I Don’t Like You. I’ve Written Why

I was just doing the silliest thing. I was planning a little get together.

Now, it’s funny the way my mind works. I tend to be old fashioned, I tend to consider manners (so as not to appall my mother), and like to do things (in my long forgotten world of courtesies) appropriately. So, I was looking out the window to my right at the back yard and thought how lovely it would be to have a little barbecue back there. Especially at this time of day. Everything back there is lavishly lit by the sun, or sheltered in the shade of a ligustrum.

I was going to invite the kids that live on the property. There is a young man in his probable early 30’s in the studio I used to live in, and a young woman just shy of that age that lives in the cottage. We’ll just get one of this little charcoal grills that go for practically nothing, grab some Bubba Burgers, fill a cooler full of beer then play a little horseshoe or croquet. Nothing fabulous.

I was all ready to write out a little note to put on their doors, “Come by Sunday if you can. We’re going to have a little cookout and we’d love to for you to come.”

Then I started thinking that kids these days think differently. With such an attention to social media etiquette, social graces are often forgotten about.

And I was soooo ready to spend a lovely time writing about the importance of social graces and how important that is when it comes to interacting with people….

But, I didn’t get a chance to. While day dreaming about how to introduce ourselves by having a social gathering, the news reminded me of the reality.

Social gatherings are now forbidden. Especially with total strangers. And the nasty question pushed itself forward, “Will I be reprimanded for having more than three people in my own back yard?”

Phillip and I took the bus to my new Publix yesterday. It was his day off. I was so proud of having taken the trip by myself a few days before and wanted him to see how pleasant an outing it really is. When we got on the bus he saw all of these signs that say, “Please do not sit in this seat. Maintain social distance.” I plopped down right next to him. He asked, “What if they say something?” I responded, “I’ll tell them we sleep in the same bed, and piss in the same bathroom. We’re good.”

So, despite my desire to have a nice afternoon getting to know my neighbors, those delightful powers that be have said otherwise. I couldn’t hold a simple burger and beer bash for 4 people if I wanted to. There is at least some moral argument about it….and some legal ones, too.

The social graces I subscribe to have been augmented into social distancing measures that keep us politely apart rather than engaged. The problem, though, is that humans are gregarious by nature.

We need to mingle. We need to all flock to the water cooler and gossip. We all need to be around each other at births and funerals. These are shared experiences of the human. These are moments that everyone alive or dead can understand. These moments aren’t bound by culture. They’re bound by experiences this species has endured for several millennia.

The majority of humans don’t like separation from each other. And this cloud of people you cling to doesn’t always come in the form of followers on social media. It can be an entire metropolis, or your simple church community of 20. We are designed to be around other people so that we can exchange information, ideas, debate, procreate, protect and survive.

I have often thought that the reason we collapse in tears when we are emotionally broken is just to set off the natural instinct in other humans to hug, tend to, and help. We were designed with each other in mind. We were designed to cling to each other, to be watchful over each other, to shield one another from harm.

You cannot apply race to this equation, nor even nationality. Do your best, but it doesn’t work. Our inherent nature to care for one other comes from heroes who give their own lives to save others. That is how far the human will go. They will sacrifice themselves so that others may survive. That tells you everything you need to know about the level of compassion people have for each other.

Martyrs remind us that human nature is truly about the concern of someone else. It’s only the fashionably pious that convince us otherwise, while even they learn the new rules of outrage each day. (…..God love ’em).

I hear far too many cries, far too many pleas for social justice by right of aggression, by right of war. I hear this horrible howl of attack, rather than a plea for defense. This nasty scream heard louder than any death dirge doesn’t wish to console, nor care for. It wishes only to shred, to attack and to destroy anyone within earshot of it’s beautifully twisted message.

It wants you to comply with it’s message of separation, it’s message of revenge, it’s message of orderly compliance to just rid the whole damn world of everything they despise or disagree with.

And that just isn’t human nature. Because the only time human nature is suppressed is when it turns to anger for support. The only time true human nature is suppressed is when it rejects compassion and demands submission to anger.

