Consider this before raging about Profile changes in support of France

I have been very busy the last few days trying to get school work done. That does not mean I am unaware of what has happened in Paris, just that I have not had a moment to compose my thoughts in an educated and informed way in order to post on the horrific event. Today, I am taking a short break because after seeing so many people lashing out at each other on Facebook and twitter over the world standing unified with Paris I feel I need to weigh in. While I could sit back and remain silent, keeping my thoughts to myself, I am choosing to write this in hopes that perhaps people will see this and find some compassion before going off on other people.

We can all admit that what happened in Paris is a tragedy, much like 9/11 here in the US. Let me address those who are all up in arms about so many of us here in the US suddenly changing our Facebook pics to add the French flag to it.

In 2001, when our own country was attacked, the French stood by us. Their people flew USA flags, offered assistance, and said “Today we are all Americans”. In 2001, there were an estimated total of 12 other terrorist attacks across the world, and we did not blink an eye when the world chose to focus on the US instead of any of them. But let’s put this into perspective shall we?

Proportionately, the vast majority of attacks are within Islamic countries. Approximately 80% – 90% of all terrorist attacks are in the Middle East, bombing their own people. So why is it that we only react when a country that is not in the Middle East is attacked so violently? Perhaps because it happens so frequently, and has for so many years, that we are numb to it. It gets a short line in the news, or a few minutes of air time, because it happens so frequently. The news covers that which is not ordinary, that which does not happen often, with much more zeal than those events which happen regularly. That is their job. They do not cover every car accident, only those which cause the most damage or come closest to home. Why? Because that is their job, to discern what events are out of the ordinary and report in full on those.

Is it sad that we have come to think of the brutal annihilation of thousands of Middle Eastern people as ordinary? Yes, it is, but when something happens with such frequency in one part of the world, it is not breaking news. Is it terrible? Yes. Is it unforgivable? Yes. Should it be stopped? Yes. Is it out of the ordinary? Sadly, no it is not. But it in no way screams racism by those who show an outpouring of support and love when it happens to those close to home. It screams of our own numbness to what happens, sometimes on a daily or weekly basis, across the world.

But let me put it another way, to help drive this point home before I move on.

**For those of you who might get upset that I am using this particular example, let me preface this with the fact that I lost a child, and I hardly expected people in Chicago to be upset about my son in a small town in the same state to be upset about my son’s death. **

When a child is lost due to a horrible accident or illness, we react differently based on a number of qualifying factors. We react based on how often it happens in a given area. In larger cities, a car accident which claims the life of a child may be shown for a few moments on the news, if at all. In a small town, it is much rarer, thus the reaction by the news and the people is much stronger. Why? Is it because no one in that small town cares if the little girl in Chicago died or vice versa? No, they care that any child has died. But they do not react with the same as if one of their own, someone close to home, has died. It is because they have a connection with the child in their home town, even if they never met them, and not with the one in Chicago. Add to that the difference in the number of children who die in cities vs the number of children in small towns and you can see that it hits home much harder for those who are closer to us. Even in a big city, if a child dies close to where you live, you react a bit stronger than one who has died in a town on the opposite side of the city (no matter where you live or what color you are). The death of a child is a terrible thing, but it depends on how close you are to the place and people that causes such emotional reactions in people.

So let’s get back to Paris and the horrible tragedy that happened there. France is our closest ally, ever since 1778 and the Franco-American Treaty. The US and France have a kinship which is like any other kinship, we poke fun at each other, but when the chips are down, we stand by each other. Just like brothers and sisters. In 1886, the Statue of Liberty was given to us by France. They hold the same freedom and liberty ideals as we here in America do. What could be closer to home than that?

Paris is not a war torn country that has been fighting within itself for decades. Unlike Beirut or Baghdad, they are not constantly having some war brought on by its radicals within its own people against humanity. When we had our civil war, there was not so much outrage from other countries. But when we were attacked, one of the symbols of freedom and liberty, the world cried for us. They did not cry for the other 12 or more terrorist attacks that happened that year, those incidents were barely a blip on the news media’s screens, much like today, because they happen so frequently and they do not happen to those whom we hold close to us.

