Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Evolution of Political Correctness - Part I


He arrived in our small town in a long, low-slung, blue Caddy convertible with chrome hubs and white-walled tires. He was dark-skinned, straight, tall, and slender. As dashing as a Rhett Butler. He walked with such rugged grace in his slender narrow-toed shoes that flashed like footwear decked with chrome, and his fine tailored three-piece suit. His hair was black and wavy – his smile infectious.

His three-day crusade was booked in the town theater. For the disenchanted people of our small town this was a free night of entertainment at its best. The flyers promised that at his crusade, the lame would walk, the deaf would hear, and the blind would see.

The first night we filed into the theater with excited anticipation. A large crowd of poor and hardworking people from the surrounding district. We came, dressed in the formal wear of hard times. Men dressed in overalls patched with strong string and squares of integrity, women dressed in thin hand-sewn lightly starched dresses, children with scrubbed faces in shrunken sweaters and hand-me-down skirts or pants that hung limply and irregularly with hidden mechanisms of string and safety-pins to hold them up. We shuffled to our seats in ill-fitting shoes with distressed soles, broken buckles, and knotted laces.

The Evangelist flashed pearly white teeth as he was introduced and strode purposely to the pulpit. His face radiated a special glow. A glow of countenance and physique too remarkable to be a simple reflection of stage-lighting. I could only think as I stared at this tall dark man that his special radiance could only be the consequence of a spiritual presence that hovers near and encompasses only the irreproachable. And then I heard a strumming-sound like a double-bass viol and realized it was his voice. So like a melody. So like a song.

He began purring verses from the Bible. We were immediately entranced. As if hypnotized. Shuffling feet were hushed. A silent reverie settled on the crowd, even babes and children listened intently as if to a soft lullaby, while the purring voice soothed us. And when Rev Amos had finished the reading, he clicked on a tape machine and music played as ushers passed collection plates. Flat wallets were pulled out of pockets void of anything except outstanding bills for cattle, seed, and groceries. These were shifted to one hand while individuals sought with their other hand to find loose coins. Paper shuffling? Not so much. Only the sound of coins jingling.

The ushers walked the collection plates to the front and placed them on the pulpit. Rev Amos picked them up and while still in the motion of moving them to a shelf lower in the pulpit, he stopped in mid-air. Suddenly changed his mind. He handed them back to the ushers who still stood adjacent to the pulpit. And that’s when the melody of his voice got a bit pitchy.

“Come on, Folks,” he said, “You can do better than that. Pass those plates again!”
Jaws dropped and feet shuffled. The ushers turned to retrace their steps.

But that aura of righteousness that had shone on Rev. Amos now shone on all of us and the refraction didn’t glow on our faces, it glowed in our minds. Suddenly we were all thinking and envisioning the pale blue Caddy with the shiny chrome hubs parked amidst the dull peeling paint and rusting bodies of ancient coupe-cars and old pick-ups in front of the theater. And with that mental reflection three quarters of the audience stood up and promptly left the theater.

It was a disappointment to many of us that we didn’t see miracles of lame people walking, blind people regaining sight. But I remember the day well because what I did see was the miracle of the weak finding strength. In that trusting, willing, and accepting crowd, I knew then, as I surely know even today, that the first time the plate went round, all gave willingly with the utmost generosity and goodwill.

The intent of the Reverend was to bring a message of comfort to the comfortless but in the end he was unwilling to share that message without bartering over the selling price. Unfortunately, he failed to realize that even then, within the profusion of moral obligations of the simplest of men and women, there was a microbe of jelly completely evolved, (later named ‘Political Correctness’ ), that demanded respect and dignity despite impoverishment, illiteracy, or geographic location for all people.

This microbe has for centuries been the keystone of small town thinking. Uniting communities politically in their demand for respect. And so, within the hour, word spread to the far reaches of the community leaving little hope for Rev. Amos. The rest of his crusade was canceled and that same afternoon we saw the interplay of sunlight and chrome as the long, low-slung Caddy pulled out of town.

