Supposedly open-minded progressives who deride conservatives about their “conservative hypocrisy” sometimes seem blind to their own bigotry. For example, it is not hard to find staunch liberals—blue through and through—who label Texas and Texans right-wing hypocrites. Or they may call Arkansans and Arkansas “hillbillies” and “heaven to hicks.” That only slightly-more-politically-correct than blatant racism or open misogyny. When I chastise liberals and conservatives for their ignorance and idiocy, I have to include myself among the fools receiving my dressing-down. I think I would be a better person if I would just pause to examine myself before judging other people. So too would the people I judge. And the people who judge me and the people I judge. I hope I am not attempting to minimize the seriousness of my own flaws when I say we’re all guilty of hypocrisy from time to time. We are guilty, but we rarely cop a plea; instead, we protest that we practice truth, sarcasm, and irony.
I hear Zeus slamming his staff against the solid stone floor of his cavernous castle. His anger is palpable. The tears of his subjects, who dread and adore him, rain from the dark, pre-dawn sky. Suddenly, the sounds and the tears cease, leaving in their wake a dark, dry, empty silence. When he is on a rampage, Zeus is easy to predict. But when he draws into himself, it is impossible to know what he might do next. It could be more blinding fury or an even deeper. guttural growl rising from deep beneath us, down near the core of planet Earth. Or something else entirely. Dreaming up possibilities helps calm my frayed nerves. Their rough edges are my own fault. Of course, my passion and longing for the inaccessible may have something to do with it. But they, too, are part of my rough edges. Even if I learned I had a limitless supply of money, for example, the flaws would remain—hidden beneath skin and bone and sinew and protective shell.
To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.
~ Federico Garcia Lorca ~
The clasp on a loop earring—one that had long been companion to my left ear lobe—finally gave in to the stresses associated with clinging to my ear. It steadfastly refused to stay “shut,” so I risked losing it if I wore it. So…I discarded it and replaced it with a diamond stud. I have no idea where it came from; if it was part of a pair, its companion is long gone. After a few days, though, the stud was irritating my delicate lobe. I replaced the diamond stud with a small black, sparkling, double-sided disk that has a screw-post; the two sides of the pair are held together by screw threads. The black disk, though small, was too big for me taste. So, I am going naked for the moment, until I get to Dillard’s or somewhere similar; someplace that sells small, $12 silver-plated hoop earrings. I may return to the diamond stud, though, when my earlobe heals. “Heal, earlobe, heal!”
How trustworthy—or not—is the police officer who patrols your neighborhood? And what about your family doctor? Does she maintain the confidence of the doctor-patient relationship, or does she share details of your maladies with her friends and family? Are you certain the anesthesiologist who put you under for your recent surgery did not fondle you while you were unconscious? Can the neighbor boy, the quiet one who avoids eye contact with you, be trusted? Are you sure he will not “snap” and spray the neighborhood or the nearest Safeway with deadly bullets? Can you depend on your friend, who is no stranger to alcohol, to drive you home safely—and sober—after an especially raucous New Year’s Eve party? Life is unpredictable. Death, too. And injury. And windfalls. And losses. A person could look at unpredictability as equivalent to a guillotine blade hanging precariously over one’s head. Or one might look at it as an opportunity for challenge and adventure. Every experience, until the very end, is part and parcel of life. Perhaps looking at life as an inevitable companion to experience would clarify everything. But not necessarily.
I am, again, ravenously hungry. I would like to eat a papaya, its flesh drizzled with fresh lime juice. A slice of cantaloupe might go well with it. And a strip or two of coconut meat, fresh out of the shell. Before I wrote about the papaya, I was about to express my desire to have a patty of spicy-hot sausage; but I realized I tend to associate the “main course” of almost every meal with meat of some kind. Not coconut meat; bacon or pork or lamb or beef. Or fish, though some might call seafood-based diets “pescatarian.” I would like to polish the habit of eating more vegetarian meals. Lately, I have returned to my old, meat-friendly, standbys. I need to create a grocery list with ingredients for briam. And spaghetti squash to replace pasta (though I realize, of course, pasta is not a meat). And stuff and such…that supports and reinforces a sometimes-vegetarian lifestyle. But, back to breakfast. I may opt for toast again. Or some cheese. And/or a “toaster-oven-baked tomato.” Time will tell.
Come close and I will whisper in your ear a deep, deep secret.
First, you have to promise to keep the secret close, just between us.
If I require you to promise first, does that mean I don’t trust you? Or,
when I rely on your stated promise, is that better evidence of trust? Or,
does trust mean I assume you will keep our conversation in confidence,
without extracting a promise from you?
I rarely enjoy loud places. My brain resists the chaos of labyrinthine noise. But, occasionally, a cacophony has the other effect, overwhelming troubling thoughts with sound. Or maybe it’s not overwhelming; maybe it’s just a distraction. Whatever it is, it’s better than the chaos, but not as good as silence. Silent places can be remarkably soothing. But I have learned they can be even more troubling than can be a cacophony. Silence allows the mind to either enter a state of deep relaxation or a universe of regret and worry. In a nutshell, everything and everywhere has the potential to be home or hell. Silent places…they respond, either way, to your heartbeat.