“How are you?”

Here’s a question….

When you ask someone “How are you?” or “How are things going?”, do you expect someone to answer truthfully? Or are you just asking out of  form?

Are you taken aback when they answer “Things have not been so good…” or “I’ve been sick all summer”… or “I have cancer…”

I had the experience this weekend of being asked repeatedly “How was your summer?” and “How’s it going?” and then a glassy stare, and an uncomfortable “Oh dear… Well, gotta run.” when I answered truthfully…

In one case, I received a quizzical look and “Welll… Um… thanks for your honesty.” and then they looked for a quick exit. Now, I am not telling them that I have been abducted by aliens or that I have decided to become a sex-worker to support my crack-habit… I am simply explaining how things have been with my Mom sick and how Mom’s memory is. And these people were all members of our congregation, who I have known for years and, more importantly, have known Mom for years.

The “thanks for your honesty” one was from our minister.

Now, it isn’t as though I am going around unloading on everyone I meet… I’m talking about the people who supposedly “care”.

I sometimes feel like I am from some other planet. When I ask someone how are you? I certainly hope that they are going to say fine because they are. But when they tell me they haven’t “been fine” or that things have gone terribly wrong in their lives, I don’t take this as a personal affront. I stop and listen and offer my sincere wishes for improvement… Even offer to help, if I can.

On the very rare occasion when I encounter someone who I know just complains for the sake of complaining, I probably won’t ask “How are you?” because I know the answer. But why bother asking, especially someone you know well and supposedly care about if all you want to hear is “Great!”?

How about actually caring how someone is? How about that, for a change?

how are you

Or maybe I should just hand out a card that allows them to check off the answer they want to hear….

___   Absolutely peachy-keen

___   My life is complete, now that you asked me

___   If I was any happier, my head would fall off

___   Short of shitting bricks of gold, I couldn’t be happier

___   These are tears of pure, unadulterated, fucking joy….

And, while we are at it… Why the fuck is no one using their damn turn signals this week? Did I miss the memo?

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PhotoHunter: Protect(ion)…

There are a number of ways to go on this one….

This little piggie has a lot of protection. Chicken wire and a cocktail umbrella. For the full version of this project, see here: “June Bride“.

"June Bride" (detail)

"June Bride" (detail)

photohunter7iq1The “Diefenbunker“… Canada’s formerly top secret air-raid shelter designed to house the government, officials, and military…. while the rest of us, presumably, fried. With the end of the Cold War, the Diefenbunker is open to the curious public. It is located just outside Carp, Ontario, near Ottawa.

"The Diefenbunker"

"The Diefenbunker"

This is the “technology” that changed my life… I was a small child when the Cuban Missile Crisis began. Air-raid siren tests screamed out with regularity. We had a bomb shelter in our basement. Fear of the “Red Threat” was jammed down our throats. I lived with nightly and terrifying nightmares of war and death throughout my entire childhood. Even today, the sound of an air-raid siren makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. This disused siren sits at the entrance to the “Diefenbunker”.

"Air Raid Siren"

"Air Raid Siren"

The Diefenbunker Poem:

In Bermuda shorts,
pushing strollers and giggling, tourists rush to the next exhibit.
Hoping to beat the traffic
and get to Walmart before it closes.

I, on the other hand, recall the fallout shelter in our basement
and cold-sweat nights (and days),
waiting for the bomb to drop.

I can’t help thinking that the bomb-shelters, air raid sirens, and assurances that “drop and cover” would protect us amounted to little more than chicken wire and cocktail umbrellas….

PhotoHunter: Thankful

Only those who know me very intimately know why the Blue Heron is representative of something for which I am thankful.

In 2000, I went through a life-altering experience. I might have… I WOULD have… died had it not been for a brief encounter with a Great Blue Heron. I don’t believe in God or in divine intervention. I believe, instead that I CHOSE to take one path and not another and, while my intended path and my chosen path were intended to lead ultimately to the same place, the chosen one took me to a different place.

I think of the encounter not as “intervention” but in Serendipity. It happened because it happened but I am thankful that it did.

The Heron was an unintended guide… not unlike the chance meeting with someone who, unwittingly, inspires within you a change… a path taken or not taken.

I am thankful to myself for listening to “that small, still voice”. I am grateful to myself for choosing to see beauty where I might have passed by without looking. I am thankful to the beauty and wonder of the place we inhabit. I am thankful for the Heron for being in that one place and for that chance meeting.

The lesson is to not to look at the world around us but to SEE it. We never know where we will come upon a lesson, a guide, a salvation.

My Blue Heron Tattoo (solarized)

My Blue Heron Tattoo (solarized)

photohunter7iq1

…but I digress….

Yeah, so, anyway….

I am going to give WordPress another try. I wasn’t thrilled with some of the features which weren’t here before so I will see if I like it better, now.

I still have my blog over on Blogger which I SORT of keep up to date, along with a few others which I SORT of keep up to date, on different themes.

There’s my Links blog, Vanished Ottawa (just started when I broke my hands… long story which I might tell the whole truth about some day), and Mother Forgets which is about Mom’s increasing memory problems. There are a couple of others which are either too personal or neglected to post the links to.

Anyhoodle, hopefully this will get my dear friend az off my case <<HA!>> satisfy az…

nov-1-002aa1

Mansfield 1888

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