Thursday, July 5, 2012

Life, Liberty and the Right to De-Friend

(My compliments and thanks to Ms. D for the fantastically, cleverly, perfect title for this post!!)

Every once in a while, I think it healthy to double check one's reality.

Why do I do what I do?  For a living, with the children, my family, my friends?

Why do I think the way I think?  Vote the way I vote?

Just to be certain, am I crazy, or just joking about being crazy? 

Why take months off at a time when, clearly, writing is one of the major things I should be doing ?

The last one is pretty easy (rationalization for procrastination is a gift of mine).  My aim with this blog is to be entertaining, funny whenever possible and educational when I'm super lucky (and am given the opportunity to share information that may be helpful for others).

Above all, I really want to stay upbeat.  So many people use the internet to vent their diseased spleens - I don't want to fall into that habit.  The last few things I've written have been happy, I guess, in the cosmic sense of Circle of Life - but not in the here and now.  These last few months have been eventful, to say the least, but literally none of the comedy that ensued (as always, there certainly was some) was fit to share.

So I've had nothing to say.  Sort of.

Why do I do what I do? 

I do Readings because I'm good at it, and it genuinely seems to help people.  I otherwise stay home because Kermit still needs me to be able to drop whatever I'm doing at a moment's notice and for an indefinite time period.  That doesn't fly well on a resume (or with my ethics in applying for a job).  So, no real paycheck, but I feel fairly certain that I'm not wasting my life.

My family and friends have always been my highest priorities.  I think everyone, whether s/he realizes it or not, has a central focus in life.  "Relationships" is mine.

Ironic, I know, considering the degree to which I avoid people, but it's still true.

In this way, Facebook has been a godsend.  While it's largely a frightening example of embraced Big Brother, I am genuinely grateful for the ability to have real time contact with people who are dear as blood to me, but far away.

Facebook also gives me the ability to sift through lots and lots of opinions - of almost every political and religious flavor. 

Why do I think what I think?  Vote how I vote?

"When you're stupid, surround yourself with smart people and when you're smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you."  - paraphrased from SportsNight

Personally, I think that is bloody brilliant.  It is for this reason that I engage in political stuff.  I hate politics - but I feel that civic responsibilty to vote.  In order to vote, I feel the obligation to know what the hell is going on.  I never want to be the person who thinks something or votes for someone out of habit, or blind loyalty to a party.

I live in New England.  I don't know if it is simply a very political area of the world, of if we, as a culture, are just to the point where we don't want to talk of much else.  Either way, when I meet new people, invariably it will come up pretty quickly that I'm a rat-fink Republican.

Actually, I have to admit there's a little part of me that enjoys the surprise reaction I consistently get.  Strong willed, vocal, pink hair, tattoos, tied-dyed shirt with a pentacle and "Got Magic" written across the front, purple sunglasses and a used car sporting a Gay Pride sticker... 

I can see how I don't fit the stereotype.

My favorite example of this:  I met a person who, upon finding out about my unfortunate and grossly inhumane political leanings, gasped, and in a horrified whisper, asked "how did that HAPPEN?" (Seriously, that's EXACTLY how it was said)

Deep, deep breath.  Skipping over how I hate how Clinton dicked over the homosexual community by signing DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), or how the collective intelligence of women is literally bitch-slapped by the ideology of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment).  Or how, if I followed the government's lead on how I should be raising Kermit, he'd still be sitting in a corner, drooling.

Another deep breath.  Scouring my brain for something that won't start a donnybrook.

"I believe in small government."

S/he looked away.  Thought for a moment or two, nodded, and said "okay, I guess I can accept that."

I smiled, nodded an acknowledgement and changed the subject.

(I am awaiting my nomination notice for the fucking Nobel Peace Prize.  Seriously.  They should have been informed of this.)

**Consider this a note added months later - have since gotten to know this person better.  Skipping the details (to preserve confidentiality), I will say that s/he did recently acknowledge the gaffe and apologized beautifully for it.  As far as I'm concerned, that mends all fences.**

But that's what you get when you prefer a lower material quality of life that is your own over a (possibly but in no way guaranteed) higher one that belongs to the government.  Whatever.

Besides, there's a certain amount of unrepentant glee in knowing that I am on the side that's fighting the establishment. 

Finally, am I esoterically eccentric, or batshit insane?

Not having a 9-5 job gives a girl gobs of free time.  One of my passions is research.  When I'm not writing, I'm researching esoterics, energy work.  When one dives into energy work as far as I have, do and will continue to do, one's perception of reality changes noticably.  It leaves the mainstream, even if only by a little, and when one finds herself experiencing life on what feels like being on a parallel channel, double, triple and 400-ple checking becomes really, really important.

