Seniors are not equal to others. A RANT.

April 12, 2014

To the CEO of Malco Theaters: Today, Saturday, April 12, 2014, my husband and I went to the Olive Branch, Mississippi theater to see Rio 2. We were there 20 minutes early so we could find a seat that would be comfortable for my husband as he just had surgery on his leg. Shortly before the movie started, a family sat down behind us. The theater was far from full, they could have sat anywhere else. However, as soon as they sat down, the boy started talking in a normal loud tone of voice as the preview for other movies came on.

I turned at looked at him and his mother got snippy and said, “I know you weren’t look at my child like that.” I said, “I was. I just wanted to know if you taught him to be quiet during the movie yet.” She stormed out and went to the manager. A woman with short blond hair, and I suppose her assistant manager, came into the theater just as the movie started. The woman said to me, as I once more looked back at her son who was still talking loudly, that the manager was watching me. So I went to the manager and told her that the kid was being loud and I simply wanted to be able to hear the movie. But, that the mother wouldn’t make him be quiet. She asked me to step out into the hall, so I did, knowing I would miss part of the movie.

When I explained to her what was going on, she said, “It is a child’s movie and children can be expected to talk and make noise.” I nearly went incandescent with shock! Since when is it ACCEPTABLE for other people to be rude and disrespectful in a theater by talking? Then the manager told me that we should move our seats, or we should go to a later movie when children wouldn’t be there. WHAT?! I did NOTHING wrong, I was there LONG before that obnoxious family, and my husband needed to sit in a place where he could stretch his leg out in front of him. The rest of the front row was full. Why should WE have to move because someone else was obnoxious?

The manager said straight out that she couldn’t do anything about the family, because SHE didn’t hear the kid talking. Of course not she was over by the entry, we were half way across the theater from the door. But, her attitude was that we were the problem and we had to leave or move. We left. My husband got a special pass to see the movie later, but hell will freeze over before I go back to that theater. I expect, at the very least, an abject apology from the manager, and from you, Mr. or Ms. CEO. I also think you need to train your managers to understand that NO ONE has the right to be rude and disrespectful to other patrons by talking out loud in the movie.All that child learned today was that his helicopter mother, and ineffectual father, will make sure he can do whatever he wants, no matter how badly behaved he is.

And I learned something too, older people are treated like criminals because we KNOW good manners when we see them and proper theater etiquette. How can anyone say it is EXPECTED for children to talk throughout a move? Since when has that sort of behaviour become acceptable to people who supposedly run theaters for the entertainment of all races, ages, and people? Obviously, those of us who expect manners and to be treated with respect when we have done NOTHING wrong are not equal to the rest of the people who are inept at parenting. Oh, yes, the manager made it clear she wasn’t there to parent other people’s children. But, I bet if I had been talking out loud, or chatting on my phone, that I would have been told off by the manager. Double standards really annoy me.

I expect an apology from YOU, Mr. or Ms. CEO, and I will expect to hear from that manager as well. If not, well, the internet is a great tool for making my thoughts known to many, many people in a very short time. After all, other seniors should know that we aren’t treated equally to other patrons. The manager said I had an attitude, but the mother didn’t. Well, I was being insulted by the manager and the ignorant mother was being proactive and accusing me of being. . . you know, I have NO idea what her accusation was. I just know, I was the one who had to be “punished” while that little prince was allowed to be as annoying as he wanted to be. I honestly wonder if that mother and the manager aren’t friends outside the theater.

Karron Combs

No New Year Resolutions.

December 31, 2013

I have no New Year Resolutions, not a one. I stopped torturing myself with those things ages ago. Every year I would start out with a list of things I wanted to do. Most were self serving, like losing weight, and some were grandstanding, like I will not let others tell me what to do. Of course, they were destined to fail, leaving me feeling like an idiot. I mean, how can one be so stupid as to always let themselves down, every year, on a regular basis?

After failing so many years in a row, I finally realized that I was simply setting myself up to feel like a loser. I hurt my own feelings, and made myself mad at ME, all for some stupid non-tradition that is encouraged by popular demand. Why? I don’t know, maybe it was just a desperate attempt to fit in, to succeed, to find something worthwhile about myself. But it always worked just the opposite from what I planned.

