Entitled?

6

January 31, 2020-

While covering a class yesterday, I showed the film, “Avatar”.  The point was made that, in the far future, a certain segment of Earth’s populace was bent on colonizing a planet similar to our own.  It involved a colonialist mentality, based on perceived economic benefit.

I read a report, yesterday, about an American woman, missing in the Central American country of Belize.  The report said she was last seen on a beach, late at night.  Several commentators cast aspersions on the safety conditions in that country, as well as those in the Dominican Republic.  The comments included the opinion that Americans are routinely seen as projecting a “rich and entitled” persona, by residents of those countries.

I have never been to either nation.  I have been to the South American nation of Guyana, where similar charges were leveled against the local populace.  I was there, with Penny, for three weeks.  We walked about with humility, and did not find ourselves being menaced or accosted by anyone.  We had escorts and host families, the entire time we were there.  That was 1984, and yet I am certain that similar precautions would bear similar results now.

I have been a number of places, since that year.  I can say that I made some boneheaded judgments, when in Europe, in 2014, but none based on hubris or egoism.  I learned what not to do again.  It is simply best to walk in humility and fair-mindedness, albeit while maintaining a smart sense of safety.  I have plans that will take me far afield, over the next five years-and I don’t rule out any given country.  Most will involve making suitable security arrangements beforehand, in any case-but not because I am “rich and entitled”.  There will be many conversations on the subject, I’m certain-just as I spoke with a few disaffected people in Guyana, 36 years ago, and in Paris, six years ago.

This is perhaps as big a reason for my reaching out, as any.

Doing Becomes Finding Out

14

February 11, 2018, Prescott-

Thursday afternoon, as I was leaving work, I stopped backing out, on instinct, as a black SUV blew past me, in my blind spot.  The driver of a red pick-up, who was a few car lengths behind the SUV, then began to mock me and, following me close behind, pulled into the strip of driveway to my right.  He was laughing, and shaking his head, as I made room for him to pull around and find that…there was only room for one vehicle to turn at a time, whether right or left!  He couldn’t have been a regular student or staff member; we all know this to be true. Grimacing, the hot shot waved “Thank you”, and made his turn.

Friday afternoon, I drove home from work and found my street was closed, a SWAT vehicle was in our driveway, with a half-dozen police cars and at least a dozen armed officers standing in position.  One of the neighbours had committed a felony and was taken into custody.  It was a matter of his having beaten his lady friend and allegedly threatening responding officers with a deadly weapon. (I did not see any of this, but I trust that it happened, as reported. )  I drove around the corner, and waited at the next block up, talking with other neighbours, until the operation was completed.  Do the crime, and the time awaits.

Last night, I went over to a “Paint Jam”, at Wild Iris Coffee Shop.  I was given a canvas, a palette, three brushes, some rinse water and a mixing plate.  Realizing I had forgotten to bring a sketching pencil, my free-style painting commenced.  It ended up, as a little girl who was observing remarked, being “a very funny painting.”  My mind, after the fact, recalled several basic truths about the art of painting:  Backdrop gets done first; remember how to blend primary colours;  never, ever, forget a sketching pencil.  A photo, to copy, is also a nice thing to have.  Such are the consequences of not having painted a scene since sixth grade- 56 years ago.  I am keeping the painted canvas, in a place known only to me, as a token of humility.

Do, and you will find out.

The Lessons Over Time

4

December 1, 2017Prescott-

Another writer on this network, having just also celebrated a birthday, detailed a lesson learned for each year of her life.  Her post showed me that the adage, “Youth is wasted on the young”, is largely a fallacy.  Youth may be at a disadvantage, regarding total life lessons, but working under a supervisor who is half my age, I find that the lessons she has absorbed are being put to full use. She is arguably the most competent, save one other, of the many under whom I have worked, over the past 40 years. Son has risen in rank, an average of once a year, for every year of his military service.  Nieces and nephews, and their spouses, have each made themselves highly valuable in their chosen work.

It also follows that there is truth to :  “There’s no fool like an old fool”.  To be old AND foolish has nothing to do with dementia.  It has to do with arrogance and an odd form of narcissism.  So, now, we are seeing high and low alike being taken to the Village Woodshed, for being so arrogant as to build a lifestyle around deception, indiscipline and disrespect for others, based on their own proclivities.

I have not been free of transgressions against others, but when they have occurred, I have chosen the path of humility, submission to chastisement and atonement.  It’s just been better this way.  I can live, today, concerned about today’s tasks and planning for tomorrow, as needed.  From each faux pas, a lesson has been derived, that has just made me a better human being.

I am grateful that the lessons learned have import for the times in which we live, and will continue to apply in days and years to come.

Polarities

7

February 13, 2017, Prescott-

Snow besets the Northeast,

Rain fills the Southwest’s waterways,

Dust retreats, into mud.

 

The Alt-Right cries foul,

The Prog-Left yells foul words,

Civility retreats, into a cave.

 

Strength looks like force,

Humility is seen as weakness,

Sensibility retreats, into a whirlwind.

 

I  am listening quietly,

You wince at my expression,

Perception retreats, into personal mythology.