"Aren't you afraid of being out here by yourself? How would you defend yourself? What about, well, you know!? " A friend of mine said that to me the first time she came to visit. She was genuinely concerned. Her first thought wasn't about the beautiful place I live in or my slightly crooked, eccentric 'used to be a barn' house or even my gardens that I had sweated over so she would be impressed. She was worried about the BAD GUYS.
I'm the first person to tell you that, yes, there are bad guys in the world. I had my share of terrible blind dates, guys who tried to pick me up, men who followed me, hooted at me. I was pretty good at leveling the playing field, literally walking away.
There was the Frat party, one of the blind dates. I watched the boys, over at a table, pouring things in to glasses of orange juice. When my 'date' brought me one of those glasses, I smiled and took it. I was polite too. " Thank you. I am thirsty and I love orange juice. " When he turned away to snicker at his buddies, I poured the whole glass in to a potted plant and put the glass to my mouth and said, " Aaaahhh. That was good. " Of course he offered to fix me another glass. I said fine.
He brought me another and another, getting increasingly drunk while I killed a potted plant with orange juice and vodka. He was staggering after four glasses, looking kind of peaked after five. " Geeezzshh.. why aren't you falling off the chair?" I smiled, waited until he leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. I dumped that glass in to the potted plant too. Then he leaned over and barfed. Nasty! While he was loosing it, I turned around and walked out of the french windows, only a foot off the ground, and walked home. I've always wondered if he lived through that night. He was trying to out drink me. I never had a drop.
But was he a bad guy? I don't think so. He was a stupid boy who, granted, had nefarious ideas that he made himself thoroughly sick with. His problem, his rodeo, not mine. I've always had pretty good situational awareness. It was a skill honed from a challenging childhood.
Was I worried about my friends, also there with dates or blind dates? Yes. I found all of them during the evening and asked if they wanted to leave with me, go to a movie or somewhere to eat. Nope. Not one wanted to leave, even after I pointed out the orange juice was more than orange juice. They told me they were having fun. I left without them.
I guess I was an odd duck. I was a hippie chic artist with long hair and a mini skirt who wasn't interested in getting drunk or getting laid.
So here's the other side of the story. I remember exactly what time of the year it was (September, 1969), where it was (Frat on Tennessee Street), and what I was wearing too (a pretty mini skirt in soft beige orange colors and a silk blouse, my favorite wedge shoes). My hair was longer than my skirt and I was still taking dance classes so I was very straight and strong. Dance helped with my big feet and otherwise, slightly clumsy and unbalanced self. And he started out the evening being very nice, even kind of shy. Alcohol changed his behavior, no surprise there. And, luckily, the other guys there were falling down drunk too. This was not my idea of fun. It was pretty easy to slip away. The walk home was several miles in the dark. I didn't mind. I wasn't even disappointed. It was getting pretty smelly in that Frat house.
Truth is I was more afraid of some big, bullish women who cornered me in a public bathroom a few years later when John and I went to London. There was no sham of politeness there. They meant business and I have no doubt they would have seriously hurt me in ways I would rather not think about. When they cornered me, I reacted instinctively. I kicked one of them between the legs as hard as I could (I was wearing hiking boots too, the steal toed kind) and shoved the other one over in to a sink when she turned to help her friend. She hit her head and went down, hard. I stepped over them and walked out. I was lucky. I still had dancer's muscles and had been taking self defense lessons from John. He'd learned them in the Army.
My point is that there are bad people on both sides of the line, men and women. I know the rhetoric is about the 'evil privileged white guy' . It's the flavor of the week, or even of the year. And I am exhausted with the whole thing. If the press isn't pulling out the race card, they're using the evil privileged white guy card or the evil rich, corporate executive or guys taking a knee at football games or making noise about the evils of men in general. Sorry. I just don't walk that line folks.
I raised sons. I've been married to my best friend for 46 years and I've known him for 48 years. As terrible as my own father was, as many things as he did to me and my brothers, I refuse to let that part of my past color my present. I know my sons are good men. They have friends, good jobs, work hard, have families and are decent people. I am guessing John and I had something to do with that but I would like to think they would have turned out good guys even if we had somehow not been in their lives. I really do think that the vast majority of people are good at heart. We're easily frightened by a press on the net that has to make sure the headlines bleed. That's how they sell their advertising.
What do I think about the Kavanaugh hearings? Mheh. It's a three ring circus carefully timed to affect the upcoming mid term elections. Do I like him for a Supreme Court Judge? No. He's a big baby. He has no center, no stability. He's extremely partisan and incapable of, I think, being an impartial observer on any court much less the Court of Big Kahunas. His personal agenda will never be left at the door when he takes a seat on any bench. He's a carefully chosen looser who was easily bought and just as easily manipulated.
Because I am an Independent voter I am getting solicitations from both sides of the aisle, asking me to contribute because their side is the right side. They want money so Kavanaugh will be placed in a group of nine people who have lifetime appointments. (and who came up with THAT shit? Why lifetime? Way too much power in my opinion.) The real insult is that anyone is asking for money to further the agenda of a supposedly impartial court and who is placed in to that seat of way too much power. Shame on us!
The point, in my long ramble today, is that we all need to take a breath. Step back away from the hypnotic phones and pads, take a walk, clean the house, pay attention to your life. Do your job, donate some of your time to a cause you believe in, play catch with your kids after school, ride a bike, read a real book with pages that you turn, help your neighbor. There's history being made but then there's ALWAYS history being made. Just standing up and breathing is making history. Vote in November but do your homework first. Read up about the people running for office in your neck of the woods. Make an independent decision instead of walking a preordained party line. Think creatively. And BE KIND.
If I have one request it's that you stop making assumptions about people based on gender, color or even where they fall on the income/class scale. Think for yourself. Be more aware of your life, your surroundings, your ideas and abilities. Make mistakes and learn from them. And GET UP, and get it done. Get on with the process of being alive. And stop watching the slop on the Net. A little irony here since I am telling you to stop reading this and move.
If you're still here, I'm glad you stopped by. I am, ever yours, Nancy, smiling at you