Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Car Whispering.....

Hello. I am a Saturn SL1 and I recently came to live at Chani's house. From my understanding (and don't expect much understanding from something named after a freezing cold, very distant planet) I am supposed to cart her around and take her where she wants to go. That sounds like a fine idea since that's what I am made to do but I won't be doing that until she fixes me. There are a few things wrong and I hurt a bit on the passenger side but it's nothing serious. Just like you humans, sometimes our joints get old and don't work so well but I'm going to get a new joint and be back in shape very soon.

What can I say? I was cheap, a good deal. All I require is a little bit of aftercare.

She likes me okay and that's what matters most. We Saturns are very vain. We want to be liked.

As one of my new and very strange duties, I'm writing for her because there's still a lot going on at her house. Again, nothing serious but just a lot of petty stuff. Believe me, sitting here in the carport, I hear it all! I think I've come to live at Dysfunction Junction! What a strange bunch of people. Putting up with humans is just part of my car-ma but let me tell you something. You're all very weird!

And then there's that darn Infiniti but we won't talk about that! If it could, it would probably stick its nose up at me. Hey, it sucks gas and gets dirty ~ just like me!

I'll tell you all the secrets one day. Meanwhile, I think I'll go drink up all my gas and see how she likes that! Did I mention that I'm passive-aggressive? Well, see how you would like having to live in a carport! It's cold out here. And when it's not cold, it's hot. And people come by and pull at my door handles to see if they can get in and steal my radio. Sheesh! It's not fun living out here.

She'll be back soon but wanted to introduce me since the lack of me was a large part of what's consumed so much time.


Monday, April 20, 2009

And So It Goes On and On....

Today was the first hot day of the season here and I am just plain miserable! The older I get, the less I like being hot.

Anyway, I haven't been around here much since the accident because there's been a lot happening around me. I'm not sure how many of you might have to take care of an older person but it can be a challenge.

My housemate, which I may or may not have mentioned, is quite a bit older than me. By 26 years. Naturally, she is having more health issues as she gets older. She has three ungrateful children who can't seem to take time away from their busy lives to take care of her. Yesterday we spent at Urgent Care because she was having severe back pain. Today, we were at the clinic to see a doctor to confirm or change the diagnosis at Urgent Care. It was a day full of x-rays, waiting around for results and finally getting a treatment plan. Just like me, she's very sensitive to drugs so planning the distribution of medications is time-consuming. I have to pay very close attention to her reactions. I report to her doctor.

This is not something I'd ever planned on in my lifetime. At the same time, I don't feel like I can ignore it. Someone has to step up to the plate and since her kids won't, I'm the only one available.

I'm also still car-hunting. Granted, I'm picky.. but I'm not going to take on someone else's problems and it doesn't matter if it takes me three months. I use my housemate's car.. which I prefer anyway. She does have a very nice car... an Infiniti. I love driving it but now I'm spoiled for anything I can afford!

So if it seems like I'm more absent than usual, that's why. I do miss reading all my favorite sites but I'm so exhausted that I can barely put any energy into anything.

But I'll be back. It will probably be another few weeks. Hopefully by then, she'll be stabilized, I'll have the car thing handled and some of my own energy will return.

The energy part might be wishful thinking. I'm no spring chicken myself!

Be well!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Susan Boyle and the Worldwide Exhortation....

I know. Everyone's writing about it and my take isn't particularly unique.

Skip the backstory. Everyone knows it.

This is an exhortation that is long overdue.

Only peripherally related, it still struck me as I was reading a book called "How the World Makes Love" by Franz Wisner. It's not about s*x. It's about courting customs throughout the world. It's a fascinating and fun book. The author also makes some very good points about mating rituals in the west.

In many other cultures, when someone seeks out a mate, he or she is far more concerned about someone's history, someone's family, temperament and the potential mate's character. This has always made far more sense to me which is part of the reason why I opted out of the "mating rituals" here. I'd rather be alone than be subjected to the humiliation of rejection based on petty, minor and inconsequential things. I dumped someone three years ago and that was my final and last foray into the dating world in any respect. I'm willing to be an old lady who owns a small dog than be subjected to that.

I think about Susan Boyle who is now viewed like some rare gem. Her outside doesn't reflect her inside... or does it?

Looking at the picture above, I'd say off the top of my head that she is a good-natured, sweet, kind, generous and unpretentious person. She is exactly the sort of woman I would like to include in my circle of friends.

The articles I've seen about her paint her as some pathetic creature who is "frumpy", "lives alone" and I don't recall if they mentioned whether she owns a cat. She has "never been kissed by a man". (A point in her favor, in my opinion.)

Digging a bit deeper, I discovered a few more factoids. She supports and takes care of her elderly mother. She is active in her church. She has sung for charities.

There are always two sides to every story. Each of us has talents and abilities that may not be acknowledged or register in the social arena. Perhaps the social arena is wrong? Perhaps it's time to grow past junior high school level judgments of other people?

We all know that. We all say it. Are we willing to take active measures to change our thinking?

That's the real test.

Meanwhile, I doubt Susan Boyle cares one little bit. Character is still king.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Necessary Rant....

Last night as I was going to bed, I heard the news that the missing girl in Tracy, California was found dead.