In truth, this was a time when we had no context for Political Correctness. It defied explanation at that time even more than it does now. But maybe instruction does not always come from understanding. We certainly gave Rev Amos good solid instruction in that discipline through nothing more than an instinctive, somewhat primitive, common understanding of the morality of right and wrong.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Gig's Up

I have a reputation in this neighborhood for cooking for my puppies, more so than for my husband. Everyone in this neighborhood knows my puppies get home-baked dog treats and elaborate meals with cooked meat scraps drenched in chicken-broth and beef-gravy condiments.

And the other thing I need to tell you is that over the years I have developed relationships with my neighbors that vary from one to another. Some neighbors are as informal when they visit as my own family. They drop in unannounced, anytime of the day. And if we happen to be eating, and I’m still cooking, I throw on an extra plate and add some speedy thing to the menu like toast, hot-dogs, macaroni, or something from a tin. Whatever happens, whatever the case, we so solidly understand each other that there is no reason for me to be anxious even if the toast burns, the fudge doesn’t harden properly, the macaroni is welded together into one big dumpling and the cake is doughy in the center. (P.S. I have the odd cooking failure as everyone does but I exaggerate here just so you’ll readily realize how much at ease we are with each other).

But at the same time, I have other neighbors descended from a more formal clan. And those neighbors wouldn’t dream of stopping by unannounced although I see them slowly driving by and looking at vehicles in my driveway and envying those who do. They are so curious in fact, that sometimes they phone just to ask who was visiting. And I can hear the disgruntled huff when I tell them one of my informal neighbors dropped in unannounced.

That is how it is and always has been so I was surprised last week when formal neighbors who for thirty years have never come for a visit unannounced, drove into my yard. Formal neighbors that are so pained by the overt audacity of my informal neighbors that in all these years they have refused to befriend them and if forced to speak to them only do with chilly rigid civility. But now into my driveway comes Formal Husband (FH) and Formal Wife (FW) – unannounced. The same FW that complained to me for years about how rude and improper it was of her sister-in-law and mother-in-law to stop in unannounced.

Now some days Hub and I have rather late suppers and it just so happened when this couple arrived, although I hadn’t yet set the table, we were just about to sit down and eat. Seeing the pots on the stove, the wife apologized profusely for interrupting our evening meal and insisted that we ignore her and her husband and go ahead and eat. They had eaten in town and were just on their way home when they decided to stop in. So I did exactly as she suggested. Put on our supper and poured them coffee to sip while we ate.

Now like anyone else, some supper’s are a slammed together mish-mash of whatever is in the fridge, other times – not. Tonight’s supper happened, by chance, to be grilled steaks, mashed potatoes, steamed carrots and salad. Dished up, it was an attractive meal.

So we visited for a few hours and after our company left, Hub said with a grin, “Woman, you do me proud. I was happy to see you had made such a delightful supper. One that showed that you spare no effort to ensure we eat well. I could see she (the wife) was impressed and he (the husband) was probably thinking if she cooked like that he wouldn’t be going out to a crummy restaurant.”

I laughed and said to Hub. “It wouldn’t have mattered if we were having hot dogs and pan-fried left-over macaroni (which happens to be very good with a dollop of sour cream or stewed tomatoes), ‘cause I already had a back-up plan.”

“Oh, and what was the plan?”

“These neighbors know as well as any of our neighbors how much time I spend cooking for my puppies. So if the menu had been some less-than-appetizing mish-mash of leftovers I would have just dumped ‘your supper’ in the doggie’s dish and said, ‘Oh, that stuff wasn’t for us…that was for the dogs.”

Unfortunately, Hub is not always quick at recognizing my intent. I can just see me dumping Hub’s supper in Dough-Gee’s dish and then Hub sitting there staring at the dog, stomach rumbling and real tears flowing down his face, while Dough-Gee cleaned up the dish. And then, of course, the gig would be up, and the neighbors would know it was a put on and we’d all feel bloody uncomfortable.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sex & Immortality

One of the blessings of life is that every week some new discovery makes its way into my consciousness. And when that happens, my imagination kicks in, and pretty soon I have a whole new philosophy to contend with. Now if I thought I saw a UFO land in my potato patch, I wouldn’t tell you. That would be just too irrational. But if I conceptualize theories from undeniable facts, especially theories that relate to the meaning of life (which no one knows for certain anyhow), then I am anxious to share those suppositions.

