Sunday, July 21, 2019

Doing the best they can

I have been surrounded by people with challenges this weekend. It's been exhausting, but it's also reminded me of my own humanity and the need for patience.

Henry. He is suffering from TBI after an accident last October. Sometimes he's fine, often he's not. He has no filter, and he can be paranoid. As hard as it is for me, it's harder for his coworkers. He works hard, but he can be difficult. Their complaints have made their way to the head of HR for the county. Henry called me Friday night, in tears, and we talked for more than two hours. Henry insists that everyone -- including me -- wants him to shut up, to deny who he is. He says he's a victim of white privilege and this is happening because he's gay, because he's dark skinned. That he's just like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and the county is like Trump.

This is drivel. I could tell by what he was telling me that the county is trying very hard to keep him. Maybe they are compassionate. Maybe they worry about the messiness of canning someone who is disabled. But they do want to keep him. The head of HR gave Henry his cell phone number and said, "Call me. Anytime."

"So call him," I said. "Instead of arguing with your coworkers, go straight to the head of HR. He wants to help."

"No! He wants to shut me up. You want to shut me up!"

Hours of tears. Hours of yelling. I felt depleted. I felt helpless. And, worst of all, I was resentful. I am not proud of that.

Mary. She's the head of the library volunteers. The only time I ever see her is when I work the annual library book sale. Yet she remembered me when I walked in. At 76, she's still sharp.

She's also officious. Persnickety. She takes her role as Queen of the Volunteers entirely too seriously.

Instead of grabbing her by the throat, I stopped to think. This is her job. This is her power base. She gets a lot of her identity from her role on the board of Friends of the Library, and this book sale is their #1 event of the year. THIS is her moment.

It wouldn't kill me to tamp down on the side eye for a few hours, would it?

Sunday Stealing


1. Do you think the world will be a better or worse place 100 years from now? Different. I'm not the one to judge better or worse. Of course, I hope for the better.

2.  Would you accept $1,000,000 to leave the country and never set foot in it again.
No. Now if you were to make it $10,000,000 I might consider it. That makes me sad to say, because I love my country (and baseball). But today I live in a country where our President calls for duly elected Representatives to "go back where they came from." And I could retire to Toronto and have democracy, less hate, and baseball.

3. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the body or the mind of a 30 year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” evening for you?
Pizza and beer on a clear summer night at Wrigley Field. After a win, I'd like to wander through Wrigleyville and enjoy the victory vibe.

My happy place

5. Whom do you admire most?  In what way does that person inspire you?
Right now, it's the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo. Let's look at his last few days and see why.

THURSDAY: Day off. Hosts baseball camp for kids where they learn the fundamentals of the game. At the end of the day, he has them pack non-perishables into lunch boxes for local food pantries.
FRIDAY: Hits a Grand Slam home run, even though it's 107ยบ on the field. Then he dedicates the home run to a little boy who requested "a moon shot" to help raise money for a cancer cure.
SATURDAY: Hits in two more runs.

So proud he's ours.

6. Do you prefer being around men or women?  Do your closest friends tend to be men or women?
Two of my closest friends are men. I've always gotten along with both men and women. I don't really think about my friends in terms of gender.

7. If you could use a voodoo doll to hurt anyone you chose, would you?

8. What is your most treasured memory?
Just one? This morning, the one that pops into my head is playing miniature golf with my daddy.

9. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?  Is there anything you hope to do that is even better?  (Let’s exclude raising children, if you have them)
I have given safe, loving homes to cats that other people discarded. I am good at that. I am proud of that.

10. If you went to a dinner party and were offered a dish you had never tried, would you want to taste it, even if it sounded strange and not very appealing?
Sure. Unless it was spicy. My gut can't take spicy foods.

11. Do your close friends tend to be older or younger than you?
About half and half.

12. How do you feel when people sing Happy Birthday to you in a restaurant?
Fucking mortified. Does anyone like it?

13. When you tell a story, do you often exaggerate or embellish it?  If so, why?
Often? No. Sometimes? Sure. Because I want to be entertaining.

14. If a friend were almost always late, would you resent it or simply allow for it?  Can you be allowed to be on time?
I don't know which bugs me more -- friends who are never on time or friends who sit on their phones when we're together. But yes, because I love them, I allow for it.

15. If you could have free, unlimited service for five years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, or personal secretary, which would you choose?
A driver.