Mad at the World

I’m kind of mad at the world right now and I’m beginning to question its sanity. Have we lost all sense of what it means to be kind, decent, and respectable human beings and given into throwing the type of tantrums and fits that even my 4-year-old niece knows better than to do in public??

We’ve all spent the past 3 months worried about a virus, to the point that life has been disrupted in a way that may never return to the “real normal”. We debate and even hate on one another for opting to wear a mask or not wear a mask in public, as if this single act alone is going to save our lives. We act out in the grocery store when we run into neighbors and acquaintances we once would have taken a moment to speak to, all because they fall on the opposite side of our stand on social distancing etiquette. And if you think this is not true, come with me when I go to work my merchandising gig sometime. Just last week, I witnessed nearly a dozen incidents in which one person was being mean to another – all over a piece a cloth!

Given all this, there is no wonder then that folks are burning courthouses and vandalizing Target stores too. Life as we know it is already in a state of chaos so why not just add to the madness!

What happened to George Floyd and all the other people of color who we aren’t hearing about on the news is unacceptable. It is wrong. It is outrageous. It is serious. It needs to stop. But folks, it’s not going to. Why? Because we hate each other over the stupidest of things!

I fully understand that not all people are acting badly, not all cops are corrupt, and not everyone is berating their neighbor over a face mask. But even if we aren’t being outwardly hateful, all of us carry our own set of prejudices. And what is prejudice exactly? I had to look this up myself because I was a bit confused. My family (misguidedly) taught me that prejudice could be good in some instances – such as when it keeps you from making a bad choice. For example, when you don’t go to McDonald’s because you “hate” how they are killing people every day with their food.  This is not prejudice though – this is called being discerning. One is acceptable, the other is not.

Prejudice is having a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Prejudice is when we think the black man who has picked up our trash for the last 25 years is somehow less of a person because of the color of his skin. Prejudice is telling your gay relative that she’s going to hell because she “made a choice that no one else agrees with”. But prejudice is also thinking it’s “us vs. them” in every single situation, from how we react to senseless tragedies to how to fight a virus.

Every argument, every feud, and every war was started by the “us vs. them” mindset. Isn’t it time we changed that? All lives matter and despite what we have been taught to believe, people have way more in common with one another than they have differences – starting with the fact that we all live on the same planet, bleed the same color blood, die of the same diseases, and have the same choices when it comes to treating others as we wish to be treated ourselves.

Yes, I’m mad at the world right now. I’m mad at my own family, my neighbors, and my community for being mean to one another when we should all be trying to lift one another up. Life is hard enough as it is. We don’t need to fuel the hatred and indecency just because we can. So here’s what I’m going to do about it…

I love you all. I respect your choice to wear a mask or not wear a mask, because only you know how you have been affected in this pandemic. I respect your political choice, whether you are Democrat, Republican, or in-between. I share your outrage at the senseless death and destruction that has become the sad hallmark of our country and I stand with you in peaceful protest, hoping one day soon this will change. While I will always be discerning in my own choices, I vow to no longer let the “us vs. them” mentality creep into my life and above all, I will not pass down any prejudices I may have learned in my lifetime to anyone that I love.

Reality Bites! And Then You Get a Ticket

My mom watches a lot of true crimes on TV. In fact, I’m pretty sure she’s tuned in to Investigation Discovery the better part of her waking hours. And when she’s not watching these horrific tales, she’s having me look them up to see if there’s anything current with the cases. Admittedly, some of these cases are fascinating but when you’re flooding your brain daily with such awful examples of humankind, it’s not good for your own mental health. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “people are evil” over the past few weeks and at one point, she even suggested I get a gun to take to work with me. (I work from home most of the time and the merchandising gig that I do every week is in Target.) And yesterday, she made a special point to tell me that about a woman in Atlanta that killed her wife after they had been together “a very long time”. (Not sure what you’re getting at here, Mom.) But mostly she likes to warn us about the neighborhood we live in, how unsafe it is, and how someone might just break in on us at any time.

Now, let me reassure you – our apartment might not be the definition of luxury (despite the fact that the word luxury is on the sign at the entrance) but it’s pretty safe. At least from criminals. But my mom was right about one thing – at any moment, something could break in and attack any one of us. I know because it happened last Friday.

At 5:30 AM last Friday, Angie woke me up with the most dreaded words you can hear when you’re half-asleep, “I think something happened”. My first thought – oh, God! Not Caesar! He is almost 18 years old and not the healthiest cat in the world but I’m certainly not ready for him to cross the Rainbow Bridge. My next thought – something had happened to one of our moms. Never in a million years would I have guessed that the “something” that happened was that Angie was attacked by a wasp IN HER SLEEP!

For a few weeks, we’ve had red wasps randomly sneaking into the apartment. We usually hear them in the blinds and dispose of them quickly. We did not see or hear this one. Angie actually thought Caesar was brushing her face with his tail and reached up to swat it away. In reality, she swatted a wasp that was crawling across her face and he double-tapped her right in the eye – once on the eyelid and once in the corner, just above her tear duct. Her eyelid was starting to swell. It looked awful and painful but since she is not allergic, she took a Benedryl, applied ice, and told me to go to work. (I had a gig in Bowling Green, KY that day.)

Before I left for work (ignore the bedhead)

A few hours later – she looked like this.

So I tried to rush home. Except that you don’t rush through Portland, TN. Trust me. The only two times in my life that I’ve ever gotten a ticket were in Portland, TN, and one of those was on Friday. I was apparently going 62 in a 45 and that’s a no-no, despite the fact that your partner is starting to swell like a balloon and you have the only car.

When I got home, we went to the walk-in clinic (since our “awesome” insurance has a $1,000 co-pay for the ER and a $100 co-pay for the clinic). After passing the COVID-19 protocols, we got to see a nurse practitioner who told us her childhood story about getting stung, gave Angie a shot of Benedryl and a steroid, and sent us on our way.

Folks, if you gain nothing else from this post, here’s what I hope it will be –

First, don’t spend your days watching true crime. It’s really not good for you. And second, if a wasp stings you in the eye, your life is going to be ruined for a really long time. Your face will swell to the point that your head feels like it might explode. If you’re lucky, it won’t extend to both eyes. In this case, Angie wasn’t that lucky. She was blind for 2 full days. You’re going to be in pain and you’re going to want to go to the ER, despite having such a ridiculous co-pay. Resist the urge, unless you are truly allergic, at which point you would have already been in the ER.

We ended up going to the ER that night because we were scared of the swelling. We were afraid Angie’s eye was damaged. We knew next to nothing about wasp stings in the face, and apparently neither did they. They basically turned us around and sent us home, but not before noting how “fascinating this case was”. Want to know where we gained the most insight into this situation? Facebook. We asked if anyone had experienced the same or similar and got a whole lot of useful information that we did not get from the professionals.

We haven’t received all the bills for this little misadventure yet. The ER did say they would give us the cash price rather than file insurance as it would definitely be cheaper. But irregardless, one tiny little intruder is likely going to cost us a lot more than that vacation we were thinking of going on later this year. Ugh!