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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

WISDOM OF MAYA ANGELOU

self-portrait as haint

The temperature has been so cold for so long you'd think I'd be used to it by now. The best thing I've found to do is keep a pair of shoes on the bedroom heater, change shoes when the ones I'm wearing turn cold. If I don't do that, the best thing to do is stay in bed with feet off the floor, socks on. I'm not acclimatizing because I'm not going out in it. I don't feel like going outside when the temperature is 31 degrees. The cold in the air is bitter. An old turd is what I feel like. I've listened to the news much of the day, feeling like doing nothing and actually doing nothing, like Caterpillar sprawled out by the heater all day, mind set on H for hibernate. I understand why certain critters sleep through the winters. The cold makes me want to stay in bed. Makes me want to go to Daytona and rent an apartment for a couple months. Makes me want the money to do that with. The easiest way is to rethink and ask the question, Why? Then I'm happy at home in the cold.

It's funny how I draw conclusions that are off the beam, yet live by them, believing them when they're proven to be nutty. I get to believing I love and like everybody around me, feeling happy seeing myself forgiving and magnanimous. Then in town I come face to face with someone I cannot tolerate, who feels the same about me. It was like alpha wolves facing each other in the woods. I do have what it takes to laugh at it. The other doesn't. He seethes. It stays on my mind more than I want it to, telling me it's a powerful feeling that leaves a deep imprint. My only problem with him is absence of respect. He gets it. I reminded myself all day today, we're distinguished by who our enemies are, as by who our friends are. I wouldn't want to be like someone he respects, nor would he want to be like someone I respect. The people I respect aren't high up enough to suit him, and the ones he respects are the important people I stay away from.

And I remembered a friend I know better than to trust, but keep him for a friend knowing I can't trust him. If trust is the criterion for friendship, that means not many friends. A quotation I heard on the radio from Maya Angelou, "When somebody shows you who they are, believe it." It sounds like something she has told herself over and over about people she once wanted to trust and learned it didn't work out. It doesn't mean you can't go back for more. You might be at work and have to go back for more. It only means you know the landscape.

Maybe that's what Jesus meant by knowing the tree by its fruits, or knowing the man's motivations by his actions. When you get it (Maya speaking to herself), get it. Pay attention. This manner of assessment is acceptable to the man who recommends against judging. Evidently this is not judging, rather it's knowing who not to tell something to if you don't want it all over the county by this time tomorrow. It works the other way around too. This is the one to tell it to when you do want it all over the county at top speed, being certain to add the trigger phrase, Don't tell anybody.

I can't turn a friend aside because I can't trust him. I just don't give him a reason for me to trust him. He likes to talk better than I do, so when I see him, he talks and I tell nothing. But I can advise you that when I write something here about loving everybody and the rest of that high sounding mess, remember it is not so. When I saw this guy yesterday, I laughed at myself for the intensity of the revulsion I felt. I tell myself, there is always going to be somebody like that. It's an aspect of human nature. If he didn't have it, somebody else would. It's a role. When he's around, it's the rooster in the chicken house syndrome; strutting, scratching, boastful tone of voice, big red rooster. Cock a doodle do. Ho-hum and I'm out the door. I'd rather listen to the purr of my car's motor.


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