Thursday, November 12, 2020

Never Assume.

 I (Donis) don't know about you, Dear Reader, but I am exhausted. I have generally kept my mouth shut about the state of the world, mainly because what do I know? But now that it's all over (but the shouting, of which there is still a depressing amount to come) I do have an observation or two which I'd like to share.

I grew up in one of the most conservative states in the nation and came of age during the roiling era of the 1960s. I graduated college the first time in 1970. I was deeply involved in liberal causes, especially the push for the ERA, and did my share of marching and sitting-in. Lots of young people in Oklahoma did. My immediate family was and still is very tolerant. I am more than happy about the outcome of the election. However, since I don't want to damage my relationship with any of my other relatives I have spent much of my considerably long life keeping my thoughts to myself, especially when I'm back in my home state and around people I don't know well. In some parts of the world, being seen as an "elitist snob" (i.e. an intellectual) could actually be dangerous in the wrong circumstance, so I'm very careful about offering my opinions, quoting Shakespeare, saying I like classical music, using Latin phrases. I'm not kidding. Even though I admit I'm probably paranoid, I have either been made fun of or been angrily railed at for doing all those things. I'm a little bit afraid of died-in-the-wool right-wingers. How sad. 

HOWEVER, HAVING SAID THAT: some of the people I grew up around may be conservative, but the great majority of them are kind, generous, loving, self-sufficient, competent people who would do anything for their neighbors. Many are also a little bit afraid of died-in-the-wool left-wingers. Don't think left-wingers are blameless, either. 

So here is what I've observed about both wings:

It's frightening when others treat you like you're either an idiot or evil. That attitude is likely to make you dig in.

The cancel culture is annoying. I learned years ago that in this country you can never be forgiven for anything you ever did, no matter how much you regret it now, or what you've done since. 

Here's a story I've told a million times, but it seems to fit - when I was a young woman, I flew out of NYC bound for Ireland. As we were over the ocean I got into a pleasant conversation with the older woman next to me, who was so intrigued with my accent that she suddenly asks, "Where are you from?"

"Tulsa, Oklahoma," says I, and she burst out laughing.

"What a place to be from!" she said.

I was surprised and a bit insulted by her tone, but I have to tell you, Dear Reader, that was no fluke. Whenever I visit the East Coast, I'm often teased about my accent. Some East-coasters have made assumptions about my political leanings , and I suspect some have made assumptions about my educational level and even I.Q. based on where I'm from and on my accent, as well.

I don't like to be pigeonholed. Nobody does, so it's best not to go around making snap judgements about people you've just met. You're probably wrong, anyway.

p.s. After she laughed, I responded to the airplane woman by asking where she was from, and she replied, "Teaneck New Jersey." What a place to be from!

p.p.s. Thanks for being our support country, Canadian friends.

1 comment:

Anna said...

I hear you, Donis. When I first went to college, I was sitting in the living room reading TIME magazine. Another girl walked by, asked what I was reading, and seeing that it was TIME, exclaimed in surprise, "Oh, you must be an intellectual."

Like you with your airplane story, I have told that story many times (but, like you, only to carefully chosen listeners).