Friday, February 15, 2013
INDEPENDENT AS A HOG ON ICE
A couple days ago leaving the grocery store I fell in with someone I knew from the days of the music store, we talked walking out the door, into the parking lot and stopped when we reached my car, stood there and talked quite a long time in increasingly cold wind. Increasingly, because the longer I stood in it, the colder the wind became. He was somebody who is wound up inside and rants when he cuts loose. I don't mean to say I found him objectionable. My first encounter with him years ago was a very much in-yer-face commandment of what I need to do to make a million dollars. Rather than say I don't want a million dollars, I let him talk. It amounted to another city-mind you needa, you gotta, you oughta, you should. He had a good mind and spelled it out for me convincingly. Like I said, the only problem I had with what he was saying was that I did not want a million dollars. I know somebody who came into multiple millions overnight. He lived high, big house, a Mercedes convertible of a different color for every day of the week. His life went to shit. He lost his wife, lost his money, lost his ego. It wasn't but a few years later he landed in prison for habitual drunkenness. One woman I know said, "I believe I could make a million dollars last." My thought: I'd be just like the guy that lost it all and ended up in prison a drunk.
The man in the parking lot who had previously mapped out my path to a million dollars was telling me in the increasingly cold wind that he's not really a Republican (the "not really" perked my ears up wondering what that could be leading to), he's "more of a Teapartyer." I didn't see that coming, but it was the natural next thing. On my instant double-take I saw: of course he's a Teapartyer. His talking amounted to continuous rant, meaning he takes seriously Faux News, Limbaugh and the rest of the white voices stirring up divisive hatred. He was a good guy, though I found his critical mind a bit slack, led by the self-centered corporate notion of all for me, nothing for anybody else, the post-Reagan slant on American individualism. I tend to look at him as the issue itself, not the solution he purported himself to be. Individualism is not the same as egoism. Individualism allows humility and an interest in the well-being of others besides self. I can't help but see it's a better life for the individual to live among people who are getting paid well enough for their work they can live on what they make, than to live underground with prison walls and towers housing men with guns guarding the entrance while everybody else is living in poverty and fighting each other, manipulated by the people living underground.
We were talking as people friendly with each other. I, a liberal, was listening to a teapartyer saying what he had to say. I was thinking, if I told him I am more liberal than he is conservative, that would have been the end of it. This is something I learned from parents. Go along with what they tell me to believe, let them believe I'm with them if they want to, and just let them talk. I knew with parents as with this guy, if I were to bring up my own point of view, which amounts to allowing others their own points of view, I'd be dismissed as stupid and that would be the end of it. I know better than to argue with that mind. I grew up in the Baptist religion where all is absolute black or white with no middle ground for the spectrum that is the fullness of life. They're right. I'm wrong. Simple as that. I don't argue with that mind. The rational does not convince anyone of anything. And why do I want to convince somebody to think like I think? In my way of seeing, that is not allowing the other to be self too. I am not the only self in this world. Every one of us is a center of the universe, and I'm ok with that. It's the nature of existence. I can't tell somebody besides myself what they oughta, needta, should do if they knew what was right. That's saying I know more about your life than you do. And I don't. I'm up front about it. I never start a sentence, "You know what you oughta do?" It's a statement, not a question. It's an intro to I-know-more-than-you-do. My only answer when told that question is, Yes. Then I get accused of being a smart-mouth. So what.
Oddly, the encounter with this man whose name I don't know, though friendly, I knew the whole time could turn to hate the very moment I identified myself a liberal, meaning I don't believe what you believe. I'm totally ok with that. I live in a world of people who don't believe what I believe and I don't believe what they believe. No two of us believe alike, even in the same church. This teapublican mind that has been influenced a bit too much by baptist mind of the absolute, that I am right and you are wrong, allows only stasis. There is no stasis in this changing world. Attempts to enforce stasis of one sort or another are like they say in business--if you stay where you are, you go backwards. We need to be in process of change, ourselves, or we go backwards. Locking down in the apparent culture of the Fifties, I Love Lucy forever, gets nowhere. Though it's easy to say things have become only worse since the Fifties, I maintain there hasn't been anything as bad as I Love Lucy since the Fifties. The cultural delusion that Father Knows Best, having to do with white fathers only, is simply not how it is. It's a belief system, but it's not reality. In today's time, white men are showing themselves to be the biggest bunch of racially demographic fools, not only in this country, but in the world, and blaming everybody else for being the fools. This is evidently the time of the breakdown of white man ruling the world. Coming from inside the world ruled by white men, I'm glad to see it breaking down. Let's give Asians a chance. Let's see if Asians can be more despotic with power than white men have shown themselves to be. We already know that nobody learns from history, but maybe a few scholars.
I was hearing this teapartyer in the parking lot with thoughts like this running through my mind. I was amusing myself seeing him in my mind's eye flipping out that he'd spent so much time talking to an idiot. The odd part for me in encounters such as this, and I have so many they're more the rule than not, is that I am enjoying the individual I'm in conversation with. I care not at all that we disagree politically. I consider politically the least important aspect of our lives when it comes to the individuals we are. I know people I love an awful lot who want police state. It says something about their states of mind in everyday life wanting to control others. People I know are aware that it's pointless to attempt to control me, and they know I don't ever attempt to control them. For me, it's a trade-off. I don't control you; you don't control me. Then we have no issues between us, unless the other is somebody who can't stand to know somebody without being in control. They get real frustrated with me and tend to leave me alone. And that's a good thing. For both of us. Some will hold the frustration in a pressure-cooker situation and then one day they blow. When that happens, we never speak again. I hate it when that happens, but have found that the longer it takes for the explosion to occur, the bigger it is. I've learned to see this propensity in others early on, and have taught myself to absent self from a situation evolving in that direction before it becomes a problem. When it's dealt to me that I obey or else, I pick or else.