Wednesday, December 04, 2013

I Bury Your Backpack at My Wounded Knee

Backpacks have a place: wide open spaces with trails for hiking; mountainsides where men and women have climbed to great heights; a handy small travel bag when going to grandma’s house for the holidays. I’m all for that. I don’t like to wear them myself, the wear and tear on my shoulders and back make them seem more like torture chambers to me, but I understand if you find them to be comfortable.

Backpacks do not have a place on the busy sidewalks of New York. They do not belong on rush hour transportation. I know, I know. You love your backpack. You love the convenience of carrying your burden on your shoulders and keeping your hands free to shop and text.  

What you have forgotten is that the svelte picture you have nestled away in your brain of how good you looked when you left the house couldn’t be further from the truth!

Your girth has doubled.

Even worse, you are completely unaware as you zip through crowds leaving crying children in your wake as your bag meets their faces. What about the old man nearly knocked off his walker as you slip in and out of the crowd as though you were the thin person you are without the offending backpack?

Today a young man, with the need to be ahead of me on the escalator, zipped around  and then landed on the step in front of me. His backpack made him the size of 2 men and he knocked me backward off my step. He didn’t even notice. How could he, protected as he was by 2 feet of padding? Luckily for those behind me on the escalator, I only fell back one step before catching myself.

If you really need to wear one of those things, put it on and then look at yourself from all angles. Try to understand that your back side has just become a weapon.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

27


This week a troubled young man first shot and killed his mother then killed twenty children and six more women at a nearby elementary school.

The facts are still unfolding.

What we do know is that the killer shot his way into the school. We know that six of his murder victims were women devoted to the care and education of children. We know twenty children, hoping Santa would visit them soon, were murdered before they had even lost all of their baby teeth.

The killer used a semi-automatic weapon to inflict multiple wounds on all of his victims at the school.

Semi-automatic weapons.

As I struggle to make sense of the tragic shootings in our nation over the last several years, I grow more tired of self-important politicians; political pundits and shock jocks ricocheting through the airwaves like so many bullets the language of hate and fear. 

Banning semi-automatic weapons will not end the tradition of the first Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

Banning semi-automatic weapons will not be an affront to the US Constitution.

Banning semi-automatic weapons will not make us un-American.

It is true that there will never be a gun in my house.  I made that decision nearly 40 years ago and stand by it. You can have a gun in your house, but you are not welcome to bring it to mine.

I believe with all my heart that guns have no place at a grocery store parking lot, a University campus, a movie theater, a church, a hospital or an elementary school and challenge anyone to explain why I might be wrong.

I have no answers, and only one question:

What is the argument for owning a weapon designed to kill man?

Monday, September 03, 2012

The Freedom of Speech in Troubled Times


We the people of the United States of America seem to have lost our way. 

While it is true we stand far apart on the issues that face our troubled nation, what I find troubling is our inability to have an open dialogue about what is most important. It is not the first time in our history the people have been at odds, nor is it the last, but I am finding the recent loss of civility to be distressing.

For those of you who don’t know me well, or at all, I am a typical baby boomer. An odd combination of Janis Joplin, The Monkees and Stevie Wonder form the soundtrack of my early years. The Vietnam War, civil rights, space travel and Andy Griffith helped shape me.

My father was a career military man, a proud NCO in the US Air Force, and I was raised on domestic military installations.  I always stand for our National Anthem and am appalled by those who cheer at ball games before the song is over. I cringe at tattered flags flapping on car windows and have been known to stop workmen taking down a flag at the end of the day, asking them to fold it properly. 

I went to 12 schools before I finished, but claim North Dakota as my childhood home. New York City has been my home for most of my adult life. I tread the boards in NYC and sang with my band in CBGBs. I spent 20 years hard time working with litigators. Now, I am a writer and real estate broker extraordinaire.

I am a woman.

I am a patriot.

I am a liberal.

I am a believer in freedom of expression and the freedom to organize and the First Amendment, which says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I believe in a woman’s right to choose, gun control and gay marriage. You can disagree with me but you cannot judge me.

I have been called foolish.

I have been threatened.

I have been called un-American.

I was raised to believe that it was my civic duty to question my leaders and to honor and protect those that that disagree with me.  While I would never burn a flag, my father defended and I support the right of those who feel it is a necessary form of protest.  We need to try to understand and not to stand in judgment of each other. Disagreeing with the GOP does not make me un-American. In fact, my right to do so is American.

We are tweeting and texting and updating our Facebook statuses to stand in judgment of others. I love having a forum to express my opinion and where I can see opposing points of view.

We are so divided; I doubt we will ever win over the opposing side. Yet, I am hopeful we will make an effort to at least understand the other point of view and stop the ridiculous name-calling and condescension. Come November 7th we will still be neighbors.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Delayed Gratification


The cyber dating world can be a funny place.

This afternoon I received a playful (and a little bit forward) e-mail from a prospective date. When I opened his profile I knew in a second that it was someone I met 3 years ago. Our first date was not good, but I decided to respond. These things can take time.

To my chagrin, he had absolutely no memory of having met.

Good, bad or indifferent, I remember the most ridiculous details of life's smallest moments. I goaded him on. We exchanged a few e-mails and I supplied him with details of our meeting. Finally, the light bulb when off. He remembered! How could this quirky little man have forgotten who I was?

What he remembered had nothing to do with my memory of our one and only date. He took the opportunity of my response to tell me how grand he had been and how awful I was. I have no idea how long it took him to compose his missive, but wonder why he bothered to expend the energy. I suppose I could have let sleeping dogs lie, but I decided to respond making suggestions about how he should NOT greet future dates.

For those men who still in the dating pool who may be reading this......

1. Never arrive late.
2. Never arrive for a first date in exercise clothes.
3. Never arrive sweaty, unless you look really good in a wet t-shirt. Even then it's a really bad idea.
4. Never refuse to talk about yourself. 
5. Never ask a woman her opinion and then tell her she doesn't understand what she's talking about. It doesn't actually make you look smart in makes you look like an idiot. There is never room for condescension.

Monday, January 10, 2011

There Is No Superman

Handguns.

Semi-automatic weapons.

Automatic weapons.

Street sweepers.

A mentally ill young man was able to buy a terrible weapon of mass destruction and used it to destroy several lives this weekend.

I struggle to make sense of the recent tragic shooting in Arizona as I hear the words of self-important politicians, political pundits and shock jocks ricocheting through the airwaves like so many bullets, each one believing they can repel those missile-like words like Superman.

There is no sense to be made of it.

There is no Superman.

It is true that there will never be a gun in my house. I made that decision 37 years ago and stand by it.

You can have a gun in your house, but you are not welcome to bring it to mine.

I believe with all my heart that guns have no place at a grocery store parking lot, and challenge anyone to explain why I might be wrong.

I have no answers, and only one question:

What is the argument for owning a weapon designed to kill man?