Friday, March 27, 2009

sympathy and judgment

I confess....that I have sympathy but also limitations.

My recent Facebook update led to a bit of a debate and made me think quite a bit. I commented on feeling less inclined to give to a homeless person whom I'd seen smoking or on a cell phone. My liberal-side friends were a bit put-off by this.

On the cell phone side, one pointed out that you can't exactly have a landline to look for jobs if you are homeless. I suppose that's a fair point. I will say his phone looked nicer than mine don't need bells & whistles for job calls. And he was very much trying to hide his conversation which made it look pretty suspect. It also wouldn't have been during business hours...but I do admit there could be a rationale for the phone generally.

On the smoking side, there was more debate and I was criticized for judging. In general, I think most homeless people are victims of circumstance. I'd wager most also made some bad choices along the way, but many didn't make any worse choices than I've probably made...they just didn't have the luck I did in some aspects of their lives. I do feel bad for them and hope that their lives turn around. I do not think that most of them deserve their fate (though I can't go so far as to say that none do...blanket statements are rarely the best).

That said, I think I stand by my reluctance to give to the smoker over the non-smoker. If you are asking for my money, I think I do get a bit of a right to judge how you might spend it and smoking makes me question the choice that will be made. I can see that it might be one of the limited pleasures in a hard life, but I still prefer it not be where my money goes. I don't donate to charities if they are going to use my money for what I deem are unworthy causes and I personally find lunch worthier than a smoke. I'm not saying that the smoking homeless man is a bad person. I don't see how I could make that conclusion from my limited set of facts. But if you ask for my money, I get the right to make a judgment on your spending habits.

I pass people asking for money on a daily basis. I wish I could buy them each a turkey sandwich. But that isn't realistic for me either. Just like I can't donate to every charitable organization, or even every worthwhile one. Deciding where to donate is certainly a form of judgment...but it isn't the same thing as judging the person as a whole. And I think it is my right.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Walk This Way

I confess...that I have no patience when walking to and from the T...

We saw an absolutely awful comedy show recently but one guy did make a comment that I've been saying since we moved here and walking became part of my commute...we need a real set of pedestrian rules. Clearly, I should be the arbiter for these rules so here's a start...

  • Divide and conquer -- Lanes are a wonderful traffic tool, allowing grandma on her Sunday jaunt to proceed at her own pace while Young Hipster guns past her in the next lane. Let's use this principle on the sidewalks too...slow traffic keep right. Likewise, on escalators, walk left, stand right.
  • Merging -- Again a driving principle we can use. If you are entering the "stream of traffic" (or crossing it), yield to oncoming "vehicles". Don't just blindly step out of your office building in front of folks already in motion.
  • Keep On Truckin' -- Do not come to a sudden halt in the midst of a flowing stream of foot traffic (or greatly reduce your speed). This goes doubly for exiting escalators. It is a recipe for disaster.
  • Group dynamics -- I'm glad you have friends, but walking as a pack carries extra responsibilities. If you are occupying the full width of the walkway and someone approaches from the opposite way, some members of the group must fall back to allow the passerby room. You should not stare angrily at said passerby or ignore them entirely and hope they will magically fly over your pack or sacrifice themselves and step into motor traffic. Likewise, if you are a slow-moving pack (esp. the kind adorned with cameras and sight-seeing maps), keep aware of folks coming from behind and looking to pass.
  • Smokin' Hot -- I get that you are filling your nicotine jones between the office and the train. But, again, smoking means extra responsibility. Be aware of who ends up in your lovely smoke trail and give them extra leeway to pass to escape. And polluting the air is enough...don't toss your butts and pollute the ground too. I looked it up...while paper and tobacco will degrade fine, the filters will not.

As these have now been published, I expect compliance. I reserve the right to add or amend rules at any time...and expect compliance with those regardless of whether I've added it here or simply in my head.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

and so on...

I is time for another random bullet points post...

