Sorry this is late. Last night by the time I was ready to write a post I was so slap-happy that I started auctioning the destruction/sparing of countries in the Diner on Facebook. (Which isn’t entirely a bad idea, since with money for moving repairs, money for renting somewhere while this house is for sale – you can’t show a house with cats in it, one of them a geriatric cats who keeps getting close to the box but not in it. You also can’t show a house with my sons in it. The problems there hinge more on “What book did you leave in the bathroom again? Honey, you’ll scare people” and “Honey, dirty clothes belong in the hamper, not in a trail leading from your room to the bathroom.” – and I’m still late with the books, probably the latest I’ve been, and yeah part is recovering from being sick, and part is just having time in the middle of the madhouse, but anyway, with one thing and another, Number One son is graduating in May and I’d like to take him somewhere nice without feeling guilty about it – if I thought you were stupid/crazy enough to do it, I’d auction the destruction/sparing of cities and countries for $6 a pop, and the one (destruction or sparing) with the most votes would win. Would sign you for Rogue Magic, too, which only has about ten subscribers, I swear. BUT I don’t think you guys are that stupid/crazy, and you all know in DST there is very little trace of our current world, so I’d have to get creative and describe how they were destroyed long ago. So, ah well. As I said, I was slap-happy.)
Anyway, tomorrow I’m flying out to Ravencon, so if any of the Huns are in Virginia and within reach come out and say hi, would you? Kate Paulk will be there and Speaker To Lab Animals, and a bunch of other people, including number three son by adoption David Pascoe, and his lovely wife (Number one Daughter In Law by adoption). Speaker and Dave and I promise to protect you from Kate Paulk. Really.
I’m looking forward to the con, among other things because it’s a new one I’ve never been to, but I find myself wishing it was a week from now, because I never know if going to a con is going to stop my flow on a book as I’m nearing (I swear to heavens I really am) the end. And because we’re trying to be out of here and have the house ready for sale by late June, and it’s sort of weird as we don’t know where we’ll end up, because it depends on what number one son is doing next year, and I’m trying to finish the book, and I’m trying to figure out what furniture to sell/donate (and books. You don’t want to know about the books. I think our attic is mostly books. And not INTERESTING books – not to us – but stuff we bought long before we had kids because “our children will like this” and which now makes me wonder about exactly how stupid we were. No seriously.)
There’s also stuff like processing the backlog of clothes. In case ya’ll haven’t noticed, my guys all wear button downs. In the younger son’s case that’s because of sensory stuff. For whatever reason, knits next to the skin disturb him. In older son’s case it’s because he was born starched up and stuck at age 53 or so. One of these days a young lady– Never mind. Anyway, so, they all wear button downs, and I iron them. No, it’s not a war on women thing (rolls eyes.) They would quite gladly go off having spun the shirts in the dryer to minimize the wrinkles. But I was trained by my mother, okay? These men are yours, they belong to you, and how they present to the world reflects on you. Yeah, I know it’s stupid. But then take into account that ironing is the ONLY time I watch any television/movies (mostly through prime. We don’t have cable.) Without ironing I’d never have watched Buffy or Stargate. So, there it is.
Only with being sick/trying to catch up, there’s a massive backlog of ironables. Five baskets full (consider a basket an hour, just about.) Some of it is table cloths from the holidays (all of them) last year, and some are short sleeve shirts, which the kids haven’t needed till now. So, normally I’d catch up whenever, but not knowing where #1 son is going to be as little away as a month or two makes a difference, and also the fact we need to start boxing things (like rarely used elaborate table cloths) to put in storage until we have a place of our own again – hopefully after this sells. So I’m trying to do at least half a basket when I wake up, then do some book/furniture processing and/or fix something in the house before I sit down to write. And then I’m trying to write like a demon, something not facilitated by one of the hardest-to-write characters I’ve ever done.
Last night when I went to bed – after the slap happy had worn off – it occurred to me it was a wonderful time to feel sorry for myself. Here I am so busy, and I’m fifty, and it’s too late for me to have to deal with all this stuff, and and and boo hoo.
I assure you this is not my normal mode, and that about ten seconds after that thought, I started pointing and laughing at myself.
Given the rest of the world, or even America right now – I read this week my age group is the one moving in with their parents fastest and NOT because parents need looking after, but because with job instability, utilities, insurance, we’re mostly broke and losing houses at a record pace. – even if the absolutely worst happened (and trust me, it’s not LIKELY. It would take something like a fire running through town) and we lost everything, we still have training and jobs, we’re still making money, and we’d find a place with a roof for over our heads, and we have a nice family and four … four cats (nice might be too much), at any rate (plus Greebo who is not our cat.) And we would have our jobs and our minds, and books and music, and—
Yeah. Ain’t nobody going to be pitying me – or at least nobody should – just because I had a lousy health year last year and I’m slowly crawling out of the hole which involves working my behind off. Some people – most people, probably – in the world work like this all the time, and never get the rewards, like days at the zoo and dinner at Pete’s.