Now before I begin I must tell you that I see no conflict between ‘Biblical creation’ and ‘evolutionary’ creation. They fit as nicely together as two lovers in the spoon position.

After all when we read the story of the Biblical creation you will find it does not say that God mixed and molded any substance into fish and fowl. What it does say is that God commanded the waters (with their first tiny evolutionary microbes and stardust sprinkles from God’s hand) to ‘bring forth’ and ‘bring forth’ may well mean in an evolutionary way, fish and fowl. (Gen 1:20).

And then, from that he commanded ‘the earth to bring forth’ cattle and beasts (more evolution) (Gen 1:24). And so I reason that there is no conflict between creationism and evolution. There is nothing in the Bible that conflicts with evolution. Those references I have just cited validate that the earliest microbes evolved and adapted as evolution claims. And likewise, there is nothing to debate about how early man, if ape-like, could be in the image of God? Although God made earliest man in the image of God, nobody is using their head if they think this refers to man’s physical form. God has no image. God is a spirit and spirits have no physical design. The image of God that early man was given was not a domed forehead, smooth skin and an erect physical form. What he was given was an imprint of spiritual consciousness. Within that first more-man-like than ape-like creature, God deliberately caused a mutation of an embryonic consciousness, will, and intuition, that could evolve as freely as physical form did from the earliest form of a hairy ape-creature loping on four limbs to an erect creature capable of artful hunting, harvesting, and pondering. So where is the conflict between creationism and evolution?

That is the basis of my convictions and now we can move on to today’s discussion.


This week I have been reading “Human Destiny” by Lecomte du Nouy. And in this book, while reading about evolutionary theories, I was totally astonished to discover that species of asexual reproduction are immortal. Do you realize what that means? That there were and still are species on this earth that are immortal. Here Lecomte du Nouy explains:

“Asexual cells do not know death as individuals. They are immortal. (but) All of a sudden, with sexual generation we see the appearance of an entirely new and unforeseen cyclical phenomenon: the birth and death of the individual.”

Elsewhere he says:

“They (asexual species) never die, except accidentally. They go on untiringly doubling their number according to their specific rhythm, so that if it were not checked by a more general or dominant phenomenon, they would soon smother the earth under their mass.”

That bit of information got me thinking about Adam and Eve and creation. The way the story goes is that the Garden of Eden was a perfect paradise where Adam and Eve would live forever. Living forever???…that means immortality. So now I’m thinking, if they initially possessed immortality prior to their disobedience, they must have been created as an asexual species.

Hey, that makes sense when I consider the evolution of the first woman, Eve. The Bible says she was made from Adam’s rib. Isn’t that how asexual reproduction works? But unfortunately in this fission, separation, rebirth, or whatever you call asexual reproduction, a slight mutation took place. But we know mutations can happen. The all-knowing Darwin told us so. The mutation was that Eve ended up with a genitalia mutation. And so, although clones of each other, one was man and the other woman. And meanwhile, the asexual Adam, in reasonable time easily regenerated a new rib because that is what asexual creatures do.

But now, comes the distress concerning the apple. What was in that apple they ate? Or perhaps I should be asking, “What happened at the Apple Feast that made them cover their private parts with leaves when God came back to walk with them in the garden?”

Maybe it isn’t recorded, but maybe there was another command to do with their immortality and their initial existence as asexual creatures. Asexual species have no rational reason to engage in physical sex, particularly since the act cancels immortality. So what was God really saying when he warned them with this command (Gen 2:16-17) “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt SURELY DIE.”