So, a few years ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to give in and make impossible resolutions about my life. Because, you see, life doesn’t stick to a plan. It has a way of making its own path, and we are pretty much along for the ride. I can’t control life around me, only myself. Most of the time, life around me is on a whole different page than I am at any given moment! How can we resolve to accomplish anything in a measurable way when it comes to feelings and thoughts? If it is something concrete, for instance, completing a course at school, going to the gym, or getting a promotion, perhaps we can make a plan. However, you might get sick, and miss a lot of school. You might be too tired, busy, or bored to go to the gym after a week or so. You might be downsized at your company and have to start your own business to survive. There is no getting around it, no matter your resolve, life just keeps happening while you plan. And it almost always throws a spanner into the works to muck everything up.

Now that can be a good thing, making you move outside the box and do something different and new. But, it means that you will have to forsake your resolutions – again – and if you are emotionally tied to those resolutions, it can make you pretty miserable. Or not. Depends on how much you have invested yourself in the process and plan. I suppose, one should be flexible with resolutions.

I know many folks out there in the world managed to stick with a resolution come hell or high water. No matter what life throws at them, they stick to the plan. But, have you ever wondered what would have happened if you went out to your friends dinner party instead of going to the gym? Maybe you would have met the love of your life, or, if already with the love of your life, maybe you would fall into romance all over again. You see, your choices always have a possibility of at least two outcomes. If you stick to the plan, you know exactly what will happen. You will be tired, smelly, and sore from a workout. But, maybe the second or tenth outcome, well, it might be magical enough to change your life forever.

Now, in my crazy life, I no longer set myself up to fail. Because I have finally figured out what a New Year means. It isn’t a do over, remake, new start, or second chance. It means that you get to change course, learn from last year, and make a choice to be flexible in all that you do. All the New Year does is to make it easy to switch paths, change gears, explore something new, or simply stop always doing and just be. A New Year is a date on the calendar. Nothing will be any different on the first of January than it was on the thirty-first of December. All your problems will still be there, the difference being, that after the holidays, time with family and friends, maybe you have a clearer vision of your life.

No New Years Resolution means I am not locked into a plan. I can do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and with that flexibility, I cannot fail. I can only move forward, just like the path in front of me encourages me to do. Happy New Year everyone, I hope you find it magical.

No Tech Christmas

December 28, 2013

It occurred to me, oh, several months ago, as I was organizing my Christmas list, that I wanted to give my grandchildren vintage toys. Well, remakes of vintage toys, the originals are far too pricey. I wanted them to have a Christmas where nothing they received from my husband and I needed a battery, cable, or plug in. It seems that we have overwhelmed our kids with things that beep, flash, talk, and require constant attention. It was time to get back to basics.

For my nine year old grandson, there were a set of stilts, modern and better made, but stilts, nonetheless. A honest to goodness wooden yoyo along with a trick book just like they had in the 1950′s, along with crazy straws, paddle balls, a board game, several joke books, and the Dangerous Book for Boys. I added a science project about gross things, and treats. Not one thing required any sort of power except boy power. He loved everything, and was working to master the yoyo when they went home.

For my six year old granddaughter, we got an art set. A real, honest to goodness set with everything from paints to pencils and everything to go with it. She is really into drawing and such. Several coloring books joined the set, along with lots and lots of paper. She also go the crazy straws and paddle balls, but girl stuff too, like a pair of shoes and an out fit. She got the Daring Book for Girls, that matched Nick’s for boys. And hair pretties along with a grooming kit. Nothing needed power other than the power of a girl. She was over the moon, and spent hours drawing.

And our little Addie? Her favorite toys is a small felt dolly I picked up for a buck at the dollar store. Who would have though!? We also got her a tent to play in, and to help corral her when we need to have our hands free for something. She loves that too, along with the drum, and soft toys she got. She was really having more fun with with the paper and boxes than anything.

It is easy to go on line and pick out things that beep and buzz for kids. It is much harder to think of the way their minds work and come up with innovative ways to entertain them. It is easy to let a machine entertain them, but it is, in my opinion, to encourage them to explore, invent, create, and study the world around them. Making them the center of the play, not the machine, will stretch their minds, help them create, and encourage exploration in all manners of topics.

