Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It never goes away

Speaking of mourning, tomorrow (or the next day, I don't remember dates well) is the anniversary of a dear friend's suicide. It's been two years.

I've stopped forgetting and thinking I can call her, or we should really hang out.... mostly.

I met her when I was 22 and she was, I think, 10. I was with my new girlfriend at her lake cabin, and Marina was a family friend. I remember a motor boat ride in which all she said, pretty much, was, "you guys are so weird!", repeatedly - and she was clearly thrilled with our weirdness.

We would hang out together at family gatherings, the three of us, never terribly interested in "adult" conversation, even once we were all clearly adults.

Perhaps the last family gathering was a weekend at an inn, we all went for a walk in the woods and M and I ran ahead and tried to make things that looked like animal tracks in the snow, and then ran back to try to convince other people that some strange animal had been there before us (it just recently occurred to me that our own tracks were all around these, oops)

She also made snow angels with me, and tromped across a frozen lake with me when everyone else was inside watching sports or something.

That girlfriend and I broke up, and didn't talk for a number of years. Marina was key in getting us to be friends again. At one point she told me we had to talk because she was sick of feeling like she was from a broken home. Shortly thereafter, she got me to volunteer to stuff envelopes for the league of pissed off voters, right before the 2004 election, and then at the last moment slipped in. "oh, Sarah might be there for part of the time, that won't be a problem, will it?" She was a brilliant conniver sometimes.

I knew she was having a lot of trouble, I always felt completely at a loss as to what to do. She generally seemed pretty happy when I saw her, so it was hard to recognize how hard it all was. (I, on the other hand, mope at the drop of a hat). I wish I had been a better friend, called her more, perhaps even challenged her more to fight it, to value herself, I don't know. I think she had some pretty vicious demons.

This is a really old photo of us - maybe ten years ago.

North Country Co-op is closing

I'm sure most people who know what I'm talking about already know this, but it's a thing in my life I need to talk about anyways...

The co-op has been around, apparently, for 37 years, just a little less long that myself. I think it's the oldest co-op in the Twin Cities, at the very least the oldest surviving one (for a few more days)

It was the last collectively run co-op left from the early days. Though I think it's had a general manager for the last few years. A friend pointed out at one point that in a way the fact that this didn't save it was a vindication of collective management. I guess so.

I used to work at the New Riverside Cafe, down the street. Another collective that never really seemed to have it together. North Country was like a role model - they actually managed to pay themselves significantly above (like twice!) minimum wage, a long term goal for us that we never reached while I was there...

I'm not sure what all happened. A forced move in about 2000 certainly didn't help things. North Country was maybe the only place that might have been able to pull off the tiny-store-with-wood-floors-and-wood-bins thing long term, but they lost the store and had to grow or die, for sort of unusual reasons.

I'm much more sad than I'd be if any of the other co-ops closed, though Hampden Park would be close, and none of the others seem to be in danger of it.

North Country, for a long time, retained so many of the old hippie co-op values, I guess. The co-op itself would participate in boycotts if they found the issue important enough, and put an emphasis on community building, education, and so one, even when it didn't help them market anything (take note, idealism can make life hard, damn) - They were one of the few co-ops left with a working member program (now hampden park will be the only one) - they're not very efficient, but such an important part of creating community. Oh well, strike one for efficiency I guess.

I guess I'm mourning, more than I expected.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The hard way

I biked the first 3 or 4 miles of my 8 miles bikeride to work this morning with my back tire rubbing against the frame.

For the first mile or two I just thought, wow, this is really hard, I must be really out of shape, or having extra trouble adjusting to the colder weather (at the beginning of winter I always go much slower for a bit - harder to breathe colder air, or something) but eventually I figured out my wheel was rubbing. My first instinct was to try to just go with it and fix it at work (I have an irrational aversion to stopping, even if it will make things much easier and faster in the "long run")

But eventually I stopped, and sort of wiggled things around and thought I'd fixed it. It worked for a bit, but then would get bad again. I went maybe another two miles like this, "fixing" it another 2 or 3 times.

Eventually I figured out that I actually needed to tighten the wheel. I don't know if someone had tried to steal it or what, but it was just pretty much wobbling around. oops.

It was AMAZING how easy it seemed to bike after that. Almost miraculous, and so simple, yet requiring a choice and some focused attention.

