find my behavior rude. You may think that I no longer cared about what you were telling me. I could tell you I was having an anxiety attack. But, I never tell strangers, rarely open up to acquaintances, sometimes admit it to good friends and family. I shouldn’t be embarrassed, but I am.

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Do you ever consider what some people have had to overcome to function as a productive member of a civilized society? Or what they can’t overcome? Do you ever look at someone and see, not their behavior, but the possibilities behind that behavior?

A few weeks ago I received a comment on a post that referred to “the masses.” The context implied that this amorphous entity was anyone with not enough money or resources to take care of their basic needs, like food and shelter: the poor, low income, the disabled, those that require welfare or food stamps.

Sounds like a Wal-Mart employee, doesn’t it?

The commenter suggested that providing “the masses” with welfare and food stamps was not helping them.

I often wonder about our capacity for empathy. It seems to be disappearing as fast as the polar ice caps. Facebook diatribes, red-faced TV pundits, we no longer respectfully disagree, we condescend and ridicule.

Whenever I hear someone use “the masses” in the pejorative I wonder what sort of household they were born into. Did their parents put food on the table, pay their school tuition, provide them with books, televisions, phones, a car? Did they have at their disposal the tools to make good on the American dream?

Credit: Tony Giovanni
Credit: Tony Giovanni

 

Did you know that dreaming is good for your health? I’m talking about dreams that visit you in the night. It’s a time to work through the tough issues. Is that the simple message we ought to send to “the masses?” Go to sleep, and dream. This is America, land of innovation. Pull up your bootstraps, and soldier on. Don’t expect any help.

Have you ever listened to JK Rowling, author and billionaire of the Harry Potter series, speak on the subject of welfare and taxes? As a single mother she depended on financial help from her government to feed and clothe herself, and her child. As a billionaire she has no interest in shuttling her cash offshore to avoid taxes. She’s happy to pay them, to give back what had been provided to her when she most needed the assistance.

How often do we understand the perspectives of other people? That person next to us acting a bit strange, what are they up to? Why are they anxious?

When we witness an accident, our amygdala is activated, that emotion-rich region of the brain. We hurry to help those in obvious distress.

What about those not in obvious distress? They become “the masses.” The masses become “the takers.”

We are all “the masses,” aren’t we? Maybe not 1% of us, but the other 99%? We are one big happy family. If your neighbor’s house was on fire wouldn’t you help him put it out? What if he lost his job, and required food stamps to eat?

What if you met a 6-year-old boy born into abject poverty through no fault of his own? His parents abandoned him. He’s dispatched through foster care. Would you begrudge your tax dollars helping him fight his way out of poverty?

Where is our empathy for that American Dream? Are we not all “entitled” to our dreams?