Next year is going to be a challenge, but I am already doing research, and I expect something will come to mind. Like Jax and a jump rope for Bella, and some sort of cool science experiment for Nick. I’m thinking mad scientist, cool stuff. Addie will be easy, everything from toys to clothes . . . and boxes and paper.

I love being a Nana.

Really?

December 21, 2013

The shopping frenzy is escalating exponentially as we get closer to Christmas Day. Stress is starting to show amid those who are still trying to buy, build, make, get, gifts ready for the big day. I realize how difficult it is not to stress out, but why do people feel they have to take it out on the person who happens to be manning the cash register?

In line at Wally World today, a woman in the next check out lane started complaining loud and long about how stupid it was that they didn’t have more lanes open, and that it was annoying how slow the checkers were. One of the people directing traffic to different lanes told her that the self check was available and that there was no waiting. To my dismay she turned on that woman and told her, “I EXPECT to be waited on when I come into a store. I EXPECT that someone will check my items, and I will pay a PERSON not a machine!”

Wow! Nice, not! Merry Christmas to you too, you hateful cow!

The woman kept her cool, and apologized that the cow had to wait, but that there was nothing she could do, as people were checked out on a first come, first serve basis unless they used the self check out. This was a busy time and the next few days would be crowded in most stores. The cow still huffed and puffed, complaining under her breath.

All those around me, including me, just stared at her in disbelief. Making eye contact with one another, we all seemed to be thinking, “Really?” Shaking our heads and trying to ignore the oozing anger around the woman, most everyone got on with their business. Finally, the woman was at the register and ready to pay. She said to the girl at the register, “I would wish you a Merry Christmas, but I really don’t care if you have one or not.” The poor girl nearly cried, but she just wished the woman a good day.

Say what you will about low payed employees, but the women at Wally World were gracious even in the face of insults and mistreatment by the very person they served. At the end of the day, that hateful cow will have a miserable Christmas, while each of those she abused will be blessed in one way or another for turning the other cheek.

I admire that, I really do, I simply do not have the kindness gene in my DNA. It took all I had not to tell that woman off, but it wasn’t my place to do so. Besides, I didn’t want to end up in trouble right before my son and grandchildren got here. So, I let it go, but you know, it really bothers me. So from now on, I will do my level best to be polite to all those who serve me in any way, even the surly cashier at the local gas station.

Why, Bless Her Little Heart

November 6, 2013

I follow the Matt Walsh Blog http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/11/06/kids-react-to-abortion/comment-page-1/#comment-62347 on a regular basis. He is a brilliant commentator and observer of life. He is also conservative in many of his opinions. Today his blog was about what the government run institutions called schools are teaching our children concerning several hot topics. One particular person who commented on the blog really hit my hot button. To save her embarrassment, I won’t include her name.

SHE SAID:
I knew there was a reason I wasn’t going to follow you any longer and this is it. Rick Perry used his own son to pass a “religion rights” bill (the Christmas bill) and anti-abortion spokespeople and politicians use fetuses to push their agenda. Give me a break. People like yourselves don’t want to provide for kids with social programs after they are fetuses, you don’t want women to have birth control because a) you think birth control is abortion and that’s what the right preaches, even though the science says it’s not (but wait, you don’t believe in science either been badmouthing it since Bush was President at least), b)you’re too afraid white people will be outnumbered by minorities, first of all, (at least according to Pat Buchanan’s book “State of Emergency,” and Fox News), and secondly, you think women should be controlled by men using your conservative fundamentalist religious ideology as applied to current ideology in the Republican Party. Your GOP politicians go on record saying that “rape” isn’t rape, and that you can’t get pregnant from rape, your party blocks a jobs bill for veterans, blocks VAWA, your party cuts food stamps so poor kids can’t eat, and calls 46% of the populations “takers” and moochers (some of those moochers vote Republican) and then you wonder why people are starting to vote Republicans out.

I SAID:
Takers? Of course they are takers, they sure aren’t doing anything to be productive, now are they? Honey it is the majority of conservative working people that allow the rest of the lazy moron leftists to sit at home in front of their big TV, eating, smoking, and drinking between producing more offspring to keep the money flowing. Unless, of course they decide to murder them either before or after they are born.

