Mundane Inspiration

So freaking tired guys!

It’s been building for over a week now, really, and each night I seem to get less and less sleep, so struggle more and more the next day. I’m pretty sure I’m approaching the giggly delusion stage, though, so I ought to be fun to hang out with any time now!

If all goes according to plan, however, I should be able to go back to bed tomorrow morning, after I take care of the critters who live with me. That should help some, I think.

A co-worker mentioned something earlier that caught my attention a little bit. Something about respecting people who “tell it like it is” (and I was thinking, “only if they’re right”), and then he said he was a Sagittarius, and that they are generally quite blunt about expressing what they think. I was thinking I’m a Virgo, and am generally consumed with a myriad of unspoken thoughts. I wonder if other Virgos are, too, or if it’s just a shy person kind of thing.

I hate conflict, so am the first to back down when one arises – at least in terms of expressing my true opinion, thought, or emotion. Most often, though, I keep it all to myself, and have entire conversations which remain largely just in my head. I don’t know why, exactly. I probably appear ambivalent or un-invested, but there’s a full on storm raging inside, more often than not. I don’t feel like the expression of it would do any good, however, so that’s one reason why I keep it to myself. I also suck at expressing myself in idle conversation, let alone when stronger emotions are involved, and usually need to take time to think about what I want to say before I say it. Like…a couple of days or so.

That’s why Tim does most of the talking when we interview people. I can’t often think of anything to say and tend to just listen instead. Which isn’t a bad thing. It does keep me on the periphery a lot, though. And denies the world access to my bone-chilling brilliance, of course.

Can intelligence chill bones?

I actually had a cool conversation with some co-workers yesterday, near the end of the work day. I can’t even remember why, but I ended up talking about how much I like the sky, and how I don’t think I’m meant to live in cities with concrete where there should be trees, and how near the top of my bucket list is that I want to spend time in each province and territory in Canada before I die. Like, not live there, but not just drive through, either. I’ve only ever been in Ontario and parts of Quebec.  I haven’t even been to either coast in my own country.  I think a week or two for each province/territory would be ideal – travelling around, seeing sights, sometimes just sitting still and allowing myself to become immersed in the space around me. I want to take a billion pictures in each area – mostly landscape and nature and wildlife, of course. I want to try foods that are new to me, but local to the area. Experience things that locals do, rather than typical tourist draws, even though I want to see those, too.

Tourism is a funny thing, really. Like, it’s a way of presenting the area in which you live – what makes it unique, what will draw people to the area and maybe even make them want to come back. What will grab a stranger’s attention? What do we want someone to think of where we live, after they’ve gone? What can we highlight, which will give them the best of us and what we have to offer?

And yet, no one who actually lives there really does any of that stuff. It’s taken for granted, because it’s your life, your home, and when you live there, you can see and do all of those things all the time. It’s no longer special or unique, and often you find yourself annoyed at the very tourists you were highlighting things to bring in. You mock their eagerness to take pictures of things that you pass every day on the way to work. As a kid, I used to get so excited to go to the CNE each year for my birthday, because part of that trip meant riding the SUBWAY! And then a STREETCAR! All before we even got to the exhibition grounds!

These days, though, I want to murder people on public transit with my bear hands, and I think my silent homicidal thoughts in their general directions. The subway and streetcar no longer hold that giddy, child-like joy for me. Rather, I am sick of them both, most days.

To be fair, though, I do get excited the first time I get to ride on a NEW transit vehicle, so I guess there is still a glimmer of that original shine, on occasion, after all.

The point is, I want to see some of the things that make other parts of Canada unique; the things that a given area is proud to show off about itself, even as the locals are over them for their normalcy. But I also want to glimpse, where possible, a bit of what the locals DO get excited about. Like, if you get the chance to treat yourself to dinner out, where do you most like to go? What’s your favourite meal to order there? Which alcoholic beverage is your go-to when you are out with friends? Just kind of get an idea of how people live in other parts of this vast country, of which I’ve only ever seen a tiny percentage. That kind of thing fascinates me, even as I allow myself to get caught up in their mundane.

Because no matter how over something we are ourselves, there’s always someone for whom it is brand new and special.

I want more of that.

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My Opinion…On Opinions

Opinions.

Everybody’s got them. Everyone is entitled to them.

