I have a rule of three. It works for me. For instance, if I think someone is prone to being mean towards others, I don’t decide this is true when I observe the first instance. (Caveat: depends on the incident of course, they vary by degree.) If another incidence is observed, or affirmed from a highly trusted source, that is number two. I am aware at this point that there may be a pattern, the first incidence is not the result of a “bad day”, or miscommunication of some kind. When a third incidence is observed my perception of the person will include that knowledge that they are willing to do mean things to other people. With me, once I am aware of a propensity, the knowledge cannot be erased or denied. It can work in reverse of course, if three impressive good deeds are noted, under circumstances where there is no social reward for having performed them, then I become aware of this personal strength in a person.
The rule of three kicked in last night at 11:00 p.m. Attila and I had turned in for the night, but I was not falling asleep. As it turned out Attila had not fallen asleep either, so we decided to get up and putter for a while before trying again.
What was on my mind was a recent Facebook post of mine, where a “friend” had used the discussion as a platform to swear at and belittle other people. He had done this once before, and I had hoped it was a one-off. It was not. He didn’t just abuse one person, he abused three people in that thread. His last missive, which I read just before going to bed, was vitriolic, not threatening, but angry and derisive, and he used foul language to emphasize his points. I suspect his inappropriate comments were facilitated by alcohol. He was a friend of a dear departed loved one, who passed away decades ago, and the connection, at least for me, has been sentimental in nature.
I looked for a way to disallow the errant “friend” from making comments, while remaining “friends”, as I had often made pleasant comments on his timeline when he posted things I could “like”. My only option was to block him, and if I blocked him I would also have to unfriend him. So that is what I did. Then I went to the thread where he had been so unpleasant to people he didn’t agree with, and I deleted the entire thread. It felt awful to “unfriend” someone, it took much thought to make such a decision. And although it was hard, it felt completely right at the same time. When it was completed I felt relieved that I would no longer be exposed to the flailing angry words he utters so thoughtlessly.
Attila and I puttered for a while after that, and then we retired for the night, sleeping peacefully and soundly until the alarm woke us up in the morning.
My back has completely recovered now, from my ill advised foray into snow shovelling. My blood pressure is within normal range. I don’t get out to walk nearly as much as I think I should, but I do get out several times a week, which is an excellent performance for the dead of winter.
I am sitting in the living room writing this entry, in my comfortable chair, looking out of my living room windows. They are corner windows wrapping around the south and west walls at the corner of the house. The cafe curtains prevent me from seeing out at street level, but allow me a vista of the trees just outside, with the sky placed right behind them by heaven itself, to bring into silhouette the branches, now stark and bare and thin. It is a scene I do not tire of, the branches still or swaying, barren or in leaf, the sky blue bright, or grey dull, or both blue and grey and changeable. I love early morning light through these window, just before the first signs of dawn, or the evening light just after the sun has dipped below the horizon. My view is an ever changing work of art, and it keeps in my heart the feeling that I belong in the world, and it belongs to me in equal measure. It cradles my ancestors and my descendants, it is where time converges and expands simultaneously. These old and drafty windows bring me gifts each and every day.
Date: 3:00 PM EST Wednesday 1 February 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Dew point: -4.8°C
Wind: SSW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -4
Visibility: 24 km
“My pain may be the reason for somebody’s laugh. But my laugh must never be the reason for somebody’s pain.”
I lifted this from Aunt Beulah’s blog, very timely words.