So I have to ask was God really saying, “No eating of the fruit of that tree and no engaging in physical sex.” It is intriguing to me that prior to this warning, Adam and Eve felt no shame in their nakedness but after their disobedience with the apple, they felt so guilty, that their nakedness disturbed them and they sought to hide themselves. Apples have nothing to do with nakedness but sex certainly does, so maybe while they were alone in the garden, the two of them did more than eat the forbidden fruit.

And so, when God returned to the garden they were ashamed and felt a need to cover their nakedness. That only makes sense to me if they were romping in the bushes. And then God probably said, “You are asexual and thus immortal and that is why in good faith I told you there could be no physical sex. Now look what you’ve done. Disobeyed and because of that disobedience you have lost your immortality.”

And then, God expressly said to Eve, the seductress, something that is totally understandable in the light of all that I have just told you.

(Gen 3:16) “Unto the woman he said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shall bring forth children (no longer with the ease of asexual reproduction); and thy desire shall be to thy husband (physical sexual lust), and he shall rule over thee.’

And obviously, under such circumstances he felt it necessary to inform Adam he was no longer immortal. So unto Adam he said, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen 3:19).

So there you go. No more immortality for man. I knew it all along that there was much more to this story than I originally extracted from it, and if you think these theories are nonsense, maybe go read it for yourself.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Common Sense & A Practical Eye

I was so sure it wouldn’t happen to me. I was so sure I would never lose my sense of identity, but it is happening, despite all the reflective analysis that I was so certain would insolate my core and guarantee my escape. If you noticed the lull in blog-writing, it is because I am anxious. Very anxious about a world of such violence and disorder coupled with increasing anxiety about who I am.

Not that anyone would care? It is self-centered for me to even discuss it, but perhaps there is therapy for me in this discussion, and perhaps in my wild rants a few hidden dregs that will provide balm for others. My discouragement and loss of identity seems linked to passions that change daily without forewarning. I had such a passion for writing. MD (Middle Daughter) even bought me a Publisher’s Guide cause she knew I had a book that needed to be circulated as passionately as it was written. But, without cause, without notes from demeaning arrogant editors, that passion died. That was part of my identity that suddenly exited without warning.

And then there is my passion for saving the children that is suddenly weakening, not because I care less, but because I feel so helpless. With a government focused on tagging ducks, fish, and other mammals and registering guns, I am forced to accept defeat. The defeat that tracking children is not a priority now, and sadly never will be. Children will continue to disappear at an even faster rate while we celebrate some sea creatures that we have successfully tracked and through tagging now know that they have returned to an original nesting site. And we will continue to ignore that crimes of violence are committed with legally registered firearms, more often than not.

And my passion for the environment is being crushed by the heated ongoing discussions of government-based solutions. Some lay person said that we are too selfish a people to turn global warming around. And I have to agree with them. We all want privacy. We want sprawling bungalows with 6 – 10 bedrooms for each of us to live individually or as couples. We do not want to share our cars, our houses, our garages, or our lives. We want all trees that are non-symmetrical removed. We want paved drives and flood lights and swimming pools and Jacuzzi’s and every other indulgence while the heart of the beasts of our habitat lap up energy for all those things. We want rolling lawns that are herbicided and insecticided with whatever toxic concoctions that will do the job. We want our snacks packaged solidly in minute amounts like 2 teaspoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cream, 4 tablespoons of yogurt, and drink cartons that contain no more than a sip. And if we open all these things and dump the contents on the table in one pile and stack the packaging in another, we look like we are about as serious about conservation as someone secretly sinking oil tankers in the ocean to dispose of them. So that part of me that cared so much is weakening as well. (Are you listening, Al Gore?)

It is not aging that is weakening my passions. It is something bigger than that. Something the Kyoto agreement cannot even make a dent in. Maybe if we could just get past the selfishness and pre-disposed conviction of entitlement in all things, we could look at all of this with common sense and a practical eye. I think, in fact I am quite certain, that all of us, could dismiss our despair and anxiety and solidly reclaim our identity in that kind of world.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What Old Women Dream

What do old women dream? Have you oft wondered? Could you even guess? Is it about intimacy, fantasy, old lovers, or new ones? Vacations, cruises, wealth? That would be nice, but more often than not, there is no honeyed nectar or gratification in old women’s dreams even though in dreams they are young, vivacious goddesses with sweet lips, fluid movements, satin skin, dainty feet, and silky hair.

