I’m not saying everyone is right; I’m saying everyone is human.
I should be working but feel free to surf.
Okay a couple of weeks ago I had a conversation and for the love of God, I can’t remember who had it with me. I do remember the conversation: “how many people have you met who are honestly marriage material?” That’s how it began. I think. It’s the gist. I broadened the conversation over the next couple of weeks until it was, “how many people have actually met in your life you honestly like?”
Now anyone who knows me, knows my rote, “I fall in love every day.” And I do. I meet someone and I’m touched by his/her humanity and at that moment, I love them more than I’ve ever loved anyone. Truly. It’s not sexual; it’s spiritual; it’s communal.
But how many people do you actually like as human beings? How many people do you encounter a day who make you feel peaceful? Joyful? Happy? Content? Communion? Among? How many people enrich your life? How many people offer additions?
Too damn few.
And how many people do you love? How many people make you feel happy that you simultaneously exist with them? And I have those people. I do. I could list at least 10 right now.
How many people do you actually hate as human beings? I’m saying how many people have you met in this world who lower the bar of humanity? You know, you dislike them with a passion that clouds your vision. And don’t give me bullshit. Unless you’ve got low expectations and/or pliable principles – you know people who are disappointing as human beings. I have no problem admitting this. I’m not a hog that eats anything thrown in the trough. I don’t like everyone. Well, because we’re not usually that alike. And honestly, some people suck.
I’m 55. I’ve reached that age. I’ve reached the age that I no longer tolerate people who are scum. And there are people who are scum. Please know that or at least know not to offer yourself for the panel of a selection committee. In the past I’ve tolerated people because a GF liked/associated with someone cringe worthy and so I tolerated the putrid with a hope for sex or to avoid the argument. All men have.
But I’m too old for that now.
And I’ve learned how to avoid the sickening spouse. You aren’t allowed to voice it – but it’s truly not that difficult to avoid the rancid. You’re just busy. And it never needs to be voiced because everyone in the situation knows how insufferable the spouse is.
And I’m not a dolt. I know there are many many people who do not like me. I am very polarizing. I’m okay with that.
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to socialize with someone who is so sickeningly vile I can’t tolerate his essence. Seriously. I find myself balling my fists in his presence and silently praying to control myself. And I don’t like living that way. And you know me. I have to make lists and comparisons. It’s who I am as a man. The other day I thought, “I’d rather spend time in an ER waiting room than be around him.” Truly. The fortunate aspect: he’s my buddy’s friend so I don’t encounter him often.
If there is one benefit to this political climate – I call it the cockroach syndrome. We live in an era of enlightenment. There’s this gigantic light that instantly illuminates the vermin as it scurries. You know where to step when you’re walking through their filth to get outside of it.
Here’s the aspect of all this that upsets me: I keep narrowing my social circle. I have to guard myself I don’t create a noose for those who are merely nuisances.
(Photo courtesy of knowledge.insead.edu)
I stood beside the entrance table. A floral arrangement centered the lobby. Tall and perfect. Synthetic or authentic? I didn’t care enough to discern. I watched a young father pay for a pizza and pass it to his kindergartened sized daughter. I watched with wonder as they waited for the elevator. A big pie to balance with tiny palms.
A couple stepped off the elevator. A Sherman McCoy. Not the ridiculous Tom Hanks incarnation. William Hurt. Tall. Blonde. WASPily adorned in a blue long town coat that covered a matched navy blue Brooks Brother’s suit. Vent of no vent? I couldn’t see the cut. His scarf dangled and framed his tie. Not fashioned into a Parisian knot. Just draped. Like his father’s. His grandfathers’. His past. His spine straightened by etiquette. Deportment. Discipline.
At his side: a Samantha Jones. After the cancer. Skeletal and elongated. He held the door and ruddered the small of her back. He steered her cashmere mere inches above her belt. She stepped outside.
He widened the door and stepped aside for a woman who walked several steps behind. She raised her hands above her head as if threatened for her cash. Her face twisted into hate. She backed away from him. Steps. Yards. Ten feet. Perhaps further. No words were exchanged. No offense was committed. Disobediently uncivilized.
He shrugged his shoulders and walked outside. The door shut behind him.
Here’s how you destroy a civilized society.
First, you remove all moral authority: “all priests are pedophiles.”
Second, you remove all civil authority: “all police are racist.”
Lastly, you remove all societal authority: “all cultural icons are perverse.”
And then you have the body of society without a moral or ethical spine.
Okay look. If you lie to someone – you exploit their vulnerability. The aspect our bullying society forgets: we’re all vulnerable adults. Vulnerability is all about degrees. Some people have a higher tolerance for your pain.
So listen up: you don’t get to decide which commandments are your easiest. Probity has no degrees. You’re either honest & decent or you’re not.
Liars exploit others dignity, vulnerability, and generosity.
Predators exploit emotionally, sexually, or financially.
Predators exploit; liars exploit. Pure & simple.
Fucking someone’s sense of trust for your own gain is prostitution.
(Photo courtesy of fukuleaks.org)
I’m thinking about buying a cane. Sometimes I feel so tired I lose my balance and sometimes I feel so weak my knees collapse. I don’t know if it’s the medicine or my heart. My cardiologist is hoping the medicine corrects my blood flow. Ironically, my blood has flowed through the ulcer on my toe for more than 10 weeks. My podiatrist is hoping the CPAP machine corrects my oxygen flow. I need oxygen in my extremities to heal my foot. I’m hoping for all that too.
But I have other hopes.
Yesterday I waited in line at the pharmacy to pick up my Dad’s medicine. I held myself erect by balancing my palm on the center island. I felt tired. It was a long day. I waited as a woman with three toddlers picked up their prescriptions. Finally they left the line and I advanced to the window. As soon as I started to speak I heard the woman yell, “You know it’s my turn! My cab is here! And you know it’s my turn!” I turned around as her three toddlers circled my feet. “Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were still in line.” I returned to the center island. She ignored me and shouted at the pharmacy tech, “You knew I wasn’t finished! My cab is here! You knew it was my turn!” I apologized again from the center island. At that moment I considered a cane.
And I felt myself hate.
I hated her. I hated her attitude. I hated that she dismissed the apology I struggled to speak. I looked down at her son’s cherubic face and I hated myself for hating.
I will not live hating.
I will not die hating.
I turn on Facebook. It used to be fun. Now it’s all hate.
What happened to, “When they go low, we go high.”
Tonight I saw a friend of mine had liked a post. A man I didn’t know posted a rant. I dislike copy & paste. But these are his words and he can own them: “If someone is going to be a racist douche bag on my page, their employers will hear about it.” What? He’s going to report them? Inform on them? Where is this heading?
All the spite and hate spewed over Nordstroms. We’re closing in on McCarthyism. Guilt by association.
What happened to, “When they go low, we go high.”
I’m a liberal and I reject the hate.
We can debate. We can protest. We can stand. We can defeat. But we can’t hate.
Go high or go it alone.
This week I’ve sat beside three of my closest friends. I don’t need someone to listen to me. I have men who listen to me. I don’t need to have someone understand me. I have men who understand me. My friends have gone high. Tomorrow night I’ll sit beside the fourth friend. I’ve never watched any of the Star Wars films. Tomorrow night we’re ordering pizza and beginning with them in the order they were released.
I don’t like science fiction. But at least good and evil is clearly defined. In our contemporary culture there isn’t a side anymore. It’s all low.
My heart has physically broken but this hate will not beat it dead.
I’m going high.
(Photo courtesy of MLeighS)