  • I've been in a lot more pain than usual, enough so that I'm looking into a specialist or at least a highly-recommended gyn. My dad got me a referral that came from his practice's malpractice attorney and is a guy they use as an expert witness. I guess a referral from a med-mal attorney is a pretty good recommendation....
  • What did Dr. Phil do before the Octomom? I don't watch his show but see ads during Jeopardy and he's done something like a dozen shows on her. I thought he was an ass before, now I just think he's plain ridiculous.
  • I have a pretty limited wardrobe so wanted to replace the pants lost to my unfortunate yogurt spilling incident. I wanted to do so on the cheap so tried TJ Maxx and Marshalls. There were maybe a total of eight pairs of pants in y size between them, none even close to work-appropriate. There were oodles in other sizes. Yes, I am smaller than average, but I am in no way abnormally small and plenty of women are my size. It's discrimination, I tell ya! I want to "never, never, ever pay full price" too!
  • I realized that most of the shows I watch regularly are crime procedurals...Bones, NCIS, CSI. I'd think this says something about me, but really think it is more about the limited range of tv shows today. There are reality shows, crime procedurals, silly comedies, teen dramas, and a few melodramatic others. Didn't TV vary more "back in the day?"
  • We watch Jeopardy regularly. Most of the tournaments (teen, college, celebrity) become "break weeks" for us because they are semi-unwatchable for fans of the regular show. The Tournament of Champions is an exception and is in progress now. There's one woman I really like....which is unusual since I don't do a whole lot of "rooting" be it in game shows or sports. Online comments are really varied, some love this woman, others are pretty negative. She just seems really smart but really quiet about you could deal with her every day and not know about the mass amount of information in her head. She also has this quiet confidence to her. I think I see myself in the quiet side...and someone I'd like to be in her confidence.
  • The MBTA added some no-seat cars to alleviate crowding on my train line. I'm not sure they really do that given that you are still limited by where you can hold on. Regardless though, why do they run these at times when the train is NEVER full? I've often seen them on a particular train that starts at my stop (instead of having two stops prior, as is the norm) around 7:10 AM. Generally, people have a seat available on this train no matter when they get on. And it is certainly never the crowd-jammed mess some later trains are. Why use the high-capacity train for a low-capacity crowd??

Friday, March 13, 2009

teens and relationships

I'm skipping the "I confess" theme. It isn't appropriate.

This upsets me beyond expression:

I saw a headline on it last night. A part of me "hoped" the blame was b/c she appears willing to go back...still not something I'd like to hear, but less upsetting than thinking this is normal. The story makes it clear how common partner abuse is the norm to these kids....they accept it b/c they don't know they shouldn't.

And, related, shame on Nickelodeon for waiting for Brown to bow out of the Kids Choice awards on his own rather than taking action. Yes, he hasn't been convicted yet. It's still endorsing the wrong type of hero.

hurts so good...or not...

I confess...that I spend a lot of time figuring out how to balance pain and life.

There are a lot of quandaries that come along with a health condition that includes chronic pain. A few that I ponder regularly....

  • Treatment - To pop or not to pop

When you have an infection, you take antibiotics and they help cure it. When you have a cold, you take cold meds which don't help cure it but help with the discomfort. It gets trickier when you have a chronic condition. My pain pills certainly won't cure me. But it isn't like it is a defined short-term thing like a cold. I don't want to be taking these things every day and I'm not going to be all-better next week. It's hard to decide when to "give in" and when to "hold out." Sometimes the pain's just too bad, sometimes it it lower level but too unrelenting. But there's never a magic moment when popping the pill is the obvious right answer.

I worry too that sometimes I just like feeling "better" and "lighter" after a pill. I do not ever want to be taking them for that result. But I've been tempted.

I also worry they'll stop working. Darvocet did. I don't want to go another step-up...and I'm not sure my doc would even give me anything stronger than I take now.

And, as a related aside, there are the weird times where I hope it'll get a little worse. Because then I'll just pass out...not truly, but eventually my body gives in and falls into a very odd sleep state (not restive, but I'm completely out). If I'm headed there, then why bother with a pill?

  • Exercise - To sweat or not to sweat

There are all sorts of experts out there with rules on working out while sick (i.e. the "above the neck" rule). I haven't seen ANY on working out with chronic pain.