You can’t believe in religion because EVERY religion (except some weird off beat crazy people) says life is precious and children are blessings. So if someone does, they are racist or anti women (rolling eyes here).

I don’t care WHAT color someone’s skin is, I care about how they treat people and how they behave. So that argument is surely stupid too. I have lived in many countries, sweetheart, and some of them were not nice places to be, but the people were wonderful, and some were just as bad and stupid as people here in the US. I live in the deep south, dearie, and there are thousands of different colors of skin down here. To say that all white people are afraid of, or hate, minorities is purely ignorant.

I am a conservative woman, and heaven help any man who tries to own me, force me to anything, or try to treat me like a second class citizen. I am intelligent and I am not afraid to use that intelligence to set them straight. Or I could vote, or, if that doesn’t work, I have a carry permit and a gun. So your little diatribe on that topic is just as mistaken as the other comments you’ve made.

I don’t know a single conservative who does not support our men and women in uniform, or who have served in the past. Supporting them is vital to all of us. However that pot head ass in the white house loathes the military, unless he gets to play with the drones and kill people. Maybe that is where you are getting your particular point of view. From that and the talking heads on the liberal news networks like CNN (Communist News Network) and that sort.

I certainly do agree that food stamps and welfare need to be cut. Or, if those capable of work, have to be drug tested every month, that would make me happy too. Maybe then the whiners will get off their collective rear ends and GET A JOB. And there are jobs out there, they are just jobs that mean you have to get your hands dirty or work at night, oh, and pass a drug test on a regular basis. Even highest educated person in the land has to start at the bottom of the heap. Unless he is an elitist liar like the pot head ass in the white house.

What I am saying, bless your angry, greedy little heart, is that there is a VAST difference between conservatives and Republicans who are know as RINOs. (Republicans in name only) The RINOS are the guys you are talking about. The conservatives are people like me who work hard, save, give to charity, support our military heroes and our local police and firemen. We go to church, synagogue, chapel, temple, or where ever one worships their version of God. We are loving people, patriotic people, and profoundly protective people. Our families, country, and love of God are vital components of our humanity. So are unborn children.

Life is precious, every single life, even yours, is vital to someone. To use abortion to get rid of a child because he or she is inconvenient is flat out wrong. Use birth control correctly, or better yet, people need to stop sleeping around every time they get the urge and learn a bit of self control. However, I understand that being virginal after a certain age is frowned upon by a particular group of people.

I would suggest, (name withheld for her protection), that you stop trying to blend all conservatives and RINOS into one lump. We are not the same. And we will always fight for what we believe is right, and that includes the right for a baby to be born. You may call it tissue, but DNA says it is a human being from the moment of conception.

So, people, when are you going to make a stand and protect your innocent kids from the institutions political persecution of their minds and hearts? Home school folks, get them in a religious school, do something to protect your kids. Regardless of your stand on these issues, those are things that should be taught by parents, at home, in private, using real facts, not emotional knee jerk blather. People like that woman are everywhere, filled with anger, frustration, and a deep personal hatred for anyone who is a thinking, logical, person. We should pity her, because she will go to her grave just as angry as she is today since her brain and soul have been preempted by the left.

Why Is It Number Four

October 29, 2013

Why is it, as soon as I put the hard top back on my car, the sun comes out?

Why is it, that having the top down makes me want to play my music really loud and drive really fast?

Why is it, that every time a young person sees me driving a sports car, they seemed shocked?

Why is it, when an old person sees me driving a sports car, they all look confused?

Why is it, when a person gets past 50, everyone expects them to slow down and be stodgy?

Why is it, that when a person gets past 50, every single working part of the body decides to retool and redefine their working order?

Why is it, that some women freak out and spend thousands on plastic surgery and products to look younger, when time will catch up eventually and they will look like freaks AND look old?

Why is it, that everyone is scared to death to be round? Round is a good shape. Comfy, and easy to maintain.

Why is it, women under 60 freak out about being a grandmother?

Why is it, that women under 60 come up with stupid names for their grandchildren to call them so they won’t be known as a grandmother? I mean, really, MoMo?

Why is it, getting old is a sinful thing instead of something we have earned?