And heck, my very super busy days don’t compare say to the day of a cleaning lady when I was a kid, let alone in the Victorian age. They just don’t. Or even to my grandma’s days, up to the last year of her life, cleaning the house, looking after “the creation” – chickens and rabbits, mostly – and whatever strays she’d adopted, and the little backyard mini-farm.
I was thinking about this and thought about someone who claimed you know, being a white male is going through life in the easy setting. In a way he was right, because being a white male of the US middle class is easy compared to just about anyone in the world ever. Being an American of any gender and color who is born to two parents, in a place where people don’t shoot at each other in the night streets is easier than just about anything. Hell, even being an American in the worst parts of Chicago (I’ll destroy Chicago. Cheeep. Six dollars! And you get Rogue Magic. Kidding, kidding.) is easier than life in most of the world. This reminds me of the PJ O’Rourke joke about people being willing to trade a state apartment in Moscow in the eighties for a sleeping bag on the streets of NY city.
More than that, it shows a becoming awareness on that writer’s part that no matter what struggles he’s had are minimal compared to most people.
This is at least much better than the critter who was running around Facebook this week attacking people then accusing them of lack of compassion for swiping back, because she had broken her arm, and had we no decency. Colonel Kratman, who, like all men, has way too much Ruth (I didn’t even know it was that popular a name) said the silly git must be high on pain pills and we should cut her some slack. I don’t think so. First her page showed that this is fairly standard behavior. Second, I’ve been on pain pills – and fever – and it never occurred to me to use it as a magical shield. I’m more likely to post about seeing pink lizards and leave the politics and politicking over awards for when I’m sober. (Though I confess to having done the gifferic post while high as a kite on fever.)
It occurred to me the true tragedy of the human race, as individuals, is that we can’t SEE into each other people’s lives. We see some things, and interpret them, but there’s no guarantee what I see matches what it is like for YOU. So according to my temperament, I either decide I’m veeeeery unfortunate, or the most blessed person in the world, compared to others, and it has nothing to do with reality.
Take every time someone posts here or sends me an email saying “I don’t know how you do so much” and I’m thinking “Me? I’m a slacker. Just yesterday I took a two hour walk for the heck of it” or something. And then I look at #1 son who ALSO claims to be a slacker and who for years has run double the credits recommended, written Ninja Nun, written stories, contributed substantially to house upkeep, and taught himself things like game programing, and I think “Uh.”
This is why making statements about entire (Marxist) classifications of people is silly. You really don’t know what other people’s lives are like. And also – having gone through times of being very ill, where I couldn’t do half what needed to do – you don’t know what they can do. What might look easy to you could break other people. On the other hand, what you think is very hard, I guarantee some people are shouldering, every day, without a complaint and probably thinking they’re doing nothing.
Note that the wise man said “Pick up your cross and carry it” not “expound on what weight the crosses should be, and make regulations as to who should carry how much to make sure it’s evenly distributed.”
It will never be evenly distributed. And this is not even a matter of temperament but biology. I’ve known since I was very young, for instance, I’m on the high end of capacity for lifting weights for a female, and was even when I was a little slip of a thing who weighed 100lbs soaking wet. This doesn’t mean that should we be on a forced march with weights the woman next to me should have to carry exactly what I do. As an ex-marathoner and rather muscular woman, I guarantee it would break most of them (heck, what I could carry as a kid would break me now.)
And this is why an entire society based on redistribution of the ah… burdens of civilization is crazy. No one can know what others can carry. No one can know when others are being crushed. We can guess, but we can’t know. And we certainly can’t do it by numbers. Humans are not widgets.
What we need is a decent understanding that all of us are supposed to do our parts to the limit of our abilities – pick up your cross and carry it, if you will – and that reliance on others (when not mutual) is vaguely indecent; coupled with the understanding that when we need help we SHOULD be given it, because if someone is that broken as to be asking, then it’s a desperate situation.
Will there be abuses? Oh, of course. As I said, some people think “I broke my arm, your argument is invalid” is a proper trump card.
Some people will think being made to earn a living is a terrible imposition. Which is why we can’t do it by the numbers and charity – all charity, even government charity if that’s to continue (and we all know my opinion on that, right?*) — should be as local and as granular as possible, because we might not be able to see inside each other’s lives, but to the extent we have limited visibility, it helps to be close enough to see it day to day.
Will the system be gamed? What, because it isn’t now? Sure it will. But at least we won’t be treating people as widgets, and we stand a better chance of helping those who really need it.
And yeah, I know this entire idea and $2 (I’ll destroy Chicago for $2! Sale) will get me a cup of coffee.
And now I’ll shut up and go iron clothes.
*I’m against government-run charity not because I think we should let the poor starve in the gutter, but because government is a blunt instrument for such a fine tuned purpose. Or to put it another way, government is force, but charity should never happen at the point of a gun. Yes I know “Government is the word for what we choose to do together” but how much choice do you have, when a majority vote is treated as a reason to disregard almost half of the population and you’ll be thrown in jail for disobeying? “Choose” is rather a loose term. If a mugger holds a gun to my head I choose to give him money for instance – and government is more intrusive and less subtle than a mugger.