Things People Say

Pleasantries, thank goodness people use them. The things people say in superficial interaction are often pleasant, and meaningless. These pleasantries are the social lubricant that keeps us all getting along together after a fashion; but you can’t eat lubricating oil, it does not sustain life, and although it makes social interaction possible, it does nothing for the soul, or the mind. My social interactions, for many, many, many years now, have consisted almost entirely of pleasantries. Social interaction has become meaningless to me, as for the most part it offers nothing of substance. At the country house, living amidst the affluent consumer junkies, pleasantries had an edge, where people defended their privilege, and insisted on status recognition, very tiresome and extremely boring. At Mist Cottage people are busy living their lives, and being respectful of one another, it is a refreshing change. There are people here that preen and look down long noses at others, but they are a minority and easy enough to ignore, easy enough to let them try to impress each other, leaving the rest of us to get on with out lives.

Beautiful things people have said to me, that is a theme I decided to follow in this entry.

I was just listening to Ron Hynes, No Change In Me, and thinking what a wonderful singer/songwriter he was, and what a wonderful person. I met him at Mariposa one year, spent a few hours sitting and chatting after hours at some bar, somewhere in Toronto. We hit it off during that brief pleasant, platonic interaction. When he found out I was an academic he said, “What a waste! You should come to Newfoundland!” Thanks Ron, for that, it was one of the greatest compliments I have ever received, and coming from you it meant a lot.

It is my opinion that the things people say to you are a reflection of who they are. Beautiful people say beautiful things, and when times are tough they say things that create a path, where there is chaos. I feel very blessed by the words of others.

Worldly Distractions

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Quote

“The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”
John Green

There are superficial pleasantries, but they are not the same as sharing the mundane details of life with those I care about. When I hear what someone I care about had for breakfast, I take pleasure in the knowledge of their experience, I cherish the small details of their existence, much as I would a sunrise, the sound of rain on the roof, the sighing of the wind through the pines. There are things one never tires of hearing.

15 Comments

  1. LOL, dinkeye, oh yes!! I am seldom able to pull the memories out of my hat when needed most. I do believe that if we let the beautiful words sink in, accept the meaning and the truth of the meaning, that we are stronger, when dealing with people when they are being dinkeyes.

    I always remember that when people are being dinkeyes they are projecting their own dislike for themselves onto me, and I don’t respect them for that. When I don’t respect people, I give myself permission to reject their hypostheses. They deligitimize themselves as purveyors of relevant information about the self.

    Dinkeyes is my new favourite word Kate!

  2. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    “Social interaction has become meaningless to me, as for the most part it offers nothing of substance.”

    Honestly, it seems to me that specific types of social interaction are very important to you. You have a nature for debating the political – though often the waters are rougher than you’re willing to take because others have no boundaries. Thank goodness you support worthy ideals/ideas. And quality relationships are very important to you, as you said, hearing what a loved one had for breakfast is meaningful as you enjoy their enjoyment.

    I think maybe you’ve become protective over time. (As have I.) It’s not worth the slings and arrows anymore to try and expand the social network.

  3. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    I don’t agree with John Green. I think that memories can still be beautiful and valid, even sharing them with people who are not co-rememberers.

  4. Teri, you are correct, I highly value certain types of social interaction, but pleasantries are just sliding by other people for me, they don’t have much meaning, one way or the other.

    You are also correct about some others having no boundaries. When the death threat against my children occurred, I realized how far some people are willing to go to silence a voice that values truth and integrity above profit and greed. I was advised by some of my peers that my publications were too controversial, that I should not publish my work… I published.

    My protectiveness is for my loved ones, as it is their lives that were threatened. Although some of the people involved in that dreadful situation are now dead, what they supported and represented is alive and well, and just as intolerant as it always was.

  5. I see John Green’s point, although I agree with you that sharing memories with people who haven’t shared the experience can be wonderful.

    I wonder if I will ever forgive the universe for depriving me of my departed loved one’s company… I think I should, but my heart, not my head, makes this decision. The heart wants what the heart wants.

  6. “The heart wants what the heart wants.”
    Thanks for that. I agree. Sometimes no matter how hard you try… to be the person you think you should be, it just doesn’t work. Follow your heart is the best idea, I think. When I was married to 1st husb., he was an academic and I was a worker-bee. I’ve been a worker-bee all my life, pretending to be an academic. But in the end… the bee won out and now I just make silly things with yarn and the academia has gone by the wayside.

