Rehumanize Yourself

Burkini bans. Geert Wilders. Islamophobia. The world is battering at me with reasons to be anxious.

Saw a bit on The Daily Show at a Trump rally. They had an on the street interview with a woman who didn’t think women could ever be President because of our hormones. It’s hard to see a fellow female be so damned closed minded; never mind when MEN do it. I consider it akin to men voting for a candidate that favors cutting off all men’s balls. Maybe there’s one or two freaks out there who say yeah, let’s cut all our balls off, but most men wouldn’t think it was a good idea.

Got body checked this morning by an old guy riding a bike. Many things crossed my mind. I felt affronted that I was reduced to nothing but meat: he looked like he was trying to figure out if I looked good enough to gobble up. My negativity spoke up and said oh, god, do I look THAT bad?!? while another rebel part of me pointed out that some people would consider it a compliment to be able to pull at all at my age.

If the gurus and saints are right, nothing happens that isn’t perfect in our lives: perfectly timed, perfectly executed – everything happens for a reason, even when we can’t perceive that reason. This, too, crossed my mind as the moment the body-checking man passed me my iPod (on random shuffle) began to play ‘Rehumanize Yourself’ by The Police. And then it hit me: this man had passed me by and did not see my smile, my nod in greeting to him because his eyes were too busy devouring and degrading my body head to toe.

Rehumanize yourself, indeed!

Too often I hear ‘they’re nothing like us’ these days. Nothing could be further from the truth.

People want to be happy. Society faces a problem because some people get off on abusing others – and that is a serious issue. But saying someone from another culture is too different from yourself is just sticking you head in the sand. Everyone wakes up in the morning. Everyone has to pee and shit. Everyone worries about the future, and every single one of us is afraid of something. These are huge similarities, that supersede any differences in skin color or religious views. But humanity is being whipped to a frenzy right now. Politicians are hammering home narrow and dangerous ideas. An entire generation that ‘slipped through the cracks’ of the capitalistic bubble are now being heard. You didn’t invest in your schools when you had the chance, and THIS is your outcome: poorly educated people with little to no chance of advancement on the money train, so they end up lashing out at people who don’t deserve it.

It’s happening again. That’s all that’s running through my mind, and I wonder if I’m here to stand witness to the next great war.

This behavior begins at the smallest level. It begins with the man who body-checked me this morning. His dispassionate assessment of me as sex object rather than me as a person. It is a small disregard of my humanity. But as we allow these small disregards to stand without censure, they begin to add up to larger and larger societal problems. Burkini bans. The right to choose. Equal pay for equal work. Health care for all.

I do not want to prosecute the man who body checked me. That does not and will not help the situation. I want him to understand on his own why what he did was wrong. But the only way to do that is through education. And you gotta catch people young, when their minds are still open and flexible. Very few of us have mobile enough grey matter to make leaps of understand once we’re adults.

Back to current espoused policy. Geert Wilders came out with his platform for next year’s elections. In addition to several anti-Muslim measures, it includes more of the same: cuts to the elderly, cuts to the disabled, cuts to schools and art, cuts to public broadcasting. It is a frightening prospect. How his party managed to compact so much hate into such banal political wording I’ll never know.

This is a loop. A circle of compliance and fear. I see it happening around me. And yes, it scares the hell out me. I think what frightens me most is that so many people can’t see the bigger picture. Everyone says yes, yes, it’s horrible, they’re terrible to say/do these things and I, for one, don’t support them. Yet it’s happening. If the rest of us ignore right now the rise of these right wing extremists, WE will be the ones to answer for the next batch of atrocities.

Don’t get me wrong: I understand the drive of these people. The anger they feel. What I don’t get is why everyone turns this anger on each other rather than those that rule us. Because make no mistake about it: you are ruled, whether you live in a country with a king or president or prime minister. We have been taught to worship strips of paper. We have been told that “they” want everything we have and they’ll do anything to get it. I don’t give a damn if you insert Syria or Muslims or Putin into the “they” – we all hear it. And it’s ALL a lie. It’s a slight of hand, a flash of something shiny to distract you. Oldest trick in the book and it’s still used because it still works.

You’re being played.

