I am convinced that under this administration, people have felt more emboldened to allow their bigoted and otherwise backward views on life bubble to the surface without shame or fear of consequences. When the leader of the free world refers to a sitting member of Congress as what most people deem to be a racial slur, it is no surprise to hear his supporters refer to another accomplished woman of color as an ape.
Sadly, it has taken an outrageous act of stupidity and racism to rid the networks of Roseanne Barr despite years of history of showing bizarre behavior. From her regurgitation of conspiracy theories seen on the front page of InfoWars to her photo shoot of a Nazi character taking burned Jewish gingerbread men out of an oven, she should have been gone years ago.
When racist and ignorant people are emboldened by the lack of push back, we arrive at a dystopian prequel to our future. Subtle racism becomes not so subtle and white supremacists feel comfortable espousing their hate in public and parade with torches in hand.
What can decent people do?
For me, it is a simple answer but one I have struggled with in the past.
My dentist is a mid 60s white male and everything about him screams Trump voter. He is full of conservative opinions that he shares freely with me as if he believes they are also the values that I hold. I assure you I do not. His off color comments on everything from religion, public schools, immigration, and socio-economic fallacies flow freely. In the past I have felt uncomfortable confronting the man with sharp objects jabbing around my mouth. But now I know that the only way to stop the bullshit behavior is to start calling it out. I may start subtly by asking questions such as “why do you feel that way” and anticipate ending with “I don’t share your views on that”… Ultimately I will probably leave the practice.
In any event, people with openly hostile viewpoints that imply superiority need to feel some discomfort in sharing their opinions in public. They need a reality check in the face of unashamed stupidity. I have little hope of reforming my dentist, but doing anything I can to make sure he knows his intolerance is noticed make me hope he goes back in the bigot closet where he belongs.
I once had a boss whom I considered a mentor, but I don’t recall why.
He rarely gave me any advice on growing my skill set or how to navigate office politics.
And then he fired me.
Sometimes you just feel depleted.
Depletion is not depression.
Depression may feel like being at the bottom of a glass looking outward and upward.
Depletion is the fluid in the glass.
It can feel like a state of nothingness, weakness, stillness, but not sadness.
Floating on itself.
When I hear people rationalize spending money on services based upon the concept of “what’s your time worth”, I get a little defensive.
In a previous life I was also someone who would value ALL of my time based upon my HOURLY WAGES at my job. It is easy to make this argument, but it doesn’t really hold water.
Let’s say that I make $50 per hour as an IT Contractor in a job and I spend $50 per week to have my lawn serviced. I might say to myself, that I don’t want to spend an hour this weekend mowing my lawn and would rather have that time to go to the gym. I have just traded 1 hour of gym time for $50. I do recognize that I also get a manicured lawn included. I have told myself that time at the gym is worth one hour of working my IT job. While going to the gym is highly enjoyable and beneficial to my health, it is hard to argue that an hour of gym time is worth paying $50.
The fallacy of the “what’s your time worth?” argument is based on the presumption that all time value is equal, and I do not believe that it is. In the case of the IT worker, the time is worth $50 on Monday through Friday between 9AM and 5PM. Without a side hustle or other way to make money, the time outside of those hours might be worth $0 per hour.
So to say that I am worth $50 per hour for 24 hours per day in making my choices may lead me to make a poor decision.
Think about this the next time you are using the time/money/value reasoning.
Also recognize that mowing the lawn is also a pretty good workout in and of itself!
My son twisted his knee about 6 weeks ago.
He tried to stay active but it kept feeling worse.
After about a week, we took him to an orthopedist to look him over.
An MRI was ordered and a secondary referral was made for a rheumatologist to rule out some other symptoms that could have been caused by something like Lyme Disease. Blood tests were taken and more doctors appointments were scheduled.
None of the symptoms were clear cut signs of typical injuries but all roads led us to Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. JIA is fancy terminology for joint swelling with no known cause. It seems like it might be a type of auto immune disease, but many kids outgrow it. It can be treated with anti-inflamatories, steroids, and if there is no improvement there are oral therapies which carry some risk of compromised immune systems.
