Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Wednesday morning things

Last night was a three-buckwheat-bag night. Not because I was achy - though I was, a little bit (I wonder if I'm overdoing the exercise a little bit for my hip). Not because it was so very cold though it was supposed to get down into the 30s overnight and I had turned the thermostat down to 68.

But because I was kind of just sad and distressed. And I had read something somewhere about how people who lack emotional warmth in their lives sometimes take longer hotter showers, or hot baths, because that kind of physical warmth is a substitute. (This was one of those Twitter/Tumbr things, and the original poster made a comment something like "I feel personally attacked by this." They were joking - I think - but when I read it I was more like, "Yeah. That makes sense to me.")

I don't know. I think it was that I just kind of hit my limit of negative interactions for the week by yesterday evening.

Today is "International Women's Day" and I admit I am enough of a cynic about things that I expect the main thing I will experience is really annoying advertising from various corporations about how they "support" or "value" women (I already saw one from Mahindra that could be construed as such on the local morning news). As a first-world, middle-class, white woman, I don't face a lot of the problems some women face but I have had some instances in my life where I suspect I was disrespected for my gender (or for the fact that I am a somewhat-feminine woman: that class full of students a couple years ago who apparently didn't know how to react to me and decided to giggle and pass notes and be jerks instead). (Though then again: some of the people who have been jerks to me in my life might still be jerks to me even if we were a species where there were no gender differences, or in a species where "since the beginning of time" females had been the dominant sex.)

(Actually, both of those are interesting counterfactuals: how different would society look if we were a species like, I don't know, some of the hawks, where gender differences are incredibly subtle and hard to spot, or if we were in a culture where women were dominant over men and had always been....)

Actually, what we probably need is International Don't Be A Jerk To Other People Day, but I can't possibly see that working, because some people who are jerks to others are either blind to it, or they get defensive if someone calls them on it.

And more "onions," 'cos I've got 'em:

The problem I have with "awareness" days like this (and also, for related reasons, Valentine's Day), is that they don't often seem to be about solving actual problems. Do, don't talk. I fully expect to get some kind of super-supportive e-mail from either TPTB here or the Regents or somesuch - all the while where there is no reliable childcare that is affordable (for people with kids, and it's not just a woman's issue - I have a man in my classes who is a single father and he apologized to me for missing a couple days when his childcare fell through). Or they don't address the workplace issues like stress and burnout.

It IS like Valentine's Day, and here's how: I have known people who treat V-Day as a "get out of jail, free" card - they can be rude or dismissive or unhelpful or demanding to their Significant Other many days, but then they figure they can paper over it by buying flowers or chocolates or jewelry or something. I've said many times that if I had someone who genuinely loved me, I'd rather get just a card (or a verbal "happy valentine's day") than some gift, provided he was loving the rest of the time....and that sometimes includes stuff like being willing to run out to the pharmacy for Imodium if your loved-one is sick enough they need it and there's none in the house. Or seeing a neighbor's dog poop in the yard and going and cleaning it up so the other person won't step in it. Those kinds of little things.

Maybe my expectations are set too high, I don't know - those are the kind of things I saw my parents doing for each other, the little considerate things (e.g., doing some household task it was technically the other person's turn to, because you know they are busy, you have the time, and you know it will make them feel good not to have to do it).

I call myself a cynic sometimes but I remember reading somewhere that a cynic is nothing more than a disappointed romantic, and I think that's true - I know my vision of how life "should" be and how it actually is rarely seem to match up, and often the thing causing the mismatch is human behavior.

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