If you’re hearing you don’t have a choice, you’re being lied to. If you’re hearing pat answers placing the blame on someone else, you’re being lied to. No one problem is simple to fix because it wasn’t simple to create.

Everything is connected.

Time to wake up.

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Orthopedic Shoe Poster Woman/Child

After all my waiting, planning, and anticipation, I was shocked – SHOCKED – yesterday when the appointment to pick up my new shoes came and went with nary a notice. Wonderful to realize you’ve missed something 15 minutes after the time you were supposed to be there. Lucky for me they had time later in the day. So here they are:

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There’s been loads of compromises on these shoes as well as indulgences in exactly what I want. I think they turned out pretty damned cool. I need to go back to the shop today; one heel is too tight and I didn’t notice it until after I’d been walking with them for half an hour. But I’m confident that they’ll fit me in for a simple adjustment like that. Because I have become

Orthopedic Shoe Poster Woman/Child.

Yes. They snapped pics and asked me to come back for a special meeting of rheumatologists, headed up by my own rheumatologist, to discuss orthopedic shoes in general for RA sufferers. I’m back Monday evening to be a model and a spokesperson. Guess I’m that perfect blend of chronic sufferer, optimist, and affable person for them. I don’t mind. If every person who suffered from RA got a pair of these shoes, I think there’d be less of those damned chairs that zoom around. Who wants to sit and ride when they can walk? Wait…that’s just me again, isn’t it? Whatever, man. Get that heel adjusted and I might not take these shoes off all summer long. They don’t even make my feet look big.

Ah, I’m at that point again. I’ve let things slide long enough that now I’ve a mountain of work. Writing to people, cleaning, following up on notifications from this and that. I must like it. Like the challenge of tackling a lot of stuff at once. Because I do it all the fucking time. *rolls eyes* And damn me if it doesn’t come at times when I’m busy with life. There’s 50 things I WANT to do before rolling up my sleeves and tackling the bleeding HOUSEWORK. Meh.

Today I’ve a huge…why am I typing this? I’ve got my camera. THIS is what I’ve got:

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Flowers. Yes. More than that. These flowers were picked up at my local market. Outdoor market, not supermarket. Three large bunches for five euro. That’s less expensive than at the stores, and these blooms are much fresher. The guy wrapped them all up in brown paper, so I walked home with this HUGE bouquet in my arms. I’ve never won anything like a beauty contest and I KNOW these aren’t roses, but walking home with them wrapped up made me FEEL like I was wearing a crown.

I now believe every woman should, once in her life, walk down the street with a huge bouquet of flowers in her arms. Sounds silly, I know. But it really is quite an experience.

Since my camera is out and ready, I’ll share with you some of the other things I’ve been excited about. My new dining room table (remember – it was FREE) with green and purple chairs:

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Ignore any clutter. The place isn’t finished.

And here’s one of my new chairs:

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A comfy seat and probably the one you’ll be sitting in if you visit.

Pretty cool, right? It feels good to have a few items of furniture that don’t look like I’ve had them for 20 years. It feels even better to know we got everything at a good price. I mean, how can you beat FREE?

I’m doubly glad for the flowers and few nice items considering the state of the world. Things are shaky again, and just to be safe we need to quiet down and save money this summer. Currency exchange rates have gone haywire since Trump’s been announced the presumptive Republican candidate. Every country in the world is selling off dollars and US assets. If it keeps going like this, the dollar will be the same as a junk bond – worthless, and risky to invest in. Americans better start to think for once in their lives.

But when has THAT ever happened?

Ach! No. more. politics. It’s hard for me at times because what’s happening politically has a huge impact on the day to day here. Very different from the states, where a federal law or decree can be issued but nothing much changes in people’s lives. Here it has real consequences.

What I can tell you, without grousing over politics, is that I’ve got a lot of new neighbors these days. None of them are Dutch. None of them look Dutch, speak Dutch, or act like the Dutch. Case in point: the downstairs neighbor had a full on fight a few days ago, complete with screaming and bloodied participants. The entire building turned out to find out what was going on. One guy left with his shirt ripped off, his pants almost down, and blood dripping down his face. Not really what you think of when someone says ‘Holland’.

