Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Politics of Manners

I don't know why it is, but my best thoughtful (philosophical) moments come when I'm doing needlework or writing in my journal.

I need a case for my reading glasses because I've reached that age I need them everywhere (grocery store, banks, filling out applications, etc.) and the little reading glasses that fit into a plastic case just isn't cutting it any more. They are small, fall off my nose, and are a little bit too strong. I know. I could buy a pair that aren't as strong, but they have a tendency to fall out of the hole in my shopping bag since I don't carry a purse any more. Why bother? I do not need a bag hanging around my neck or over my shoulder or arm to carry a lot of useless things I won't use; whereas my shopping bag (very stylish, blue, printing about being eco-conscious) is very useful for quick stops, holds my canvas shopping bags, and all I put in it are my wallet, keys, and reading glasses. Very useful and I'm not dragging around a lot of junk. That's what I have a house for -- a place for my junk stuff.

Anyway, I was needlepointing an eyeglass case in the wee hours before the dogs got up and started barking (just minutes before) and couldn't get back to sleep, so I picked up the case and continued stitching. I did get all the color work done and now have only the black background to stitch. Have you any idea what a pain it is to stitch black on black even with a 150-watt light? Getting old eyes sucks, but that's another topic for another time.

As I stitched, the idea of gratitude and manners came to mind. Okay, both are subjects that often come to mind in this mannerless world of rude crudes. There is a difference between gratitude and manners. People with manners will ma'am and sir you and speak with what sounds like respect, but it's like a smile that never reaches the eyes. An exercise of learned response versus true gratitude and manners. I prefer the former. I can handle rude (have you met my family?), but I find it difficult to understand and accept ingratitude.  It's something I see several times a year.

Don't get me wrong. I often donate and give gifts anonymously. I don't need the accolades and I'm not trying to build up points in heaven because I don't believe in heaven. Well, not as a religious concept where people who said the right words in the right religious way, and often with zealous religious fervor. It seems to me that refusing to enjoy the life you're given to build up points to go to a place where everything is all sunshine and light and praising some god is the antithesis of living the life you were given. Mortgaging the present for some nebulous future that may or may not exist and could be taken away if you fail to give thanks or do the right things according to whatever doctrine you follow. Makes no sense. Yet another topic for another time.

Back to gratitude and manners. There is something empty about someone giving the formulaic response to a gift. "Thank you, ma'am. It was nice. I like it." A 'really like it' may be added -- or left out -- but that empty feeling settles in the pit of my stomach when I hear it. I can tell by the tone of voice, the glitter in the eyes, the broad smile, the excited words, and the spontaneous hugging that the gift was well received. That is gratitude. The former is manners -- by rote. A formula for acceptable behavior. It's as flat as last week's 7-Up left open on the counter.

As I pondered the difference, I got an idea to embark on a completely new path. I thought about writing a short story, but something inside me kept saying, "Write a play. Dramatize it." I've done enough plays and read a lot of scripts, so I know the basic format and what I want to achieve. Flitting over the transom in my mind came a memory of Sandra Bullock overseeing the stage settings for one of her character's plays while giving an interview to a reporter. That published interview set the stage for family drama the likes of which I can imagine. Good thing most of my family is either dead or estranged. No one will notice if I put them on the stage and give them sides to memorize.

What it all comes down to is this. Give me honesty emotion however expressed and save me from learned manners without emotion. No wonder the world of Jane Austen has gone the way of historical romance and movies. That kind of socially correct and soulless responses leaves a bad taste in the mouth -- and on the heart. Maybe honest, unguarded emotions (and words) are best. At least in the case of political posturing, give me emotion every time.

Other thoughts have crossed my meditative mind, but this is the first time I've considered writing a play. I like it. I like it a lot. (imagine a big grin full of teeth and the glitter of mischief in my eyes.) Now that is gratitude. Honest gratitude from me to the muse without political correctness and political posturing. Unadulterated. Unexpurgated. Unvarnished. Unfettered.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Nothing Much

The new chairs arrived yesterday morning while I was still sleeping. When American Furniture Warehouse tells you to expect delivery between 7 and 9 on the scheduled day, expect the earlier time.

