You’re going to laugh, but groundhogs are way scarier close up than you’d think.
Remember my skunk predicament in South San Francisco? Redux with groundhog this weekend. Running down a lovely country road with cornfields and blue, blue skies, I was in a pleasant sort of self-hypnosis with the sun and the rhythm. Till we snuck up on each other.
Neither it nor I noticed each other till it arched and hissed right next to me. I screamed. We both froze. The elderly gentleman in the passing pickup saw it all and laughed.
Total buzzkill. Try getting a rhythm back after you’ve just developed Instant Paralyzing Marmot Phobia.
* * *
But, more seriously in the buzzkill file this weekend, someone I respect surprised me with what I saw (and see) as totally out-of-character bigotry.
It’s hard to act in a way that untangles feelings out of it. But as much as you want to say “you’re wrong, this is horrible,” it doesn’t do any good to turn it into a shouting match. So I politely pointed out some of the errors in their facts. They expressed interest and appreciation.
Except not really.
The conversation functioned in its subtext. What those nice words meant was, they said Those People Were Bad, I disagreed, they recognized that I wasn’t a useful person to talk about Those People with, and we shoved it all under the rug.
It feels like I gave them an easy out to keep up appearances, and all I accomplished was that I won’t be graced with those opinions in future. I wish I knew a response that could truly sufficiently negate the cavalier repetition of untruths.
* * *
Later that day, though, my faith was restored by a blog post. And I can feel your skepticism from here, but I mean it.
Amy sent me to this post on Daily Mish Mash, and if anyone doubts the literate value of online conversation, I want them to read it. The post is on gay marriage, and it is, bar none, the most considered, non-judgmental, sincere, calm, heartfelt conversation between proponents and opponents I’ve ever seen.
If we all acted like Jen’s readers, the world would be a better place.
* * *
(Except for the groundhogs.)
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