My technique of choice with this is getting third party confirmation.  Are the (mainstream) people around me also noticing the weird stuff happening around and to me? 

Thankfully, yes.  That's a comfort and no mistake - though I doubt I will ever stop double checking. 

But these are the things that run around in my mind on any given day.

Yesterday morning, I saw a politically alarmist thing on Facebook.  As middle of the road as I am (believe it or not), I get these things from both sides of the spectrum (and what a spectrum it is).  They all seem to have a couple of things in common:

1 - one and all of these groups apparently hire rabble-rousing douches to compile and compose these things and

2 - they are designed to make people turn on each other like feral dogs on bad acid trips.

As a Right Wing Hippie (I think that could be a call sign for me, but there HAS to be something cooler), it is usually easy for me to read them and see the flaws and gaping holes.

Yesterday morning, I saw something about ObamaCare.  Yes, it was alarmist.  No, it was not giving any kind of inch with regard to the chance, ever so slight, that ObamaCare won't fail horribly and take us all with it.  But, unlike most things I read - this one made a frightening amount of sense.

Enough sense, that I shared it to my page, with the comment (paraphrased) "Is there anyone who is not terrified by this?  Could someone explain to me why I shouldn't be terrified?"

I turned off my PC and set myself to the task of preparing for the cookout we were throwing.

A couple hours later, the phone calls started.  First was from Ms. J..  Murph to my Connor, Partner in Crime and sister in all but blood.  Granted, she is a smidge farther right than I am, and utterly passionate about her beliefs.  However, I've seen her in this kind of battle often enough, and she's a class act. 

However.

Pissing Her Off is a Major Mistake.

The woman who shall now be known as "Antagonist" had addressed Ms. J as "honey", informed her that she was intellectually inferior, and had no understanding of racism (at this point, it becomes an appropriate fact that Antagonist is Caucasian, and Ms. J is Korean.)

Foolishly, I let it be (being busy).  But I told Elle about it (she and my friend Grace, along with her family, were already at the house). 

When I state that Elle has beautiful manners, what I mean to say is that she could sit down at a moment's notice with the Queen of England and not miss a cue.  So when her response to my chit-chat was a raised (index) finger, and scrolling on her phone, she had my attention.

"Megan, you need to get on Facebook."

(Rolling eyes) "Really, I mean, look at me," I gestured with the hot cassarole I was pulling out of the oven.  "Can't it wait?"

"No.  It really can't.  And for the record, Ms. J is not the one at fault.  The lady she's arguing with is way out of line with the abuse."  (As horrid as this sounds, and as annoyed I am about the necessity of it, this is the part where I interject that Elle is politcially left of center.)

It went down hill from there.

I am not squeamish when it comes to language.  While I don't like fighting, I'm not afraid of confrontation.  As I read the thread, my left hand lightly covering my mouth, right hand scrolling down, all I could do was whisper, "ohhhhh fuuuuckkkk..."

I deleted the thread.  I apologized for my part.  Looking back, I can easily see how it could have been interpreted as though I agreed with the content, rather than simply frightened by it and looking for some solace.

After taking (heartfelt) full resposibility for the mess, I ended with:

"ps - as much as I ordinarily welcome feedback, let's honor this holiday celebrating freedom by remembering that we live in a country that can not only have such diversity, but do so freely."

And further down the hill we go. Rather than respecting my request for a cease fire, Antagonist had a couple extra things to say:

Ms. J had "pussed out" for not having responded by that point (she, too, had company to entertain).

I was not worthy of respect because I not only had "stupid friends", but I didn't have the balls to stand by my initial post.  I was informed that, when I finally "grow some ovaries", maybe she and I could be friends again.

End of drama.

Or would have been, had I been smarter.  Maybe she should have included me in that "stupid" catagory.  Oh wait...

See, this is how she and I "met".

Her husband is the son of one my mother's old friends.  He looked me up on FB a while back and sent a friend request.  He and I had never been close, but I liked him just fine and accepted.  After a while, his statuses started talking about how badly Antagonist is being treated by the people in her world, and how awful it was that she pretty much had to defriend and block almost everyone she knew. 

What the hell.  I sent her a friend request, telling her who I am, and how I know her husband.  That it seemed like she was getting the sticky end of the lollipop and I cheekily added "I'll be your friend!"