I know you don’t know and I could say, ‘guess again’, but the guessing game is so annoying, that I will simply tell you without dallying what old women dream.

I’m an old woman and I had a dream. Hub bought me a silly software program for my computer. Droll, boring. When it came up on the screen it was about knitting. A long overwhelming program of how to make cables, twists, uncommon stitches with up to four balls of thread, 3 stitch-holders, and 16 needles all at one time.

Now I am a novice knitter, occasionally able to foil my way through an intermediate project. Of course I have my own little tricks. If I miss a stitch, I make one and if I have too many, I knit two together. Those kind of minor errors are not sufficient reason for me to unravel 40 rows that I so diligently worked to complete. But the level of expertise in this software program made my head ache and all I wanted to do was eject that CD and smash it into smithereens.

But you know how dreams are. They can slam you into a place where you so do not want to be and hold you there kicking and screaming, but they will not let you go. You can’t run and you can’t hide in a dream. Legs water, presence like a flashing neon light. So there I was, cursing Hub, stuck in this software program that was every bit as annoying as a program that offers integration into Ultimate fighting or Smack-Down boxing. Yuk.

But in the midst of the many needles clicking and clacking in the foreground, and a droning annoying instructional voice in the background, I spotted a tiny icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen. That’s when I discovered that if I clicked on that tiny icon, it gave me a pop-up with choices like knit, purl, yarn forward, skip stitch, decrease, cast on, etc.etc.

And what’s more, then I discovered that Hub had my computer connected to a small and simple adapter with hooks and a ball of yarn. And guess what? When I clicked ‘cast on’, the computer said, ‘how many stitches?’ And when I selected 120 – it cast on 120 stitches, and now all I had to do is select the stitch abbreviations and man were we knitting. Fast as Hub’s computer train. No errors, no dropped stitches, no raveling, no runs. Clickety-click. Clickety-clack. Whoo-Hoo!

But when things get that good, there is always a hitch. Hub said, “Let me try,” and I did. The rest of the night I spent watching Hub churn out a scarf, a vest, a sweater, a dog jacket, and when I woke up I was really annoyed. There are days that it is exceeding difficult for me to ignore Hub’s weird sense of humor, and other annoying idiosyncrasies without him invading an old woman’s dreams disguised as a handsome lithe Greek God in order to….Knit!

The Mundane and Abnormal

I’ve been slipping into some rather dark philosophical topics lately. So maybe, just to avoid that kind of crap I’ll switch topics for a time. I’m thinking—simple, mundane. And so let me warn you, it doesn’t get any more mundane than this will after the first couple of thoughts.

Eldest Daughter and family expected to leave on a road trip on Saturday so Thursday, we had an Easter celebration and dinner at Eldest Daughter’s house. Then Friday, Hub and I and youngest daughter had another lovely Easter Dinner, this time with Neighbor, his wife, and daughter. Our friends provided a huge roaster of stuffed green peppers. I added potato salad, perogies, and breaded cod to the menu. Seems like an unlikely mix but the flavors complemented each other in a surprisingly pleasant way. And for dessert we had fresh rhubarb pie with ice cream.

Now—to the mundane. Easter Sunday was not so special, or was it? When Hub came to the kitchen he took both my hands in his, looked me in the eyes, with you know—that special endearing look and pronounced a heart-felt wish for my Easter Sunday. “I wish,” he said, “I had bought you some flowers, but I didn’t.”

Not exactly a Hallmark moment. So after that ‘Easter Surprise’, we had a breakfast of bacon and fried left-over perogies (yum, yum) and then we hunkered down to do income tax. Painful, prolonged misery. Then a quick break of grilled cheese sandwiches and a 30-minute dog walk. Then an income tax review and a quickly assembled supper of cream of broccoli soup with left-over ham and veggies…and cheddar for flavor.

