*A note to say that it was definitely the anti-histamine. 24 hours after the “time of effect” I could write again for the first time in months. Of course, the plot immediately complicated. Oh, what tangled web we weave when our characters don’t ask permission to go off the reservation. Eh. SAH*
My mom, who is considerably paler than I am, who has green-hazel eyes and who, in her pre-coloring days, had hair of a pale walnut brown, came to dressing and buying me make up by a simple process: she knew what worked on HER. And therefore the exact same thing must work on me. Am I not her daughter?
Since she made most of my clothes until I got married, I was usually dressed in the wrong colors and with the wrong sort of cut. (Mom is one of those women all boobs, no hips. I used to be, in my skinny days, mildly pear shaped.) Of course, when the clothes didn’t work, she was sure there was something I was doing wrong. It was all “stand up straight. Put your shoulders back. I don’t know why the minute you put the dress on, you look terrible.”
I didn’t know either, so I couldn’t tell her it was all the plum colors, rusty browns, faded oranges and aqua greens she chose for the fabric. She had for instance firmly planted in her head that I looked awful in red, even though by the time I came to the states I’d realized it was one of my best colors.
Anyway — I also realized the make up didn’t work, so she spent years giving me make-up kits (some expensive ones) that I quietly passed on to a friend. Because for blush to work on me it has to sort of meld with my complexion, which means it’s a light sort of burn coral, not bright pink.
But it wasn’t until I consulted an advisor for buying clothes for a party that I found out I should be dressing in all the colors mom avoided giving me: reds, strong pinks, black and white. Just about the only color we both could wear was strong blue.
Mind you, this was my mother, the person who’d known me since I was born, and these were characteristics that were obvious, in your face, and right there. Not some deep psychological mumbo jumbo. Not some hard to perceive differences. No. I clearly was NOT the same coloration or build as mom. There was no argument over it. We were just different. But she couldn’t see it. A lifetime of dressing herself and knowing what worked, had convinced her these were just the “tasteful” colors.
I’m not ragging on mom. I find that unless someone has grown up as I did and has reason to know there are differences, they tend to assume the same. My MIL too spent years sending me expensive make up kits that worked well for her. I sent them to mom. (What? I’m not a saint.)
By the time I was 15 I was very glad I didn’t live in the Old Portugal, where parents picked your fiance. Because the guys mom liked fell under the same heading as the makeup mom liked. Or should I say the guys mom liked for me. Having decided I was lazy and sat around a lot doing nothing (you have to understand she disapproved of reading, so I used to toss the book under something when I heard her approach. Took me years after I was married to break myself of it. Dan thought it was funny. So from her perspective, I sat around a lot, staring at nothing.) So she thought I needed a man who was a “doer” and a “get up and getter.” These were never, of course, men who liked to write or think or create anything elaborate. They were men who socialized, schmoozed and used influence to advance. IOW fairly mercenary. I’d have murdered one within a week, if he lasted that long.
Again, I’m not ragging on mom. And I’m sure other people here have similar experiences.
So how is it possible that people want “the government” to look after them, from housing to what they study, from the safety of their food to the medicine they’ll be allowed to have? HOW?
Who do you think is in government? Some sort of supernatural beings that can look into the hearts of others and guess what each one needs?
Science fiction writers of the golden age got around this by inventing mumbo jumbo. Psycho mathematics, Socio dynamic calculations, etc. All handwavium. I believe FTL travel is more possible than all that nonsense.
And failing that nonsense, the pseudo-scientific qualities of a “planned” economy evaporate. HOW do the planners know what people need. Sure, they can figure in Winter they’ll need warm clothes, but what type of warm clothes. Sure, they can figure a person with a bacterial infection needs antibiotic, but which antibiotic?
What we’re seeing happen in medicine, since government meddling and mandates is exactly the sort of nonsense mom did with clothes and makeup writ large. Because reporting to government requires standardization, we’re seeing an enforcement of “the treatment that works best for the most people.” This is terrible. It’s sort of like formalizing bad medicine.
For instance, before children while battling infertility I was put on contraceptives for six months to regulate my cycle. (Yes, I find the concept weird too, but apparently it worked for some people.) The contraceptives were of a type that didn’t exist in Portugal but was very common here. Instead of regulating my cycle, it made me bleed continuously. When I told the doctor this, he told me I was forgetting pills. He didn’t ask me. He didn’t believe me when I said I sure as hell wasn’t. No, he went ahead and gave me the ones with blank pills, because he was sure I was forgetting to resume it. The nonsense continued, and he accused me of lying to him. Yes, I found another obygyn, but right now, this is codified into regulation. If you present with A they will treat the way that other people presenting with A are treated, even if there are reasons to doubt it, even if it doesn’t work. (BTW, years later that particularly contraceptive was found to be very bad for people of Iberian extraction, in fact causing exactly the issue I had. Which is why no one in Portugal prescribed it anymore.)
Now, it makes sense to try the most common treatment first, unless you have reason to be weary, or unless your patient tells you this didn’t work in the past. BUT to codify that treatment is a piece of insanity. It is however necessary to do medicine on a grand scale.
The same goes for “recommended food pyramid” which in my case while I was following it caused me to gain about 50 lbs. Again, I’m not unique in this. I’m just (perhaps) a minority. People joke about recommended diet changing all the time. It does, because they’re trying to find something that applies to EVERYONE.
Again, these are physical things, things that can be easily ascertained, if one bothers to, and doesn’t assume the individual is lying because it doesn’t fit one’s mental image.
What about other things? What government can regulate for my happiness? Again, my mom, with my best interests at heart has been pushing for years for me to go back and finish my doctorate so I can “teach in college.” I’ve taught in college, and the paperwork associated made me run away. My MIL for a long time wanted me to “write for children” being sure that “as imaginative as you are only children will understand you.” I ask those who have read me, how happy those children would be.
Even my husband who knows me better than any person living, every once in a while (like this morning in the shower) comes up with a “neat plot” and tells me “you should write this.” And — like this morning’s — they’re so wrong they’re not even funny. It’s not a “I don’t want to write that” it’s a “NO, I CAN’T write that. My brain doesn’t work this way.”
So, from each according to his ability to each according to his needs. Very nice. BUT who decides? And why? Surely I know my needs and my abilities better than even my nearest and dearest? Surely I know it better than people who’ve never met me and for whom I’m a number in a spreadsheet?
And why would anyone trust them?
Yet every time you say “there ought to be a law” or “the government should take care of” you’re doing just that trusting. You’re letting total strangers for whom you’re a widget decide what your needs and abilities are.
Not the best way to pursue happiness. Of even continued life.
Remember all planned economies fail. Some fast, some slower. Any communal action is of necessity not a free bene, but a trade off between what must be done collectively (common defense) and what it will cost in terms of mismatched needs.
If you trust total strangers to dress you, feed you, and decide on your treatment from illness, carry on. As for me, I’ll say “I’ll decide. Because only I know my needs and my abilities.”