Eight years old. Sandra Cantu. Found on the bank of an irrigation canal in a used suitcase, abandoned like trash.

I know it upsets the social apple cart to discuss such a thing in a blunt and bold manner. It's not socially sanctioned to point the finger where it belongs and call it out. I should be typing all sorts of platitudes, peppered with obsequities about how she's in a better place, that she now floats with the angels. I should be comforting.

But I can't. I'm angry.

She's not floating with the angels. She's dead. This isn't some disconnected "tragedy". It was a cold-blooded murder. It was likely committed by yet another sex offender who can't control his urges. We don't know if she's in a "better place" or not, because none of us have been there and come back to talk about it. We all have our own beliefs to comfort ourselves, to convince ourselves that these events have some larger meaning. We all hope. None of us know.

I think it's time to move beyond this kind of thinking which fundamentally excuses the fact that we have all participated to some degree in creating a society where this kind of behavior occurs.

When people come to believe that wants are needs, that our urges are something we have the right to satisfy, that all our dreams should come true and that there should be no limitations on what we can have, it also creates a social atmosphere where the sick among us believe the same is true for themselves. When we sanction the idea that individualism is king and that we have no right to interfere with the actions of another, we create an environment where these kind of things can happen because someone else - or someone else's kids - are not our responsibility.

What we are responsible for here is to protect each other, especially helpless children whose brains have not developed to a point where they can protect themselves. We have a responsibility to create a society that is safe for its citizens, where respect, honor and moderation are valued.

I have all the compassion in the world for Sandra's family and friends and for the community of Tracy which has been affected by this. When these things happen, trust erodes. Neighbors can no longer trust each other. It further separates us.

My hope is that the person who did this will be caught and brought to justice. And going just a bit further, I hope everyone will realize this isn't just another news story. That little girl was a real human being whose life was stolen for no other reason than someone's inability to control or moderate his urges.

It's time to wake up. It's time to address the social issues that are responsible for this behavior becoming almost common. There's a time when we would have been shocked. Maybe it's time for these things to become shocking once again.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Living on the Edge....

My life is still consumed by cars. Looking at cars, test-driving cars, evaluating cars, considering buying cars.

I thought I'd found one but it didn't quite work out. It was a cute, perky and clean Mazda Protege. That one went by the wayside when I discovered a problem I was unwilling to deal with.

Yesterday, I went to look at another car. It was cute and perky, too. I liked the color. It had been well-maintained.

The woman selling it showed up in the parking lot at 24-Hour Fitness where we'd agreed to meet. I was in my housemate's Infiniti which makes me look far classier than I really am.

When I took a look at Sally's (fake name, obviously) Kia Sephia, I saw that she'd selectively chosen the pictures she chose to put in the ad. It had no license plates, questionable DMV paperwork and it hadn't been smogged in some ungodly number of years, if ever. (I suspect it was an out-of-state car.) These are all things she failed to tell me when we discussed the car on the phone.

She showed up with her two kids in the back seat. She continually yelled at them the entire time we were together. Loud, boisterous yelling. I'm not sure how to say this but she was obviously low-income. I am not slamming low-income people which would be hypocritical at best, considering that I'm low income, too. But there's low income ~ and there's low income.

She swore it would smog. No problem.

I knew she was full of baloney and decided to put her feet to the fire. I took her down the street with her little car to have it smogged. My suggestion. My expense. It did not pass. It would have been impossible for me to register that vehicle without considerable mechanical work. When I looked through the paperwork at the smog test site, I also realized it was a salvage title. That would have meant additional expense on my part because it would have had to go through a DMV safety check as well. It's not easy to get a car registered, once it's been totaled.

I wished her well and left.

As I drove home, I thought about people who live on the edge. They're willing to drive unregistered, uninsured vehicles. They look in the rear view mirror all the time, hoping they won't see a cop. They don't smog their vehicles. They are the ones who hit people's cars and take off. They are also the types who squat in people's houses, not paying rent. They live their lives always on the edge, courting the next disaster.

Being a person who doesn't like risks that are not calculated to the last infinite possibility, it's hard for me to relate to that way of life.

What's harder to deal with is the blatant dishonesty. Sally's dishonesty. She was hoping I would be too ignorant to recognize the problems. Or perhaps she was hoping that I would just *want* it so badly that I'd accept the problems. (Nope! I'm actually a very hard sell and very pragmatic when it comes to that kind of thing.) Sally is impulse-driven. Want will trump pragmatism every time. If she wants something, that's all that matters. She wanted a few thousand dollars of my money and it made no difference how she got it.

It's people like that who make life difficult for the rest of us. Simple honesty would be freeing for everyone. Tell the truth and let people make their choices. She could sell that car to someone who wants a project car or someone who is a mechanic and they'd be grateful for it.

The stress of living on the edge is rarely worth it. Rules have a purpose and long-range consequences when they are broken. Sally will probably always live that way, puddle-jumping from one crisis to another, trying to get by with as little as possible, hoping always for an advantage.

She had the ad back up within an hour of having met me. She mentioned nothing about it not being smoggable.

It was the best $58.00 I ever spent.

Okay. Very little Sacred Life Sunday content unless you read between the lines. :)