On the Quiet Indignities

What is the cost of getting along? What is the sacrifice for harmony, or at least the absence of conflict? What is the price of silence in the face of injustice?

Listening to a radio show on a contested adoption, I am reminded how complicated life can get, and how self-image can be stronger than the labels that others try to apply to make you fit their world view.

I sometimes think that the human life is lost in the mechanics of law and justice. What is that child thinking as she is fought over in the legal system. What do kids in an orphanage think seeing so much effort expended on one kid, when they have been living there for years.

What does the adult think with that in their past?

Since my mom told me about the circumstances surrounding my birth, I realized that the not-knowing privilege I had over my other siblings made for a very different life. I always strove for difference.

In customer service, the goal is to have a successful transaction every single time. When it requires a simple apology in order to make someone feel better, does not the apology diminish the caring of the individual? I don’t think so, because successful customer service requires empathy with your customers, treating them as people with needs rather than tasks to accomplish and get out of the way.

Most people’s needs in the library are modest in comparison to the rest of their lives. Why not be the best that you can be to make their day a bit brighter.

 

On the Gatekeeping of Public Spaces

So, I’m a librarian. Among my many duties includes the policing of the public space of the library in an effort to make sure everyone has equitable access to the space and facilities. That is sometimes harder to accomplish when personal likes and dislikes come into play.

We are all human, we all have preferences, and many of us go to some lengths to keep our surroundings harmonious with our expectations. Thus, there is the perennial “Teens are too loud”, “Young people dress badly”, “Kids should stop playing on computers so I can get some work done.” One man lost his shit over a perceived jumping of the line to the network printer.

Expectations differ so, that libraries often have codes of conduct that lay out the MINIMUM acceptable behaviors that are to be followed while in the library.

I was listening to a podcast of a security operator for a large social network, and how he took it in his own hands to delete accounts of the people he thought were being bad on the internet. And while he might have been correct, it is that same kind of “I know better than anybody” attitude that I have to guard against all the time. We never know the whole story, we never see the circumstances that led to the decisions that prompted the behavior. I see family power struggles play out in public, I see grudges being settled, I see people getting on each other’s nerves because for that brief moment, they were seen, they mattered and they had to be responded to.

I don’t live in the district my library serves, sometimes I feel I have less call to referee public situations, but it is part of my job, to settle the disturbed, to listen to the slighted and the wronged and to apologize for life not working out to people’s expectations, no matter how high and unrealistic those expectations were.

I guess the short answer is, people can really tire me out.

On Getting Back to Sharing

I am just a bad blogger, I need to admit that up-front again. There is always the desire, but the follow through is the difficult part, because I lose track, get caught up in the day to day, lose the signal in the noise.
I read an interesting story about the human frequency, and how it can be measured. I have been trying and failing to quantify myself. It’s like I don’t want to know what I might be doing wrong. And that’s the point isn’t it? When I take the time to think, like when I write, I can order the thoughts, cut through the noise of justification and see what I should be doing.
So, re-commitment is the process of knowing you should be processing, and realizing that you have fallen off somewhere. Time to shake the dusty pixels off, and sharpening my desire. Change happens, we can only choose the form, and I don’t want no Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man following me.

On Loss, Learning and Accepting

I learned that a close friend’s husband died unexpectedly over the weekend. I am reminded of how fast life can change and if it can take the downward dips, can it not always ascend to happier heights? It seems we remember the valleys more than the plateaus.

Went out driving in the new-to-us car today, out of the county, to see the wine country. Still feel like a stranger and unconnected to the community. I just don’t seem interested in getting to learn about new people. I want to, but the investment always seems to be bigger than what I can muster.

Made a choice today to not use chips as a snack food. Need to make some changes more permanent in my life. If I don’t do things today, there just might not be an opportunity to change in the future.¬†

On Waiting, Performing, and Good Smells

So, a lot of changes since the last time I wrote. We have a new-to-us car, a Mazda Protege with about 50000 less miles on it than the echo, and we took a bit of a risk in buying the first one we looked at with very little bargaining. We lucked out, though. When our regular trusted mechanic said “Well that’s a solid little car you got there” a whole raft of anxiety lifted and we felt much better about ourselves in terms of being competent adults. Neither of us bought cars often enough to feel really comfortable, and we probably might have gotten a bit more on the trade-in, but we were within our budget, it was a well reviewed car, and we made a deeper connection with a dealership in our general area of the city.

I am waiting for my program to begin as I start telling our library world that they can check out a Chromebook computer from the library to use in the library. Does everything a browser can do, with a 4 hour battery and independence of movement. Going to give them 15 minutes, but as it is starting time, looks like I may end up with a no-show.

Driving the new-to-us car in the CWE towards SLU with the windows down, I just got blasted by all the fabulous food smells that were in the air. Something about the sharpness of the autumn air mixing with the aromas of cooking meat, and that fiery smell of charring and roasting. It really made the day start to feel alive. That and the great news about the Mazda.

I miss the Echo though. It was only the second car I ever bought and I had it for 10 years. Several accidents, fender benders, deer, and blizzards, and the Echo was a constant in my life with H. We did so many things with that car, and we realized after we drove away, we had left all the stickers of all our years at the Lake Michigan beaches that had been our refuge of calm. Gone now, a memory like the time at the beaches themselves.

On the New, the Old, the Space Between

New is novelty, sharp, a mystery to engage with, desires fulfilled, uncertainty and exploration. Old is known, worn, wise, comfortable, blunted, dull, faded, reliable. There is the between, the path of learning that becomes the deeper rut of existing. The deep canyons of tradition, where the bottoms are shrouded in the darkness of assumption and certainty, and the heights of the unknown. There is also the path of comfort, the path from dynamic to static, from firm to sagging, from energetic to exhaustion. Sometimes is is easy to walk in the path carved from time by parents and community, well worn, known ways where the path can be seen from beginning to end. The same path can be breaking new ground, from the outsider, the curious, the disenchanted.

From ignorance to education, from blindness to insight and from fear to understanding, the path between is the change of the life. Sometimes there’s no escaping the mudslide, the falling rock, the hidden hole.

The desire of the new, the yearning for the comfort, the dyad driving the human condition, the duality of going to be and having been, every now a decision of experience, to do or to have done. To not be, to not decide is not to live, merely to exist.

On Change, Chinese Food and the Twilight Zone

Today was pretty productive from a certain point of view. New processes at work make sure that everyone is paying attention. Had an excellent dinner with a spicy Chinese dish that I had never quite experienced before.

Then there is the Twilight Zone, we are watching old episodes while doing our evening stretches and ¬†they are really very entertaining, except for when the old sexism rears the ugly head. Everyone is smoking too. So weird to watch and see smoking so commonplace. That has changed in the course of my lifetime. Smoking, the internet, computers, the speed of things. So much change and yet, people don’t change so much. Some do, but so many do not.

The turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving in America is now thawing, and I have meetings for the rest of the week.