Tuesday, June 21, 2016

concerning habits. . .

I used to be out of my mind concerned about really strange things.

Like how I had to take the exact same route in the kitchen every morning to get the same cereal: pantry for cereal to fridge for milk to cupboard for bowl and big spoon to table. And the exact inverse to put it all away: counter with dishes and so on. I'm still particular about my utensils. Always a small fork, no matter what I'm eating. And always a small spoon except for cereal. You get more milk that way.

Or how my outfits had to be entirely color coordinated. No patterns with patterns. Very business style or jeans and tees. And that period of my life where everything was long sleeved, long legged, and booted. All black. Very particular. And later on -- white socks with white or light shoes; black socks with black or dark shoes. Particularly if the outfits were light or dark. Though I'm still that way about my socks needing to match -- and that they should match something in the whole ensemble. If I wear socks at all.

Or how the closet had to be organized. And not just organized by type, but by color and sleeve length. Starting with the R of ROYGBIV and working through the spectrum of tone and shade and whatchamacallits, making sure that the browns and blacks and whites fell on the outside somewhere. Absence and absorption of color and all that. Can't mix it in. Same for pants and dresses and skirts. Even shoes. All by color. Length. Or heel height.

I'm still organized. I still worry about weird things. I used to think I was over all of this weirdness. Be it my overactive, over intense brain is now medicated to the point of closer normalcy or I've just grown up and moved on. Not so much moved on -- moved on from those specific, consuming routines and must-have patterns. Moved on to new ones.

Other strange things concern me now. Like which pockets the wallet and the glasses go into in the backpack -- they must be the same each time. And the respective pockets for all of the other things I pack around with me for various reasons. Respective pockets. To each item its own home.

Or the phones at work. Geraldine lives on the left side of the desk; Batman lives on the right. And Batgirl lives over by the till because she came to us last and that was the only place left for her to perch. I didn't name the phones. They were like that when I got here. But now they have specific places to live. Strangely, my coworkers now do the same thing. Perhaps because they can see the genuine panic that comes across my face too fast for me to hide when I see Batman heading to Geraldine's house for a nap. Their prongs must not share cradles. Ever.

We never have that problem with Batgirl. Batgirl always ends up where she is supposed to rest.

Placement is and has always been ridiculously important to me. Knowing where things are. Where I am in orientation to those things. When things are thrown off -- it upsets me. Often I tried to hide it. But that little flash of panic can be terribly hard to hide from some people. Sometimes -- and I am the first to admit -- a stupid tantrum gets set off. A suppressed connection to 3-year-old Sarah Anne is sparked and internal screams manifest themselves in the form of pouting, quiet tears, and all-around obstinacy.

For example. When my sister's husband began joining us for Sunday dinners and they moved me out of my chair so he and she could sit side-by-side. My. Chair. The chair I had sat in at mealtimes for almost a decade. And it felt wrong. Horrible. Awful. That sick kind of sick you feel when you see someone you once loved and who once loved you with another person, and you get this awful mean jealousy and displacement. Even though you know you should be over it.

"But it's mine," petulant 3-year-old says. Not sadly, either. Angrily. "That's my spot. All of my memories and perspectives and sitting nearer the corner than you'd think humanly possible. They're all in that chair."

I know. It's weird. But I'm still not over that chair.

More than a year later; I really want my chair back.

My brain knows that this is all weird. That someone looking in at my life would think, "It's just a chair. It's just a phone. It's just a pocket that holds stuff. Who even cares?" I think that at myself too, every single Sunday dinner. Every single time I put Batman to bed.  Every single time I open the pockets in my backpack and panic when something isn't right. When it's wrong. Disconnected. I think that's the word I'd use when certain things aren't just so. When specific, tiny, ridiculous details are overlooked or aren't just right. The porridge too hot or the bed too soft. Not right.

Friday, September 11, 2015

what can you do for America?