When the pain is bad, it is tough to get going. If I can get myself moving, I'll feel a lot of relief during the workout. And then MUCH worse rebound pain after. I can't decide if the relief is worth putting up with the rebound, especially when that often hits during my commute.

But, it isn't like skipping the gym will help my body fight off a virus or something like that. And if I skipped every time I felt ill, I'd rarely go. But, then again sometimes my body is just so tired of fighting that it doesn't have much else to give.

  • Staying home - To work or not to work

It is good to stay home when you are sick. You let your body's healing forces do their work by resting and you avoid sharing the bugs. But, again, this is not so clear when it is chronic. Resting at home won't make it better. No one's gonna catch it. There's no promise of an end in sight when I'll be "better" like there is with a cold. But there are still days when I just don't have much to give the world and need to curl into a little ball and hide.

This is such a self-indulgent, self-pitying ramble. But I think it there is a lot more involved in chronic pain than people who don't live it tend to realize.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

plugged in

I confess...that I've been thinking about connectedness and our need for constant entertainment.

On Friday, I got it into my head that I wanted to put something "good" into the world in a small way. I was going to find someone on my commute home and compliment them. Nothing big, but maybe it would matter to them.

I go home at 6 on Fridays and the ride is my quietest of the week...I think everyone else either leaves early Friday or sticks in town for dinner. I got on the train and glanced around to find a nearby commuter. But, my plan was foiled by technology. EVERYONE within comfortable speaking distance was either on the phone or plugged into an IPOD or the like (more the latter than the former). I didn't have anything vital to say that would justify interrupting them and asking them to pull out an earpiece. So I didn't say anything.

This sorta bothered me. Does being connected end up stopping us from connecting?

It also brought up a long-standing, semi-related issue I've had with all this portable entertainment. I think we lose something when we can't sit quiet and unplugged for even twenty minutes. This is especially an issue for me with kids and vehicle-based DVDs. I can absolutely understand them for a long trip, but does the kid really need to watch Dora on the ten minute ride to Stop & Shop? I think we're really hurting our kids when we don't give them time that they need to self-entertain in a bit of an un-entertaining environment. I do completely admit that it is much easier to say this as a non-parent who isn't dealing with a whining toddler in the back seat.

Anyway, I complemented someone last night on a pretty ring and she beamed.

And today I warned a guy that he still had a tag on his pants (a big "Marshalls" price tag right at the small of his back). He thanked me profusely for saving him much embarrassment. Good thing he wasn't wearing an IPOD.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

rambling on

I confess that...I have nothing much to say but feel like posting something so here are some random thoughts:

  • I had pizza Monday. It was yummy. I didn't feel at all guilty at first, but do now. And I know that's irrational and silly.
  • I am BEYOND tired of winter
  • I am afraid of horses. I was knocked over by one at day camp but I don't really know if that's when it started. I can see why people think they are beautiful but you won't get me near one without a fight. And I don't feel much need to get over the fear
  • I am worried about money right now. Recruiting is not a fun field when no one is hiring.
  • In a similar vein, my job is becoming more mentally challenging. I talk to so many people with strong resumes who have gotten laid off and are so down. And I can't help most of them.
  • I am glad it'll be light when we leave work soon. Some days I get to my train stop at home 25 minutes before my van but I get nervous walking the route home in the dark. I do need some snow melting to happen before I can walk though.
  • It made my day yesterday when the van driver was 15 minutes early and rescued me from the freezing temps. She's usually a "right on time" type but sometimes she feels bad for me since she knows I'm there early.
  • I become a bigger fan of red wine with each passing year. I still never remember what bottles I loved, but I think my palate has gotten more discriminating and think that's kinda cool.
  • I have also grown to appreciate dark chocolate. Which is good....might as well have the type with some extra health benefits.
  • I have gotten a bit bolder as a result of my job and having to call up some pretty high-ranking folks sometimes. That's a good thing.
  • I'd like to write something. But don't know what. Probably not a full book, just some sort of "piece"....I know that is beyond vague. Maybe an essay about either the endo or my food issues.
  • When I am on hold and the music changes from one song to another, I expect the person to pick up.
  • I really have nothing to say. I didn't have anything to say to start with.