How about that rain?

how about that rain

There I was, standing among a group of strangers. Brought by a dear friend, who in trying to get me out of the house, dragged me kicking and screaming to a holiday party. I might be exaggerating the kicking and screaming a little–but not much. Once faced with party revelers, my kicking and screaming ceased.  The reality is, when faced with a situation I am uncomfortable in, I become strangely quiet. “Strangely”, because I am rarely quiet.

I surveyed the room with one of my terminator glances, left to right with cyborg precision. Yup, nobody here looks interesting. This has the potential to be an excruciating event. Holiday time is stressful enough. I don’t want to talk about vacations, or gifts, or crazy families or perfect kids, or money or jobs.  But I said I would mingle. (What was I thinking?!) It occurred to me that I have a veritable arsenal of witty, interesting and somewhat compelling conversation starters depending on my audience. In this case, I immediately ruled out NASCAR, mostly because it’s off season. I ruled out football because I am a Jets fan and well… I am a Jets fan. I ruled out dining, because I often wind up with nothing to say to the health conscious, gluten loathing, palette broken exercise nuts. Music: too subjective. Movies and TV are always an option, until someone has the nerve to say they have never seen Blazing Saddles. So, none of that.

What to do! Honestly, synapse firing thoughts and ultimate decision-making takes place in seconds. At the moment I open my mouth to speak, an assembly line of thoughts has passed through my brain.

I speak. “Pretty cold out, huh?” Yes, with my plethora of knowledge and interests that span from food, to music; politics to literature, sports to Broadway, I settled in on weather. In my defense, I really am a weather fan. Dare I say, a bit of a weather geek? I had to act fast as to not have my new circle of strangers be bored into a holiday party coma. I used words like Derecho and Haboob. I spoke with delight of  the Aurora Borealis, thunderstorms and tornadoes.  I shared information on my abundance of weather apps.  I think they were riveted. (I often imagine stuff, so who knows.) You see, I had an option when I opened my mouth to speak. I had control of what a group of strangers would think of me. I could have been the girl who knows everything about sports, or that chick who no one agrees with on politics, or be that snooty literary chick… maybe even that girl that everyone remembers for her love of broadway. No, I opted, in this instance to be a weather geek. For the record, rooms of strangers you will likely not see again are great for trying out conversation “material”.   🙂

My moment in the sun—pun intended—was brief but satisfying.  As happens with topical conversation, ours veered off and inevitably led to ALL of the conversations I didn’t want to have. The weather in different parts of the globe led to where people were traveling for the holidays, and  that somehow morphed into “winter foods”, and I don’t know how but—oh dear—global warming.  I decided to slip out of the circle of strangers, feeling proud for having partaken in pointless, time killing conversation.  I was a success, in my mind anyway.  Yes, weather is my friend, and as dull as it might seem and contrary to Oscar Wilde—“Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative”—Hogwash!—I can stand proudly when I say I survived a holiday party because of my weather nerdines. ♥

There is a lesson in here, and it’s not just that when your gut says stay home, you should. It’s that sometimes you can have a blast just trapping people into listening to what YOU love. Maybe that’s not the lesson. Maybe, it’s that everyone has a conversation in them if they speak with enthusiasm about the weather. Maybe not. Does it really matter? I survived, it was fun… the end.

xoxo DDJ

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What would John Lennon say? (You know the answer)

HATE

The following is a completely NON debatable fact. There are no political sides you can take. There is no religious ground to stand on. The world is in utter turmoil and people are dying for a couple of basic tenets of civilization. (Perhaps the word ‘civilization’ is the important part of that sentence.) There is an inordinate amount of HATE and INTOLERANCE. That’s it. I know I have said this more times than I even remember, but put a bunch of toddlers in a room from every corner of the earth and guess what? They will happily play together, form bonds, giggle and share their toys. Hate and intolerance is taught. Nowadays, it is ACTUALLY taught, but it has been seeping into the minds of people more covertly over millennia by passing down one’s personal and inexcusable hate filled philosophies.

Currently, there are three hate-filled aggressions taking place in the world and on the news right NOW: in Northern Iraq/Iraq, Ukraine/Russia and Israel/Gaza. And I ask myself, why? Iraqi’s have made no effort to hide their intolerance: “Leave, Convert or Die”. That seems pretty straight forward and horrifying. Ukrainian’s trying only to live their lives are being ‘bullied’ in the most violent sense of the word, by a most formidable bully, in Russia. Gaza being governed by another ‘bully’, Hamas, has forced Israel to defend itself with deadly repercussions.

If you find yourself judging the above statements, then that is part of the problem. Why do we hate? In the most simplistic sense of a t-shirt derived concept, ‘Why can’t we all just get along?” The truth is, I have my intolerances. I hate STUPID people. People who are too lazy to think. People aren’t inherently stupid. Stupid, for these purposes, is a word I use to describe ignorance and idiocy. We don’t start out that way. It is learned, it is taught, and it is THE problem.

Now that I have narrowed down the OBVIOUS core of the world’s problems, how does it get rectified? Well, the answer must be above my pay grade, because all I can think of is a line from the movie WarGames. When considering the go to answer to all conflicts is usually destroy thy enemy at any cost, I remember Joshua—the computer—in WarGames saying, “The only winning move is not to play.” These conflicts have been there, on the surface or below, throughout time. Allowing people to live their individual lives without interference and without trying to change their beliefs is, in my opinion, the only way the world’s people can coexist. And I cannot wrap my brain around the type of hatred that is any more than, “maybe we shouldn’t be friends anymore.” My oversimplification is deliberate, because I think it SHOULD be that easy.