So I'm wondering what else in my life is like that - spiritually, emotionally, that I'm avoiding looking at because I don't want to slow down or stop for that long, or that I'm not paying careful attention to, but addressing in a slapdash fashion that won't hold for long. I'd love to have that sort of breakthrough - there are plenty of things that feel that hard emotionally and spiritually in my life.

But I don't seem to be able to find what's dragging me down.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What have you done?

Sort of fun, borrowed from Robin

What shocks me the most is how many of these I'm not sure about. Sometimes because I've seen it on TV or read about it, and it's sort of a shock that I havent' ever, say, actually been in a hot air balloon...

Also, I've taken a bath with someone (a couple someones actually, though not at the same time!) and had romantic candlelit things with someone, but at the same time? I'm not sure...

What have you done?

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink (I don't drink, sigh, I guess that would be extra generous)
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain (how much of a mountain?)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive (I've never taken a new car for a test drive)
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris (Rome?)
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea (in the desert, from an airplane, it was very cool)
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (and survived the crush afterwards)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb (baby racoons)
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run (probably in my back yard when I was a kid)
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk. (not drunk, on LSD though)
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe.
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing

49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken (sigh)
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced (broke up after 9 years, but not divorced)
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone (well, I lived with my parents growing up..)
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship (not a cruise ship, but taken a boat from Stockholm to Leningrad, back when it was Leningrad)
94. Spoken more than one language fluently (not close to fluently, but I can bumble in 4 languages)
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour (only to the next stop)
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart (I don't think so)
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone (sorta)
114. Gone on an African photo safari (I keep thinking this says "potato safari")
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse

119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school

131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey

135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read (they're all important)
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (do clams count?)
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care (nursing home)
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Food Ethics

So, I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and generally really liking it, though I could do without the input of the husband (mostly stuff I already know) and the daughter (who seems like lovely teenager, but I don't generally read things by random lovely teenagers, or adults for that matter)

Anyway, I'm finally at that part of the book that always (in, say, The Omnivores Dilemma, for example) makes me cringe and want to stop reading.

The "why I am not a vegetarian" chapter -which seems to, maybe only to my oversensitized ears, skate dangerous close to, "how vegetarians are misguided and/or kinda stupid" chapter.


But anyways, it's particularly weird because I'm falling more and more into sympathy with her way of thinking. It's seeming less and less likely that I will be as pure a vegetarian (or one at all) as I have been for the rest of my life.

I even ate a bite of "walleye cake" at the state fair last summer, and the last bites of some free-range chicken that no one else was gonna finish, just to try, maybe just to de-purify myself, or see if I'd get smote by lightening.

Thinking more holistically about food, I have to wonder about eating canned or frozen seitan or packaged and shipped tofu, rather than a locally raised and slaughtered chicken. It's not as clear a choice as it used to seem. Certainly I could eat local and vegan (I've never managed vegan anyway) in theory, but I don't, and I think it might be beyond me realistically, and I do, after all, have to live in reality.

But, man, she tried my patience. She makes some really good points: like not all meat is factory farmed (and her family actually eschews factory farmed meat, opting for the vegetarian option in restaurants, for example, and eating only meat they "know" or at least know more about..) And like the fact that the figures about how much more land you need to produce meat instead of soybeans or whatever are based on a certain system (granted, the system that produces the vast majority of the meat in the US) - and that nomads herding goats in desert landscapes are actually making the most efficient use of the resources available. They would die if they tried to live there on local corn and soybeans.

BUT, mostly I freaking felt like I was back in college arguing with smartass boys who were really only all about defending their right to never have to change anything, or even suffer a twinge of conscience.

OF COURSE eating goat meat if you're a desert nomad makes sense (AND, it has pretty much absolutely zero to do with the food choices of the vast, vast, vast majority of people who will ever even hear of her book)

OF COURSE if we just turned all the farm animals currently alive loose to "survive in the wild" it would be a mess (seriously, if I didn't already have the impression this was an intelligent woman, well I don't know, I'm shocked)

At one point she goes off on vegetarian food grown with GMOs and pesticides, as compared to organically raised free range animals. Right before she berates vegetarians for doing basically the same thing in reverse (except less so)

(Just in case she gets to it, too, I realize eskimos can't live on local tomatoes year round, and I also realize that other animals eat meat - just trying to remember the idiotic arguments I've heard that have nothing to do with the actual lives of the people making them)

She has some weird riff on some famous vegan who apparently wants to have a farm where animals can live out their lives and die natural deaths. Yes, I am at the point where this seems a little odd to me, and yet I don't imagine that this famous vegan would actually, as Ms. Kingsolver proposes, gather up all the eggs her chickens lay and incubate them into more chickens, at which point she would be overrun. It is possible to not kill chickens OR put energy into breeding more. sigh.