Simple food, a mundane day, but I have to admit that Easter Sunday, after the wealth of Easter Sundays I’ve chalked up over the years, was uniquely different – starting with Hub’s Easter Wish, the quietness of the day (no televisions blaring) and no guests. A day primarily concerned with Income Tax Prep rather than a fun game of Scrabble or socializing around a jig-saw puzzle, and simple food rather than a 10-course feast. To some that might sound like a downer. But the unique is unforgettable, the normal easy to forget. So, if only for that reason, I have to admit Easter Sunday this year was special enough that I will probably remember it with clear distinction for many years to come.

P.S. An unrelated note to gardeners:
I went to the greenhouse today and recovered the basket of garden seeds I put there last fall. Does anyone know if freezing seeds affects germination? Every other year I have kept my seeds in the basement.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Invulnerable Replication

Today’s word is ‘invulnerable’ – indestructible, bulletproof.

We are not them, but we know them and honor them. The ones who we look up to because of their strength, beauty of form, purpose of walk, and gracefulness of figure – the invulnerable ones.

We spend a lifetime longing to be like them. Their world seems so distant from ours. We look for them in the square or on the street. We examine them, discuss them, and informally research the deeper intimacies of their lives. We can’t help it. We are so fascinated by their perfection of character and body. But most of all we attempt to study their exterior and interior until we can perform a flawless mimicry that will allow us to mingle with them without discovery.

Most days, we feel so outdistanced, so aware of the mismatch of our character that they seem like deities. We worship these gods of polish that keep us hopeful that in mimicking their approach, it will only take a bit more time for us to be singled out and viewed with that same generous admiration.

They are the tribe we pay homage to because of their strong presence. They keep hope alive. Hope that we will eventually be ‘good enough’ to meld seamlessly into their world. But what we fail to realize is that when our negatives of vulnerability change polarization, we will become duplicates. And unfortunately, duplicates have no reason to admire each other. It is only differences that allow a competition for greater dominance and importance.

So why do we seek to clone ourselves? Thinking ahead, would give us the realization, that with replication, we will no longer look up to them. In truth, we should pay homage to our vulnerability rather than to them. After all, it is the extent of our vulnerability, within our daily reality, that separates the perceived power of one subset from the genuine longing of the other. Power, as a perception, has no place to go. It is a purposeless plateau. But longing, ah yes, longing holds a peculiar magic. The magic of longing is that it makes every stage of life, from infancy to conclusion, a purposeful race.

Always in the back of the newspaper, is the roll call of those I expected the see. The weak, oh so weary, guileless, fragile, and unassembled gossamer wisps of humanity. A reminder of the world as Darwin saw it with a validation of survival of the fittest, through the demise of the weakest.

But no more. Last week’s obit had a shocking and saddening list of names of the invulnerable. And that’s when I realized that without practice, mimicking or intent, the duplication had happened.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Returning the Brain to its Rightful Owner

Now we’re finally getting somewhere. And all I can say is, “Its bloody about time.”

First a question that is so elementary, it borders on foolishness. “Would you drive a vehicle without any brakes?” Of course you wouldn’t. None of us would.

Now the reason I am contemplating that simple thought is because researchers have found a new mechanism in the brain (scroll down the page to this headline "Public Release: 3-Apr-2007 Journal of Neuroscience") that should have been discovered long ago with the common sense realization that brakes are more important than speed. But that elementary thought was completely overlooked by experts whose plan, from the get-go, was to promote mind control rather than the braking action of self-control. So unfortunately, because of this, brain researchers were all locked in one concentration. And that concentration was to speed our understanding and acceptance of outside advice. So for the past two decades, even longer than that, we have been prodded to keep moving down blind-cornered paths that experts defined and that too often turned out to be worse than where we were when we started. i.e. dieting evolving into serious anorexia, smoking cessation evolving into bigoted intolerance of smokers, cessation of street drugs evolving into addictions to pharmaceutical drugs, etc. etc.