Since then, she and I have gone back and forth about certain subjects.  We had (so she said, and so therefore I thought) certain esoteric interests in common - so I figured while we shouldn't talk too much about politics, we could talk about that.

This was, for my part, the extent of our relationship.  Therefore, my heart wasn't the least bit broken when she defriended me.

However, I've known her husband for over 25 years.  I sent him a private message explaining how much respect I had/have for Antagonist and how sorry I was about what had happened.  At the moment, that was absolute truth. 

I explained that I pulled the thread because it was about to turn into a blood bath, and repeated again how sorry I was about the situation.

He responded on my wall.  How good of him to publicly delcare that:

I'm a racist.  I'm intellectually inferior.  I should write to his wife instead of  trying to justify my actions to him. 

But my favorite part:

"If you are going to insult my wife, perhaps you should de-friend me before you do so, lest you get your backside handed to you by an intellectual superior. Happy 4th."

So, I'm thinking the apology didn't go so well.

This, however, doesn't beat how Antagonist responded, via private message.

She's prettier, smarter and more successful than I am.

Based on the esoterics we had discussed, I'm mentally ill with a side of Asberger's (her spelling).

She friended me because she I'm "obviously mentally ill and (she) thought (I) could use a friend."

She's ignored the fact that I can't write, that "(my) IQ is like 40 points lower than (hers) and humoring (me) has been like humoring a child."

We are never going to be friends until I "grow up, realize (my) own racist leanings, apologize for (my) mistake here today, and apologize for contacting (her) husband without (her) permission."

However, the crowning achievement was this:

"see, you were wrong about me. I'm NOT a nice person. but for a thin blue line, I'd cut your ugly old face off for $20. lucky for you I'm a law-abiding citizen, but DON'T fucking test me."


Now, while I can appreciate the tacit concession that she knows I think well of her (though, like everything else, I'm wrong about it)...

While I was absolutely ITCHING to reply with nothing more than a copy and paste definition of "irony"...

I chose to report and block her instead.  I also blocked Mr. Antagonist for good measure, which is a sad, but necessary, move.

I can say that, in a really weird way, I owe her a debt of gratitude.

I know quite well that my life is a successful one - but from what I know about her life (and lifestyle choices), I can say that the success of my life is apparent especially in comparison to hers. 

Having seen a picture of her, I have to admit, she's very, very pretty - realistically, she is prettier than I am.  And yet, despite my deformity, I'm married to an awesome man and miraculously co-created two ridiculously gorgeous babies.  So, I ain't that bad looking.  Either that or Marshal is hot enough to compensate for my bad genetics (definitely a possibility - anyone's who's seen him can testify to that).  I don't even break mirrors.

With regard to writing, I plead "gulity" to a LOVE of deliberately written sentence fragments.  Love them.

However, I seem to be good enough to have fooled all of my Writing, English and Literature teachers/professors, the AP exam, and several employers.  I also have a blog that while having only a few actual followers, gets many, many hits.  Not bad for being illiterate.

Now, the intelligence thing is a little tougher.  I'd say I'm pretty smart, but I did, once again, find my way into this backstreet neighborhood of Crazy Town. And I DID poo-poo the little voice in the back of my head that told me not to bother with my apology to Mr. Antagonist.  So, maybe I have some learning left to do.

The last one is toughest (not the permission nonsense, nor the apology nonsense - my intelligence isn't in THAT much question).

How the hell am I supposed to know if I'm a racist?  The complexities of that question really warrant their own post.  Should I make that question my status?  See what the responses are?  I could look around and see that many of the people I love are of a different race than me... Or would that last one put me in Chris Rock's "IF YOU KNOW HOW MANY BLACK PEOPLE HAVE BEEN IN YOUR LIVING ROOM, YOU ARE A RACIST" -schtick?

I really don't know.  I have the distinct feeling, though, that Ms. J would have kicked my ass by now if I were.  While she's capable of subtlety, she has no love for it.

So I suppose I will rest tonight, assured and reassured with regard to my path in life.  If I can raise the ire of someone as virulently negative as Antagonist is - I'm probably doing something right.


(Okay - just as I shared this post on my FB page (where I had begged folks for a post title - I was stumped), I saw all of these other, AWESOME titles.  Still sticking with the one that goes with the holiday theme, but oh my, I can't not share!!)

"My Encounter with an Intellectual Superior"

"Like Thread Abortion"

"In Which the Left Left After Proving the Right Right"

"Exeunt Douchebags"

"Bam-Bam and the Unlettered Alter Ego", or just "Unlettered Alter Ego"

(I seriously have the best friends ever.)