Why is it, that the young never appreciate what we know and the wisdom we have to share until it is too late to make a difference in their lives?

Why is it, if a couple is out dancing and having fun, and they aren’t young, people think it is either sweet, cute, or disgusting?

Why is it, people stare if I hold my husband’s hand in public? It isn’t as if we are doing anything gross, like snogging.

Why is it, all little babies and toddlers know that I am a Nana? Hormones?

Why is it physically impossible to stop myself from cooing over little babies, snarling at kids between 8 and obnoxious, and loathing kids between oh, teenage and forever if they are impolite, gross, or disrespectful?

Why is it, no one offers to help mom’s who are struggling with kids in public instead of complaining and making rude remarks?

Why is it, the older I get, the more I love the old guy I married so many years ago?

Just asking.

That Bugs Me

August 25, 2013

For the past few weeks, I have seen a commercial on television, that, over time, has come to really annoy me on several levels. It is for the Xfinity programs on cable. In the commercial, a mid twentiesish guy is trying to move house. He calls up his friends, and one by one they either lie to him, ignore him, or simply tell him no when he asks for help. The only person who “helps” is the lady on Xfinity who sets him up with all he needs for his new place. Cable, Internet, etc. is easily moved for him. In the last scene, the guy is sitting all alone, in his new place, he (it is assumed) moved all his stuff into it by himself watching television. No friends in sight.

It bugs me because friends are supposed to help friends. I can’t count the number of times we helped people pack and move. We have hauled sofas that weighed more than a small car, furniture of all shapes and sizes, clothes, dishes, even pets. We moved people in everything from our small Datsun station wagon to huge moving trucks. We, ourselves, have moved so often over the past 40 years, that I am a master at packing and hauling stuff. Everyone pitched in to help as soon as the word went out that help was needed. Generally pizza or Chinese takeaway was provided for the friends and family who showed up and pitched in.

So, what the heck is wrong with those twenty-ish kids who won’t help their friend move? One is at the beach and pretending to be at the office. One is shopping and pretends to be sick. One is playing video games and doesn’t even answer the call, and one just flat out refuses to help. Talk about selfish and self centered! If all those people had jumped in, the moving process would probably have taken less than a day. (We all know that no one ever fully unpacks boxes, we have some that are still taped shut from our move from Hong Kong.) But these, kids just can’t be bothered.

It makes me crazy to see someone need help and no one steps up. When I took Hal to the Urgent Care clinic a few weeks ago, there was a woman in there with a child about three. He was miserably sick, and constantly whining. He wanted to be held, but only if his mom was standing up. He was breaking into a full blown hissy fit, when I finally stepped up and asked the frazzled and frustrated mom if she needed some help. Her jaw dropped, then she stepped back and said, “If you have a miracle, go ahead.” I put on my MOM HAS HAD ENOUGH face, crossed my arms, walked over to the boy and cleared my throat. When he was looking at me, all I said was his name. In a calm, but firm voice. The tears shut off, he ran behind his mother and grabbed her skirt. We heard him in the exam room later when he got a shot. But, for the meantime, he stopped, the mom was thankful, and I could hear myself think again. That mom needed HELP. She was exhausted, overwhelmed, and right at the end of her patience.

I don’t know if I am odd, or what, but I am always offering to help people. Most of the time, they thank me and tell me no, but sometimes they are very grateful someone noticed their need. I sure as heck don’t see that much in the younger set. If they won’t help their friends, they sure as heck won’t help a stranger. Although, having said that, I do live in the South, where manners are vital in social behavior. I am not above asking some tall kid to get something off a shelf for me in the grocery or in a store. And I always thank them.

Last weekend, Hal and I took Addie out for breakfast (becoming a tradition for us now that she is old enough). As I was leaving the restaurant, I fell. Hard. I no sooner hit the ground than I had three guys trying to help me up. Poor Hal had his arms full with Addie, and could only stand there. I was so shaken, that had folks not gathered up my glasses and handbag, I probably would have walked off without them. (I broke my right foot, banged up my bad knee, skinned up my forehead and elbow, and felt like a fool for falling.) After thanking them all, I made my way to the truck and managed to climb in. Some how, I don’t see folks jumping to help others in big cities. They all just whip out their cell phones and start taking photos or filming. I guess people are used to viewing life through a screen. And that really bugs me.