It's hard to believe that it's been 14 years since I was sitting in the family room with my backpack on and my shoes untied, more captivated by a radio than any 10-year-old child in this generation has ever been.
I'm saddened today -- not so much for the loss of 14 years ago, nor by the actions of the terrorists. Those feelings, though still tender upon memory, have been eased to a reverence through forgiveness, stories of courage, and hope in the goodness of humanity as thousands reached out to a suffering nation.
But I am saddened by how in such a short time -- 14 short years -- America has remembered the tragedy, but not the need to stand together as a nation, to fight for the ideals and values which birthed this country, to put others before self. As a whole, America appears to have forgotten the lessons we learned about pride, about ignoring threats, about selflessness before personal gain.
Wake up, America. Remember not just the days of dust, debris, destruction, and death. Remember that events like these serve as a wake up call, an easily forgotten reminder that evil is out there. That evil, given any chance, will rear its head and strike the innocent. Remember your part in this, as you sat rooted to the spot watching the Towers fall, the Pentagon burn, the fields of Pennsylvania fill with smoke.
Remember that America needs YOU, the very best you that can be given. Not our ignorance, our pride, our selfishness, our all-about-me needs. It needs our love, our committment to becoming better every day, our fight for freedom and justice for all humanity.
"God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from above."

Monday, August 31, 2015

do we take offense too often because we don't know or care about the facts?

I'm rather confused about the reaction to ‪#‎Auschwitz‬ museum staff installing water sprinklers near the ticket line to keep guests cool while waiting to enter. I do understand that this could be made to appear similar to "showers" that the Nazis sent Jews into -- the gas chambers will never, ever be forgotten. But here are some things:
1) These sprinkler systems are meant to keep people from passing out in line due to extreme heat, which is mentioned in articles about the issues as happening several times this summer. The sprinklers are nowhere near the gas chambers at the memorial site. They're not even inside the complex -- they're located before guests can get in. With record crowds this summer (over 1 million people this year so far) from all over the world, the wait to get inside has been longer than ever. It makes sense that the staff would want to keep their visitors safe from the heat.
2) The "showers" look nothing like shower heads. They are literally hoses with holes in them strung across poles to mist over visitors who get too warm. They are much like the misters used at Freedom Festival events here in Provo around the 4th of July. In no way, shape, or form are they similar to the systems used inside the gas chambers.
3) Those who are familiar with Holocaust history know that the "showers" Jews were made to enter had false shower heads installed. No gas ever came from these. Instead, pellets of Zyklon B were dropped through small, re-sealable holes in the roof or walls of the chambers. The gas wasn't sprayed -- you cannot spray a gas like you can spray water. Furthermore, the Auschwitz Museum and Memorial staff are trying to protect their visitors, not hurt them. It's a completely opposite situation, seemingly small in comparison to the outcry against the sprinklers.
I recognize that for some this seems horrific and like a major oversight on the part of the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum staff. However, it seems clear that their main objective is to protect their visitors. Guests come from all over the world, and from all types of environments -- many cannot stand temperatures of 102 degrees Fahrenheit for very long. I certainly can't.
In addition, Poland's extreme temperatures (record highs not seen in decades) are causing power curbs, meaning that public and private sector establishments (including homes) are having their power cut. How can you do something with fans when there is no power or limited power, and the air blowing around is still over 100 degrees? I'm personally trying to brainstorm other cost-effective ways to keep guests cool as they wait to enter the complex, and I'm coming up dry.
What do you think about this? Honestly, I feel that people in our global society choose to be offended about things that were completely innocent. Perhaps it's because I'm not an Israeli, nor am I a descendant of Jews who survived the Holocaust. I know and recognize that horror -- I've studied it so much that I almost wish I hadn't delved as deeply as I did. But this truly seems like an overreaction.
Isn't it important to make sure people can visit places like this, and visit safely, so that these histories and stories and lives aren't forgotten? To shut such a place down because of the heat would be a tragedy. How many wouldn't get a chance to go again?
Thoughts? Rebuttals? Comments? If you are Jewish or have Jewish ancestry, what is your take on this?