“I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you love…”
-Max Martin, recorded by the Backstreet Boys
(I left out the “me” in that quote deliberately.)
I have one goal for today: not to get into an argument with anyone.
Which pretty much means I should go back to bed and pull the covers over my head and hope I wake up to a better world tomorrow.
Yeah, right, Little Mary Sunshine.
One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t change anyone’s mind by making it clear that you think you are smarter than they are. That’s a sure way to get someone
who is an idiot and is wrong to dig in.
And you can’t make anyone care about things you care about by making those things all about you and who you are.
The only way to make things better is to try to make things better for everyone, by concentrating on the things we have in common. Quit concentrating on the gaps between us and work harder on the things that bring us together. Which there are lots of, if we could just dial the noise back and address real problems with practical solutions. Most of you do that every day at work, with people who may be very different and may have very different outlooks on a lot of things, but who are perfectly capable of working together toward a shared goal.
Making life better for everyone collectively makes life better for each of us individually. Seems self-evident to me. (Yeah, that was intentional).
So I don’t care what equipment you were born with, how you dress it and how or whether you may have altered it, I don’t care who you love (I just hope you have someone to love), I don’t care what color your skin is or what language you speak or where you were born, I don’t care how or whether you worship (I just hope you can feel and have experienced the existence of a creative, loving power greater than yourself, however you may define that power, or spirit, or energy, or whatever) – I just care that you care about other people, and that you try to make decisions that may affect others conscientiously.
I haven’t gotten into an argument with anyone today (so far – heading back to bed now, covers to be pulled over head) but I’m throwing the flag on myself anyway, as I couldn’t keep myself from asking the supporters of a candidate I didn’t vote for if they were far enough away from the polling place (I was just going to work out at the fitness center, I early-voted last week) whereupon they pointed out that the representatives of the candidate I had voted for were standing even closer to the “no electioneering” sign. Oops.
I didn’t stop myself from muttering under my breath in response to something overheard in a conversation I was not party to as I walked back to my car.
The muttering and the challenging didn’t make me feel better – they made me feel worse.
You know what made me feel better? Watching my daughter enjoy being pampered at the hair salon, sitting through a shampoo and haircut calmly, and patiently reading a magazine under a dryer (curly, curly hair, no blow drying, just a gentle old-fashioned hair dryer on a wheeled stand, that goes over the head like a giant 1960’s space helmet) like any other adult lady at a salon.
This is not a small thing. From the time she was a toddler until in her mid-teens, when she finally insisted on trying to do it herself, taking care of her hair was a major battle.
Her tactile defensiveness meant she couldn’t stand anyone approaching too closely, especially from behind, anywhere near her head, like you have to in order to pick out knots in long, curly hair. Mike could do it, though – when she was four, he patiently, gently, over a year, picked out her Sideshow Bob dreadlocks so we wouldn’t have to cut her hair – it grows so slowly.
And today here she was, accepting not only a shampoo (lying back in the shampoo chair, allowing the head massage and the comb-out) and dutifully tilting her head this way and that at the request of the stylist, conversing, with a little delay in responding, but conversing nonetheless, with her hairdresser, just as if this was an ordinary thing for her. Which it isn’t and hasn’t been, but might be now.
Her hair, though shorter, looks great, she has promised not to keep cutting it herself (just to get it out of her face, which resulted in a kind of curly mullet, hence giving over my previously scheduled appointment to her, for repairs), and she’s already asking about her next appointment.
Sometimes the small victories in life are bigger than they seem, and more satisfying.
So whatever tomorrow ends up looking like, I’ll hang on to those big small victories and keep hoping that everyone else is having some of them too, every day.
Until then, I remain,
Your nervous, off-for-a-nap and hoping for a better tomorrow, whatever tomorrow may bring,