Saturday, December 05, 2015

The First Casualties of Fatigue

I was happy to be able to shop yesterday and restock the larder, which had grown pretty bare, but the physical work of loading and unloading and loading and unloading wore me out.    

I’ve been troubled by insomnia for months. Thursday night I didn’t sleep until after 5:00 am. and even then I had not a single hour’s uninterrupted sleep.  Last night, even after shopping it was 4:30 before I slept and I woke this morning before 9:00.  I’m tired!  

Tao de Ching 
Verse 15 
…when a man is in turmoil how shall he find peace
Save by staying patient till the stream clears?
How can a man's life keep its course
If he will not let it flow?
Those who flow as life flows know
They need no other force:
They feel no wear, they feel no tear,
They need no mending, no repair.
As you probably know the first casualties of fatigue are serenity and a sense of proportion. I am hyperflexible in both body and mind; to put it another way, I can easily shake hands with myself behind my back, but I also easily get bent out of shape when people spout racist, bigoted claptrap on Facebook, or aggressively defend candidates who do. While I am able to keep their antics from disturbing my “inner” environment when I am rested and feeling reasonably well, I find it very difficult to keep them outside my skin when I am this tired. I get my innards in a wildstorm. 

I want to grab them and give them a good hard shake and scream, “Do you have any idea what you are promoting?” 

While I know the GOP candidates are all scrapping for 10 second sound bites on the evening news and feel like they have to say ever more outlandish and frankly stupid stuff to get attention, it’s getting harder to beat Trump on stupid, though Lord knows several of them are working that pump handle.

For a while I’d think, “Boy, that remark is going to take him down,” when Trump would say something outrageous, but it seems he knows his audience. The more bigoted, stupid, outlandish and ignorant the remark, the more his followers hop up and down and hoot with glee. Finally, a politician for the common man, the very common man, apparently. 

As the last of the generation that saw the rise of Nazi Germany dies, the generations following have no memory of what happened in the years between 1941 and 1945 when the Nazis systematically murdered six million Jews, along with five million others Hitler found “unfit”, including the mentally and physically disabled. In total, the Third Reich killed 11 million people, not counting those killed in the war. 

And it started just like this, singling out those who were in any way different than Hitler's fantasy "Aryan" race  and claiming their differences made them "less valuable" or "less desirable". In today's world this concept is even more outrageous since we know genetically the variance between humans is minuscule. Your "ethnicity" depends very much on how you shuffle the genetic deck. Among my DNA cousins are African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Chinese, an Icelander, Brits, French, Norwegians and Finns, plus the melting pot of nationalities which comprise the US and Canada. 

It is well to be cautious when you decide to start getting riled up against your fellow citizenry because of colour, religion, national origin or the way he parts his hair or cooks his fish, because as Voltaire said, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Thus I am left in apprehension at this talk of databases and armbands for Muslims, the wholesale deportation of Latinos, the shipping of immigrants back to their home countries, the building of walls around borders. A man aspiring to be president of the USA who encourages violent racism and bigotry and mocks the disabled is not only an unfit candidate but frightening. If I still lived in the USA I’d be inconsolable that this brutish lout has not been hounded from the running by now. 

As I shopped yesterday I felt completely at ease among my United Nations of neighbours. Here is where I find peace and kindness, from the young Latino man who untangled my cart at the door going in, to the Japanese checkout lady who packed my bags light and then loaded half of them into the cart for me to the Black man who carried my huge new cat tree to the car.

The store was busy. The aisles were packed. Muslim women wearing the hijab (head scarf), a few wearing the niqab (face covering), a few Sikh women wearing a turban, families dressed up for Christmas portraits milling around the portrait studio, people from everywhere dressed up fancy and little girls with big bows and lots of ruffles.  Everyone had to negotiate for space. I am never in a hurry - who are we kidding? I move at a turtle’s pace, so I always let people go by me. Like life, you have to let traffic flow in the WalMart. I talk to the babies.  We get along just fine. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am going to have to take a FB vacation, too, and for the same reason. I keep being blindsided by someone I thought to be kind and thoughtful sharing or promoting a clearly racist and inflammatory post or another.