I would not call myself a peace-monger. In fact, I very much believe in a strong armed forces. I also believe that there are TOO many situations that call for armed intervention, and there are, sadly, times in which collateral damage is perhaps—unavoidable. You can argue that point if you choose, but it will not change the point I am trying to convey. And culturally speaking, it is not possible for me to clearly understand the thought process of someone in Iraq or Ukraine or Palestine or Israel. I am an American. And just as all Americans can hardly agree on anything, I have to believe that the same exists in countries throughout the globe.

So, live and let live is the simple answer, with no simple or even complex strategy to achieve it. In the course of The United States of America, it is a very short time frame in the bowels of our history where we have become tolerant and accepting of things that WE once thought ‘wrong’. We are still—quite slowly—growing in becoming tolerant of our own differences. But within our countries boundaries we abhor violence when it comes to ‘hate crimes’. Everything going on in the news today is a ginormous HATE CRIME.

I wish the world could learn from my analogy of the children having no preconceived hatred. They are a beautiful clean slate. Without being fed hate and intolerance, they would go along blissfully. Oh sure, perhaps there would be the tantrum, or crying if someone took a toy and didn’t give it back, and perhaps one of those kids would take a swing at another or—God forbid- bite them, but those are usually resolved quickly. I don’t believe that Johnny taking Billy’s dump truck would go on to be a decades or centuries hate filled WAR.

Living while allowing others to live is the only answer. Play nice. It’s over simplified and sadly—probably never to take place in my lifetime. But I am tired of the media making it any more than it is and placing blame. At the heart of these conflicts is people NOT wanting other people to even EXIST. Sorry, that’s just stupid. And I think I already said how I feel about stupid people.

Xoxo DDJ

People are People…. But are they?

People are People so why should it be, you and I should get along so awfully? Depeche Mode. Lyrics from a song I have loved by a band I’ve loved for quite some time. It is these past few weeks I have given considerable thought to the lyrics.  I don’t understand what makes a man hate another man.  I do! The fine men of Depeche Mode do not answer the question. I have been giving this a long and very personal look.  We all come into contact with people we just DO NOT seem to get along with.  It’s me, it’s them.  Maybe the truth of why some people “get along so awfully” is a very simple fact.  There are good people and there are not so good people.  There are people who live a moral and just life, abiding by laws and trying to do the best they can in an ethical and responsible way and in the words of the Hippocratic Oath—D0 NO HARM—And THEN, there are people who don’t.  Their lives may be filled with lying, cheating, thievery, manipulation and a selfishness unfathomable to me.

If you are getting the feeling this is personal, then you are spot on.  Details are irrelevant since this is just my personal study of people and why there are some that I have no use for in my life.  That I have beaten myself up for thinking I should be the bigger person TOO often, has finally tuckered me out.

An example of a “bad” person—in my opinion—would go a little something like this… Lazy and disrespectful at work.  Cheating the government for funds so that they can try to NOT work AT ALL.  Lying on daily basis with such tenacity and fervor that this person may deserve and Academy Award.  Perhaps they have a disingenuous demeanor that most people take for sincere. They might even, from the outside looking in, appear to be doing something of a charitable nature. But look closer, trust your gut.

I will make this simple.  I know that I do NOT get along with people that I find to be selfish, manipulative and devious.  So people really AREN’T just people after all.  I wanted to believe that.  That amongst us all was an innate nature to do the right thing, live a life of some small amount of benevolence and kindness. But I just don’t see it.  I see, every day, the opposite, and it is disconcerting at best, and exhausting and deflating at worst.

I say all the time that it is our four-legged friends that I am truly close to.  There is a trust, with unwavering and unconditional love that comes from the innocence of our furry friends. And with few exceptions they are my preferred choice in pals.

When it comes to people, I create this delusion that we are all—somewhere within our soul—connected and full of something, however tiny, resembles goodness.  But that just isn’t true. Whether the “bad” is a conscious and thought out life of a morally and ethically deplorable existence or someone is just batshit crazy doesn’t change the facts. The reason I don’t get along with certain people is because of a basic affect of their personality that is in direct opposition to mine.  I can’t change that, and chances are the people I find reprehensible can’t change theirs either. So, the best I can do is remove myself from situations where people like this come into my life.  I imagine, if I could do this, and I am trying quite hard, that MY life would be greatly improved.  Sadly, it means that the blight will just move on to become a leech on some other poor idealistic soul and make someone else question the same things I did.  Why is this so complicated? Why can’t I just let it go? Why should their behavior have such a negative effect on me, if it doesn’t always affect me?  Why? Because I can’t change who I am.  And if people are people as it has been sung, then I am precisely who I am supposed to be, and I don’t suppose I can expect the “bad” people to change any time soon.

It has been bandied about—mostly by me—that IH8 PPL.  And to an extent that is true more than it is not, but let me be perfectly clear… If you are a good person… I will know instantly and if you are not…. Well then, I think you know how I feel about you. So, please DO go gentle into that good night.

DDJ