So it is surprising to me, that after years of research on brain manipulation (driving control), academics have never thought that a better alternative might be to find a way to allow us to choose to ‘put on the brakes’ rather than accelerate along paths outside of our own choosing. It is so not right for our thinking to be mapped out for us by others through brainwashing, self-righteous preaching, and government involvement in individual choice.

But finally, a new discovery, probably more by accident than intent gives hope that we can sidestep our dismal past. The new discovery that has scientists buzzing is the part of our brains that ‘puts on the brakes’. And hear this...the biggest promise of this new discovery is ‘self-control’.

I’m so pleased. I can’t wait until researchers get a good handle on the ‘stopping’ part of the brain. Cause then I will be able to stop procrastinating over critical stuff, stop blogging when I should be baking, stop crocheting when I should be vacuuming, and stop writing if I can’t write anything more than bloody drivel.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The "Rotting Fruit Theory" in Review

I’m aging in the same natural way we all are, but I seem to have left my biological clock behind. I say this because every time I see women my age, I think and oft refer to them as ‘older women’. Seems like my biological clock is stuck and because of that I’m not consciously willing to accept that I’m in that same age group. Hub’s seems to be stuck as well. We all laugh at Hub because he is so totally harmless but whenever someone describes to him the new lady cook in camp, or manager at the bank, or cashier at the grocery store, he immediately responds with the same excited comment, “Is she my age?”

But all that aside, to get back on topic, a while ago I mentioned on my blog an author’s reference to what aging is like. He said it is like ‘fruit in a bowl rotting from the inside out.’ That didn’t sit well with me, and I told my readers so. And it didn’t sit well with many of my readers either. Unanimously, I and so many of my blog friends, dismissed it as a totally false perception of the aging process.

Now I know that sometimes I really dance around when I’m writing and leave you all high and dry as to where I’m going next but before I pursue that thought further I must tell you something else. I stopped making trips to town after nine o’clock in the evening many years ago.

What brought those jaunts to a determined halt is one night I quickly dashed into town to the all-night convenience store for a few things. Parked in from of the store was a small sports car overloaded with young adults (?). They were all smoking and I could see some of them were sipping open liquor. That was upsetting enough but what was really upsetting was that strapped in the back seat was a wee babe, no more than 3 or 4 months old. The car was so full of smoke it was in a complete fog. And the young people were loud, vulgar, and obnoxious in every way. It made me sicker than you can imagine. I wanted to do something but what can one do in that kind of situation? So I fled. I rushed home at breakneck speed and told Hub that ‘after what I saw tonight, I will never, ever be going to town after nine o’clock.” And I never have.

But now, returning to the ‘rotting fruit’ theory, the other day while I was sitting in a waiting room in town, there were a clump of ‘older women’ (not my age, at least not in my mind), having an animated discussion about starlets, including Brittany and Anna Nicole Smith. And what I heard made me return to that author’s original comment about aging being like fruit rotting from the inside out. I was hearing comments like, ‘people like that get what they deserve’, ‘it was a blessing cause she was no use to anyone even herself’, ‘when people have that much money they need hardship for a reality check’. On and on they went with their mean thoughts and dire hopes.

I could not help but think, ‘Aren’t these moms and grandmoms? Where is their compassion? Have they not ever had to deal with young people’s horrendous mistakes in their own situations? Do they not understand how lost souls are really seeking, though perhaps not through positive means, a way to recover self-respect? What is going on here? Why are their hearts so cruel and unfeeling?’

And so I came home and said to Hub. “I don’t want to sit in waiting rooms anymore. I don’t mind the wait, but there is stuff going on in those waiting rooms that I want to avoid. I am sad when young people lose their way, but far more sad to hear the mean-spirited bitterness of ‘old people’ that should, because of their own experiences, be somewhat understanding rather than hoping these people will disappear off the face of the map.”

I like to think of life as a race. And the prize is wisdom and understanding. And with that wisdom and understanding and my own kind and compassionate heart (sarcasm here), all I could think of is what kind of legal consequences would there be if I gave each one of those ‘older women’ a good hard slap!

And does that nasty thought mean I am rotting from the inside-out as well?