Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Back in the Not in the Know

     I hate the newspaper.  When I was working, I never had time to read it in the morning, and the Evening News with Peter Jennings provided more than my fill of the world's major catastrophes. I didn't really need a paper. But, in '08, with the election coming, I ordered up the local daily, knowing I would soon be home in the mornings to catch up on relevant issues and events and to read every last campaign promise and stinging editorial.  Oh boy.  I was going to get back in the know.  What I learned was...there's a lot in the paper besides major catastrophes.  The paper provides every medium and minor catastrophe, as well.

     You have to look pretty hard, but once in awhile the local high school wins a championship, or someone donates a kidney to a stranger, but in general, the "news" is completely demoralizing.  Just how can people be so rotten?  Why are people so selfish and hateful. How can they be so cruel to one another?

     After a year of retirement, I still get the paper.  But, for about $100.00 a year, I've narrowed my interests to the Dodgers, and the crossword puzzle. To me, this is reasonable.  The crossword puzzle in the paper is the only one I can do.  Oh, and I read the Bridge column to my mom.  This is a good exercise in learning a foreign language.  And, once in awhile I do watch Katie Couric, to see if she has dumped that trashy white lipstick yet, but basically I have decided to be news free.  Cool.

    I mention this whole thing because, as I hurtle along the path towards my eighth decade, it dawns on me that it shortens my life to submerge myself in the rottenness of the minority, when the honest to God truth is....most people are really good.

     When I moved to my city, 35 years ago, its population was about 28,000.  It was populated with citrus grove owners and agricultural for a girl who grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs, in our new home, with oranges, lemons and avocados abounding, I felt like I was raising my children in a country village.   The population has drastically changed in nature and in number, but still, it feels like  a small town to me.

     People I know are nice.  They are friendly.  They are  helpful.  They are neighbors.   From the grocery store clerk to the nursery guy, the pharmacist to the baseball coach, people actually care about each other.  Oh, they have their own busy lives, and who doesn't require an attitude adjustment once in awhile, but they'll take out your trash when you are on vacation, and they'll chase your mail across the parking lot when a Santa Ana wind carries it away.  They'll take time to inflate your son's bicycle tire, and to pick up your eight year old from school when your baby is feverish and fretful.  They will hold the door for your wheelchair-bound mother, and they will recommend good books on the library shelf.  They'll give your kid their last water bottle at a scorching August soccer game, and they will offer you part of the blanket at an early Spring morning baseball game.

     I have friends.  Long ago friends and just last week friends.  They are decent, loyal, loving people.  And, I know I am not the only one with friends.  Everyone I know has them too.  Watch the people camping next to you at Jalama Beach, and you will find they do too.  It's everywhere.  The world is actually filled with these folks.  They don't take advantage of one another.  They don't abuse innocent people.  They fight for and live the concepts upon which our country was founded.  Their kids play..and laugh...and share.

     My generation spouted off a lot about being on the cutting edge of change.  Yet, some things we just can't fix.  This not unheard of insight comes with wisdom...the payoff for having flabby everything.  So, although I do know that we can't exactly bury our heads in the sand about world events, and indeed we need to know situations where we can really help, enjoying life, rather than being disheartened by the negative all around us, is a very good thing.  Nice people are a big part of that.  Whichever forefathers established the Golden Karma Rule Program, knew of whence they spoke. 

     Why this concept is so hard for the greedy, self-righteous minority out there, is a question, of course, for the gods.

     With the most leisure time I have had in my life since playing Pig all summer at Hermosa Beach in my teens, I am totally enjoying my chance to rejoin the affirmative.  I am feeling less anxious because of what I see all around me.  It doesn't hurt to spend lots of time with children either.  Still, extra time or not, if I can't even get myself to do daily reps with the hand weights, I sure as hell am not going to tackle changing the nature of man.  I already did my part.  I raised nice children, and they are raising them too. 

     It is empowering, though, to know that I can generate world-changing positive energy (if not world peace!) without an advanced degree in Physics.  And I don't have to be a balding barfing cow to do it.  I just need to do what the nice people do.   Right here in my little town, and anywhere I go.

You can do it too.  It's pretty easy and it works.


Important Instruction Addendum:

Be sure to wear your waders when your neighbor needs help with his septic tank leak, or your smile is at risk for flipping upside down.