We took a child-free trip to Columbus that involved a Dead & Co. concert, runs every morning, and walking the streets the rest of the time. We stayed downtown and walked to the German area where they have a restaurant, Pistachio’s, that serves the best chocolate-filled croissants I’ve ever eaten.
I run to eat.
We walked miles upon miles incorporating a brewery and finally to the art district where we had a pizza with eggs oozing over the fontina cheese and pancetta. Oh my.
The drive was six hours each way. I love a good long drive. I’m a podcast junkie and finding a new one is like making a new friend, the excitement of not knowing what conversations may come once the polite talk has ended.
My new addiction is A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment with Sherman Alexie and Jess Walters. Two writers whose friendship goes beyond the writing share works in progress, talk to poets, novelists, musicians and challenge them to show the goods before it’s pretty. They laugh at themselves, at each other, and I find it so encouraging to see that what is published is nowhere near where they start out.
In essence, they talk about how it doesn’t get any easier. They discuss mental illness, therapy and what it’s like growing up poor and now having money.
They talk about juggling family, obligations, and the desire to create.
They talk about complications.
I love this show.
We listened to them for 12 hours, the entirety of the drive.
I got to thinking about who we surround ourselves with, the real people in our lives, and how perhaps we don’t do ourselves justice.
I consider myself a thoughtful person. I am unlikely to get into a political discussion whether you’re with me or against me because I can’t stand the intolerance that has become our world. Meme after meme on Facebook is spewing both side’s nonsense. There is very little thoughtful right now. And when there is, no one can hear for the noise.
Someone I know recently posted a Facebook meme declaring that Obama needed to get out, our borders needed to be sealed shut, and we needed to bring back ‘Merica. That was the gist if not the exact phrasing. I saw the smiling face of the profile picture and thought, why on earth is this person even tangentially in my life.
The fact that someone, regardless of their views, would think that anything is so simple, and then spew it as fact, while the comments flooded Amens, made me sick. They wouldn’t consider themselves a racist.
I have liberal and conservative friends. But we cannot be friends if you don’t understand what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany. We cannot be friends if you don’t realize what happened to Americans of Japanese decent who were thrust in internment camps, right here, on our own soil. We cannot be friends if you simplify the world to suit your beliefs and fearmonger to rile up hatred.
There is enough hatred in the world.
What we need is more understanding.
And the problem, as I see it, is people like me allow people like you to spew your nonsense and we remain afraid to offend because we know we’ll run into you in the grocery store, at the school events, and we don’t want the awkwardness.
I say, no more.
If you believe that we cannot find room in this great big country of ours, the country that our ancestors violently stole from the Native Americans, we cannot be friends.
If there is no room in your world for doubt, for conversation, for more than a posting of a meme worthy of a maladjusted child, please unfriend me before I have to unfriend you.
If you don’t believe kindness and compassion is large part of the way out of this, move on from me.
I believe you have more to you than this.
I believe there is more to all of us than this.
Surround yourself with people who make you think, who believe in art, in literature, in shows that make you think.
Because you owe that much to yourself.