Tag Archives: social problems

A Touch of Home

[a short story –  by Sha’Tara

“Beautiful day, huh?” The slim brunette in the sleeveless black pantsuit doesn’t even look at Steven as she pours the coffee into the ornate, obviously home-made mug and hands it to him, taking his “toonie”[*] and two quarters for payment. He waves the change and walks to the window, to the only small table left unoccupied. He sips the hot dark roast and scans through his paper.

As many experts at reading the once bulky commercial dailies will tell you, there’s a certain art to this, one I’ve never bothered learning. You don’t actually read news or stories. You go through it page by page taking mental notes of relevant items to get into later. You skip the fashion, cars and trucks, and entertainment or sports sections if these are not your thing. Later, during your next break or back at home, you attack the pieces you hope will hold your interest long enough to provide a “shift” or a time of forgetting.

“Mind if I sit here?” A tall man in a grey suit points at the only seat left in the entire Java Hut coffee house.

“Not at all.” Steven points to the empty rattan chair. “I don’t own the place although at the prices they charge here I should have shares in it by now.”

The tall man sits down, puts his paper cup down. “If you don’t like these prices why don’t you go to Tim Horton’s down the street?”

“And do line-ups? I value my time. Beside I like to be able to taste coffee, not just hot water and sugar.”

“Ah, the very reason I frequent this establishment. Interesting mug you have there. Your own, obviously?”

“You’re either a lawyer or an investigator, sir!”

The grey suit laughs. “I do a bit of both actually; lawyering and sleuthing that is. I have a traffic case at 11:00 today as a matter of fact. Can’t really discuss it, you understand. But that mug is fascinating. It has a story: I can almost hear it speak.”

“A touch of home, sir, uh, ah?”

“Sorry. Al. My name is Albert Delisle, attorney at law and at large.” He laughs again and extends a strong tanned hand, impeccably manicured. Steven extends his and the handshake is firm, almost too eager; the grip of a professional golfer.

Steven continues, “I’ve had this mug for twelve years now as of yesterday. My daughter Katherine made it in a pottery class she was taking as an extra-curricular activity in her last year of school…” Steven stops talking and holds the fading white odd-shaped mug with both hands, hands of a man old before his time. Tears begin to flow from his eyes and the lawyer touches his arm.

“Sorry to stir up painful memories my friend, uh… no, don’t tell me your name. You must be Steven Baillie.”

Steven appears shaken and startled by the mention of his name from someone he’s never met. “That’s right. That’s my name. How did you know…?”

The lawyer stops him. “Sorry to startle you as well as upset you. If you tell me the story of this mug I’ll explain how I know your name.”

“Ah, yes. Twelve years ago my wife Jean went to pick up our daughter Susan at school to take her shopping for a grad dress. On their way home after shopping a drunk driver ploughed into the mini van. His vehicle, an old Ford 4×4 was totaled but he was thrown clear and didn’t get a scratch. My wife, they said, died on impact. Susan lived for one month of pure agony afterwards but the burns were too deep… The only thing that survived from the wreck and the inferno of the mini van was this mug. She was bringing it home for me after cleaning out her locker.”

“I’m so terribly sorry sir,” says the lawyer. “The driver of the other vehicle, his name was Gerry Felton?”

“Yes. That was his name. But how can you know this, or remember these details after such a long time?”

“Research. The man I’m defending today is that same driver. He’s charged with running over an old woman crossing the street in the dark, killing her instantly. He was driving while under the influence of alcohol and a mixture of prescription drugs. These details are in your paper.”

“I know. That’s an article I’ve been reading every day for twelve years.”

[Note: a “toonie” is a Canadian $2 coin]

Little Red Barn on the Hope River

Society, the Homeless and Bleach

[Thoughts from the Other Side – Erin WilloWitch and Sha’Tara]

(A necessary preamble: Erin Willowitch is another of my several alter-egos. As her name indicates, there is a fiery edge to her; to her words. She jumps in when I get to be too much of a softy-from her point of view. ‘I am a tall, slim red-head who does not abide fawning, foolishness and deliberate ignorance. I live in nature and avoid people as much as I can. I would make my diet of rocks before I ever accepted most of what passes for intelligent arguments among Earthians.’ (Erin WW)

(and a warning: it is possible I’ve blogged this before… I haven’t got either the time or inclination to delve into the archives. Doesn’t matter, what is said here can easily bear repeating.)

Yin-yang symb2

Quote: “Certainty precludes certainty.” [Synopsis of Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty]

Quote: “Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.” [Robert Heinlein]

Quote: “The realm of the possible is infinity; the realm of the likely is confined to pre-existing conditions.” [Sha’Tara]

Quote: “Become a believer and you no longer have to be an achiever. Become an achiever and you no longer need to be a believer.” [Y-Lea of the WindWalkers]

Quote: “Love is a feeling. Like all feelings it is an effect requiring a cause; is short lived, easily perverted and burns itself out as emotion.” [Erin WilloWitch]

Corollary: If it is true that “God is love” we have the answer to the toughest question regarding God: The Great Silence. As “love,” God is an effect, not a cause. The effect was experienced when nature required its presence as creator, mover, judge and ruler. Man has arrogated divine prerogatives in all these areas thus annulling the God effect. Strictly speaking, “God” has become an icon for those who need to believe in something greater and external to themselves, external to human powers, external to nature and the human mind, external to everything they can conceive. Now ask yourself: Is it any wonder no one can agree on what “God” really is? Who could ever agree on what’s external to “me”?