Two guys were walking around my yard carrying the chairs over their heads. I have four doors into this house, and three ways to get to the doors. They were at the laundry room door and needed to be on the back side of the house to bring the chairs directly into the living room. They had to walk around the house and down the little hill to get there and they did it in short order. The Saran wrapped chairs were unwrapped and the bigger of the two guys snapped a picture of them in place on his tablet, which is also where I had to sign the receipt with my finger. That was awful since most of it didn't show. I keep my nails short to type faster. It showed.

Anyway, the chairs are sitting next to each other and I'm getting used to them before I figure out where they will be placed. They are just the right shadow of yellow (flax) for the room and not too bright at all. They're also very comfortable. I expect the other two chairs I want for side of the room where the new chairs sit will arrive as quickly and in equally good order.

On a side note, I do not like the way LiveJournal has changed the site. Used to be I could make a comment and click the back button to find myself right where I left the page. Not so now. I have to scroll back down to where I left off and that is irritating at best. Now I point the comment to another window on my browser and close the browser when I'm done. Nothing works the way it should on LJ any more. So much for all the fussing about with the code and the look. It's awful.

Why is it that people want to get into pissing contests with me when I make a comment that their rancor pointed at the way the USA has done completely excludes the fact that their own country, and indeed every country and civilization since the beginning of time, was also founded on atrocities to each other and to the people who lived there before them? You don't fix a problem by pointing out how another country (not your own) has built their greatness on the bodies and blood of others. That's disingenuous to say the least.

This particular person has it in his head that I am telling Native Americans that they should just suck it up and get on with their lives. And why is it always Canadians? His latest broadside was just as pissy as his first attack on me. He said my spelling was atrocious without pointing to a single incident of my atrocious spelling, and all because I noted that nickel was spelled nickel and not nickle. I checked through my comments and there were no misspelled words, which tells me that he made up the atrocious spelling in his own mind. Maybe he shouldn't have mentioned that he was dyslexic when he said he knew how to spell nickel and spelled it incorrectly. He continued to one up me by saying that he had a degree in Business and his mother, 89 years old and still going strong, was still a syndicated columnist, throwing in a little aside that he had an IQ of 152 and had more history under his belt that I could even imagine. I declined to one up him with my higher IQ or the war zones I've lived in, the riots I've lived through, and the history I have seen in my nearly 60 years of life as the daughter of an American soldier. I felt it was more pissing that I was willing to engage in. I congratulated him on his accomplishments and simply told him that I was not born to privilege, but had made my accomplishments all own my own without any help from my family or my background. I have to keep reminding myself that he is another one of those Canadians inhabiting the high moral ground and looking down his nose at everything American while ignoring the rest of the world as he decries our checkered history.

I need to keep away from people like that and stop reminding them that they have no moral high ground because they will inevitably come back to bitch and moan at me while castigating me with their lack of wit and charm. Best to keep out of those my dick is bigger than yours discussions that always end up with them unzipping and hauling out the dick to show just how big a dick can be.

In the meantime, let me add that if anyone sees a misspelling on my posts, please let me know so I can fix them. I usually write these posts off the top of my head and welcome being able to correct them when I'm wrong. I don't see such correction as onerous or unwelcome, but a chance to make what I've written better. Thanks in advance.

Somehow or other my bedside clock got off the time. It's now about 2 hours ahead of what it should be and I don't know how that happened. Now I have some extra time to do the dishes before I wash my hair and clean myself up before trekking down the mountain to drop off some mail and pick up milk and bread and maybe a snack or two. I also have to draw some money out of my account to pay the housekeeper when she gets here tomorrow to wash floors, clean windows, vacuum, and carry away empty boxes after she steam cleans the sofa and chaise. The house will be livable again -- at least for the three weeks before it's time for her to come and clean again. Such is life.

Well, the birds are mobbing my decks again and I need to get going so I can go down the mountain for the mail. Btw, the picture at the top is of flax seeds and the actual color of the chairs

That is all. Disperse.