Monday, June 26, 2006

Responsibility

I think one of the most important things I’ve learned as an adult is how important it is to admit when I’m wrong. To apologize and to take responsibility for my bad judgment.

You don’t see much of that going around these days. No one likes to admit when they’ve made a mistake. Even if it was an accident or just a misunderstanding, if somebody has to take the “blame” nobody steps up. Just watch one episode of Judge Judy and you’ll see what I mean. People think that “accident” means “I’m not responsible.”

I guess it’s because we live in such a litigious society. The risk of losing everything over even a small mistake has become so very high. Or maybe it’s because we take so much sheer pleasure in excoriating our enemies publicly. Self-vindication is everyone’s goal whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of a perceived wrong.

For all the “christianity” (small “c”) running rampant in America these days there’s an appalling lack the two things at the core of Christian faith. Penitence and Forgiveness.

Let’s take one of my favorite villains, our President of questionable moral virtue. As much as we scream for truth and accountability -- what would we do if POTUS actually turned around and gave it to us? We’d crucify him if the truth is anywhere near what we suspect. And if I’m being honest with myself, I’d be in the crowd screaming for blood.

Forgiveness is essential if I’m to practice what I preach. But that’s not to disregard accountability. Taking responsibility for your sins is just as important as acknowledging them. But I don’t know I’d be as focused on what he planned to do to right his wrongs as I would be on howling triumphantly from the rooftops “I KNEW IT! YOU SEE!!!”

It’s more import that I be RIGHT, and less important that he admits that he was WRONG.

But that is the truth. That is me admitting my failing. Now how do I take responsibility for it? Maybe just writing this admission is a first step to righting my self-righteous ideology. I will still demand the truth from my government. I will still fight for equality and human rights, but what happens after the battle. What do I do with the truth when I win it? And with justice when it’s secured? Do I lord it over those who hang their heads in shame and defeat? Or do I let them win back their honor by taking responsibility for their mistakes and learning to respect the rights of those they once trampled. Is that enough? If not, can going to prison with it’s dishonorable connotation, become an act of honor-restoration in the serving of a sentence?

Which is best for our society? For our country? Perhaps more intimately -- which speaks more highly of my character when it satisfies my soul?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Red Ink

A cry went up. And I swear to god I don’t know where it came from. I mean one minute I was listening to that bastard berate me. And the next minute there was this dreadful scream like I’ve never heard before. Then his eyes went all wide and his mouth fell open as if he'd forgotten what he was going to say next.

For a second I thought that the scream had come from somewhere else. Outside maybe. Or it could have been a radio commercial on the little bookshelf stereo in his office.

Then I had to blink a few times because he started to shrink. Well that’s what it looked like. But he was sinking down to his knees. His eyes lifted to my face as he melted to the floor. There was something in them… confusion… tension…. Fear.

“Well it had to be done.”

I turned and just there to my right was Belinda. Passionless, matter of fact and oddly bemused as she watched Alain gasp for breath. The letter opener in her hand was dipped in red ink. Like the ink he’d used to mark up the copy I had written for latest catalog. Only darker.

He reached out toward me. Mercy? A mea culpa? A final blessing? But hadn’t he just been telling me how worthless I am? I forget now. I think it was “hack”…. I think it was something like that….

“Your turn, Honore” she thrust the letter opener forward with the point toward me.

She hated him for calling her a slut behind her back when she wore her skirt hems too high and her blouses cut too low. But is that enough? Enough of a reason to put a letter opener in his chest?

“Sure it is,” I said out loud.

But I didn’t take the silver ink-stained blade. I mean can you really kill somebody with a letter opener?

“You can’t do it.” It was a simple statement of fact.

And with that she flipped it in her palm and thrust it into Alain’s throat in a single, swift, and alarmingly graceful motion.

No cry went up this time. Just a gentle gurgling that reminded me of the brook behind our house when I was a girl. I looked down at Alain who now collapsed onto his side. Eyes still looking up at me as red ink bubbled in a lively stream from his neck.

“We’d better go now.”

I followed her out of his office and down to the lobby. I was thinking about my resume. I guess, I’d better update that puppy now, huh? I hoped I could still get a letter of recommendation from Human Resources. I mean I’m never late. I hardly ever call out sick. I’m a people person.

I figured I’d better turn in my badge now. I could always do the exit interview by phone. Patrick, the desk guard picked up the badge I tossed at him. He seamed pale.

“Jesus! Honore what happened?” He looked at the badge and then back at me, scanning my clothes.

I looked down. D├ęcolletage exposed beneath my blouse, glistening like wine, the white silk speckled with burgundy. Even my miniskirt blossomed with rosey flecks. I was covered in red ink. Indelible red ink. Shit, I didn’t even think my drycleaner could get all that out.

