It takes the smallest step on a slippery slope to start a downward spiral.
Now that sounds like a mighty provocative statement don’t you think? But what does it mean? Am I going to end someone’s existence? Murder? Or am I going to end the existence of that hamburger on that plate?
Context. It’s all about context. And quite frankly ‘Kill’ could mean any number of things: ruin something, overpower, block, hurt, make time pass, laugh . . . . the list is pretty extensive. Confused yet?
I speak one language well (well, pretty well) and I will acknowledge it is a rather confusing language. “Stay where you’re at, and I’ll come where you’re to”. Drive on a parkway and park on a driveway. To anyone to whom English is a second language: Kudos! Even some of us born to it have issues.
I am finding more and more that it is not how well I speak that is important, it is how well I am understood. And the onus is not on the person to whom I am speaking, rather it is on me. I love words. I have a university degree in English. I often use words that are multiple syllables long and sometimes archaic. To my ear I am speaking appropriately. Unfortunately it is not my ear that I am speaking to. I was in a grocery store the other day and looking for a particular item. I was looking for aubergines. For the life of me I could not remember it’s common name. When I asked I was told that they didn’t sell exotic items. I was looking for eggplants.
I love the fact that I live in a multicultural nation. I love the fact that people from all over the world choose to come to my beautiful country. I believe we are stronger for that. But it also presents difficulties that I’m quite sure 30 years ago we never thought about: everyday conversations. And then of course you have the generation that speaks in symbols, short forms and acronyms. The flavour of the word is lost when you LOL. The first person that ever used that acronym for me was a dear, dear friend. I thought it meant Lots of Love. You can imagine my chagrin when an acquaintance used it. Context my friends, context.
There is a marvellous scene in an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation where one character holds up a hot cup of tea and asks another how he would explain what she is holding in her hand, to an alien race. For those of you in the know it was counsellor Troy and Capt. Picard. Was she holding hot, liquid, glass, cup of tea, beverage? And if the alien race had no concept of drinking a cup of tea how do you explain it to them? And that is our problem here in present-day Earth. Context.
All over the world things are done differently in different countries. They refer to things by different names. When we come together there’s a great deal of miscommunication. Our job is to keep trying to communicate until we’re all on the same page. When I write that down it seems like such an easy thing to do. And yet you know as well as I do easy is harder then it looks. We will never, ever fail as long as we keep trying. I’ll keep trying and I’ll stop looking for aubergines!
Life can be a wonder and a blessing and it can be Hell on earth! At the moment I am blessed with so many wondrous things that it is interfering with some aspects of my life. So instead of an original post I offer you a Blast from my Past. This was originally posted in September 2013. I hope you enjoy it.
When you look up at the stars at night do you feel homesick? Okay, okay, bad joke. Do you know once upon a time I laughed uproariously at that joke. I ran around and told all my preteen friends. Yes, it’s that old. And so am I.
As we age our funny bone seems to migrate. For some people it ends up around the gluteus maximus. For others humour becomes more cerebral. I don’t know the equation to what’s funny. I don’t even know what makes me laugh until I am actually laughing. When was the last time you laughed so hard there were tears running down your face? Do you remember the knee slapping, rib tickling, gut wrenching guffaws you used to hear when a group of people got together to watch a comedy film? I don’t, at least not recently. The last time I had one of those all-encompassing, falling on the floor cackles was watching an old movie.
The movie was ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. I don’t remember the movie. I don’t even know if it was actually a comedy. What I do remember is my boyfriend and I beating on the furniture. We were laughing so hard we were crying. I remember him falling on the floor and not able to catch his breath. But I don’t remember the movie. I remember that there was a series but it appeared to be about teenage angst (and vampire slaying) I wasn’t interested. I had enough of that when I was a teenager! (The angst not the slaying!) Don’t get me wrong I enjoy comedy. I’ve been known to crack a smile and even show teeth. I just haven’t had a really good belly laugh in a very long time.
Laughter is a universal language. It crosses borders and brings people together. It can also alienate people and cause others to commit various forms of harm. Of course that in itself can be funny! But I digress. I don’t know of any culture that doesn’t have some form of laughter. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could laugh more and shoot less? We spend so much of our time behaving according to the dictates of society that when we let loose it can be epic! Find the time to laugh. A really good guffaw exercises the whole body!
I was talking with a friend the other night and she told me how she was going to take her two young daughters away for a Girls Weekend. I started to remember the wonderful trips I had taken with my parents when I was a child. Some trips were only for a day, a week, sometimes for a weekend and once for month. I cherish those memories! I remember being in a camper trailer and not having access to fresh milk. I was so excited to go a whole week without having to drink milk. I hated the stuff before the trip, loved it afterwards!
More and more of my childhood memories started to pop to the surface. They had been filed away just in case I wanted to look at them again. For a moment I wanted to get lost in the past. I could remember the feeling of my father’s arms as he carried me to bed. I could fall asleep anywhere. I could remember the smell of my mother’s hands when she was baking in the kitchen. I could remember the springy hair of Beau Brummel, our miniature poodle when he had been rolling in something noxious and he knew it. Damn, he was a smart dog!
