Keeping it together

I don’t want to get super philosophical about how this past year has gone – we all know that there have been more attractive dumpster fires. It doesn’t really matter what your political viewpoints are, where you stand on immunity or face masks, or educating your kids at home. We’ve all had a nasty shift in normalcy, that well – we’re just going to have to accept. There is no “When things get back to normal” because this is normal. You don’t have to like it, and some won’t accept it, but just as you can’t step in the same river twice, there is no going back.

So, you may be asking yourself why the image of a compartmented box? It’s a bit of a shower thought, honestly. You see, at one point, I desperately wished that everyone who was of a certain mindset would be isolated off, into their own place and allowed to growl and howl and be gruff with one another and leave the rest of us well enough alone. There was also this realization that if such a thing were to happen, those folks would continue to feed their fears or frustrations to the point that they boiled over, and came sweeping over the less – uhh? – conspiracy minded people. It really came to be very clear to me last night that this is a bad concept because of that lack of blending ideas and ideals. The truth is, we need these ideas and people with them in out lives, no matter how opposed we are to their beliefs, to maintain a kind of balance. As humans, we need ideas that challenge us, make us think, make us wonder – and in time, help mold us. Understanding the “why” of what makes another’s viewpoint unattractive should be just as important as it is to get to the roots of our own core belief systems. “You’re wrong” – “No, YOU are wrong!” isn’t much of an argument. (See the Monty Python sketch if you want a much better explanation of things.)

To be blunt, we’re all fairly well compentmartilized now. Most of us live in our “bubbles”, seeing few outside of family, or the rare friend. Our social media reflects our interests, and excludes people with other ideas – or openly mocks them. That’s not truly productive. I can see the appeal of the mob mentality on some level, though I despise crowds and noise, just because it would be connecting with people in a way that I feel I’ve been deprived of for a year. It’s a scary thought that. So how can I make things more functional, box up some things, and let others be open, without going guano crazy?

Work is part of the answer – I do interact with people of differing viewpoints, and try (not always successfully) to listen without becoming angry or depressed. It’s true, I do tune out a lot of the noise with audiobooks or comedy stations. Sometimes the work is so repetitive and faceless, that it becomes dull. That’s where things can go sideways. Yes, it is gutting to think of so many people being ill, but focusing on that will paralyze my ability to function. It’s essential that specimens are not “people” – they are handled as carefully as they can be, because they are collections of a moment in time. That actually has more importance than some may consider.

Social media is rapidly becoming a non interest. I do it to stay in touch with people I love, but honestly, it feels like so much work, I just don’t want to put the energy into it. There’s a fine line between “interacting” and just “liking”. It doesn’t feel “real” to me any more, and that’s probably a good thing, because it never was reality. Given the choice between spending time with my Hubz, or chatting with someone, or maybe even going to bed at a reasonable hour, or perusing the socials… Well the digital world isn’t holding my interest. Maybe because it was the only interaction I had with anyone aside from my Hubz for so long, and now I actually work with real live people, it just seems kind of “meh”? Trust me, there is no dissing of people who are relying on it for sanity or “adult conversation time”. Use the tools you have! They’re just not working for me as of this moment.

Phone calls can be iffy as well. Being the designated check in with Mum, oh ye Gods and Goddesses… There is only so much effort I can put into listening to the same story on repeat, or try and talk over the dogs barking, or the “Woe is me” and how unfair life has been to her. Err? Excuse me? You made decisions, and yes, I appreciate being lonely in a town you don’t really know during a pandemic, but for the love of all that’s Holy, make a damned effort. If I had a dollar for every complaint about how she should have already gotten the shot, I could buy out the producers of the vaccines. The fact that she’s whinging about it to someone who may have actually handled 1000 specimens for COVID testing that day does not seem ironic to her. No, I haven’t been able to get the shot, and yes, I’m on every blasted list I can find right now. In fact, I just spent a very frustrating half hour looking for the stuff, and finding out that while I’m on “their list” I’m still waiting for the call. Thanks, Government, for offering such shoddy organization and guidelines. Right, time to stuff that back into it’s own little cubby of irritation.

I had a delightful scritching with Tom this morning, who – had he not already claimed “Tom” as a moniker, would be “Vlad” for his fangsies when he smiles. There is some kind of wonder when a formerly wild creature decides to trust you and allows for attention. Sure, there’s food often involved at one end of it or another, but I’ll take it. That’s a joy that goes in with the indoor fur children purring or being goofy. It’s still absolutely hilarious to watch Sal play fetch, and be all pert and hold her tail high as she returns with her “kill” – the crinkle ball. There’s amusement when the grand dames are caught cuddling with Sal’s plushie toys. They only do it when they think we aren’t looking. Watching the dog bounce between the Hubz and myself, being all excited and goofy getting ready for his walk is uplifting. We’ll never know what his life was before, but we know he’s loved here. That all goes into a special cubby.

We (obviously) made it through the storm with minimal damages. Lost a few branches and part of the garage ceiling. 3+ days with no power, 2 others with no water, and you know what? The sound of a toilet flushing normally brought tears to my eyes. It was an incredibly beautiful thing to hear, after melting snow and filling the tank trying to flush. Oh, and taking a hot shower? Sweet mother of all things good and relaxing – after a few days of no showers and taking sponge baths, stepping under the spray was as close to Heaven as darn near anything I’ve experienced, and yes, I’ve been camping. So gratitude for things that were taken for granted is going into a larger space in my life, because, well – that’s needed. Trying to fill my bubble with more awareness of the good things, and appreciation for them, while allowing space and constructs for things that aren’t to my liking is challenging.

It’s worth the effort. The effort of spending some time with uncomfortable truths, or loud persons isn’t fun. I don’t think there will come a time where I find “trolling” people online to be a good time. Trying to understand where that person is coming from, and accepting them as they are is, in the long run and selfishly, helping me accept who I am.

2 thoughts on “Keeping it together

  1. Sorry for the delay in responding – I’ve been kind of out of things. Not sure why. We had sufficient heat from the fireplace and enough quilts and what not to make for good sleep and relative comfort. Heavy socks helped too! But I really think I would have been fine – even for another week – if the water had held up. I’m not entirely sure I understand the why these bits our Texas’s infrastructure haven’t been updated. Seems like a no brainer to me.

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