Instinctively my right hand came up to the stains. Something glinted in it.

“What have you done, Honore?”

His question was a disappointed groan of chastising authority. Like my mother calling out my Christian name in frustration when I came home from playing in the stream behind our house. My white Sunday dress covered in mud.

“Honore Belinda Jones! What have you done!”

**********************

I would like to thank JJ of Flash Fiction Friday fame for giving me the opportunity to safely murder in effigy one of the current sources of stress in my life. The real Alain is not my boss but rather a colleague. If he knew how close he came to meeting his maker I'm sure he would say "thank you" as well.

Epiphany

Stress sucks.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Leftover Thoughts.

I want to learn to meditate. Maybe it’s because I’m a schmuck. I believe that crap those New Age-y types say about the answers being “within.” Okay not totally… not exactly. But I think if I could just shut my intellect up for a minute, maybe my spiritual self, or my instinct will take over.

The thing is I want to do it in the God Way. Not the religious establishment way of meditating on and memorizing Bible verses. And not the higher power non-entity little “g” god way. I guess I just want to sit someplace quiet and be with God. To be… I dunno… grateful, honest, repentant, forgiving, faithful, hopeful … doubtful.

Doubt is important to me right now. Doubt is honest. Doubt is mingled up in my anger, frustration and disappointment. Doubt is clarity in a way that faith isn’t. When people tell me I should “have faith that everything is going to workout… that God is in control,” I think that what they are really saying is “Ignore the obvious. Accept what is and wait for the wind to blow just right so that your ship comes sailing in.”

But Doubt makes me resist that thought. I mean, of all those great guys in the Bible, who among them ever sat on their hands and literally “Waited on the Lord?” Most of them didn’t. This waiting crap is for the birds. I mean if you really have faith shouldn’t you be taking serious action to receive all those blessings God promises?

“But what if there were no Biblical promises or admonitions?” Doubt asks me with mock innocence. “What if there were no great spiritual leaders? Or wise new age gurus? What then?” Then I would be back to being a schmuck. Back to looking within. Listening to the silence and waiting for God to say something, or to become a feeling or a thought or an inspiration way down in my gut. I want God to be that overwhelming rush of passion that binds me to my dreams even when the day is hot and my head is pounding and all I want to do is sleep… or cry.

So I’m having trouble picking up the Bible and just reading it. I’m having trouble with the Tao Te Ching and the Bhagavad Gita. I’m having trouble because my intellect wants to reconcile them with faith while my soul just wants to let their music play while I sing my own divinely inspired song. And you know how difficult it is to sing a song when some jackass is sitting next you, blabbering away and won’t shut up.

So Doubt has to become a gag of sorts. But I’ve been shunning it. Denying it. Hiding my eyes. I don’t want to admit that I have doubts about my faith. But I do. Not about God Himself, but about what exactly it is God really wants from me. And I am so sick and fucking tired of people telling me what God wants, who He’s judging, and who He’s going to send to hell. I’m tired of bigotry masquerading as righteousness. I’m tired of telling myself I’m waiting on the Lord when I know perfectly well that all I’m doing is procrastinating through prayer.

You’ve got to hand it to Doubt. It’s not easily duped. It’s wise and knows how to cut through the crap. So my meditation needs to give Doubt the floor and let it speak it’s piece…or is it peace? The only question is will God have anything to say about it. Will He strike Doubt down with a lightening bolt – and me with it – or will He embrace it and calm it’s fears? Hard to know really. And I don’t want to pin my hopes on an answer because I’m not there yet. Besides even if I do, I know what will happen… Doubt will say something like, “Aren’t you just predicting the answers you hope to hear?” The only way to reach a real answer is to take a real journey into the silence… one that only a real schmuck would take.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Flash Fiction Entry

I haven't done one of these in a while but since I'm trying to write creatively everyday and I have more time on the weekends it just seems like the right thing to do....

Vanity's Bonfire
He said little as they paddled their way along the sunken streets.
“This wasn’t our fault you know,” his balding compatriot offered to the dismal silence.“I mean, really. How could we have known? It was all Chicken Little stuff. Nobody could have predicted…” his voice trailed off.

Of course somebody had predicted, hadn’t they? But it’s so easy to dismiss a bunch of weak wristed intellectuals. Power has a way distracting you. Pride goeth before… what was it?

“Make a left here” the dark-skinned woman said to the rower.
“I’m sorry ma’am, that way is blocked.”
“Blocked?! But we came that way just this morning!” her dark eyes burned with annoyance and her small white teeth nipped at the cold air.
“It’s…” the rower glanced at the sunken gray faced man at the stern of the boat. “It’s safer this way.”

