murderers and humanity

I’m still thinking about and processing the violent, terrorist acts committed against George Tiller and yesterday at the National Holocaust Museum.  I’ve been

This image is what so profoundly affected me at the National Holocaust Museum.
This image is what so profoundly affected me at the National Holocaust Museum.

 to the Holocaust Museum twice, and both times, it profoundly affected me.  I remember sitting on the floor in a room filled with Holocaust victims’ shoes, sobbing.  This room is toward the end of the museum, and yet it moved me more than anything else in the museum.  Perhaps because of the idea of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.  Perhaps because it just engaged all my senses.  I could even SMELL the shoes.  Visiting that museum  gave me both a profound sense of the evil humans are capable of perpetrating on one another, but also of the indomitability of the human spirit.  You can try to take away someone’s humanity.  Treat them like animals.  Attempt to eradicate them.  But you can’t control someone’s spirit.  You can’t take away their faith.  


In the wake of horrible tragedies, it is easy to see the perpetrators as not human.  I’m guilty of it.  I am a pacifist, generally, but in the wake of something awful that one human has done to another, I know what it is to want vengeance, to want an eye for an eye, though I rationally know that this “leaves the whole world blind.”  I know, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “through violence you may murder a murderer but you can’t murder murder.”  While it may be easier to simply dismiss these hate-filled killers as somehow less than human, it just isn’t right.  The Nazis, in all their horrific violence, were still humans.  Scott Roeder is a human.  James von Brunn, hateful as his prejudices are to me, is a human.  Someone loved them.  These killers were someone’s babies.  How did they get from there to where they are now?  I don’t know, but it’s worth exploring.  People may hate, and people may have prejudices, but a variety of factors contribute to making a hateful person into a murderer, a terrorist. Continue reading “murderers and humanity”

mawwiage, mad-dog, and fairness

Mr. Rogers taught me that no one knows what youre thinking and feeling unless you tell them.
Mr. Rogers taught me that "no one knows what you're thinking and feeling unless you tell them."

I write a lot about marriage equality and believe very strongly in marriage equality largely because I’m so happily married.  Though it seems some straight people see their marriages as somehow under attack from a threat of gay marriage, experiencing marriage has only more firmly convinced me how wrong it is to deny anyone a chance at this kind of happiness– spending every day with their best friend.

And today I am especially thankful for my husband and “dearest friend” (as Abigail Adams often referred to her husband John).  Yesterday I got home and was just feeling sort of mad-doggish (shout out to my English prof Dr. Robbins, who taught me this term from J.M. Barrie: “to be mad-dog is to kick out at everything, and there is some satisfaction in that” from “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens”).  It didn’t help that I had thought Jon would be home around 7:30 and didn’t arrive until about 20 minutes later than that, meaning the dinner I had made was overcooked and soggy by the time he got in the door.

So he arrived to be greeted by a wife who was seemingly annoyed at everything he said.  WHY ARE YOU TALKING SO WEIRD? WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT KIND OF VEGGIE IS THIS, IT’S AN ENDIVE, GAH!  YEAH, DINNER WOULD BE TASTIER IF YOU HAD BEEN HERE 20 MINUTES AGO!  The poor guy would have been very justified to get snippy back at me, but instead, in his typically patient manner, he just asked me why I was so annoyed with him.  But the truth was, I really had no idea.  I was just irritated at the world and I had no idea why.  And if that was frustrating for HIM, it’s also super frustrating to me.  It’s totally unfair when my feelings are a mystery even to me.  Continue reading “mawwiage, mad-dog, and fairness”

no photographs, please

When encountering rude, staring people, my mother used to mutter, “Take a picture, it’ll last longer!”  I think I’m having the opposite problem.  I’ve begun to notice strangers taking my picture…perhaps because it’ll last longer.

Now, maybe this is one of the hazards of living in a well-known tourist town.  People flock here to take

I think this campaign is why they are flocking here... What do you think?
I think this campaign is why they are flocking here... What do you think?

carriage tours of historic homes and gardens, to see Spanish moss hanging from gnarled live oaks, and to dine on shrimp and grits.  During the spring and summer tourist season, as I stand at my bus stop on one of downtown’s main drags after work, I am often approached by tourists.  “Does this bus go to the visitor’s center?” (yes).  “Which way to the battery?” (that way).  My personal favorite is to watch them photographing the building immediately across the street from my bus stop.  It’s a cool looking building, I’ll give them that, but as far as I know, and according to the walking tour book we bought for entertaining out of town guests, it has no real historical significance.  More than once, eager be-fanny-packed tourists toting large cameras have stopped to ask me, “What is THAT building?  Was it a school?”  I usually smile and say, “Well ma’am, I’ve only lived here a couple years, and I don’t know.  Right now it’s just an apartment building.”  I mean, I don’t want to let people down on the Southern Hospitality portion of their experience, but, WHAT DO I LOOK LIKE, A TOUR GUIDE? I’M JUST STANDING HERE, PROBABLY HOT, AND IRRITATED THAT THE EFFING BUS IS LATE FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME.