Just like when my mother or my son died, my family and close friends stood by my side, offering assistance and showed an outpouring of love, while those who did not know my mother or my son had no reaction. There were no newspaper clipping of my son’s death in Chicago, but there was in my home town. The news station in Chicago did not run a live news feed or ask the people of Chicago for help to get us through our trying time, but our local one did.

How we react has more to do with closeness, those we find in our inner circle, and those whom we perhaps look up to, admire or can relate to. It is hard to relate to countries that are at constant war. We ourselves are not at war with each other (despite the bickering among us). We are numbed to the realities of the wars and terrorist acts which happen in the Middle East because they have gone on for so long. It is when someone close to us, in this instance France, gets blindsided by what goes on every day in other parts of the world that we find ourselves in an emotional upheaval. But to blame those who want to show solidarity with a country like France as being racist? Get a grip on reality please; it has nothing to do with race. Is it just as tragic as France? Yes. But we are numb to it after all these years. The only way to change that is to be shaken up and begin to see a little more and do a little more, not to nit-pick others for their emotional reaction.

Besides, until Paris was attacked, there were virtually no feeds about Beirut or Baghdad to be seen on Facebook or other social media unless it hit close to your home. Isn’t that just a bit hypocritical of those of you suddenly so outraged that so many of us have changed our profile pictures?

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New Year, New Me?

New Years has been different throughout the years. Some years I have resolved to find a good relationship, I got one when I was capable of giving one. Some years I resolved to have more money, I got it when I worked hard or lost terribly. In other years I have resolved to be happier, and I am when my disorders are all behaving well. In others I have resolved to lose weight only to have it bounce back and forth because I love food.

Sometimes when the new year starts, we make ourselves promises of things we have always wanted to become, but have never had the discipline to do. The problem with that is our plan includes changing our discipline level, something we never consider. Most of the time, we, as human beings, fail to consider what it will actually take to achieve what we ae resolving to change. Oh, we mean well, we really would like to change the things we resolve to, we just don’t, deep down, really want to put all that effort towards it, at least not most of the time with most of the people. That is not to say there are not exceptions to the rule, but by the majority this seems to be true.

We resolve to lose weight, like I have, then, we go the gym or go on a diet for a few weeks (sometimes days) and then find other things to do with the time we are spending at the gym. Oh, it happens slowly for most, gradually and then one day we realize that the Gym we signed up for is costing us a ton for something we don’t really go to. Or, we discover salad is not our favorite food and end up binging and tossing in the towel due to our frustration with the weight not coming off fast enough. In the end we either don’t lose the weight we wanted to, or we put on more weight as a result of emotional eating.

Or we resolve to change our career, only to do nothing towards that end. No classes to advance in the area w are already in, no extra effort to get noticed for some ability that would make us stand out from the crowd, no going back to college to change our job by getting a different degree. We spend time looking through the want ads, if we even do that, and end up either not finding anything better than what we have, or not being qualified for those jobs we would want.

There are dozens of ways we make resolutions and then do nothing to accomplish them with any real amount of zeal or effort. Making a resolution to change things about yourself or your life which you ae not happy with is certainly a good thing. But when you do, don’t set yourself up for failure. Make sure you understand just what you are going to need to make your resolution come true. How much effort, time and/or money will it take? Will it be physically possible for me to do? Will I actually stick with it? These are just a few questions that might be good to consider.

For me, I am trying not to make anything to drastic this year. In years past I have resolved to have a book published and making good money by the end of the year … and then wrote nothing out of fear it would either come true or not come true. I have resolved to get fit only to find pain still keeps me from working out much and getting frustrated. All of which add to my year end depressed state because I have not accomplished anything on my list. So I am changing my strategy this year.