Protestors, of course, had blocked the pass. The small armada floated along course. Just months ago it would have seemed absurd to see twenty odd boats filled with black suited men and heads of state rowing their way down the streets of the world’s most powerful city.

Even when the EPA confirmed the unprecedented rise of the world's oceans it seamed like nothing more than a passing weather anomaly. But today the most powerful nation in the world had been thrust into third world status. The entire coastal infrastructure crippled.

They weren’t the only ones of course. No the only ones suffering, and not the only ones to blame. But the world blamed the United States for it anyway. And virtually every nation on earth had abandoned it except for Israel and the UK.

Well, what was left of the UK anyway. Mass sections of the island nation were submerged, save for some fortunate areas of the Scottish Highlands. The government had been relocated to Ben Nevis.

The trip back from Capitol Hill was long and dreary. When they steered the boat down Pennsylvania Avenue the gray man stirred and lifted his eyes. A warm glow fell across his face as he gazed upon the final demise of over two centuries worth of history.

The balding man and the black woman gasped and tears rolled down their cheeks. Flames licked the horizon. White pillars jutted out of the water and thrust upward into a red and yellow blaze and a billowing column of smoke; like so many candles on a floating birthday cake.

The President lowered his head into his hands and began to sob. The Secret Service rower placed a hand on his shoulder in comfort. “It’s okay sir… it’s going to be okay.”

But it wouldn’t be okay. Because global warming was just getting started.

I'm not really...

blogging every single day. Well not exactly. I'm trying not to log on to blogger at work. Apparently they frown on that... go figure.

But I am trying to write creatively everyday. Or just write everyday - cause I don't think my last two entries were especially creative -- nor is this one for that matter. So what I've been doing is just jotting things down at lunchtime or at the end of the day and just saving it and emailing to myself at home. Then I can take a few moments to post it all for you guys when I get a chance. See how clever I am?

Any this really is Saturday morning. And I really am typing this directly into blogger. And the actual post time will be 10:45 AM, which is when I opened this little "create post" window. And yes I really am tapping away at my keyboard hoping that something creative will erupt from these little fingers of mine. And, no I'm not sensing any creativity in this yet either.

Hmmmm.... still nothing. Okay enough of this torture... go on about your day people. Nothing to see here.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Positive Thoughts

For a long time I've been wanting a deep fryer and George Foreman grill.
We had a little event at work today -- during which there were raffles for, among other things, a deep fryer and a George Foreman grill. I won the grill. And I just totally knew that I was going to when one of them. In fact it's the only reason I attended the event. Because I had way too much work to do and the event was optional.

I also want my husband to get back into surfing. It's really good for him. Not just physically but spiritually it's good for him. But for complicated reasons I won't go into he just can't bring himself to do. But I am totally convinced that if I were to start surfing, he would not be able to stay away. Only problem is I can't swim very well. So earlier this year I made it my goal to learn to swim. Still I haven't taken much action on it because it would require me to take classes with a bunch of strangers at the YWCA. Not that the Y is bad, but why pay for that when I already belong to a gym with a pool (that unfortunately does NOT have classes.) the most I could do was splash around in the pool at my gym and try to teach myself. Not successful.

Today I worked an event for my job -- totally different event than afforementioned George-Foreman-Grill-Winning Event; I told you I was busy. One of the women I worked the event with was this sweet gal who had been a lifeguard since age 15 and a swim instructor for many years. It turns out she misses teaching. When I told her I wanted to learn she jumped at the chance to teach me. She has passes to every gym in town, including mine, and we agreed to meet on Saturdays (starting next week) for my private swim classes. How cool is that?!!

It's like all these little blessings are falling out of the sky today. I like it. I've been feeling stressed and overworked and it feels good to have great things like happen.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Today I hate...

AOL. I want to read my email. Is that too much to ask? It's bad enough they are now accepting "dirty" money from advertisers to guarantee that I get spammed. But now I can't even get my legitimate email.

Maybe someone is punishing them for their sins. I bet they got hacked and don't want to admit it. I bet they are not as secure as they like us to believe. I'm thinking it may be time to leave them. I've thought about it but I never took any action. I mean I have outlook at home. It might be time to set it up to receive my yahoo mail.

But I've been with AOL for so long. Everybody has that email address. I'd have to go in and every online account I've ever had. I don't even know how many online accounts I have? And then there's the little matter of all my alternate email addresses under aol. And my husbands. But if I revise my website and set up an email box with an online server I could get around that.

I really don't like AOL anymore. They are expensive and they really don't give you all that much. But I don't hate them quite enough yet to go through all the trouble. Still this freakin' outage has made hate them enough to start thinking up an escape plan.

Who's with me?!!!