This I know to be absolutely true: there are only a few people with whom you can shop. Not just anyone will do when you need a pal for a day of shopping. When you are looking for a special outfit, a pair of shoes or a new tchotchke for your home…you must be accompanied by a trusted friend, not merely an acquaintance who has not passed the test of time.
I have just the perfect shopping friend. In fact, I have two shopping buddy groups. Group A is really my best friend and I. She has stamina, excellent taste and will tell me the truth when I ask. She’s the friend that went with my daughter and me to pick out her wedding dress. She’s the friend that convinced me to get the curtain that now look fabulous in my den. She has the endurance to keep looking, the wisdom to check the price tag and she always says “Yes,” when I say, “Let’s try one more store!”
Group B consists of three Sistah-friends who are so much fun when we shop, that we might pee our pants from laughing so hard. We go antiquing, we shop in thrift stores, we help each other choose gifts for our spouses, but we know what is first and foremost of importance: “Where are we going to eat and do they serve wine?” In fact, we have been known to just skip the shopping and have an early lunch!
Have you ever seen a spider web and noticed all of its intricacies? Fine, delicate strings of beauty and grace, criss-crossing into a unique design, all part of a divine plan to nurture one of God’s creatures.
If you have ever walked into a web, you felt its stickiness and probably squealed or jumped and tried to detach it as quickly as possible.
In personal life, as in nature, there are webs everywhere. Sticky situations that can entangle even the most savvy. Fellow human beings fishing for information, masquerading as friends. Co-worker deviations aimed at tripping you up…..even the web of deceit that we ourselves weave. “I’ll just eat one more.” “He’ll never know” or “She deserved that!”
Oh, sometimes it’s not that bad, you get by with a web or two that harms no one in the making. But, other times the entanglement is real. The interlacing of fact and fiction snarl us into deception.
There is an old African proverb that says, “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.” What strength! What durability! What power!
Perhaps, it’s best to leave the web making to spiders. They are the true webmasters of this world. Beware, my friend, lest we fall into a web of danger or weave one for ourselves. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”Walter Scott.
When I studied poetry with 9th graders, I told them to look for the “shift” in a poem. “Shift happens,” I’d declare. The poem may begin with a young girl crying over a loss in her life, but then end with an epiphany about acceptance of life’s impermanence. “Notice where the poem changes course,” I’d advise. There they could discover the poem’s kernel of truth.
Making sense of this recent political shift is a challenge. I read one comment that stated, “The people have spoken. Deal with it.” However, the popular vote did not go with the guy who won. The majority of voters SPOKE for Hillary. How do we all deal with the discrepancy? I do not believe the election was rigged or flawed, but I feel utter disbelief and confusion that so many voters supported a person I consider a bully and an instigator.
I taught public school for 34 years, and I saw kids from ages 5 to 17 who acted like this person does. I dealt with fearful, ignorant bullies who mimicked and insulted other students who were different. I handled these public assaults by counseling both the bully and his/her target. Other times I dealt with trouble-makers who tried to start fights in classes and in courtyards by using prejudice and hate to spur others to violence. Often these ringleaders would stir up the more impressionable or discontented kids in an effort to create chaos. These were kids and teens. How do we deal with adult bullies and instigators?
Calm and rational words do not tame people full of unpredictable bluster and unnecessary tantrums. How did a person who blurts out immature insults and encourages others to chant asinine threats gain the most powerful position in our government? And how do the people who voted against him handle our new reality? There is no ISS (In School Suspension) or expulsion for this bully. We are charting new territory now. Teachers often guide students who have opposing views to listen to one another and to learn how to compromise and collaborate. Who will guide this self-obsessed bully?
Let me remember that “Shift happens” in life as well as in poetry. Our country has felt a monumental shift. I have given up on predictions and likelihoods. Anything can happen. Right this moment fear and worry rule my head, yet I do not know what this major shift will bring us. All of us need to be observant and vigilant. Instead of whining and crying, let us use intelligence, wisdom, and strength to outwit instigators and out-maneuver bullies. Bullies may sometimes be beaten with hate and violence. However, blustery bullies may also be subdued with clever elements of surprise. If we reach out and connect with those whose views are different from ours, if we seek to understand and to learn from our differences, we may navigate this frightening shift in productive ways. The shift HAS happened. Now let us seek to understand its message. I am still confused, but I do know we all need to learn from each other and work at finding new American epiphanies. More of us have to come together and cooperate to navigate this new SHIFT.
A few weeks before Halloween, the stores are filled with Jack-O’-Lanterns, costumes, candy and all things pumpkin spice. ( Pumpkin spice ice cream, creamers, bagels and more..) But, like three or four days before Halloween, BOOM! Everything goes on sale and Christmas decorations are being stocked on the shelves, advertising lay-away plans and Santa’s arrival. When did Halloween become the new Christmas?
And, where is Thanksgiving? Oh sure, there’s a few Pilgrim pictures up, lots of turkeys and a cornucopia thrown in for good measure, but, basically that’s it. The most unbelievable yet is that Sirius Radio began their Christmas Music station on November 1st. I hadn’t even eaten the last of the Halloween candy.
Hurry up!!! Be thankful! But, more important….Be Good! Be Nice! And avoid the ‘Naughty List’ at all cost. Yikes! I’m beginning to feel that stress creeping up…..hurry, hurry, “It’s” almost here!
Let’s make a pact to slow down. Let’s finish that last fun-size Snicker bar. Let’s make a gratitude list and name everyone and everything we are grateful for. More importantly, let’s calm that outward hype to start the mad countdown to Christmas. Let’s at least stop and smell the pumpkin spice! Is anyone with me?