So, I am going to write a letter to Xfinity and tell them they would do people a service by showing everyone agreeing to help the guy move. And to be honest that the darned service guy will be there sometime between Monday and Friday between the hours of nine a.m. and four p.m. Because that bugs me too.

Why Is It Number 3

July 22, 2013

Why Is It, Number Three.

Why is it when you have a time limit to be somewhere on time, it takes the server at your table forever to bring the check?

Why is it when people get on the road, and they are locals, they get into the wrong lane and hold up traffic trying to move over?

Why is it that babies like to shriek at the tops of their lungs in public places. Generally when sitting right behind you?

Why is it, on the hottest day of the year, everyone goes where you are going, and all the good parking spots are gone, resulting in having to hike from the car park to the entrance?

Why is it, that everyone insists on driving the standard route to get somewhere, fighting traffic, when learning the short cut makes life so much easier?

Why is it, that people feel they have to stand in front of the concession booth and waffle on about what to get for a movie snack. Easy people, soda, popcorn, candy. Think ahead and save time.

Why is it that said people take such great pleasure in crunching, slurping, chewing, and belching, (sometimes all at the same time) while talking through the previews at the cinema?

Why is it, that so many people want to text or chat through the movie instead of watching the show they just paid seven bucks to see?

Why is it, I ALWAYS get the Chatty Cathy Barbie doll sitting behind me who simpers her way through the plot like twists by asking her testosterone loaded date what happened and why?

Why is it, that parents of very young children under a year old bring their kids to the cinema? Used to be Drive-In movies for that sort of thing.

Why is it, that I get to listen to the guy behind us crunch his straw in the ice in his drink, every time the action gets intense?

Why is it when one walks out of the theater, the sun seems so much brighter, but the day seems a bit more mundane and gray when the movie is over?

Why is it, people park their shopping trolley right smack in the middle of an aisle, and get ticked when you politely ask them to scoot it over a bit so others can get past?

Why is it that every time I am trying to look at a particular product, someone will just walk up and stand right in front of where I am looking?

Why is the counter guys at the deli can’t seem to understand what Pastrami is, and that when I say Cajun, I mean spicy Cajun. I mean really, there is no other kind.

Why is it the produce looks delicious across the room, but finding something you want to eat is so difficult?

Why is it, no matter what, I always end up in the slow check out lane in the market?

A Conversation on Race.

July 21, 2013

I had a conversation, via a social media site, with an old friend of 40 years or so. It started out with one comment, evolved into another. And even though we are good friends, we see things very differently.

J said:

I love people. White,black,yellow and brown. Old and young. I have been fortunate to have different folks in my life. It is my greatest wish and dream that we can all look at each other and respect the differences we have. Embrace that we aren’t the same and accept things we don’t understand. This is my mantra.

Although I appreciate her perspective, one thing bothered me a great deal. The whole issue of skin color first.

So, I replied:

When we stop labeling people with colors, only then will we be accepting of everyone. I prefer to say I respect all peoples. I can’t say I love them if I don’t know them. And some people I won’t ever love because of the way they treat others. Respecting the humanity of another is more vital than love, because it accepts their negative attributes and positive attributes equally.

Love is a word thrown around far to casually. That demeans the value of meaning of the word and emotions it evokes. Love comes in many levels, from agape love of deep friendship, to the passion of romantic love. But a global love of all mankind is impossible as long as we maintain a thinking brain capable of reason and individual thought. We will always have our prejudices, and our exclusiveness of those who are different than our norm. An alien invasion might bring humans of all sort together against a common enemy, but as soon as we are safe, we will go right back to squabbling like children.

J said:

Well we would be ignorant to not acknowledge color and it’s differences. It would be a kumbya world if we could say “human being”, but we don’t. Let’s wake up smell the coffee and talk about these things openly and honestly. That’s it for now.

I replied:

How is it ignorant to not notice color? Culture and language sure, because culture and language are different from place to place. But neither has anything to do with color. I know blond haired Mexicans of German descent. So, am I supposed to look at their skin color and make a judgment on whether they are Mexican or German? Their families have lived in Mexico for three generations, are they still German just because they have light skin?