Lately it feels as though more and more people are voicing them and/or sharing them on the internet, too. About everything. Even if someone doesn’t know a single fact about the subject upon which they are speaking, they are allowed – we all are allowed – to go ahead and spew forth whatever opinion we have on said matter. It’s pretty much our God-given right, and we’re going to exercise it every chance we get, dammit.

The thing is – and this is just my opinion (see what I did there?) – I’m not certain that a) any of our opinions actually matter to anyone but us, especially the uninformed ones, because b) we’re so busy screaming our opinions from the rooftops that we’re not bothering to listen to nor consider the opinion of another, but rather how to respond to them so that they’ll know they are wrong, and c) we’re basically all contributing to the rapid decline of intelligence and critical thinking in our own species.

You know…that thing that sets us apart from and above all the lowly non-human beasts of the planet.

Like, can opinions even be wrong? They can be formed upon misinformation, but can the actual opinion itself be incorrect? By definition, isn’t it really just how we feel about something based on what we believe we know about it? Wouldn’t something more concrete be more like a fact? Opinions can even change (on the rare occasion anyone bothers to inform theirs on something of a continuous basis), so can something so fluid really be considered wrong? Why are we all so eager to prove ourselves and those who agree with us to be correct in something we only feel rather than know?

If I say I feel light-headed one day, can someone else tell me that’s not how I feel? I would think that we should at least be able to agree to disagree, and yet, in most cases, the vast majority of what I see in the world – the public world – is that people can’t even do that.

I think this.”

You’re wrong, because I think this!”

We can both be right, from a certain point of view, and we can both be wrong. So sayeth Obi-Wan, kinda.

But I’m not sure opinion can be measured in a pissing contest, which is basically all we’re doing now. We’re all just peeing and then arguing about who’s pee is correct.

The funny thing is, none of our opinions even matter anymore, if they ever did. Instead of opening a discourse, all we are doing is peeing our pee, and letting others judge our pee – usually while they are also peeing and we are judging theirs – and no one is listening. I’m not listening to you, you’re not listening to me, no one else is listening to either of us.

Unless we already agree. Then we both pee and pat one another on the back for a job well done.

I was actually just thinking about this the other day. I was wondering if I should try to pass on to whoever will listen some of the things that I have learned in life thus far? Or should I focus on continued learning? Because I am fairly certain that I can not do both, at least not with any degree of success. I feel like I can focus on finding the right words to convey bits of knowledge-like gems gleaned over the past almost 44 years, or I can focus on paying attention to the world around me, and struggling to understand it better; to perhaps even understand another being’s experience with this planet, if only a tiny morsel of it.

In the latter pursuit, someone’s well-expressed opinion can help in learning a great deal, though probably the best teacher is experience – paired with mistakes – and finished off with a healthy dose of connections made in between. But it is imperative to good learning for a person to remain focused; to pay attention. To watch in silence more than speaking.

In the former quest, it’s vital to express thoughts and opinions well, and to re-frame words in different ways, in order to not only get them across, but to also confirm that you are doing so. Questions need to be asked to make sure the listener is on the same page before moving on, lest you leave them behind and with nothing to take away from the conversation at all.

Don’t be so busy talking that you forget to check in. If no one is listening at all, then you’ve failed on both counts – learning and sharing.

Neither are easy, but both are – or should be – necessary to some degree. I just feel like I personally need to focus more on one or the other for a little while. I keep thinking about trying to teach and share, but in the end, it’s my own somewhat selfish thirst for understanding that pushes me to keep watching.

And judging the rest of you. I mean, let’s be real – nobody’s perfect. At least I can admit it, though. Sometimes to my detriment, but still. I understand that I have much more to learn than I have already learned, and that even my perceived knowledge or understanding is deeply flawed, so that there is always room to grow. I am also really not good at confrontation. I find I can’t express myself very well when I am upset or passionate about whatever subject is being “discussed”. You know what, though? I don’t think the rest of you are, either. I don’t think anyone is. I’m not sure it’s even possible to have a personal, emotional stake in something and yet remain removed enough for logic and reason to overcome emotion. It’s just that most of you don’t care to give voice to your opinions so that others may come to understand them. You just think that peeing louder makes your pee more right.

And the thing is, for the most part, you don’t really know. You feel like you do, but you don’t. None of us do. But we say it, anyway, because it’s our opinion and we are entitled to it.

Maybe that’s why I prefer to just stay home with the dog and cats who live with me. I don’t have to remind myself to not read their comments.

The word ‘opinion’ looks like ‘onion’ when you type it enough.