scarlettina: (Reality Check)
A couple of remarks on Facebook this morning got me thinking about contrasts and distinctions.

1) An acquaintance of mine posted a single phrase: I need a girlfriend. The conversation that ensued was . . . enlightening. A couple of his female friends advised that he work on himself and that love would come. (This has been my occasional thought about this acquaintance, as it has often been about myself.) Some of his friends asked him what he could possibly need a woman for; girlfriends, they said, were all whiny, needy and expensive. And this acquaintance of mine said, "You mean it doesn't get better? At least the last one had the body of a goddess." At which point, I thought, "Ah, you're not looking for a girlfriend; you're looking to get laid." There's a difference. It also made me remember one of the many reasons I've never dated this acquaintance of mine. He reveals himself too often to be exactly the kind of man who doesn't see women as real people. We are useful for particular things, but mostly we're adjuncts to men, from his perspective.

2) I saw a production of "Cabaret" last night, and remarked upon the fact that a couple of people laughed at the end of the song "If You Could See Her," with its horrifying, deliberately anti-Semitic punchline. I said that I wasn't sure whether or not they laughed because they were shocked or because they actually thought it was funny, that in the current political climate it's hard to tell. A friend responded that it's an old show, and that when he saw it in the 1980s, people laughed then, too. I responded, "I don't think the age of the show has anything to do with it. It's a shocking moment, signaling a major cultural shift in the play." He said, "The age of the show was in reference to your thought on current politics." But the more I think about this exchange, the more I think he really didn't get my point. Did he think I thought the show is contemporary? Is he not aware of my more than passing interest in theater and awareness of at least some of its history? Possible, certainly, but I'd be surprised if that were the case, given how long we've known each other. Art--good art--remains relevant despite the passage of time. It will provoke different conversations in every era. Either he missed my point, or he really thought I had no idea what I was talking about. The longer I know this man, the more we butt heads about particular issues, the more I think he hasn't been paying attention, which is . . . disappointing. Or maybe it's just that we've lived such completely different lives that we don't know how to communicate with each other--a thought that has never occurred to me until just now.
scarlettina: (Creating yourself)
I think I've posted about this before, but it struck me again this afternoon and I need to write about it again.

In high school, I was in drama club and there was a guy who worked lights who wasn't very nice to me. I didn't know what his beef was, but it was persistent and when I left, I didn't really think about him again, except to remember him being a pretty unpleasant person.

Skip forward ~35 years to my getting onto Facebook. In the rush of folks who friended me after I joined, there he was--RP. I was surprised that he friended me. And then I decided that I was going to be so nice to him that he was going to feel bad. Well, two weeks later, he pinged me and apologized for how he treated me in high school. I was surprised and kind of delighted. Ever since then, we've been friendly, joked around, flirted a little, traded postcards when we travel. Whaddaya know? We're friends! And I'm pretty gratified with it.

Tonight we were chatting, and I was talking about how I'm going to Norwescon as a fan for the first time in years, rather than being on programming. This meant I could think about doing things like showing up in my black leather halter top. He teased me about it. Then he told me he'll be going to Florida two weeks from now and promised a postcard. I thanked him and he said, "Anything for you." My inner response was, "Wow, if our high school selves could see us now, they wouldn't believe it," and I had to laugh.

I think they call this growing up. Sometimes? It's not so bad.

The press of time

Wed, Feb. 3rd, 2016 08:58 am
scarlettina: (Truth shall make you fret)
I joined Facebook long after it became a Thing, and only after being shamed into it by a coworker. Within the space of 24 hours, I had over 300 friends. Said coworker was blown away and asked how it had happened, given my reluctance to join. "Life," I said. "A long career," I said. "Lots of friends," I said. With time and the peculiarities of the internets, that figure has settled at around 950. I'd say that I know in person--or at least am personally acquainted with--at least 90% of those people. The other 10% are friends of friends whom I've gotten to know online. Though that number is high, I'm actually pretty careful about who I accept as "friends" on Facebook, and I do occasionally cull the list when it becomes clear that someone either isn't really very friendly or asked me to be friends for some reason that turned out not to be genuine or appropriate or disappointing.

One of the weirdnesses of Facebook--some would say it's a blessing, but given my experience, it's just been weird--is reconnecting with people from as far back as elementary school. My earliest best friend--from the low single digits--turned up, and she's as sweet as I could have hoped for: smart and funny and someone I'm glad to call friend again. Someone who was nothing but mean to me in high school turned up asking to be friends--and I decided I was going to be so nice to him that he was going to regret his behavior . . . and he did! He very seriously apologized to me, and now I'm "hon" and we joke pretty regularly.

Among the people with whom I've reconnected are friends from high school that I knew marginally well, with whom I shared membership in drama club and that kind of thing. I got together with a small group of them when I visited Long Island in 2011, like a mini-high school reunion. Among them was SSK who, as it turned out, had become a family doctor and something of a local rock star as a result. She was lovely, bubbly, funny. And we kept in touch afterwards, mostly in the casual way one does on Facebook. At the time, I didn't know it, but she'd just been diagnosed with cancer. Pictures of her with a scarf around her head started showing up online. More recently, her local friends ran a campaign to get Paul McCartney to sing happy birthday to her. The campaign failed, but a number of us stepped up to do it instead (including me). News came about a week ago that she'd gone into hospice.

This morning word came that she died at 3 AM. :: sigh ::

I'm glad that we'd reconnected, even in the way one does on Facebook, caring just enough to check in online, but maybe not enough to make a phone call given the casual nature of the connection. It was OK; it was OK with both of us. I'm glad I made the birthday video for her; she knew I was thinking of her. This is what we can do, at minimum. I know I couldn't have done more at such a physical and emotional remove. I even know that it might not have been appropriate to do more, all things considered. But I think about it.

