Angry and Sad

Sunni's picture

And I vacillate between which I feel more strongly.

First, though, apologies for being so scarce around here of late. To take a long and boring story and sum it up, it’s been nigh on impossible to find both the time and privacy to write here. Don’t know if that’s likely to change anytime soon, either ... but on to business.

Snolf Mk I turned 13 recently, and despite that, remains affectionate with both Lobo and me. As I expect that to change very soon, I focus on enjoying it while I can. The other day we went for a walk, and during much of it he held my hand. He sought the contact, not I—and I didn’t resist it.

The first time a driver honked at us, we thought it was someone we knew, and waved back.

The second time, it was clearly not anyone of our acquaintance ... and I started to wonder as to the reason for it.

The fourth (or fifth; I stopped counting) time someone directed attention specifically at us, it was a kid, hanging out the window and jeering at us. That made it clear to me (Snolf the First apparently remained oblivious) why we were singled out.

Despite this town’s reputation of being very liberal and tolerant, it is apparently just too much for some people to see a mother and son having benign physical contact. At first, I was quite angered by the reaction—to be more precise, the public communication of disapproval is what angered me. I don’t care what any of the passersby think, and I don’t care why some chose to share their opinions with us. But it would have troubled me had Snolf the First asked about it, because any explanation I could offer might plant the idea in his head that what we were doing is somehow wrong.

After reflecting a bit on the likely reasons behind those individuals’ being perturbed, I became sad. Are so many American families devoid of true affection that such a sight as we presented is viewed as deviant? How many among them might have been disguising their own anger or hurt over the lack of similar closeness in their own lives?

It seems to me that mainstream culture is getting less and less enlightened and tolerant ... and that’s very sad.

It is sad

But to be expected. There are many trends in current western society that are atomizing (for lack of a better word) individuals, separating us from each other.

If one believed in conspiracies (as I look over my shoulder nervously) one could easily come to the conclusion that this is deliberate. It seems like almost everywhere we are not supposed to be close to our family, friends and community. Instead we are supposed to rely on the faceless, but all caring state, or its proxies, the major corporations, for all sustenance.

The act of holding hands in public, especially between a parent and a teenager (or adult child) is revolutionary and very threating to anyone those who buy into the status quo.

Your children will discover this one day. IMO it is better if you tell them, in the safety and comfort of your home, than if they rudely encounter it when they venture out on their own. It will be better (once again IMO) if they are prepared when ugly reality confronts them. They need to know that they are different and that others will attack them because of that.

But it is not as bleak as it sounds. There are others like them, they need to know that too, so that they do not despair, and so they recognize them when they meet.

Teach them well. The knowledge will make them strong. They will be better than the haters. You will become stronger as well.

Time and place..

I watched a junior rodeo here the end of July. The parents of these children, from very young to almost grown, were much involved. I saw many instances of close physical contact, support and loving encouragement among these folks.

Perhaps it is more where you are than something universal to Americans. I'm sure it would be much the same in any large city around the world, but probably not in a rural setting.

Maybe it is time to get the heck out of the city?

Love and hugs to you and the snolfs. I do miss talking with you. :)

A Little Different Take

Between Sunni's and Jorge's comments, I'm reminded of something from a few years ago.

My truck had broken down, and I was having it hauled to my mechanic. I was in the tow truck cab with the driver as we passed through a town. The driver suddenly spoke up, "Hey, they're waving." I glanced out the window and waved back. "Friends of yours?" he asked.

"Nope."

About that time, someone else waved to us. I waved back. The driver wondered, "What about them?"

"Don't know 'em." Up to then, I hadn't really considered his accent, but I asked, "You aren't from around here, right? Probably pretty new to the area." He confirmed it. So I explained. "This isn't the big city where people are crowded in and need to maintain privacy and distance. So they're friendly. People wave, say hi. It's just what we do."

About that time, someone else waved. The driver smiled and waved back. He thought that was kind of cool, but it was going to take some getting used to.

It can be funny sometimes. In the fall, we get the leaf-peepers out of cities, come to look at the changing leaves. Wave to them and call out, and they look confused.

Waving

I'm from a waving part of the world. No waving where I am now. Gotta get back to that kind of culture.

/me waves to Sunni and friends :)