Normal? What’s that?

Life feels way too much like this right now. Editorial cartoon by Lisa Benson, Washington Post Writers Group.

What’s normal anymore?

I keep telling my friends I need to get back to my normal routine, but I’m not even sure what that looks like, not that I was ever really normal (y’all, I am profoundly weird in some respects, and I’m OK with it). My life has been up in the air an awful lot lately, first with my car accident and then getting covid. I’m lucky I have such great friends, because they’ve put up with a lot where I’m concerned. I love every single one of them, but Sarah? Sarah’s getting free cat/house-sitting FOR LIFE.

Now, though, I finally have new (to me) wheels, named Lillie after my mom (it’s metallic orange, so pays homage to dearly departed brother Corey, and Mama’s love of redheads), and I’m back home and back to my mostly hermit ways, aside from the occasional deck therapy session or other outing with friends.

A firepit, chicken wings and other treats, and friends are essential to deck therapy.

Still, it doesn’t feel quite right. Maybe it’s the anxiety of having a monthly payment I didn’t anticipate having to make for at least another few years and the concern over whether my bank account will cover it (part of the reason I finally set up a direct deposit for my paycheck, bad experience in the 1990s be damned; a late mailed check just won’t do now). Maybe it’s the dread of what culture-war bill that “solves” a nonexistent problem (while creating actual problems) will pop up next at the Legislature and what it could mean for many of my friends (I’m a straight white woman, so while some will affect me, more will affect friends who aren’t white and/or straight). While the drag queen bill has been sort of defanged, there are all sorts of bills and hijinks likely to come.

Some things haven’t changed at all (not that that’s a good thing), and probably won’t as long as people continue to allow partisan politics rather than logic, reality, and basic human kindness to lead their interactions with others.

Like the Internet trolls who can’t let go of imagined wrongs so they go on and on and on about it every chance they get. (Cue the eye-rolling and ignoring.) General Mac, no matter how many times you swear I had to have seen a comment that supposedly doxxed you, I didn’t because I STILL don’t moderate the newspaper’s comment boards and never have, and I’m spending most of my time on the computer working rather than hanging out on comment boards waiting for people to harass. I have a life. It’s not very exciting most of the time, but it’s a life.

Wait … why does the troll get an Apple? I can’t afford an Apple! Cartoon by Bryant Arnold, Cartoon A Day.

Or the trolls who think anyone who advocates for vaccines is a paid tool of Big Pharma rather than someone who knows the value of medical science (or that John Brummett is a paid operative for the Democratic National Committee; have they not read his columns???). My life has been saved more than once by medical science (God bless tPA), and the fact that I was vaccinated and boosted against covid lent me protection I would likely not have had otherwise, and my case was relatively mild; plus, the likelihood of long covid is very slim for me. The track record of vaccines as a whole speaks for itself, and U.S. vaccines and medications are constantly monitored for serious side effects. I’m not looking forward to the shingles shots, but having known plenty of people who suffered mightily from the disease, being sick for a day or two after each shot is worth the protection the shots impart.

Or the guy who emails when most of the day’s Voices letters are “liberal” (even when they’re not), complaining that there aren’t that many conservative letters, then answering his own question on why by saying that few conservatives send in letters because they’re sure they won’t be printed. (That, sir, is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. We want conservative letters, so send ’em, please. Just make sure they can pass a fact-check [no unsupported claims that, for example, CRT has been made law; yes, that was in a recent letter received] and can be published in a family newspaper.)

Hey, wingnut, found your hat! You can pick it up next to the black courtesy phone. Image found on bizmarts.

And then there is the endless parade of people insisting they have the right to stick their noses into the lives of others while being left completely alone themselves (government for thee, but not for me, ya know), maintaining without evidence that such-and-such leader is the most stupid leader ever (because they’ve forgotten history, obviously; the capacity for human stupidity is boundless), or just generally being a pain in the backside by trying to start fights because they’re bored or spiteful (seriously, how many Twitter accounts have been created for the sole purpose of baiting the opposition in hopes of catching them with their rhetorical pants down?).

This is not the sort of thing that should be normal. I’m all for being cranky occasionally, if it’s for good reason (I’d say covid on top of a car accident and having to deal with insurance and car shopping qualifies) because it helps you healthily blow off some steam, but some people refuse to give anyone who isn’t of their political tribe the benefit of the doubt, or allow anyone to be happy if they’re not.

I can’t change anything but what’s in my life. At one time, I had more faith in others acting out of more than self-interest, and that they were inherently good until proven otherwise. People cared for each other whether they had the same politics, religion or whatever because they knew they were all in this together.

That was normal. We could have that again, if people would let it happen.

Because the woman and her doctor have no idea of what happens in an abortion. Editorial cartoon by Steve Greenberg, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

For just one day, I’d love for people to live and let live. As long as you don’t cause actual harm to someone else or break the law, live your life, and allow others to do the same. Mind your business, and let them mind theirs. For my fellow Christians, do what Jesus said and did: Care for the stranger, the hungry, the less fortunate; be kind to others without expectation of recompense or praise; love your neighbor. Everyone else, do as your religion or moral guidance tells you, which will be basically the same (remember, virtually every religion and/or society has some version of The Golden Rule … funny how that works).

Remember that life isn’t a zero-sum game. Someone’s good fortune doesn’t necessarily mean bad things for you; at minimum you’ll learn something in disappointment, and knowledge is a good thing. Get the idea of everything in life being a game (except for actual games) out of your head, especially if it’s accompanied by bad sportsmanship.

No one really likes a jerk. They put up with them because they have to (perhaps they’re related to them, or employed by them), or because they feel validated by them since they hate the same things they do. But like them? Nah. They’re jerks, and jerks are boors. Boors are only happy when they’re making others miserable or making people bow to them in hopes of gaining their favor, not that they’ll get it, especially if they’re not useful to them.

Maybe if we stop encouraging them (and not calling them out on their BS encourages and enables them), they’ll realize that they’re being officious jerks that no one likes and begin to shift their attitudes … and then we could get back to some semblance of normal.

Who am I kidding? Jerks hate normal.

This boy is most certainly NOT a jerk. His Aunt Brenda loves him dearly.