Skin color doesn’t matter a damn to me. I’ve lived in too many places with too many different cultures. What matters is how people treat other people, and how they make the world around them a better place.

Coming from a multicultural family, with every race from American Indian, to African, to European, and even a bit of several other groups mixed in my blood lines, I have relatives who are everything from snow white to dark brown. A family reunion is a colorful site to see. But, we are all related.

So is most of humanity in one way or another. Kumbya moment or not, when you can look past color and see the human beings FIRST, then you are truly on the way to acceptance and INclusion instead of EXclusion of everyone.

One of the things I found most wonderful about living all over the world is getting to know women of other countries. The thing is, once we found a way to communicate, we discovered we are very much alike. Everyone has different experiences, naturally, but at the core level, we are very much alike. We love our families, we work hard, we are smart, and each of us have that giving spark and deep down urge to nurture, even if we don’t have kids. We get each other’s humor, and we understand each other with compassion. And we can do all of that with a look, a smile, gestures, and a nod of the head or wink of the eye. And skin color has nothing to do with it. It is all about being a human being.

In a perfect world, everyone would get past the color issue. But, we are all human, and it isn’t ever going to be a perfect world. However, I hold out hope that some day everyone will learn to respect the differences as much as the likeness of one another. And I am blessed to have already crossed that threshold. Still, there are some people I will never love, or even like, because of the way they treat others. And that makes me human and imperfect too.

No response from J yet.

So now I am awake and thinking this over instead of sleeping. I cannot find a way past how I think, because to me it is so very wrong to look at skin color first. Yet, here in America, we do, and that bothers me a great deal more than I thought it did. Because I don’t care about race or skin color, I simply cannot get my head around the idea that it is so important to other people. Each race has issues, some more than others, about the entire topic. And I am not talking blank and white only, it is also obvious in other groups who come here, move into the same area creating a cultural ghetto, and sit around hating America and their neighbors for being different. When they talk about it, skin color always seems to be one of the first comments on the list of “Why we hate …”.

I live in what many call the Mid-South. Traditionalism is greatly valued here. This is a former slave state, and has a huge population of their descendants. In the five years that we have lived here, I have never seen anyone be disrespectful to another because of skin color. It is almost a conscious decision that everyone has lived here for many generations, and that is all that matters. The only people they look at twice are “outsiders or Northerners”. Because, like in many places, if your people haven’t been here for 100 years, you are new to the area. But, Southern hospitality trumps all, and people are welcomed with a graciousness that is unexpected.

Memphis is the largest city anywhere near me, and it also has a huge population of black Americans. As with all large cities, it has it share of crime. There are areas that I will never go to, day or night, because it is too dangerous. Those areas are mostly white, black, or Hispanic. One race, one language, and exclusion of those who are different, creates racism. There are also areas where I may be the lightest person in ten miles, but no one cares as long as I am respectful. The same goes for my area. Mostly white, but mixed with several other cultures, as long as people are respectful, there are never any racial problems.

Yet, there are still those who have prejudices that are taught to them from birth. And that is a true shame. We, as human beings, should have evolved past that by now. Instead, we see certain groups encouraging racism toward others just because of skin color, affluence, or any number of petty differences. Creating a false idea of caste and classes is one of the surest ways of dividing people.

Giving a face to the seven deadly sins is an instant creation of anger, fear, hatred and racism. Using the pulpit to encourage that behavior is absolutely against the tenants of nearly every religion I have studied. Yet, we see it happening all over the country. Using racism to score votes is equally abhorrent, yet it is regularly done from coast to coast every election cycle. Inciting fear and hatred is against everything this country has worked toward for generations, yet there are still those who use both as a way to prod people into discontent. Bearing false witness about another is a sin, yet so called religious people do it all the time toward other religious people who are “different.” And still, in today’s so called enlightened world, we use race and skin color to create offense, and highlight differences among us. Until we get past that and accept the humanity behind the skin, it won’t change and we will be that much worse off for it. .

Cinema Junky

May 21, 2013

Jake walked into the cinema on a hot summer afternoon. It was the first time he had ventured into a theater in a very long time. He had forgotten the tactile and sensory impact, along with the ephemeral ‘something’ that enveloped him as he walked in.

