Commonground

Why is it that everyone discusses the weather?

Ok, a few of us consider that a subject to avoid if possible because it is too common and cliche, however the reason everyone can discuss the weather is, it is common ground.

Alright, it is true that not everyone can commiserate about a Canadian Prairie Winter, but as an icebreaker how sunny, rainy, windy, gorgeous or hideous it is outside is an icebreaker (conversationally speaking).

It is beautiful outside, if you enjoy toasting in sun and sweating through humidity.

The weather is not the only common ground we have, it can’t be, but sometimes the way people act you would think that it is.

I have a lot of empathy, perhaps more than I should have but I am sure that I am not the only one to look out a window and think that people spend too much time seeing the differences, widening the gap between them and others without realizing that we have more common ground than just the weather.

Can a millionaire commiserate with me over not having money, food, clothes? Well with a few exceptions I am certain there must be a few that started out with little or nothing so ya, I think some can.

It is true, we spend so much time trying to excel at individuality that we forget those things that keeps everyone connected.

Lets face it, someone from Florida is not going to understand a Manitoba winter, heck some places do not even include block heaters as standard equipment on their vehicles as they are here.

So what other things keep us connected?

Hunger?

Romance?

Food?

Pets?

Hmmm depends on the person, we do not all share the same enthusiasms, loves or tolerances of other beings or things.

I am no better than anyone else.

I can not read minds.

So conversation and interaction are the venues which allow us to discover that common ground.

Maybe.

My world for a roll of TP. Ok not mine…

…it is someone ELSE stuck in the loo yelling: “Where did all the TP go?”

Well buggered if I know, last I knew there were 8 rolls in there.

Maybe there is a critter that eats TP ?

No, we know who has it, in their bedroom.

It is stashed in there under the tinned food, bags of chips and chocolate bars.

No they were not this bad before but hey, can’t let the odd one out get anything more than…anything.

The fridge is like a map of proprietary territory, with 1 small shelf being a DMZ.

Some people make me wonder.

 

 

In Grama’s Day.

In the years between 1910 and 1912, a family of 5 was thrown from their home, the children sat upon the mattresses in the back lane contemplating their new state of homelessness.

Their father, a man with a weakness for drink, leave them to return to his family who are well off, with a dairy, lands and money.

The mother and children are unwelcome by his family, and end up in a workhouse.

In the years between 1910 and 1912 the middle daughter (my grandmother) and her 3 year old brother, were sent to Canada by Dr Barnardo’s to…a new family.

They did not wish to go, after all the mother and older sister were still with them even if the father and his family wished them to go. Even with tales of fruit you could pick off the trees on the side of the road and gold findable in the streams they still did not wish to go.

Their arrival to the “new world” was met with much disillusionment and for the girl age 12 it was more the life of a slave to do chores, sleep in the barn and grow up without knowing the family she loved.

My grandmother lived to be 105 years old, through some of the hardest times possible, and she herself went through something akin to what I am…twice.

My grandmother never forgave the people that sent her to the “new world” and would spend a lot of time listening to the audio book “Little Immigrants” whispering that it was worse than that but…”listen to it and you will understand a little”.

To the day she died she wondered what became of her mother, older sister (who she never heard from again)  and younger brother, who she lost track of during the war.

I imagine what she would tell me today, if we could talk.

She would not be happy to know that there is just me left, but then perhaps her going before the rest was  a kindness.

She deserved a lot of those.

the TP police…ride again.

You know the type of people that will count out toilet paper squares to give you because they are that anal and concerned with money? The ex’s mother is that person – this morning she put a new roll of toilet paper in the upstairs bathroom. It’s gone. So I am in my room and she was in the doorway ranting about the toilet paper – Thomas showered and he apparently LOVES to go through toilet paper (apparently).

Until the last 6 months I would never imagine I would be so happy that I walk the extra flight of stairs to use the OTHER bathroom.

Remember folks “BE SQUARE AWARE. Conserve your Toilet Paper, save the world” (or a few pennies whichever way inclined you are).

Chapter 2. The Crux Of Alternate Realities.

Nothing I am thinking is new to many, but for some it might be, as for me it was.

Everyone has had a time (or they will have) where a situation occurs and what you consider to be the only response or action to take, is not thought of the same by someone else.

I made the mistake of thinking that this was a singular instance of divergent core belief or priorities.

I should have seen it as the way of the world.

We were living on the farm, 360 acres of farmland with bush, and we had 4 dogs.  I was alone, as of the age of 12 I spent most of my time alone on the farm but that is yet another post for another day if I ever get brave enough.

The parents were at work, 100 miles away, and as they worked in the city we really did not have community ties (they were not the type to bother with neighbors and community).

On this fine sunny afternoon, knowing I would be alone till the next morning as usual, I opened the door to go outside and do chores and found the stoop covered in blood.  It is a shock, it’s like everything stops for a moment and then you feel fear, because something is so wrong.

I love animals, I guess being agoraphobic, I have spent more time with them than people.

My first actual thought was to find what was hurt, and I started calling the dogs.

It took a couple minutes but they came and one of them, a beautiful golden coated mixed breed shep/lab/collie, had her throat cut.

I was 14, my first thought was bring her into the house, and call mom at work.

Now my mom was an amazing woman, she was very quick and to the point – pour flour on it. Pack it with flour and keep packing it until the blood cakes and stops flowing.

So there I was in the kitchen packing flour onto her neck, crying and saying those stupid little prayers that she be okay.

That is when the older half brother showed up with his fiance.  I remember that feeling of help is here, it will be okay.

This was the moment when the divergence hit me.

This church going former military older half sibling, refused to take the dog to the nearest vet.

