Keeping an open mind is demanding. It requires a willingness to suppress one’s own strongly-held opinions and innate bigotry. And it requires being patient while information is uncovered and analyzed, so that facts can be verified and their meaning can be determined. The process is particularly difficult when “everybody knows” the truth, especially when “all the evidence” points to the rectitude of biased opinions. Everyone, it seems, is guilty of making judgments based on assumptions that spring from one’s own clouded perspective.

Recently, I read a comment on Facebook about an accusation of domestic abuse made against someone I do not know. The comment “confirmed” that the accusation was correct and that the accused person was guilty. I pointlessly replied, suggesting the commenter might want to wait to make a judgment about guilt or innocence until the accused’s trial. My reply was pointless because, as I well knew, it would only further cement the person’s opinion. She would double down on her assertion of guilt, despite having not been present at the time of the alleged crime and having not been privy to any information not contained in a newspaper’s report. If the person accused of abuse is convicted of the crime, the person who commented will, I feel sure, crow about how right she was in asserting the man’s guilt. If he is not convicted, she will insist the justice system is rigged against the victims of domestic abuse. Perhaps she is right. But I am sure I am the one who is more likely to know the “truth.” Because I, too, am guilty of being biased. Will I be satisfied with the judgment of the judge or jury if the man is found guilty? What if he is found innocent? Keeping an open mind is demanding. Nearly impossible, sometimes.


My stomach is making loud noises, loud enough that I am afraid the sound might awaken mi novia or the cat. The loud gurgling must have begun in response to my drinking coffee, though it is possible that last night’s dinner, coupled with the coffee, may be at fault. Judgments. Potentially erroneous is what I was getting at in the paragraph above. Come on, John; stick to the topic at hand, won’t you? I am sorry, but my thoughts this morning are too chaotic to give clear thinking a chance of success. Unrelated thoughts are bouncing around my brain with such ferocity and speed that I cannot possibly control them.


An early dinner with friends at a Ecuadorian restaurant (Rolando’s, a place also identified as a restaurante nuevo Latino), followed by Open Mic Night at Kollective Coffee & Tea helped make yesterday a good day. We joined our friends Patty and Terry and Kim and Robert for a satisfying meal and entertaining evening of listening to poetry readings. Patty and I both read poems of our own. We participated, along with other people who expressed themselves through poetry. The audience welcomed and expressed support for each poet; all of who read our work were enthusiastically shown appreciation and thanks for sharing. I have not participated in Open Mic Night in quite some time; I thank Kim, who suggested the gathering, for providing the impetus. I enjoy reading to an appreciative audience. Regardless of how well or how poorly I perform, the audience at Open Mic Night always boosts my mood.


It’s a quarter to seven. I am about to fall asleep again, nearly three hours after waking far too early for someone who needs at least another hour of sleep. I could not sleep, though, with my stomach’s loud gurgling interrupting my quietude. Dammit. Dammit all.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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