In a conversation on Monday evening, I mentioned to a friend that I was feeling the press of time. It's always at times like this that said pressure becomes more intense. We ask ourselves questions about what we're doing with our lives, are we making a difference, have we been good family members, good friends. The answer is that we do the best we can do. And if we don't feel like our best is good enough we strive to do better--or whatever it is we think is better.

One day at a time.

Toxic internet

Fri, Aug. 8th, 2014 06:43 am
scarlettina: (Angel)
Yesterday, I was accused of being a liar. I had posted a link to this editorial in the New York Times on Facebook, and said, "The right to an abortion *is* a right, just like any other constitutionally protected right. The fact that states are placing undue burdens on it is what's not constitutional." A friend of a friend proceeded to argue that this wasn't an accurate statement--abortion isn't listed in the Constitution, he said. I explained that the Supreme Court had founded the right to an abortion in the due process clause, and I produced links and evidence to support my argument. He then accused me of changing the wording of my original post. Twice. Which I hadn't done, and at which point I told him that I was done with him, what with impugning my character and all, and blocked him. I can't help it if he didn't read my original post carefully. I can't help it if he misinterpreted it. But once he called me a liar, I was done with him. Period.

I'm still angry about it.

The internet has gotten toxic lately. Between the terrible news from around the world and the daily exhortations to be outraged about this and that and the other thing over there, it's nearly impossible to find a positive experience online these days. My Facebook wall has twice in the last ten days been used as a debate ground for trolls (one of whom was the above-mentioned person). I find myself feeling restless and irritated, distracted and flailing for Something Positive. I feel extremely burned by yesterday's exchange. Stepping away from the internet for a while might not be a bad idea.

I've said it before recently: I need something new. I need a fundamental change. I don't know what it is, but part of it has to be, I think, stepping away from the internets for a little bit. I don't know how successful I'll be, but I need a breath of fresher air.
scarlettina: (Abomination!)
Earlier today, I posted about Referendum 74 here in Washington state, which is an attempt to repeal same-sex marriage. I said, "Most of my local friends live in Western Washington, and we have a habit of poo-pooing the conservative, Eastern side of the state. But these people are serious about their bigotry, even--especially--because they don't see it as bigotry, and they'll come out in throngs to vote against same-sex marriage. So will conservatives here in Western Washington."

Elsewhere, in response, an acquaintance of mine said, "You know what the worst kind of bigotry is? The kind where certain people call other people 'bigots' because they dare to have a different viewpoint than their own."

I answered in the following way: A clear distinction needs to be made between opinion and bigotry. On the one hand, you and I may differ about whether we like onions. I can respect that you don't like onions and you can respect that I like onions. That's a difference of opinion. Where it stops being opinion and starts being bigotry is when you decide that I can't have onions because you don't like onions and you pass laws to stop me from eating them. It starts being bigotry when you decide that, because I'm an onion-lover, it should be illegal for me to marry another onion lover and you work to pass a law to that effect. Or maybe I should wear an onion patch on my coat so everyone knows I'm an onion lover. Or maybe I should have to ride in the back of the bus so you can't smell the onions on my breath.

He posted in response saying that I had it backwards, that by trying to shove my onion-love down his throat, and by not respecting his right to fight back against my onion love, I was a bigot.

This is an intelligent man. I've seen him speak intelligently about science fiction, about writing, about the business he's in. So to see this kind of thinking just stymies me. He believes that this is a difference of opinion. He doesn't see how trying legislate away someone else's rights is bigotry. And he thinks I'm a bigot because I think he's wrong. And he thinks I'm a bigot because of my onion patch remark.

I don't understand this. If you can legislate away someone else's right to marry, then you can legislate who gets to live in one place but not another, who gets to do business in one place but not another, who gets to work in one place but not another. Don't they see where this leads? Don't they see what it means? If they'll do it to gay people, they'll do it to brown people and Jewish people and yellow people and people who don't believe in God, and on and on. What's worse is that I like this person but I can't be friends with someone who thinks any of this is OK.

I'm heartbroken to learn that this is how he thinks, because I can't--I can't--associate with someone who thinks this way. Why? Because there was a time when they came for the Jews and said, "You can't live here, you can't work here. We say so." That's what's happening here, now.

At Passover we're taught that each of us must behave as if we ourselves were taken out of Egypt personally. The metaphor extends to all of life: put yourself in someone else's shoes and live mindful of that awareness. If I put myself in his shoes, what I see is things changing that I can't control and acting out of fear to control and stop that change. At the same time, the things that are changing don't affect how I live and they give others rights and freedoms that they don't have right now. Doesn't that make the world a generally safer place? Doesn't it make it a better, less hurtful place?

I don't understand this. And I don't understand how he can't see what's happening here.
scarlettina: (Autumn)
Here are the three Facebook updates I made today. They summarize the day pretty accurately:

Went to the doctor for a follow-up on my accident injuries. She says the foot and the muscle soreness will heal up 100%, which I didn't doubt, but she has also diagnosed mild PTSD associated with the accident as a result of my driving anxiety. Off I go to the Behavioral Health Clinic. ::sigh::

Back to Weight Watchers tonight. My big fear was that in the wake of the accident, without any exercise, I wouldn't lose anything. I'm down a whopping .2 pounds for a total of 41.2--it's the right direction, anyway. The next couple of weeks will be challenging with my ability to exercise somewhat limited, but I'm going to stick to it.

Tonight I picked up cantaloupe and strawberries for treats as the week progresses. They will join my already acquired treats: a bowl of clementines and a couple of apples. Tomorrow, at least one apple gets it--say good bye to all of this, my red, crunchy friend.


scarlettina: (Default)

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