Instead he went to my room to sleep with his girlfriend and mom had to drive all the way home to take her to the vet, while I waited for her, tending to the dog and trying to keep hysteria at bay.

I was shocked at him because not taking her to the vet was not even an option in my mind, and I could not understand how this person could be that way.

He went to church but his first love was money, and his excuse was he was not paying for it (obviously not an issue as mom was taking her anyway) and well it would dirty his Toyota half ton so his citified fiance (a cousin via the step dad) would have issues sitting in it.

Et voila.

Divergent realities, different core values and morals.

The dog lived a long and happy life.

It is a lesson I wish I had remembered.

What we think is an automatic responsible moral response to a situation, may not even be considered by someone else.

In fact some people can’t even spell empathy much less feel it, and the only time they notice another person is to see what they can get out of them…something even now I can not quite fathom.

If I could maybe this would make sense.

Alternate realities we live in. Introduction.

I am convinced that part of the reason people do not connect is that they, we, all exist in alternate realities and the crossing of paths between some of those realities is harsh, harmful, even deadly.  I think the negatives impact so heavily and are trumpeted so fervently by the media that we do not realize there can be positive, even wonderful interactions from the crossing of realities.

Someone may well look at what I just said with raised eyebrows, yet even as they do that, if they look outside and see a homeless person walking down the street you will see a very distinct illustration of what I mean by “alternate realities”.

The reality of the individual is shaped by their family, environment, life experiences and their own mind.  Someone living in a mansion will not see the world, nor even know the thought processes of the person living on the street, and they will both have far different views on what they will do to survive and what is forbidden.

It is easy to be general, speak as if observing a fanciful notion that has had no impact on you.

It is harder to share your own reality.

Risky.

You will be judged, criticized and all the rest that goes along with it.

What is your reality?

Do you have a home, family, friends, job, pets, or are you alone, struggling to get food and shelter?

I highly doubt anyone in extreme circumstances is going to be reading this but their reality is no less valid or in fact worthwhile.

What is my reality?

Totally screwed up if I am honest and not looking to be getting any better.

There is 1 reason for me to keep on breathing and she has a big heart and 4 paws…the rest of my existence at this point is encompassed in hurt, fear, and helplessness.

The thing that drives me nuts is, I am afraid to speak out because of the situation I have been put in.

You see my reality, crossed paths with someone else’s reality, and this brought me here.

Everyone has a different life, but I made the mistake of thinking that most people want to be honest, good and not misrepresent themselves or cheat and steal.

My reality, my world, my thought processes, did not allow me to see that others do not see things like I do, there are no limits on them for what they can or will do, unless there is a cop standing nearby. Okay, not true, it has taken me this long to understand that even standing next to a cop, they will act like they have done nothing wrong and dare you to say anything to contradict them.

I am not perfect.

I have tried not to judge others.

I have helped strangers and those in need, sometimes the wrong way, risking bodily harm and employment but I thought that is what good people do.

I also thought that people in general were good, and mostly it was circumstances that make them bad.

I never claimed not to be naive.

Now the question is, what do I do?

Does it matter how I got here?

Well to me it does.

Understanding the situation requires knowing the history.

They expect me to be silent because if I am not I will lose what little they have left me, my dog, my bits and pieces, and my protection from being seen as stupid, gullible and as worthy as that homeless person is to most people that see them going by.

I did not want this, and each day I ask myself what to do, and hold my poor dog who did not deserve this either.

I really can not stand to lose my dog.

So silence wins rather than risk it.

Daily Prompt: Wicked Witch. Show us evil.

I saw a daily prompt which made me wonder.

Daily Prompt: Wicked Witch

The suggestion was:

Write about evil: how you understand it (or don’t), what you think it means, or a way it’s manifested, either in the world at large or in your life.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us EVIL.

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What is evil?

Is evil inside?

Or in the act of something horribly wrong?

You can show a person and say they are evil I guess, but were they always evil?  Does it matter?

To some professionals, that does matter.

You can not show a victim of something that we consider evil, because that victim is not evil (speaking generally here), and that would just be wrong.

People can have evil thoughts,, evil in their hearts, or do evil things but how do you show evil?

Is evil not a concept, like good, heaven, hell and well faith and hope…all intangible and difficult to depict with exactness.

Guns are not evil, they are tools which can be used in the aid of “good” or the process of “evil”.

I agree evil exists in the world, has shown up in horrors unimaginable throughout history, and will continue to.

I think it is too easy to label something or someone as evil and move on without examining causes, if only for markers, indicators of what could be seen to stop a repeat.

The holocaust was not the first such type incident – not knowing history would allow people to ignore signs, possibilities and indeed as that old saying goes, a repeat of the past.

I am sure everyone can name something they consider as depicting evil.

There is more such out there than I know about I am sure, and probably glad to not know.

I do not have to show anyone evil, because I think everyone has something that clicks into their minds at the mere mention of the word.

I know someone who works in Corrections, he sees people who the public consider evil everyday, he works to keep them separate yet humanely and responsibly cared for.

He says there is too much evil in the world, but he has no view on his charges other than, they are people serving a sentence and the judgement on them will come from some higher power, it is not for him to contemplate or condemn.

For myself I think that these folks get too much notoriety, some attention should be placed on those who do good deeds, without someone being bored with the positivity.

We have all heard of Anne Frank, but what is the name of the people who tried to hide them?

Or the others who silently do good deeds and save those who have no safety net, one person at a time.

Why does the dark entrance, and thrill, when it is so much harder to do good in the face of force and abuse?

Ah indeed, how to show evil.

It should be easy in the end, as a million visions pass through my mind at what things could be considered evil, now to take that and do some good…

…that would be something extraordinary.