Friday, March 3, 2017

Cut & paste

Those cut-and-paste posts on Facebook about "Let's see if anyone reads my status update" or "Hey, everyone, can I ask a favor"? I scroll right by them. As soon as I see those words, I stop reading and keep going. I hate cut-and-paste status updates pretending to be the words of friends. I've unfollowed some people because it's all they seem to post - memes and cut-and-paste status updates for thoughts and prayers.

I'm not worried about offending anyone by saying that because, the reality is, those folks aren't going to read this blog. They never do.

I do understand the desire to experiment and see who actually reads your Facebook posts. I "like" or otherwise react to most every friend's Facebook status update that I actually read, but most people don't - they just scroll through their newsfeed. And since I'm one of those sincere Facebook posters - unless there are quotes around something in my status update, I wrote it - I confess that I am a little hurt when a post of my own words gets no likes.

I confess that I've long tested whether or not people read my blogs. I've done it for years. My test is usually dropping something very juicy in the middle or at the end of a blog, something that any reader would react to with a "wow", at least. Then I wait and see who comments on that specific thing on Facebook or in an email to me or on the blog itself. Like when I was in Afghanistan: I wrote regularly about my experiences, and often put something jaw-dropping somewhere in the blog. Days later, I'd get emails from people asking me, "How's it going?" and then they'd go on about whatever, and I'd realize, wow, they so aren't reading my blogs, because if they did, they wouldn't just ask "How's it going?" They would ask, "Holy crap did that really happen?!?" Or when I had a motorcycle wreck in Utah - I wrote all about it in a travel blog, in great detail, and then posted a link to the blog on Facebook, without mentioning it - just said, "Hey, here's my travelogue from Utah. It was quite an adventure!" After about a dozen "great blog" comments, one friend - ONE - wrote "Oh my god, are you okay? I can't believe those photos!" I knew all those other folks hadn't actually read the blog - but she had.

Honestly, I get more feedback from strangers about my blogs than from friends. But that feedback is often so touching, it keeps me writing.

I'm so weird: I actually read my friends' blogs. You write some big essay online and post a link to it, and I actually go and read it. I also go through all of your vacation photos if you share them online. I do it because you are asking me to by posting a link, and I do it because I enjoy it. I confess I don't usually listen to your podcasts. Because to listen to a podcast, I have to be doing something - like washing the dishes or dusting or folding laundry - and I hate doing those things.

So what truth bomb am I going to drop here to see who reads this blog?

Harrison Ford is going to hike Kilimanjaro. Don't ask me how I know. I just know. And if you bothered to read this blog, now you do too. See, I drop these kind of truth bombs all the time - just think of all that, you've missed!

Actually, the biggest truth bomb is probably this: I really do NOT want to have to be political right now. I'd love to say, "Screw it" and not care. I'm 52 years old - I really don't want to be doing this again. I just don't. I'm so angry at the people that have created this situation, by supporting the current administration or not voting at all, that I just can't be around them. If I hear one more person say, "Oh, he's really nice, he voted for Trump, but he doesn't support everything he's doing," I'm going to run down the street screaming.  

As much as I don't want to be political right now, I have to be political. I have no choice. Because I can't ignore deportations of people that have lived here for decades, paid taxes, contributed to communities and raised families. I can't ignore a push for private prisons that's a part of a plan to lock up more black Americans, specifically. I can't ignore all of the citizens already disenfranchised from voting, let alone the additional citizens that will be prevented from voting. I can't ignore women who need abortions but can't access them. I can't ignore kids in substandard public schools, schools that have been defunded, staffed by under-paid, overworked teachers who are regularly derided by rich, white people who send their kids to private schools. I can't ignore desperate refugees. I can't ignore the growing gap between the 1% and the rest of us - a gap that will grow exponentially in the next four years.

Therefore, while you post outrage to Facebook, I go to community meetings for immigrants where lawyers try to explain their oh-so-limited rights (and I try to understand Spanish). I join a citizens committee for safety and, instead of talking about pedestrian and bicycle safety - the reasons I joined - I keep reminding the group that there are a few thousand terrified citizens in our midst, per the current administration, and if we are supposed to be about safety, we need to be thinking about them (it wins me no friends - I've no doubt I won't be renewed for next year). I look for Democratic Party meetings I can go to by mass transit, since I don't have a car and don't like riding my motorcycle at night (no luck so far). Instead of going to the movies, I go to meetings with state and national representatives and hope my presence matters. And I resent all your political posts because I know you aren't out registering voters or protesting in a legislator's lobby or even calling your Senators and Congressional representative.

Another truth bomb: I'm lonely. I so need a girl's weekend somewhere, away from our homes, somewhere fun or beautiful. But I not only don't have the money for such (I'd be blowing some of my emergency fund on it if I did it), I can't find anyone to go with. I've floated the idea to a few friends - none are available or interested. But, really, who wants to hang out with Eeyore.

I'm not only tired politically, I'm also dealing with some health issues and feeling very alone in facing them. No one wants to be around someone that's going to need medical treatments of any kind and be in pain and helpless for several days. I'm looking into treatment in Mexico because it's cheaper - yes, even with insurance covering part of it here in the USA, and even including the flights to and from Mexico, TWICE. And also because I'd probably get way better care there: these medical "vacations" arrange your place to stay and for someone to check on you and make sure you're okay and get you the basics of what you need. After a painful procedure, that's what one needs, and it's certainly not covered here in the USA. In the end, even if it ends up being the same costs as here in the USA, it sounds like I'll get way better support and care than I will here. But don't expect any photos from this kind of "vacation." Unless the vacation also provides a Diego Luna lookalike who will hold my hand after the procedures. Then I will totally be taking photos.

My last truth bomb: like Olivia Spencer, I also have imposter's syndrome. But unlike her, I have been exposed as a fraud. If I wasn't a fraud, I'd be employed now... and have a well-selling book.

Back to the political stuff this weekend. If anyone cares.

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