It is cold outside. Heck, it’s cold inside, too.
Between snowstorms and below-zero temps, I am struggling to find a coherent reason for why I remain in the Upper Midwest. I just can’t seem to come up with one, yet . . . I know that I’ll never leave. It’s just so daunting to deal with right now. As someone who’s previously experienced the joys of frostbite, let me tell you now that it’s no joke. A cool wind will make my hands and feet ache, and with the wind chill hovering near -10ºF, the mere thought of going outside can be painful.
Yesterday was only my second trek out of the house since last Saturday, and it was the first trip made of my own volition. I needed to run to the dry cleaners, but first, I needed to dig my car – Indiana Jones style – out of a week’s worth of snow and ice. The recovery process took nearly thirty minutes, but despite the care I’d taken for myself – two pairs of socks, gloves, a sweater atop my shirt and T-shirt – I was left with virtually no real feeling in either foot or hand as I finally managed to take off. With the heat and defrost on full blast, it was still nearly a half-hour before my limbs went from frozen to cold, and then from cold to just painful. Once my laundry was dropped off, I ran three other errands that were pretty close to one another, and then I made my way home. I could feel again, but that’s not saying much. My best attempts to winterize my apartment have failed yet again; I wonder if there’s more cold air inside right now than out, and this didn’t help.
Maybe this exposure to the cold has hardened my heart a bit.
This morning, I received an e-mail from someone who – admittedly – I don’t know very well; a “friend of a friend” situation, if you will. We’d been in occasional communication – not best friends, but on the way to a decent friendship. It’s complicated.
Anyway, the e-mail was apparently a mass-e-mail and it dealt with a political topic. Most people who know me know that I am loath to discuss politics in public. With very close family members? Maybe. With the Little Woman? Probably. With people with whom I have scant relationships? Never. I’m old school – no discussions of money, religion, or politics. I’ll touch on these topics if we’re talking history: “The Thirty Years War was a religious war and here’s why,” or “When adjusted for inflation, the cost of a candy bar in 2019 is roughly the same as it was in 1982,” but anything modern or beyond this is a no-no.
Younger Me was very political and didn’t care who knew. Younger Me was more willing to engage in risk – I had a Devil-May-Care attitude, when I think about it, and many of the things I said, did, or the ideas I embraced, are things that have been a constant source of pain and regret. I hurt people I loved, and some hurt me back. I had something to say, and by golly, you were going to hear it! But somewhere along the line, personal responsibility came into my world and that just wrecked it for me. The idea that I could lose out on an opportunity because of something I’d said years earlier never occurred to me. The idea that someone might hold me accountable for my logic – totally foreign concept. When all of that started to settle on me, it was eye-opening.
Just because you can say something, doesn’t mean you should.
Ordinarily, I’d just blow past a missive like this, but not this time. I’m hesitant to call the e-mail in question “offensive,” because it was and then some. I don’t mind the sender’s political orientation – that’s a private affair – but rather than stopping with, “I believe in X,” the sender decided to keep talking, using examples that were taken out of context or reshaped into new ones. Suddenly, events that weren’t political now are, with conspiracies where none previously existed. What really did it for me, though, was the demand that “YOU WILL LISTEN, OR ELSE!”
Remember, this was supposed to be a generic “How are you all” e-mail.
I’m sorry, but I am not interested in nonsense like this. I don’t need it in my e-mail box, nor do I need it contaminating my day. Pleas to “seek out the truth,” are pointless when one envelops such demands with deliberate misrepresentations. The whole thing was just weird. No, not weird – it was sick. And then to learn that I’d been placed on a group e-mail? Really?
I think part of that recovery I spoke of in the past involves abandoning those people who might otherwise be nice people, yet still manage to bring some measure of toxicity to the table. It’s like dealing with an enabler who means well; in the long run, they can be your worst enemy since they’re undoing your plans “with love.” I’ve effectively blocked the sender for the time being, both because of this e-mail and the fact that my in-box blew up with group responses that I didn’t want. Maybe once my ire cools (I wish it would warm my limbs instead), I might reconsider and try to develop a friendship, but we’ll see.
I’m just angry about this, I guess.
Like I said, it’s cold outside.