And hey! I don’t expect these people to be in good shape. They’ve all suffered through a lot, and undoubtedly all of them need PTSD counseling. The clothing doesn’t bother me, the language doesn’t phase me. What DOES phase and bother me is the culture clash. The Dutch are open, friendly. When you walk around your neighborhood it’s kind of expected that you greet other walkers with a hello and a smile, or at least a nod. The newcomers don’t. Not even the women; let’s not get started on the men who, at times, won’t even look at you if you’re female much less acknowledge that you just spoke.  And no, it’s not ALL of them. Many are open, friendly, willing to learn and make friends. Just. not. all. It’s those few who are closed down and refuse to integrate that stand out and cause the problems. And yes, those few make me feel a wee bit unsafe. It doesn’t even seem like they WANT to be here.

I want to be here. The next decade may be a very trying one on the European continent. Hell! It’ll be trying no matter where you live on this planet. But I’ll stay where I am, be a patriot – YES, a patriot – for my new homeland. After all, how could they cope without Orthopedic Shoe Poster Woman/Child?

Back Burner Boil

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I did well yesterday. Very well, in fact. Enough to put a gold star on my forehead today. I went out THERE for 3 hours – three whole hours – and never bit my tongue. I never even felt annoyed at anyone. I also didn’t stop writing.

Waiting for the metro. On the metro. In the stations. Up the escalator. Down the street. In the shops. There wasn’t a single place I could go where my head wasn’t narrating some epic scene. Popped into my favorite coffeeshop for about half an hour and took advantage of sitting and a table in front of me. Out came the notebook and pen. Scribble, scribble. Strike out. Notes climbing up the sides of the paper like word ladders. The experience certainly reminded me why I now get so much done on my computer. It’s faster. And far neater. There was a time I found a blank screen on my computer intimidating. Now I’d rather face that blank screen than have to pick up a pen and later unravel my own spider-crawl writing. What a mess.

And I wrote my novel long-hand!

Ah, well, you won’t catch me at that again.

More social commentary. Good goddess, I had no idea I had so much to say about society. So much to say about PEOPLE. I get so wound up at times that the only thing that comes out of my mouth is ‘morons’ and curse words. Sure as hell never thought I’d be writing insightful stories, breaking people down into two sentences that smack the truth over your head with a quick slap, slap on either cheek. Of course, this is manic me talking. No one’s published yet. No one may ever publish my stuff. So who the fuck am I to say it’s good? It could be shit, yes, it could. I don’t believe it today, thank you. Try me again tomorrow.

Okay, embarrassing confession coming up. Everybody turn away.

I queefed yesterday in public. Full out fart coming up the alleyway and getting an extra phfft from my labia. It was LOUD, too. I hope my cough, which generated the fucking thing in the first place, covered up most of it. For fuck’s sake! For a moment I thought Terrance and Philip from South Park were going to make an entrance. I mean, that’s a new one for me. I’ve got to age where I let my farts go if I need to and to hell with where I am. I try to be discrete, try to only let them fly when I’m away from other people. But sometimes they just slip out (and yes, a part of me is a little afraid of becoming my dad in this; he farted every time he walked). Yesterday it happened in the coffeeshop with about a dozen people as witnesses. SOoooooooo very happy they were all toking up. Maybe if they heard it they thought they imagined it.

My farting gives me pause. If I’m farting this much, how much more is my obese sister farting at this point? She liked to take it up the ass, too. I can’t help but think that served to loosen up her anus even more. She must be a farting machine. lol! Well, that gives me something to chuckle about. Farting too much would be exactly the type of thing she’d never mention, even to her doctor. It wouldn’t fit her perfectly coifed and manicured life. Ha!

Alright. Enough with the farting.