This year, I am not making any resolution quite so damaging by the end of the year. I am going to plan on doing a few things this year, and do my best to get the result by the end of the year, but no formal resolutions.

I saw a wonderful little idea on Facebook awhile back about writing down something good that happened each day and putting it into a jar to read out on New Year’s Eve. This is something I intend to do and started today. I will NOT beat myself about the head and neck if I forget a day or two, as any good habit takes time to get into. It might not be a bad idea for everyone to do that.

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Spirit Airlines – OR how to make air travel worse than it already is!

Wednesday, I took my first flight on Spirit Airlines. This will also be my last flight on Spirit Airlines. Here is what transpired to cause this.

When I booked my flight a couple of weeks ago the airline I usually use, Southwest, had prices aa bit higher than my pockets book for a one way to Chicago from Vegas. So I went in search via Expedia, hotwire, CheapOAir and a few other discount airfare sites. They all had the same prices, give or take a few dollars, so since CheapO Air was the lowest cost and I was on a budget, I booked through them. Spirit Airlines had the lowest cost, indicating that it was only $109 plus fees, which were supposed to total $122 and change. What they actually charged me was $152 and change. Ok, still cheaper than Southwest at that point, so I did not complain much. Then the day before travel arrives and I go online to check in and get my boarding pass. The web site for Spirit leaves a lot to be desired, like an actual link for your boarding pass until you leave the site after checking in and come back to it. Also, this is where I found out it would have cost the same as Southwest … they charged me $22 for a seat assignment (instead of randomly picked) and $35 for a carry-on bag! On Southwest, I can carry on my purse plus a bag for free. SO now we are almost at the same price I would have paid for Southwest.

xtra leg room? maybe for a 5 yr old child!

xtra leg room? maybe for a 5 yr old child!

 

 

Ok, I can live with that, it is not like I am paying more at this point, right? And I do have to say boarding was painless. The stewardesses were fun and polite, referring to a water landing as “in the event this flight turns into a cruise” and informing us that when putting on your oxygen mask to spot screaming first. However, this is where the nice stuff ends. As I write this, I have the gentleman behind me with his knees up my bums, and without the benefit of offering up some lube first. The reason this is more annoying than it should be (besides the need for lube when having anything to do with shoving something up the bums) is because I chose my seat based on their online claim that the seat I was choosing was in the area with more leg room. This is only more leg room if you have ever been to the small V Theater for a show, and I am short compared to most men. So while I understand why his knees are in my backside, it does NOT make for a pleasant flight for 3 hours plus.

But the lack of lube is not the only place where Spirit lacks. I understand it is a no frills airline, but … barely having room for the cart to fit through without having to ask each row of passengers to watch their elbows is a bit beyond me. Add to that the fact I am in row 6, they started serving from the front with a less than full plane (about 10 people in front of me) and by the row before me they were announcing they had no Vodka left … I do not drink any more but really? Isn’t vodka a staple for an airline? So many mixed drinks require Vodka. To not restock between flights is unrealistic, especially when I know the plane was sitting there for over an hour before departure. Yes, yes … I am one of those people that arrive hours early due to fear of missing a flight or being caught up in the pat downs pre-gate entry.

Ok, still, not horrible, right? And I figured that once in the air I could simply use the free Wi-Fi the booking site said they had (and their web site did not say they did not) to watch some movies on my Amazon Prime. HA! There I go, believing what is in print on the booking site and not discounted on their own site (at least I did not find it). Silly me. As I picked up their little flier to find out I would need to buy my snacks and beverage (not too unusual in flying these days I suppose) I find out they do NOT have ANY Wi-Fi! Not even for purchase!

I suppose if they had given me the option of purchasing Wi-Fi I would not be writing this. I would be just like the rest of the US citizenry and be sitting quietly in my gilded cage, irritated at the way things have become in this day in age, but still not irritated enough to voice my opinion about it. But alas, the lack of Wi-Fi to connect me to something outside this plane has left me with no other alternative but to remind people … YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR … and then you keep paying as a result.

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