Quickie: Reality checks for 03.30.17

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Today’s reality checks. Just doing a quick driveby on the blog today!

Good

  • Had delicious breakfast from yogurt/fruit/nuts/grains extravaganza we call Swedish oatmeal. And chocolate-frosted cake and cheesecake muffins (with an Oreo on the bottom) are still players in the office fridge. Not to mention the slab of steak left over from last night’s dinner out. Birthday leftovers are the BEST.
  • Got my daily serving of a corny joke first thing, courtesy of younger daughter.

Meh

  • At work super early. I *love* riding in with my husband when we carpool. Not so much in love with the concepts of “rising early” and “morning.”
  • I’m wearing the farty sandals today (the snug-fitting heel makes a poofy little sigh with every step).

Boooooo

  • IBS, stop your rumblings! You are NOT on today’s agenda.

 

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Book review: “Every Day” by David Levithan

As young adult novels go, “Every Day” by David Levithan is a pleasant read. It’s one of the books that attracted me with its fascinating premise rather than its writing style, which is plain and sparse enough that the writing itself fades into the background of the story (and I’m fine with that).

The main character, “A,” wakes up in a different body each day and has done so since his/her earliest memories. His sex, gender identity, race, and mental/physical health conditions change according to the body occupied for the day. I’m going to say “he/his/him” for the rest of this review because that seemed to be his usual gender identity and also for simplicity’s sake in discussing this.

There are a few spoilers below (mostly just the first bullet). Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (But after all, this is a 2012 book, right?)

Things I liked

His love interest, Rhiannon, realizes that love alone isn’t always enough to make a relationship work. More young women should be emotionally and mentally strong enough to separate “want” from “not good for me.” She’s honest when she tells him that the complications of his existence aren’t part of the life she wants. (Reminds me of when I broke up with a long-ago boyfriend who was a decent enough guy but not quite right for me. He was headed toward a future I didn’t want, and I didn’t see myself living a contented life with someone who “joked” by constantly putting me down. Dominance in the relationship was a must-have for him. Also, he felt as if I had to stay with him unless I convinced him that the decision was right, as if dating implies a marital contract and I required his permission to leave.)

The book explores some of the “how” puzzles and the “what if” complications that make the premise so pleasing. What if that day’s body is depressed or injured? What’s his moral responsibility to save or help that person, or at least not fuck up that person’s life with the day’s actions? Does the person whose body is occupied retain any memories? What’s it like to be a gay person and feel utterly at home in that person’s skin? What’s the range of how far he jumps into another body? What if he’s not alone? Can he learn any control of the process? Are there others like him who haven’t developed a moral compass? How much does the mind have to struggle with the body and its needs, flaws or addictions? (Quite a lot, actually.)

Getting it just right: The description of jumping into a suicidal girl’s life for a day felt very real.

The book leaves some questions unanswered: I like not having every conclusion spoonfed to me, so my imagination can fill in the blanks. What’s the mechanism for his consciousness jumping? What in his life led him to have a moral compass? What are his views on religion? What has helped him cope with the loneliness? How did he escape becoming mentally ill?

It wasn’t a Pollyanna ending. I’m usually ambivalent about endings that aren’t heartwarming, but this one worked, at least logically. He made a selfless decision that was right for the girl he loved, a decision that was true to his values. But my heart ached for hm just a little. It was a bittersweet ending, and I wanted a glimimer of happily-ever-after possibilities for him, even in the far future. (Then again, he’s just 16. There’s a lot of life ahead.)

Things that made me think “Meh”

I didn’t like the cover. It looks like a fancy ARC rather than a fully designed book. It wasn’t enough to deter me from buying it, obviously, but I wouldn’t have explored this book if not for the recommendation of a reviewer I like.

The one thing I really detested

The last quarter-inch thickness of pages is a separate prequel story about the same main character. So that meant that the ending sneaked up on me. SO disappointing when I was expecting a richer closure to the book. It just STOPPED. I wanted to pinch the author and drag him back to his keyboard and say, “No, no, no, no, no. Uh-uh. Get back to work, buddy. Seriously, damn it.”

Hmmpf. I’m still miffed.

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Dear Mansplainer: Have you tried listening?

Earlier this morning I was sharing a story about some suited douchebag who decided it would be his personal statement to hump the “Fearless Girl” statue. (You know the one — the tiny lass standing, arms akimbo, in front of the Wall Street bull. Thanks to Alexis Kaloyanides on Facebook for making this distasteful humpery a public story, by the way.)

So after I shared this literal assault on feminism, a friend of a friend decided he needed to hop onto my Facebook page and mansplain to me how the placement of the girl’s statue invited bad attitudes and “defaced” tradition. … Say what?

Here’s the exchange (at least so far):

My friend: Disgusting!!!

Her douchey guy friend: Disgusting, true but why put the statie there in the firat place. It’s just a nose tweak…

Me: Meh, douches like that consider anything other than slobbering adoration as a nose tweak. I say let’s install inspiration everywhere we can. Let the jerks sort themselves out while they sputter (and hump) in protest.

The douchey guy: The bull statue on Wall Street has been an icon for a very long time. So where does it end? Should we put a statue of dead Vietnamese in front of the Vietnam Memorial? Or maybe a statue of a Syrian refugee in front of the Statue of Liberty? Or how about a statue of a dead Confederate soldier facing Lincold at the Lincoln Memorial? What ever happened to decorum and common sense?

Me: I’m not going to jump on board and slide down your slippery slope with you. It’s not a statue of a vulva. It’s a little girl. If that violates your decorum, then your decorum is too delicate to be out and about in public. (Or you are just looking for someone to argue with.)

Return of the douche: Just saying that some traditions are worth keeping, some are not. When we start defaming those traditions then our society and republic are indeed on a slippery slope.

Me: Just saying that this is your view. And it’s not mine. It’s not “defaming” to place a statue of a little girl in front of a bull statue that is a well-known tourist attraction & tradition for people who want to rub its balls. (Look it up.) Could you BE any more ironic/blind? How does the image of a child being brave to a stronger force somehow defame your traditions or values?

I feel sure it will devolve into more sputtering on his part until I block his nonsense. I often face this dilemma. Do I take out my file and wear down the edges of his patronizing attitude, or preserve my peace of mind and banish him from my space? After all, I don’t know him from Adam. (It’s often this exact person — a friend of a friend — who butts into MY social media space with his unsolicited opinion. And quite often with a patronizing attitude.)

I feel like I should keep speaking, because they need to hear opposing voices. And it’s a Catch-22 when I decide to just block such people, because I believe it ups their smugness quotient. So, when I have the time and the energy (and often when I do not), I will:

  • Point out that the world changes, and we must change with it or become obsolete. Tradition for tradition’s sake doesn’t make allowances for the current needs of the living.
  • Show that it’s the duty of the privileged to protect and help those who are not so fortunate.
  • Show that it’s the duty of the brave to stand up when we can, even if afraid.
  • Explain that the objector is actually privileged and unseeing when he insists on “protecting” some viewpoint, practice or tradition that is harmful to others.
  • Keep on keeping on.

#Resist.

 

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