I am hoping the Black Lives Matter cause won’t last long and I am so grateful for that, for if it is one thing I am certain of is that good always wins. And you don’t stand for any sort of good that I can think of. Every major corporation has given you millions. A giant GoFundMe was just set up by every major company known to man….you’d think there would be no more need for state welfare.

Your methods should be studied in marketing classes all across America…..wait. Damn, I guess that’s where you learned those tactics to begin with.

But, I won’t lie. Those tactics are powerful. They are truly improved weapons in the war on hearts and minds. (Oh look! New marketing classes are being organized right now, as we speak, teaching little businesses how to comply with Black Lives Matter.)

My only defense is prayer, mindfulness, my own sense of self, and being honest about it all.

And speaking of being honest, you know what else pisses me off? I sat down to write about a barbecue with my neighbors right now and somehow, you managed to hijack that, too.

I’m compelled to love you, but I just don’t like you and I’ve written why.


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  1. Social distancing has nothing to do with Black Lives Matter, it’s about not spreading a very contagious virus( as you well know)…
    What are the perimeters in your state, have you researched? In my state, being outside, staying 6 feet apart and wearing a mask is the mandate and, from personal experience works perfectly. Why would this not work for you?

    1. Well, now, yes it actually does, as I have seen little social distancing at the “peaceful protests”, so it seems that protesters get a free pass while ordinary citizens get the shaft from a media that is complicit in keeping people like you in fear of a virus that has a lower mortality rate than the flu. Why does living in a free country not work for you?

      1. Joan, social distancing should have nothing to do with politics.

        Social distancing, hand hygiene, and face covering to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets have been demonstrated to work against the spread of the virus. Wearing eyeglasses instead of contact lenses keeps people from touching their eyes as often. Again, it is not political.

        This virus is nasty. Everyone is responsible to do their part. Let’s take care of one another. A study by the University of Washington published May 7 in the journal Health Affairs had this to say:

        “The national rate of death among people infected with the novel coronavirus — SARS-CoV-2 — that causes COVID-19 and who show symptoms is 1.3%, the study found. The comparable rate of death for the seasonal flu is 0.1%”. And there is a flu vaccine. There is no vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. Yet, but one is coming.

        To equate public health guidelines with what you’ve seen on the media and you call a “free pass” is to conflate the issue and bring politics into a health care crisis. The virus is 100% apolitical. It infects everyone equally. Guidelines are in place to break the chain of infection. The difference between the political and the scientific ways of thinking may become the difference between life and death.

    2. BLM is exempt from social distancing rules. A lot of states even exempt you from a mask if you’re black. This is discriminatory. BLM is a now a giant Mafia, shaking down even the smallest businesses and if you disagree with them you get canceled.

      1. Ahh. So one single county (not a state-wide exemption), and it’s already been repealed? I guess hyperbole isn’t the same as dishonesty, but it’s pretty close.

      2. The short-lived exemption was enacted to prevent BIPOC from being unduly targeted; a flawed execution, to be sure, but it’s hard to paint the intent as insidious (unlike the Jim Crow laws still in effect in the US.)

  2. Gregory, you go right ahead and invite those lovely neighbors of yours to that bbq. You have fun and enjoy being with Phillip and the neighbors!

  3. Gregory. My dear Gregory. Your power with words…You convey hope, enthusiasm, empathy, understanding, aggravation and indignancy. Frustration and anger. But not hopelessness, and that is so important right now. Wish you were having that cookout. I wish those “younguns” next door would reach out, too, so you could be comfortable in that “Let’s share time and comestibles together” invitation. Long and very serious health issues in this family have made us cautious, but not crazy or inappropriately rude…I would be grateful for the attempt to connect in such a way, whether I accept the invitation or not.

  4. I’m curious as to “why” you think it would be a good idea to have a BBQ with young people right now, with the headlines from the Orlando paper reading: “Death toll grows by 156 as state reports nearly 14,000 new cases
    Orange County makes up 1,400 of Florida’s 13,965 new positive coronavirus cases”
    Source: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2020/07/16/florida-coronavirus-update-nearly-14000-new-cases-as-hospitalizations-grow-by-491/

    Is it a hypothetical BBQ? No? Yikes. I can’t imagine that you’ve posted a controversial post in order to get more clicks to your site.