Entering the lobby one goes from the blinding bright heat of the day, into a dimmer, cool world complete with neon lights, music, and chattering people. It is almost a shock to the system, when he take his first deep breath, the aroma of popcorn, hot dogs, and chocolate overwhelm the olfactory senses, and his mouth starts to water, because deep inside, we all know that a good movie deserves good popcorn and soda.

After garnering the prerequisite treats, he headed for the theater inside the giant building. Used to be that the theater was one large auditorium that showed two movies in a row. The coveted place to sit, for anyone under 20, was in the balcony. Little kids loved the front row of the balcony so they could throw popcorn down on people and be as obnoxious as they could until the ushers threw them out. The older kids loved the back row of the balcony where they could cuddle and kiss in the dark. Things have changed, however.

Jake wandered down the corridor to the door marked with the number 16 and an LED sign that ran the name of the movie over and over above the door. As he stood waiting for the cleaning staff to let him in, he realized the same smell existed in the building as it did in the old cinemas of his youth. The slightly dusty smell of carpets combined with a hint of urine, spilled drinks, and too much cologne slathered on by both males and females surprised him. It felt comforting, because it was so familiar. He always wondered why, even if the restrooms were in perfect order, the slight tinge of urine always lingered creating a piquant note to the warm oder of the salty popcorn.

Entering the theater auditorium used to be a big moment. Walking into the hushed semi dark atmosphere, down a aisle with lights embedded in the carpet at the end of each row, searching in the darkness for a special seat or one’s friends, and scooting into the middle of a row over knees and packages were part of the ritual of going to the cinema. Back in the day, people chatted, crackled paper, crunched on ice, and babies would toddle up and down the aisle until the parents finally got them to settle down. Today, however, there are the added benefits of commercials on the screen, blaring music and announcements, and the ever present cell phones beeping, squeaking, and lending bright light to the darkness.

Jake sat down in his favorite place, center seat, center row of the theater. He always counted rows and seats before sitting down to make sure he was dead center in the room. That way he was able to see and hear everything while ignoring the noises from the other patrons. Cup of soda on his right, popcorn nestled in his left arm, he settled back to enjoy his favorite part of any movie, the previews of coming attractions. Lights go down, music is cued, and with each preview, the sound gets louder, until, at last, the main event lights up the screen. Cue the dramatic music, action sequence to introduce the story, and the outside world goes away for two hours or so.

If the movie is good, Jake gets sucked into the story and action, never hearing or paying attention to his noisy companions. If the movie is bad, or boring, every little thing about his neighbors annoys him, sometimes to the point of complaining to management. It paid to have a reputation as a grumpy old man.

With the high cost of attending the cinema, a cost he has seen double over and over again since the days he could spend the entire afternoon at the cinema and spend less than a dollar, Jake didn’t go as much as he used to. Watching a movie at home on all the new gadgets and gizmos was, eh, okay. But, it simply didn’t have the magical feeling of a theater. The anticipation, the aromas, the feeling of isolation and distance from the every day world, were only experienced in an honest to goodness cinema. As expensive as it was, Jake had to get is movie fix once every few months. It wasn’t the movie he saw that mattered so much, as it was the experience of the mysterious world of the cinema.

When the movie ended, he always stayed to see the credits roll by. Generally, there was a theme song that played along with them, so he sat quietly watching and listening as everyone bustled around grabbing up their items and debris as they headed out. Jake was almost always the last person out of the theater, annoying the cleaners at his delay. Head still wrapped up in the story, he would slowly wander down the corridor to the exit.

It was always a shock to the system to realize that the world had kept on going while he was away in the mysteries of the cinema. The lobby seemed too bright, loud, and full of people. The aroma of popcorn wasn’t nearly as enticing, and, depending on the time of day and year, he knew once he opened the exterior door, he would step back into the heat or cold of the rat race. It always made him feel tired and ready for a nap. Regretting the cost, he, once again, made himself a promise that he wouldn’t spend that kind of money on a wasted afternoon. He could, after all, see the movie at home in a few months.

Of course, like all addicts, deep inside, Jake knew that he would be back as soon as a new movie came out that just had to be seen in a theater to gain the most from the story. At least that is what he told himself. It was better than admitting he was a cinema junky.


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