We sometimes vent frustrations in ways that make sense only to us. Others look at us as if we’d stopped on the side of the road, spread a tablecloth on the ground, taken out a knife and fork, and dined on a freshly killed possum. Dining on fresh roadkill would be taken as a sign of madness that would evoke fear and alarm in people who witness the act. So, too, is reacting with loud expressions of anger at oneself for breaking a cheap and easily replaceable dish. Maybe the frustration is not with breaking the dish but, rather, with the prospect that dropping it could be evidence of a neurological disorder. In that case, the anger may not be a sign of madness. Instead, it could be an expression of fear. So, apparently inappropriate responses to external stimuli emerge from hidden (to the outside viewer) triggers. That reality (and I know it to be true, though the dish example is not necessarily real) brings to mind a common meme that makes regular circuits on social media. It goes something like “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” The trick is live that way; it’s so easy to condemn others for behaviors that seem irrational or unsuited to circumstance. All of this having been said, compassion must be tempered with skepticism, lest we allow ourselves to be exploited. I don’t know whether I find that a healthy attitude or a sad commentary on humanity—or only the person who holds that attitude. Reflecting on the statement, I wonder if it’s better to allow oneself to be duped and used on occasion, or to be forever on guard against it, thereby risking hurting people who need compassion but sense suspicion.
This brief post is an exposé of how my mind works; I start with something fairly straightforward, and then let it twist and turn until it morphs into something else entirely.
As I hear peals of thunder and listen to rain pelt the roof, I contemplate coffee. Yes, another cup at this moment seems absolutely appropriate.