Author: Amanda Lane

The Old Familiar Sting

The world doesn’t want us to care.

The world wants us to remember that we’re all nothing. A tiny speck in the universe, and of course we are.

I think we’re born caring. I think sympathy and empathy are part of us all.

Until the world beats it out of us.

Caring is pain. It hurts to care about other people.

The pain is thinking about the parents of the children killed by police. It’s the dagger of learning that a journalist was killed in a botched rescue mission. It’s reading that a rape survivor’s story is being called in question because a journalist royally fucked up their job. It’s a fictional story on The Wire about 14 dead Russian girls brought to the US for prostitution because it’s the real life story of so many women.

The world doesn’t want us to care. It wants us to turn our backs. To hide from this pain.

To care about the world is to embrace the pain and realize that it’s always going to hurt.

Sometimes I feel like the pain is going to kill me. It probably will. But it’s worth dying for.

Thank You

I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be a police officer because I have no idea. But I do know they see things most of us never see. I know they see the very worse sides of human nature every single day and they choose to stand between that and us.

I knew a Newcastle police officer who was killed with his own weapon by a previously unarmed assailant in the midst of controversy about racial profiling and deadly force used by the Seattle Police Department. If the officer had fired first, he would have become the latest target of protest. Instead, he died shortly after his oldest daughter graduated from high school.

There are bad cops. There is a huge problem with racism. But the things people are saying about the way police officers should do their job bear absolutely no resemblance to the realities in which police officers live and breathe and work.

Instead of criticizing police methods you don’t understand, thank a police officer today for seeing the things they see so you don’t have to.

Even On A Cloudy Day

It’s easy to be infuriated by anything related to rape and sexual assault, and the world provides us ample opportunity.

But that anger and the overbearing sense of injustice can be crippling. It’s easy to look at what’s happening and think it’ll never get better. But it is getting better.

The good to come out of all the idiotic things that are being said about rape, is that things are being said about rape. It’s out there. If admitting you have a problem is the first step I’m not sure that society as a whole is quite there, but we’re not drinking rape out of a paper bag in dark alleys anymore, so I call it progress.

We’re all in an uproar over the Bill Cosby rape allegations (and the idiotic things said in the media about it. Looking at you, Don Lemon). I feel like I missed something because the drugging and the assaulting and covering up first came out almost 10 years ago.

It was settled and brushed under the table and we all forgot about it because we all wanted to forget about it.

A silent head shake during a radio interview a decade later, and it’s completely different.

Now there are consequences for Cosby. Now, we’re all in an uproar. I understand the feeling of injustice that this didn’t happen 10 years ago. If we’re angry about that, we’re missing the point.

The uproar is happening now. It’s a big deal now. We’re not forgetting now.

This is proof that things are changing.

Short Story

Her friend’s father was slowly flitting away.

Her friend asked in voice tinged with desperation, “Tell me what to do. You must know what to do because you’ve been through this too. How do I handle this? How do I make the hurt easier to bear?”

She counseled, “You take a deep breath and you put one foot in front of the other.”

She told her friend this because she knew she couldn’t tell the truth.

Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner

“‘Our forefathers would have built these projects!’ they say. ‘They had vision!’ That’s pure nonsense. It wasn’t the vision and principles of our forefathers that made this country great. It was the huge unused bonanza they found here. One wave of immigrants after another could occupy new land, new land, new land. There was topsoil, water-there was gold, silver, and iron ore lying right on top of the earth. We picked our way through a ripe orchard and made it bare…we’re going to pretend that things are as they always were. ‘Let’s just go out and find some money and build a dam and we’ll all be rich and better off.’ We’ve been so busy spending money and reaping the fruits that we’re blind to the fact there there are no more fruits. By trying to make things better, we’re making them worse and worse.”
– Glen Saunders, in Cadillac Desert

Quod me nutrit me destruit.

What nourishes me destroys me.