I woke up angry this morning. Good angry. Dreams can do that. They can toss you around, flip you, leave you begging for mercy. Dreams can be terrible reflections in the mirror of the mind. What brought on the anger? The growing “problem” of homelessness in this burgeoning and mushrooming area. The growth boom is attracting many people to Canada’s concentrated, cooler, wetter, socially dysfunctional version of California. As always, a growing society also grows social “problems.” That’s how it is. Gradually, a population boom leads to overpopulation. But it’s a comfortable disease, one that kills the body in time but for the moment brings many benefits – or should I say gratification – at least for those who hope to profit by it.

Human society has always been a sick animal. A mindless predator that feeds on parts of itself for its own survival. It’s the nature of the beast and nothing any disempowered individual can do about it. Since it’s made up of individuals, individuals provide society’s fodder. Society is cannibalistic (it can also go ballistic, but that’s another topic.). So in a greedy and narcissistic aspect of society you end up with those elites who are served and those teeming numbers who serve them body and soul because they don’t know any better then to stand in front of the steam roller when it comes to town. They’ll even cheer it on.

Enter the homeless. Which are they? Interesting question. At first glance they appear to be victims of society. A deeper look says, “No, they are not victims. They are that ugly image of what a selfish and self-centered society portrays to itself in its mirror.” Metaphorically they represent a cancerous growth showing through society’s cheap make-up.

The real victims of society are those who are truly helpless, sucked dry to serve the higher needs. The sick who become the guinea pigs for the medical “profession” and legal drug lords. The part-time, less than minimum wage drones in the fields of dollar store commodities, shoes and clothes, fast foods, accommodation, travel and the vast network of the underpaid so-called service industry. The expendable and starving poor, those who happen to subsist on lands that contain resources the greedy desire. These are the real victims of society, the slaves and martyrs who make society “viable” for those on the higher rungs of the ladder. This is a real societal problem and for this there is a very simple solution available.

But homelessness, the kind we see in the affluent society, is different. It has no apparent solution because it’s not actually a problem per se. Homelessness results from society looking at itself in the mirror. When you look at yourself in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, the solution does not lie (!) in the mirror. Nothing you do with, or to, the mirror, will change that. The “solution” lies with you. If you cannot do anything about the way you look, then maybe it’s better not to look at the mirror. Turn it to the wall, break it, remove it. Whatever. What confronts you in the mirror is not a problem, it’s an image.

It’s easy to look at a negative situation and label it a problem. Once that’s done, society can create another bureaucracy to look into the problem, and another to solve the problem. Enter a new government department. Enter the “benevolent” organization. Enter another curse upon society, another tax burden. And who notices that as the costs of government and benevolent societies mount, so does the so-called “problem” these were set-up to resolve?

Were I installed as dictator tomorrow and the problem of homelessness brought to my attention, I would, as absolute ruler of said society, dictate the immediate round-up of the homeless to be forced into shelters (using currently vacant buildings with proper heat and sanitary facilities.) I would dictate that they be fed properly and given necessary clothing, etc. Then I would dictate that since society is looking after them, their time belongs to society. They live by rules as applying to everyone else and they are put to work in areas now lacking workers due to lack of funds. Case closed. The problem is not solved since it wasn’t a problem, but the situation is resolved. And I don’t want to hear about this again. Next?

As an individual, which thankfully I am, and not as dictator, I have a solution to the situation of homelessness. Since it is a mirror image of a selfish and decadent society, let’s change what is being reflected, not the reflection. Let’s deal with the real problem, not the symptom. Let’s change “us” as individuals. Let’s turn from our narcissism and selfishness, our sickening greed, and teach ourselves to look at our neighbor with “love”. Let’s no longer accept that “God’s in his heaven, the CEO in his penthouse, the bankster on the phone with the CEO, the President robbing the poor to pay the rich, and all’s well with the world.” The self-centeredness creating that ugly image in the mirror has to go. We want beauty to reflect back to us, so let’s become beautiful, in our hearts and minds. The rest will take care of itself.

It only seems impossible because it hasn’t been done. Let’s move from the realm of the “likely” into the realm of the possible. By doing it. Now. If we become achievers, we won’t have to be believers. Another relief. Another burden removed from society as a whole.

Speaking of God, some churches’ staff still believe there is one. A downtown church’s billboard proudly announces that God is like bleach because he removes the toughest stains. Which tells us that God has a name: Javex. Makes sense, that being the Modern American translation for the old Biblical name of Jehovah. I have used a lot of God in my bathroom over the years. I never realized we were so close. A word of caution though, don’t take him internally.