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Language Log

Friday, Nov. 06, 2009 - 6:31 a.m.

J is off gallivanting again, this time to Calgary.

We took the baby care class the other night, and suddenly the whole thing seems completely overwhelming. Just the removal of all potentially consumable toxins/ small choke-on-able objects to high places seems like an insurmountable task. My studio alone is a death trap. *sigh*

The Ft. Hood incident. Indeed. I think it says something bad about me that I immediately wonder about the motives of the shooter-- this time I thought, oh great, a Muslim. Dial back the tolerance level in the country to 2002 levels, regardless of what his motives were. And if he actually was politically motivated, then so much the worse. It pains me to see people be supplied with reinforcement for their biases. The people killed, the damage done to the morale and sense of security on the base-- that's the first round of things to lament. It goes without saying. But I also lament how this guy did something that potentially will provide ammunition to the xenophobes. (The fact that he was as American as I am, born and raised, doesn't change the fact that it's the xenophobes who will react.)

Hah. Even my mom said something about she wondered if it were an AlQaeda plot. I said, mom, AlQaeda tends to plan big attacks, not encourage isolated individuals to go nuts with a handgun. "12 people dead! That's not big?" No, not by AlQaeda standards, no. Probably it's PTSD, I said. Talking out of my ass. I'm glad the guy is still alive so they have a chance of getting his story on the matter.

Topic shift to a long, family-related grumbling/ranting. Move along now, it will probably bore you.
Mom also asked (she occasionally has rounds of asking me if I've heard from this or that person) if I'd heard from my nephew A (no doubt hoping I'd say no so she could complain about how no one ever hears from him). In fact, he had called me just that day, but I hadn't called him back yet. She gets her info about him this way: Nephew B talks to my brother and tells him about Nephew A. My brother, who is mad at A because A won't talk to him because my brother is a vile person and an alcoholic, filters it through his self-serving alcoholic haze and reports it to her. And then she tells me about it as if it were gospel (not gossip), all in this tone that would make you think that nephew A was the biggest failure in the family. Actually, Nephew A is my favorite (I like the other one too, but I talk to A more).

So this time it was, "His mother is just keeping him there, he doesn't work, just goes to school and she pays his rent! And she doesn't help poor Nephew B at all."
My response (which I have to put here, as I've given up arguing with her about it much): Nephew B has a wife and 4, going on 5 kids. He's several times more expensive to help. And she doesn't really know how much his mother may or may not be helping them. Also, Nephew B is going to college. Lots of people go to college with their parents paying the rent. He's a little older than most at this point, sure, but he's the only one of the two who has a chance to go, so maybe she wants to help him with that. Crazy, huh? The grapevine has it that he made a stupid mistake in his relationship with his ex girlfriend, the mother of his son, but it wasn't any worse than mistakes that my brother has made, so....

My mom paid my rent until I began living with my ex. And she even paid for a few things then that in retrospect I wish she hadn't. She has had her alcoholic son living with her her for years now. And I have no doubt that if she had more money, she would be doing even more. But somehow, her grandson is beyond the pale....

Just, you know, take people for what they are and then either choose to love them or let them go.

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