Sadly, I knew I had to put them back in the vault or I would truly run the risk of getting lost. But I knew they were there. Locked safely away. Or so I thought. My mother started to lose her memories but she had told me the stories so many times I remembered them for her. We used to laugh about it. What happens when I’m gone!
The stories that she told me happened to people who are no longer alive. Who will remember them! My stories, my memories, what will happen to them? What will happen to my Memory Bank? I guess the question is a matter of beliefs. What do you believe? Do you believe that we live on in another form or are we recycled into the ether?
I don’t know. I know what I want to believe. But I don’t know. If Heaven exists it must be pretty crowded. Of course the same thing could be said for Hell. I do not believe the human mind is capable of understanding the next step. I certainly don’t. I don’t think logic comes into it and that is where you rely on faith.
I have my wonderful memories and one day they will all fade into the Cosmo as will I. Until that time I am going to continue to make deposits into my Memory Bank. How about you!
I am feeling a little melancholy today. No real reason. I am sitting in front of my brand-new desk and it is beautiful. The renovations in my kitchen are proceeding. The sun is bright and it is a beautiful day. I have no reason to feel sad or melancholy, but I do. We are constantly being bombarded by the horrors that exist in our world. The inequalities, the hatred, the anger and the people who are only looking out for number one. Too many them are in positions of authority. I can’t believe I’m going to say this but, I yearn for the simpler times. I remember when . . .
No. That’s not right. Not now, not today. Things have to change, yes. But I would rather look forward to when . . . yes, and I do! I look forward to the day when we realize we are one people, one planet, one goal: not just to survive but to thrive, together! We are capable of such good, such beauty and I am optimistic enough to believe that we will find a way.
I grew up on the original Star Trek. It showed a future that was not without conflict but it was a future of inclusion, of compassion and of curiosity. It was the future I wanted. The Star Trek franchise is still very much alive and within all the angst of a fictionalized universe, the core tenet remains.
The future is ours to mould but we have to start now! I believe that more people realize this and are doing everything in their power to ensure that we do have a future. You and I can be part of this movement even if it is only in a small way. Even a single penny, when combined with others, will make a million dollars. Every single one of us can make difference. Let’s make it a difference for good.
Sir? Sir? !!!! Many years ago I wrote about being “ma’amed”. You know the first time a woman is referred to as “Ma’am”. (butterflysand.com/2013/11/10/it-happened-to-me/ ) Well I can now report to my faithful followers that I have been “Sirred”! Please allow me to explain.
I was working around the apartment when it suddenly dawned on me that I needed something immediately. I quickly picked up my wallet and nipped out to the pharmacy. I didn’t stop to brush my hair or put on lipstick or the ubiquitous mascara. I simply left my apartment. There’s a red light where I needed to cross the street and I was forced to stop for a few moments to allow traffic to pass by. Seconds later a very nice car with two gentlemen in it made a right hand turn in front of me. (perfectly legal) Through the open window I heard one gent say to the other: “It’s Open, it’s open!” I wasn’t eavesdropping, I was less than 4 feet away. They pulled around the corner and stopped at the curb.
To put things into context: the car was behind me and off to my right. Directly behind me was the liquor store. One man got out of the car and raced the five or six feet to the building. At which point I heard a rattling and a question: “Excuse me sir? Do you have the time?”
I was the only other person around. Now I have never considered myself a mean person. I try not to make fun of people because they don’t understand something. I’ve always been proud of the fact that I am definitely a woman. And in all my 58 years I have never, ever been confused for a man. Never! Until today.
The truth is I had just had my hair cut very short. Fewer trips to the hair salon as my hair grows rather quickly. This man also appeared to be in some distress. So I guess I shouldn’t judge. But seriously, sir? He did see me from behind. My hair is short. I am sitting in a wheelchair so it does hide some pretty apparent female attributes when seen from the back. I did correct him as I turned around. And then I gave him the time as requested. But it rankled!
This happened several days ago but still I can’t stop thinking about it. I fantasized that he was a raging alcoholic and was so hung over that he could barely make out the fact that I was human. He wasn’t stumbling so that might be out. Then there’s a thought that he was blind but knew there was someone there as I do have a deep voice…… nope. I didn’t speak until spoken to and he didn’t have a white cane so that probably isn’t it. Then I hypothesized he was an alien from Alpha Centuari and didn’t understand the sexes. Ha ha ha!
What this incident really did was show me how sensitive I am about things that have no real importance in my life. He was a stranger who misspoke. He didn’t mean any harm. He did not mean to disrespect me. He was in a hurry. He should not be judged negatively for something as inconsequential as a pronoun.
When did I become so vain? Yes, yes I would admit to a certain amount of vanity. I think we all have to admit to that. But it isn’t the end of the world, yet. And something wonderful did come out of this: my Sunday post!