I won’t lie. This “re-opening” of America, to me, is a mixed blessing.
While I’m glad not to have to wear a mask through another sweaty summer – and this one looks to be even hotter and/or more humid than last year – I miss the privacy covering the lower half of my face. Menopausal facial hair aside, a lot stayed hidden behind all that cloth, Neoprene, and whatever else masks were concocted from: reactions, responses, observations that likely would be unwelcome. A person rarely tells all from looking in another’s eyes. I wonder how many of us actually look each other in the eye anymore? Not when out in stores or other tight spaces. It is easier to dodge the body in the one-way-only aisles than to engage. Eye contact might mean I had to mumble something behind my mask to acknowledge that person as a person. Not that they paused long enough to understand and/or respond. Heaven forbid!
One the other hand, there was literally a buffer of privacy between me that even the Internet can’t provide anymore. I could literally be making obnoxious faces, sticking out your tongue, etc. without having to worry about that someone would take offense and shoot me.
Likewise, going out and the required socializing has started again; just when I had began to enjoy quiet certitude of being by myself and enjoying my own thoughts, my own music. Time to myself without some voice from the distant past yelling, “Isolationist! Isolationist!” (My mom had and has quite the vocabulary). And now is back at it, with all of it, hammering ears and brains. “You’ve got to go out; it’s been too long! Even the groundhog comes out of his hole!”
On the last statement, I’d like to point out that yes, he does, but only once a year that we know of.
I’ve never liked crowds. Somedays I’m not sure I like people in general all that much. I swear, I’ve begun to wish those baited-hook Facebook posts about living in a remote cabin without electronic media were actually offers I could take up, monetary compensation or not. I miss the quiet. And I rue the fact that, the more I had hoped we had changed as a country, the more we have entrenched in the same B.S. So, it seems an opportune time to revisit and revamp one of my earliest posts. Enjoy!
“I have had enough.” – Golda Meir
Every so often, I reach this point. I doubt I will ever have the same reasons as Ms. Meir (of blessed memory), but, as my family can tell you, even my patience has limits. I reached that limit a series of events that disgusted me with my fellow human beings rose like feces to the top of the community pool.
1. I have had enough of lies. Not only from our lawfully elected representatives, but from people who find it easier to say what they believe I want to hear and proceed to do the opposite. I get it that our Congress has no official interest in anyone’s health and well-being other than their own. I get it that life gets in the way of promise-keeping. We all have barriers to keeping every single promise we make to others and ourselves. However, I also know that barriers become excuses and excuses become lies. Because we allow them to do it. It is our decision to make changes in place of excuses and to call out lies that are told us by those who make a habit of lying. As I told my children and all my students over the years, only cowards lie.
2. I have had enough of media speculation. The brainless frenzy the 24-hour news cycle created over Congressional hearings amounted to nothing more than “it could be this” or “he could say that,” while, and at the same time, bills sailed along the sewers of Congress to de-regulate predatory banking. G-d alone knows what else they got away with, because not many of the major outlets covered anything but the speculation before, the text of the hearings during and the response afterwards. I get it that the news folks have to maintain their jobs. I get it that we Americans are an insecure audience who say we love a mystery, but what we really love is knowing the improbable (and barely believable) solution before anyone else. Because it feels good, makes us feel smart. Early warnings and speculation have their place – in weather reports. It’s always good to know if and when a catastrophic storm may hit our homes. But in politics? In (so-called) government? I think we’d profit by more ego-swallowing and less “breaking news.”
3. I have had enough of back-biting and in-fighting. Someone (anyone) who up to now has been a voice of reason and insight chooses a wrong word, an inaccurate statement, or somehow shows s/he is human and screws up, and Social Media goes wild, demanding this person go away and never be heard from again. Trust built up over years is suddenly dust to be blown away on the winds of public opinion. I get that I am a dumpy old Jewish woman who may never fully “get” the experiences and history of my fellow citizens who happen to think, look and speak differently. But I try, as do we all. Racial and ethnic insults are clear enough indicators of sheer ignorance, and where that ignorance is willful, I call it evil.
4. I have had enough people equating intelligence and success in life to bank balances or name-recognition. Rich people = smart people. Has to be. A million followers for ditial brain farts? Well, that’s success in life and living. Must be. It’s in all the papers, all over the television and positively saturating Social Media.
5. “The 2020 election was stolen.” Yeah. About that. It is a lie, too often told, and, sadly, too often believed by the self-loathing and the myopic. And the folks who have so little in life that they want the “good old days” that never were. The white-washed, sanitized 1950s version of the American Dream, of which they are currently being robbed (or so they say). I get it. I see the psychology of it. It’s messy behind that mask, tipped-over dumpster messy likely needing more than a mop and some intravenous bleach to clear out. Might even take some thought…or change of thought. And G-d knows, we can’t have that. But we can have the lies.
6. And you know how I feel about lies.