This is a tattoo Angelina Jolie has. I’ve always be fascinated with it, with the saying and the way it boils a truth to such diametric simplicity. It’s our fatal flaw. It’s the Shakespearian tragedy in each of us.

It’s like a river. Water is essential for life and to survive we must have access to water. Lakes and oceans are nice, but the source of this water and the transmission of this water is through our rivers.

Rivers provide drinking water, irrigation, recreation, and a source of optimism. Then, they turn on you. They dry up and take away their optimism. Then, they overflow, wiping away everything they helped build.

It’s the ebb and flow of nature. Ice ages and global warming. Decades of drought and decades of rain. And there’s human beings, trying to scratch out an existence on a planet that’s always been out of our control. Our fatal flaw, our nourishment turned destruction, is our egos.

We want to control nature and bend it to our will. This is probably why we’ve survived as a species so long. The opposable thumb is pretty great, but it would be useless without an ego to back it up.

Whether or not global warming is caused by humans, or by the cyclical nature of life is impossible to say for sure. The fact remains that there is plenty of evidence that human beings are destroying the earth.

Cadillac Desert is a fascinating survey of the damage wrought on the western United States by the egos of politicians wishing to control nature and bend nature to the political whims and desires of those in charge. It’s a story of corruption, greed, egotism, and idiocy. In other words, a quintessentially American story. (It’s also a pretty good argument for Libertarianism if you happen to dislike powerful governments with the ability to get that corrupt and greedy.)

We can protest environmentally detrimental projects. We can change our system of government and vote out leaders who seek to destroy us. We can do a million different things, but there’s an inevitability to environmental destruction.

As long as we have a planet to live on, the egos of human beings will pluck and pull and twist and wring it dry of every life giving thing it has, until there is nothing left.

Oh, Neti!

I have a process and it cannot be disrupted.

Sure, it could be more efficient, more timely, more helpful. But it cannot be disrupted.

It goes something like this: 1) Decide to do something. 2) Think about doing said thing and reaffirm the decision to do said thing. 3) Repeat Step 2 proportional to the benefit of doing said thing (For example, throwing out a dried up pen will take less thinking than paying rent.This is why I start thinking about paying rent 3 months ahead of time). 4) Forget about doing said thing proportional to the benefit of doing said thing. 5) Remember I wanted to do said thing and do it, wondering why I didn’t do it sooner.

I believe the colloquial term for this process is “procrastination.”

Whatever.

This process is how I find myself breathing through my nose for the first time in 5 months. This process also led to several easily preventable sinus infections, but that’s neither here nor there.

Long story short, the point of marriage is having someone who will tell you when you don’t notice that snot is running down your face in public, and to use a goddamn neti pot when your nose is stuffed with more mucus than a unit on Storage Wars is stuffed with stuff.

It has been a spring and summer of excruciating allergies. Sneezing, stuffiness, and stealthy nose running. I became afraid to leave the house without a healthy supply of Kleenex and a Husband to keep watch.

I’ve been thinking about it for a couple months now.  It’s just that the neti pot was under the bathroom sink, the distilled water was buried in the hall closet, and the devices to heat the water where all the way in the kitchen. First World Problems and a half.

A few sessions spent flushing out infected grossness and my nose feels lighter and my sneezing and snot flow have significantly decreased.

I can breathe out of my nose again!

It may have taken me longer to get to that point than others, but it’s my process and it cannot be disrupted.

Then, There Was The Ever Present Football Player Rapist

We all like to think we’re individuals.

We’re all so unique and important and no one else is like us.

Except, you, over there in Ohio.

You raped some girl. Society blamed it on her. You’re back on your football team.

Oh, how trite and tired.

I supposed I should turn up my nose in disgust at your actions, but all I feel is sorry for you.

The clichiest of cliches.

It would be nice if one of you, some day, could rise above the stereotype and be a prison-bound rapist or a castrated rapist, but for some reason you all insist on conforming to the rapist standard.

I mean, it’s just, could you be any more…ordinary?

Try a little harder next time, will ya?