    By your own account, you ride the bus every day to go grocery shopping. The CDC advises all Americans to limit travel. In fact, the expert advice is clear: “Because travel increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick”.

    As a nurse, I am at a loss to understand why so many Americans
    do not take this virus seriously. It’s disappointing, because it did not have to come to this. Didn’t you read about what happened in NY? As a New Yorker I’m horrified that people in other states are going through what we went through in March and April. How many people have to die? For what? Burgers? Really? Learn from us, please.

    I’m concerned for you, and your husband, and your neighbors, (who you do not know yet, but who you should be trying to protect by minimizing contact). I’m assuming you’d like to get to know them. Why not wait until the virus is better in control in your area to meet up, but extend the invite now for a future date.

    COVID-19 is a horrible virus. It’s hard but stay strong. Stay tough. Stay loving. Stay home. Stay safe.

    And for goodness sake, wash your hands, for 20 seconds, and wear a mask because it keeps others safe from your droplets.

      1. Yeah, I did. I read the essay. I guess I couldn’t get past the “need” to have a BBQ (with new neighbors who are essentially strangers) before getting to the section about BLM. I’m just curious as to why.

    1. Thank you for this.. folks seem to forget that with freedom comes responsibility, and all everyone seems to be thinking of, is their own inconvenience. Funny, no one has mentioned any of the political rallies, held indoors with thousands of mask less people, no social distancing…

  5. Beautifully written. I couldn’t agree more. By the way, in Texas, you can have gatherings of ten or less. Maybe there is still hope for that barbeque?

  6. No reason why you can’t have a socially distanced “Getting to know your neighbors”. Set out four chairs – six feet apart and put the cooler & food in the middle. Make sure everyone wears a mask and stays well distanced. Heck, when I have the grandkids over for a patio party we don’t bother with the masks as they are on one side of the patio and we are on the other. It can work. And in these times of solitude probably more necessary than you realize.

  7. In Nashville people in neighborhoods are getting together every night, it’s Music City and someone on every street is a musician. They sit in chairs at the in their front yards and someone plays for the evening concert. I get together with friends for wine. Folding chairs, in a circle, 6 to 8 feet apart and BYOB. Your yard and your idea sounds lovely. I would bet that if you set out the chairs and have the cooler of beer….they will come. I sure would.🍷

  8. It has been that wearing a mask and limiting travel does prevent so much spread of COVID and it is based on real scientific facts. It isn’t just the virus du jour but any disease! On the other hand, with such limitations we will see another epidemic of suicides, depression and other mental issues. Gads!! It is so hard to middle ground but when I had kids in the house they’d complain that they are so bored. “Well, dearies, you should be happy you have boredom. There will come a time when you wish you had enough time to get bored,” I’d say. Sure we knit now and other crafts. Still we are the types that flourish with other people. How can we do that today? The best we can do for everyone including people we do know in person, is stay home as much we can and employ what methods we can to stay healthy and avoid risks to contribute to the spread of any virus. Period. I’m done for today. Karen gets credit for things I would have said. Thanks, Karen.

  9. Hi! I would really love to understand better what you mean by this; it’s hard for me to parse this in any benign way, but as a long-time reader and supporter, I would really love to give you the benefit of the doubt. I am having a hard time understanding the last sentence, as I’m not sure what a social safety net has to do with BLM?

    “I am hoping the Black Lives Matter cause won’t last long and I am so grateful for that, for if it is one thing I am certain of is that good always wins. And you don’t stand for any sort of good that I can think of. Every major corporation has given you millions. A giant GoFundMe was just set up by every major company known to man….you’d think there would be no more need for state welfare.”

  10. I regret that you aren’t my neighbor. I really do. I for sure would love to come to your BBQ, play a little croquet, drink a little drank, share a bit of food…

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