    Now if only the outside world would behave itself!

  7. Bex, I think Ghandi was onto something.

    Ghandi’s 11 vows
    http://www.gandhi-manibhavan.org/gandhiphilosophy/philosophy_11vows.htm
    include
    “Sharirshrama (Bread Labour
    Earn thy bread by the sweat of the brow- says Bible . Bread labour means that everyone is expected to perform sufficient body-labour in order to entitle him to his living. It is not ,therefore, necessary to earn one’s living by bread labour ,taking living’ in its broader sense. But everyone must perform some useful body-labour. Young India, Nov. 5, 1925.
    The economics of Bread labour are the living way of life . It means that every man has to labour with his body for his food and clothing. If I can convince the people of the value and necessity of bread-labour, there never will be any want of bread and cloth. – Harijan, Sept. 7, 1947
    The idea is that every healthy individual must labour enough for his food and his intellectual faculties must be exercised not in order to obtain a living or amass a fortune, but only in the service of mankind. If this principle is observed everywhere, all men would be equal, none would starve and world would be saved from a sin.- Harijan, Aug 3, 1935.”

    This is where I parted from the Academic, professional woman lifestyle. I did not expect to waited on, and actually found it distasteful when it did happen. I actually believe that people who do not prepare their own food, clean their own homes, and care for their own dependents, are not whole people, and are the poorest cadidates for leadership or wisdom. Academics, as I knew them, and Professionals, as I know them, are largely unbalanced humans, suffering from atrophied elements in their personalities, as seen by their reliance on, and expectation of care from, what you refer to as “worker-bees”. The academic is seldom a balanced individual.

    I appreciate thoughtful, kind, intelligent, self-sustainable human beings. In my vernacular “worker-bees” would only be those who despair, allow their role in the unhealthy world of profit and gain to define them, and lose interest in learning. You fail to fall in to the “worker-bee” category in my world.

  8. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    “Academics, as I knew them, and Professionals, as I know them, are largely unbalanced humans, suffering from atrophied elements in their personalities, as seen by their reliance on, and expectation of care from, what you refer to as “worker-bees”. The academic is seldom a balanced individual.”

    I must say I’ve been privileged to know some academics/professionals that were incredibly wonderful and giving people, none of whom expect to be cared for by “worker bees”. The foremost being a man named Dr Urz. He was the most intellectual and humane person I’ve ever met and more than 20 years later I’m still in awe of him. He was a Gandhi.

    Because of those I’ve met, I could never generalize to academics and professionals being unbalanced. I see such unbalanced as being exceptions. I guess this is one of those times, Maggie, where our experiences have made us very different, in this particular aspect.

  9. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    With academics, I wonder if it’s a matter of like-hiring-like so you ended up with an almost inbred population of ne’er do wells.

    I was at 3 universities in the US. Massachusetts and South Carolina I would characterize as average, having a mix of average people that made no particular effort to be good or bad, but there were a few outliers on the good and bad sides. With Illinois, the group shifted to being more on the good side with average and bad being the outliers.

    With professionals – well, DH is a professional, and I’m proud to say one of the all around good guys. His boss and boss’s boss are the same, as are most of the workers around him. At least in that company, the good outweigh the bad with average taking second place and the bad being outliers.

    Through my ex, who was a plastics engineer that changed jobs some dozen times before finding a place for long term, I experienced the cultures of a dozen Fortune 500 to Fortune 50 companies that spanned the US from Connecticut to Oklahoma. I can think of 2 that were below average in their regard for the individual and their rights. Most were average, with the companies being relatively balanced between corporate interests and individual interests. And a couple were good, where the company may have worked on auto pilot for itself but the people brought in the kindness and hunanity that made them good working environments.

    Anyhow, that’s about 40 years of my life in a nutshell. It saddens me that your experience has been so different. I wish I could introduce you to some of the people I know/have known.

  10. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Lol! We don’t live in different worlds, but we have lived in different countries. Plus I think I’ve experienced more of North America than you have.

    As for 40 good years, yeah if you don’t count living 15 years with a physically abusive man that strangled me to unconsciousness and kicked me with steel toed work boots, and who waited 2 hours to come home when I called him that I’d broken both my ankles, then I’ve had a good time or two.

    Having experienced good people over many years doesn’t mean you’ve lead an easy life or that all the people in your life have been good. 🙂

    (It occurs to me that I expanded my answer beyond the scope of ‘the system’. Sorry about that.)

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