As a layperson, I was calm with the diagnosis. I have an attitude of “don’t worry until it is time to worry”. My wife on the other hand who is a pediatrician has been running through every differential diagnosis and extrapolating each outcome in her mind. It has been very exhausting for her to find balance between mother and physician. I feel happier being less informed and taking the treating physicians words at face value.
As we were wrapping our most recent appointment for our son, my wife was on her electronic medical records system for her practice. She noticed a new note for a patient with some unexplained weight loss. As differential diagnoses were being worked through, the path led them to a mass in the chest. She was heartbroken. At a time when she was so upset about her own son, a patient family just learned that their world was turned upside down.
Her thoughts went to the family of the boy. She knew what they were in for. The fear of the unknown and the upcoming pain and discomfort made her reconsider our personal situation a bit.
While she was crestfallen that her patient was ill, she also was able to take a moment to reflect upon our own son and recognize that while things can always be better, they can also be worse.
My wife drives a leased car because she is able to get favorable tax treatment as a business owner.
One of the tires seems to have a slow leak and is holding air, but not enought for safe travel. Another tire has a plug in it so I was anticipating replacing at least two of the tires. This is painful on a leased car, but safety is important to me.
Being the frugal cheapskate that I am, I started to scour the internet for tire prices.
But then I had a change of heart. I decided to call the dealership and have the tire looked at there. Getting regular maintenance on a car at the dealership is not typically a wise financial decision. Dealerships have historically high prices. But having a leased car, I was hoping that I might get a discount because the car would have at least 2 new tires when we turn it in 6 months from now.
When I dropped the car off I was very surprised by the service advisor’s advice. He said I could replace one tire even though the car was AWD. He also said it would be worth trying to fix the tire. I never expected the dealership to offer tire repair at all!. The best part was that if the tire was able to be repaired, the cost would only be $25.
Sure this may be a few bucks more than the local garage, but it was very fair and reasonable pricing.
I write this post from the comfort of the wifi enabled waiting room as I enjoy a free coffee and muffin. I know the extra cost of the repair pays for these free items, but the experience is worth it.
Regardless the outcome of my tire problems, I feel feel good that my decision to give the dealership a chance resulted in a positive experience. I feel like I got great advice that balanced vehicle performance, cost, and safety. I suppose that all of the competition in the auto repair space has encouraged dealerships to reel in price and become viable options for regular consumers like me.
My son is on a year round swim team. He practices 4-5 times per week at the local facility.
The pool is part of a larger gym and has a parking lot that can hold about 200 cars.
Within the parking lot there are driveways and lanes for travel. These lanes are restricted as fire lanes, and clearly marked no parking.
When I arrive to pick him up, there may only be 20 cars in the lot so it is pretty easy to find me. I’ll walk up to meet him or I’ll text him, “left side near back”. He’s never gotten lost.
Then there are about 20% of the parents to whom the “no parking” signs seemingly don’t apply. They do what is easiest for them and their children, damn the rest.
They park on both sides of the fire lanes, typically right in front of the signs. The cars block traffic and make driving to exit problematic and unsafe.
I don’t know the reasons that they flout the rules and disregard safety and common decency.
The funny thing I have noticed about the parking situation is that is seems to have a socio-economic appearance to it.
The Volkswagens, Hondas, Fords are all rule followers and park in the assigned spots in the lot.
The Range Rovers, Audi, and BMW all typically the ones parking illegally.
Is this a significant observation?
I think yes.
Why do “wealthy” feel entitled to do what they will?
Are they so self absorbed that it doesn’t even register that they putting their needs above others? Or is it more sinister that they simply don’t care?
Regardless of the outcome, I make a point to teach my son and anyone else in the carpool what it means to be a citizen of the world. Don’t put yourself on a pedestal and understand that society works better when we respect each other.