And then, one day, as I was boarding my bus, one of the be-fanny-packed socks-with-sandals tourists snapped my picture.  AIN’T NUTHIN’ SCENIC BOUT MY SKINNY ASS GETTING ON A CITY BUS.  MOVE ALONG.  I have no idea what they’ll say about THAT photo when showing folks their photos from their lovely vacation down South.  I mean, I didn’t even tell them that I’m a real live curtsey-ing debutante or anything, so as far as they know I’m just some random girl who rides the bus.

I just basically assumed that the bus-stop photographer was an anomaly until I was on my lunch break, shuffling my lil flip flops down one of the main shopping drags immediately adjacent to my work, having made a quick run to The Body Shop for my favorite hair product (Cottonseed Curl Boost— thanks to it, I no longer blow dry).  I was passing the Louis Vuitton store and trying not to covet when a man leaned out of his carriage tour and snapped my picture again! I think I scowled at him.  Now, I’ve been on plenty of vacations in my life, and Lord knows, anyone who’s seen the number of photos I took in England alone knows I like to document my experiences.  But never have I ever snapped random photos of people on the street.  What is WITH that?  I feel sorta like my privacy has been invaded.  Who were those people who thought getting your picture taken stole a little piece of your soul?  I feel them.

Late breaking update: as I stood at the bus stop after work today, waiting for a 10-minutes-late bus, some guy hanging out the window of his car took my picture.  Pretty sure he wasn’t a tourist, just a creep.  Such weird things always happen to me, usually involving my time on the bus.

ernie bufflo is a creature of habit

I know spontaneity is supposed to be a desirable thing, but I’m realizing I’m a creature of habit with a tendency towards hermitness (hermitage? what is a word for “the condition of being like a hermit” that would fit here?). Every day I wake up and go through the same routine. The dogs wake up about 30 minutes before my alarm goes off and I stumble out of bed, open the bedroom door, and lock them out.

we can haz breffist?
we can haz breffist?

Then my alarm goes off, and, after a 15 minute snooze, I can hear them prancing outside my door. Sometimes I even see little puppy paws and tails in the gap between door and floor. Now, I make no illusions, they’re not happy to see ME. They’re happy that the person who scoops the kibble into their bowls and opens their doggie door is up to serve them. While they scarf their breakfast, I grind coffee beans. While I put the ground coffee into the coffee pot, I watch them out the window. After a quick shower, I sip coffee while listening to the previous night’s podcast of either Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, getting dressed and made up and lunch packed and to-go mug of peppermint tea prepared. I even eat the same thing for breakfast almost every morning: frozen whole grain waffle with extra crunchy peanut butter.

And on non work days? There’s still a routine. I call it The Great Puppy Hair Round Up. Usually on Saturday mornings, Jon, if he isn’t at work, is up long before me and is doing some sort of work in the yard. After I’m caffeinated and caught up on my blog reading, I sweep and start loads of laundry and round up the clutter all over our house. Usually at some point we either make breakfast burritos, go out to brunch, or, in the summer, head to the farmers’ market for the best crepes in the world.

It’s Friday night, and, though I have no real plans (working on it, though), I’m more excited about my Saturday morning. I’m thinking French toast, maybe 2 cups of coffee, a little reading and then a thorough housecleaning. Maybe at some point I’ll even make cookies. Sometimes I even look at mySELF and think, how did you turn into an old fogey at age 24.5? Even more importantly, how did you turn into your MOM? What’s that quote, by Oscar Wilde or someone? About how all women become their mothers and that is their curse, but no man ever does, and that’s his?  I must say, I don’t feel cursed at all.  I never knew I could be so happy turning into a hermit (and my mother).

Edit: Now that I think about it, there are a lot of ways I’ve turned into my mom.  I stock my fridge with home made sweet tea instead of soda.  I have an herb garden.  I compost.  I’m big on my reusable lunch bag– despite the fact that I found them humiliating when I was in high school and forced to reuse the same brown bag (all the cool kids carried brown bags instead of reusable bags) every day for a week for both thrifty and environmental reasons.  I listen to NPR, despite having hated being forced to listen to “A Prarie Home Companion” on car trips.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg….

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