Monday, November 3, 2014

The Foundations of Morality

Today I'm annoyed. Just annoyed. Don't ask me why, I couldn't tell you. No. That's a lie. It's a lie I keep telling myself to excuse the senseless crap around me that tries to drive me insane. It's the lie I keep trying to repeat to myself so that I can believe it. Because if I will myself to believe in that lie, I would have no reason to feel this annoyed. And these feelings aren't accomplishing anything in the world I live in. Why am I annoyed? Little things really. Small miniscule thoughts that really seem in sequential to the bigger picture of life. Some days the topic changes with passing thought, but they accumulate like the small basket of laundry sitting at the foot of your bed. What starts out as a pair of dirty socks, multiplies to an entire wardrobe in the blink of an eye. And it annoys me - it really does. Perhaps what triggered these feelings was a random commercial I spied on a DVR'd episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents - I love the classics. Once there was a time, so very long ago it seems, when I couldn't force myself to sit through any programming that didn't include the entire color spectrum. These days, I have a bit more patience for them. Not because I've conditioned myself to tolerate watching a story that only included shades of grey, but because condemning a story plot simply for the medium in which it was filmed was only robbing myself of the glimpse into thoughts of the past. I'm just nosy like that - but I digress. This year is an election year. Not the sort of election that would bring everyone to the polls in droves of yellow school buses, but one that holds the balance of local government in its ballots. It's also that time when all the mudslinging comes out that nauseates me like riding a ship on breaking waters. Why anyone would put their trust in any official that would stoop to such undignified levels for a vote is beyond me. Personally, I'd rather someone take office that has since graduated from the ranks of 6th grade recess behavior. But apparently, I stand in the minority with this thinking. I'm fairly certain of this fact, because it's these very behaviors that are running in office at this time - and I didn't vote for them. These same officials have thrown a bill on the ballot asking for funds to rebuild schools already in place. The last election, they vied for funds to remodel these same schools and just began construction a year before elections - smells fishy, right? The marketing campaign around this bill is that our children deserve to have a modern environment in which they can optimally learn in. Uhhhh.....what? Listen, I know it's been a few decades since I walked the halls of my high school A1ma Mater, but I got a memory like an elephant and the ass to match one too. It's one of the very same schools that over the years, the city has taken to remodel and improve for safety reasons - not that I agree with this excuse, since I lived through that education, but I'm not opposed to a few new curtains and a fresh bed of roses on the front lawn, so who am I to fuss over the idea? Thousands of tax dollars have been filtered into rebuilding this school - I consider it rebuilding because I could walk in there today and barely recognize any landmarks that would indicate it was once the same school I spent my teen years counting the seconds like a convict on death row - as I'm sure thousands of kids before and after me did as well. Anyway, back to this commercial - they've remodeled, but apparently, it's just not good enough. The only way we are going to be able to provide an optimal learning environment for our children is if we completely rebuild new schools for them. Certainly, if we are the loving and caring parents we profess to be, we'll open up our pocket books and make this goal a reality. Otherwise, we force them to live a life in stupidity where they will forever chase behind other children of their generation who were given the privilege of learning in a school optimally designed for this purpose. Exactly who writes this crap anyway? Cause apparently, I'm in the wrong job market and I imagine I could have come up with some sort of bull manure that sounds better than this. Seriously, are the walls about to cave in? Is there asbestos in the ceiling or lead paint on the walls someone can't sandblast off? These are the only ideas in my mind that would constitute a need to completely demolish and rebuild. I've struggled my entire life. I can attest, that anything someone wants to stand next to me to designate as a measure of my worth, I earned and worked for. While condemning myself to sound like an old fart who can't stand the wheels of change - I'm happy to have what I have. I don't own a mansion or a yacht, heck, I don't even own a car worth stealing. But I earned what I have and pay for what I still owe because I loathe the idea of having to owe someone my life. I pay a mortgage on a house older than the high school I spent my teen years in. It's not modern. It's not fancy. Take a tour of my house and you'll barely find one new electronic amenity. My house is NOT worth looting. And I like it. I like the comfort of knowing there's absolutely nothing I possess that would entice someone to break in and take from me. The walls are sturdy. I paint them often. The flooring is new. The water heater and furnace are both under 5 years old and were only replaced when the previous units could no longer provide service. I still own the same blasted pea green refrigerator that came with the house when I signed the mortgage. And it works. Keeps the food cold - that's the purpose. It doesn't have a filtered water dispenser, nor one of those sensors that warns you when you forgot to close the door. It just keeps the food cold. Purpose served. When something wears out or breaks at my house, I get it fixed. I don't insist someone tear it down and buy me a new one. I don't use the age of my house as an excuse for my or my children's ignorance. It's not alive. It doesn't think. It serves a purpose; to keep my family and me safe and warm in a world of "debatable" climate warming and to house the amount of crap I've acquired in my existence. It's not the best house in the neighborhood, nor the envy of the neighbors, but it's clean, well-kept, and well loved for the comfort it gives. Purpose served. Houses and buildings and things do not define what lies inside. The success or failure of a family is based on the heart and not what houses it. Much like a marriage, it takes constant tending and work. The answer is not to shriek from responsibility and a bit of hard work, nor to pack a bag and run towards greener pastures. The answer is the commitment that comes within. I am committed to caring for my family in the best way I can. The hope here is that my children will never know the pain of struggle or hunger in their existence. And perhaps in that environment, they can find a way to make the world a better place than it was before them. I have simple goals. None, which revolve around an eye pleasing appearance or sustaining the urge or envy of others. What is important in this house and its simplistic four walls and two bathrooms, is what goes on inside. There is love. There is learning. And it's constant, because that's what I feel is important for growth. Meals are cooked IN THE KITCHEN. Most times - from scratch. Not because I'm vying for a "super mom" award of sorts, but because it enables me to control what goes into nourishing their bodies. Certainly, there are better things I could be doing. God knows I have a large collection of books, movies and crafts that could keep me busy and entertained for endless hours. But there is a priority here - and that priority is growing what is within those four walls. That's what's annoying me. I'm certain of it. If the campaign claim on new schools is due towards optimal learning - it's a farce of mass proportions. It's not the building, it's what's inside. Quit relying on cheap excuses to explain personal shortcomings. If the idea is to seduce a population to live in the area in hopes of revitalizing and revamping a dying economy - think again. Google and statistics will be your demise. You could put on your prettiest dress and several layers of make-up in hopes of convincing the world of your worth. In the end, you're only lying to yourself. The measure of worth comes from within each of us. It's determination is not only what you see as you pass it on the street. If you want to see change in the community, don't begin with such trifle amenities. Begin with what dwells in your own four walls. Take pride in what you have - no matter how small and make it the best you can. That's what really matters in life. Everything else is just a diversion from the truth.