It’s Sunday, a lazy day in any language. Seems the whole world gets a little quieter on Sundays. Dawn breaks a little later, the birds sing a little softer. It’s a recurring pause in our timeline, a point for tidying up last week’s mess and preparing for the days ahead. I got a lot of mess to clean up. And I’m not sure what I’m prepping for. So Sundays can get confusing for me. I can feel a little like an old record stuck in a groove. TV reruns. News re-caps. Oh, please! You can’t tell me nothing happens on Sundays. Still, there it is, every damned Sunday: the week in review. Look at all the violence shoved into one three minute montage. This week the focus is on the sea of immigrants coming to the EU. Yeah, like I said: I catch the news whether or not I want to. So I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve heard about the video of the drowned child. I’ve listened to what the politicians are saying, both the excuses and the accusations. I can no longer say nothing about it. While politics are politics and I refuse to make this blog into a political arena, the situation is encroaching on daily life and thus it IS affecting me, in many ways. And, as usual, I can see both sides of this fence with equal clarity and reason. On the one hand, you have this huge humanitarian crisis. The people risking their lives to get to the EU do so because it’s less a risk than staying in their own country. I think people should stop and give that some thought. Mothers and fathers are risking their children’s lives to get here because it’s LESS a risk walking hundreds of miles or getting crammed into the back of a truck or getting on that overcrowded, leaky old boat than it is to stay. It’s the better fucking option, even if they do die along the way. These people need help, not aggression. On the other hand, this problem is HUGE. Everything carries a price, like it or not, and few of the EU countries involved have a solid financial foothold in the world. Greece is drowning. She may never recover. Hope if you wanted to see Greece, you had your chance. She’s dying and will never be the same. And the infighting! This has reignited those age old adversities between England and France, Germany and Europe, Germany and France. The small kids – Greece, Ireland, Portugal – are going DOWN, people. Good-bye. Not going to survive this. England is doing what England always has; addressing the entire situation with a haughtiness born of empire and never fully beaten out of them.

The EU may crack over this.

I, for one, would be sad to see it happen. Cohesiveness without absolute uniformity IS possible. What I don’t understand is how so many insufferable politicians have managed to secure seats in the EU parliament. Mary Harney from Ireland was a horrible health administer; under her rule millions were wasted building facilities that then lay unstaffed and dormant. She was also the one that got called to task for flying to France to get her hair done – on tax payer’s money. Yet despite all this, she sits in EU parliament serving as CHAIR for European Steering Group on Sustainable Health. Un-fucking-believable. If ya let eejits like her in, no fucking wonder everything is in such a goddamn mess. Bleh. Someday there will be a new story, and Mary Harney will serve as fuel for it.

If I ruled absolute, first thing I’d do would be boring, boring, boring. I’d modify ALL accounting standards across the board. Wipe the slate clean. Make everyone go back to solid, basic accounting principle. Honestly, the rules have become as convoluted as tax law. And about as logical. They were designed that way. So, out with all that. Get back to what we really need to know: CASH FLOW. Not the cash flow offered by accountants these days. REAL cash flow. Real money doing real things. Yes, some of the pretend money flow is valuable information. Depreciating large assets over time not only helps track the value of the assets, it also helps track regular maintenance AND replacement needs. But that shit should be put on a separate page and not integrated AT ALL in the main bulk. It’s not real; don’t fucking include it. There’s plenty of comedic scenes built on people not really knowing how much money they have. Just watched one last night in an Ab Fab episode (Season 2, Poor). Funny, yes. Very real, too. Claiming “invested” money as cash equivalents is ludicrous. Unless you cash them out right then and there the numbers are MEANINGLESS. Keep them off the report, too. And the will-o-the-wisp nothings that financial wizards whip up over night to become the next hot thing to make money on should just be illegal. Full stop. Banks would get their balls snipped and have to go back to being banks, not investment houses. Banks would have extreme regulation, as a matter of fact. No more taking money on both ends to fatten their own pockets. Nope. You earn money the old fashioned way. Worked for a fucking long time. Trickle down economics just let the bear loose. Now we’ve got a really BIG, fat and ANGRY bear to deal with. Shoot the motherfucker. And yeah, 1%. You’d go back to your 50% tax rate and you’ll like because there will be nowhere else to go. Really sorry that you have to give up that golden back scratcher this month, and really sorry that your single master goldsmith won’t get his commission. But that money will feed thousands and fix vital railways and provide wells for water and education for kids. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

*shudder* Sorry. I was just channeling the spirit of the accountant/financier/economist in me.

I guess with all this spilling out of me I shouldn’t be so surprised at the nature of my stories right now. There’s a lot going on with that back burner right now.