Sunday, December 9, 2012
Conversations With Idiots
Well I am afraid I cannot add to the Eat Pray Love, Tuesdays With Morrie, or Marley and Me tales of earnest wisdom coming from a life experience. I am afraid after this past year and what happened to me I have still no answers, no explanations or even reconciliation and "peaceful coexistence" that seems to occur to most of these protagonists after their period of reflection and observation.
I am still angry, still afraid and still fighting. And I am exhausted. When will Malcolm Gladwell arrive to inform me that I have past the Tipping Point and am to drop off the cliff point.
And maybe that is my gift, my bestseller, my sense of self that will come from my conversations with idiots. I seem to have them more of late or perhaps I am more cognizant of them now. Trauma to one's brain aside you do become self aware simply because you are utterly paranoid, suspicious that the one time your guard was down when fully healthy, this might be the time to not allow such a thing to occur again. And in turn almost every encounter and every conversation becomes fraught with interrogations and inquisitions to ensure that this time it might be different, better or at least useful and helpful.
Sadly I have found that in the present it was much like my past encounters, utterly unkind, unhelpful and unproductive. I have not found compassion and empathy of late from many and even at the end of a check where they are paid to do such. There is a point where you say "fuck this introspection these people are fucking idiots." And that is my entry into the world of those authors who seem to find wise souls, pets or lovers that somehow transcend their reality and bring them new inner peace. Nope, not me not now, not ever perhaps.
I find when I have to introduce myself to people my greatest fear is to be defined by my story I wrote about in Catastrophic Care. So I try to find other issues, subjects that I can talk about and in turn open myself up to find a distraction from what has become all consuming. And sadly I have had no such luck.
Last night I spoke with the local pizza chef a man who could easily be defined as simply stupid. His constant refrain when discussing anything was "that's weird" a term that I am unclear as to its meaning but its connotation is "I don't believe/get or understand what you are saying." For a man of 40 I would hope speaking like a teen would somehow be something one would wish to outgrow but alas no. A man who said clearly one should not drink or drive under the influence of any drug regardless of legality and then promptly downed 2 beers and a Dewar's then promptly got behind the wheel of a car to drive home.
My favorite is the new legalization of Marijuana which I was largely against as it's a badly written law. Of course it is then perceived I am some type of "conservative" that is against pot. No, but that would require an intelligent dialogue and exchange why I find the law lacking and poorly written.
But I had the same discussions with others about the Affordable Care Act and what that means in the bigger picture for health care. Again, that would require time, analysis and well reading to actually get that. And that was prior to my accident so perhaps it is me. Well I do own my evil and my intellectual pursuits have often segregated me by choice and turned me into a snob of a sort. But I don't presume to think Idiots are one type or another. I don't think country people vs city people are slower or that where you live or what you do defines you or can limit your intellect.
I recently spoke with a woman who works at the Veterans Hospital here. She was largely dismissive and lacking in empathy and compassion for many of the clients, our wounded warriors, who come in seeking service. She was quite frustrated with their demands and requests as if that was a personal inconvenience that they would ask about medical care and coverage for their children or would their dog qualify under the therapy or guide dog program. She was an angry woman who had she been on the receiving end of similar treatment I wonder what she would say to that individual and what label or accusation she would have as a woman of color who came of age in a time when she and her family could have easily experienced similar treatment.
Or the other woman of color who decried the recent law that permitted marriage of same sex couples in Washington saying that it was against God. I asked her if she felt the same way when that was not allowed only a scant 50 years ago between those of her color and other races and that was the same argument then. And had that law remained we would not have a President of color as a result.
And there are others who believe they are intelligent simply by their political allegiances. I am afraid no. Regardless of political party affiliation I find equal amounts of stupid on both sides of that fence.
In fact I have had way more conversations with idiots who are politically liberal but they presume not, because intelligence is apparently measured by whom you vote for not your actual intelligent quotient. Please tell me then the Harvard Graduates who include many famous Republicans are earned and not just paid for.
Is this a larger reflection about America? That being unintelligent, unkind and un-empathetic, no apology person is a source of great pride. Is this demonstrative of this Horatio Galt Alger mythical type that is a cross between the Marlboro Man and Ronald Reagan? As both were creations of the imagination and portrayed by Actors I see the confusion between myth and reality.
I do wonder what we need to do to encourage real conversation. Perhaps abandon social media which forces people to communicate thoughts in 140 characters or less and without actually ever conversing. Perhaps it means abandoning cable news and actually watching TV and having something other to talk about. I do not think its idiotic to talk about a show you enjoy. How is that different than sports. I laughed for a solid hour laughing with someone about the FX show American Horror Story, the Asylum. And if you watched it you would too.
I am sure my book will be widely decried and more accusations and labels and names would be called. I loved when on Twitter a liberal "gentleman" (and I in turn put that in quotes) read my tweets about my frustration with the Pot law here and he in turn put me on a list - "Right Wing Nut Job Cunts". Demonstrating that having intellect and in turn decency is not an exclusive property of the liberal left. I have been called much worse and yet its hilarious as I have always defined myself as a liberal but I will take cunt too. Why not I prefer it over being an idiot.