So now I'm annoyed. I want to go vegan just to spite her. Why resort to the old moronic arguments when there are plenty of decent ones? Like that a farm as a whole, living system, just possibly works a lot better and makes more sense with animals integrated into it, or that death is part of life and we really need to get over ourselves, or that vegetarians who eat milk and or eggs (like me) are just hypocrites and living in a dream world, especially in a system where the relatively useless males of the species often aren't even used for meat, but simply thrown away (at least with chickens, who are so specialized that you wouldn't raise and eat a layer - as far as I know, nor would you eat or sell eggs from a broiler - heirloom breeds that are useful for both make a lot more sense, though I don't even know how I would find eggs from those chickens, I don't know if anyone in my area raises them.

I would totally go back to eating (some) meat if I could manage to kill it myself. I'm there ethically, I may just be too squeamish, or tenderheartedly in denial. How many of my other food choices am I still effectively in denial about? Lots, I think. damn.

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Dog is so cute - pure fluff

There's not even a story, I just came across this old photo (almost a year) and Maddy, the little one, was so little. She's about as long as Jordan now, but still significantly shorter.

Oh, and she chews up everything in sight now, including the other dogs. I'm surprised to see an intact leash in this photo, I'd forgotten what they look like!
Playing in the water a few weeks ago:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What a day

A weird combination, not nearly as exciting as I made it sound.

I went to a thingy on employment law with my boss. It was pretty informative but generally comging from the perspective of trying to figure out how not to give employee things. I mean, that's unfair, a lot of it was actually, "treat your employees fairly and you won't get into trouble" - but other parts still made me flinch every now and then. I've never been around so many lawyers at once, it was freaky.

On the way home I decided to bike by the empty space where the 35W bridge used to be. I still hadn't seen it, more than two months later. It's all cleaned up now - just missing a bridge. And you still can't bike along the river near it. And the 10th Ave bridge, which parrallels it and was closed for a good long while is totally backed up wiht rush hour traffic, ugh. It's so weird how small the river looks. Most of the span was over land, which somehow made me even more surprised that so few people died. Nothing to cushion that huge fall. It was a little eerie but mostly empty feeling. strange. I so wanted to get more caught up in that drama than I did. It was like too freaky and too distant to process, somehow.

I practiced mandolin notes, but have yet to set up a lesson. I love it, though it goes out of tune it seems every day, and needs to be retuned. A good lesson in constant listening and regrouping.

Oh, and I got carded! I haven't been carded in a decade! I must be extra youthful, or immature today.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Putting Food on the table, what do we need?

This came up on Jeanne's blog too, in a comment, that working class folk can be too concerned about "putting food on the table" - to the point of not valuing the arts, social action, and various things that won't, "put food on the table"

One of the weird things is, that it's not usually really about food. Most people who are making decisions about what sort of education to pursue, for example, have enough that they're not in a position to really worry about whether they will have food. It may really be more questions like, can we have a car? a good car? an annual vacation? more than one?

I'm not denying that people in the US (and goodness knows, elsewhere!) have to worry about having food - just that lots more talk in those terms than actually have that problem.

I just read an essay in The Case Against the Global Economy about folks in some remote village/country/culture, who used to be very self sufficient, proud, and assured that none of them are poor, having been introduced to western values and systems, now despair of their poverty, and are unwilling to do much to help themselves. I think it's a pretty common story. People who used to work togetehr, grow their own food, build their own houses, and think that they had enough, were even blessed with abundance, get electricity and TV and western "jobs", and all of a sudden they are terribly poor, and ashamed of where they have come from.

I just bought a new computer, I dont' really need one, but I do like to email people, play around online, be able to look up recipes and blog and post my photos - since I now have only a digital camera and never get photos printed when I have film anyway.....

But I obviously, clearly, don't need that stuff.

Plus, I went with a friend who likes this stuff more than me (she doesn't blog, or play around online as much as me as far as I can tell, but she likes gadgets more.) and she and the salesguy were just on a roll together - you need the latest because the old ones can't do this and that, videoconferencing, yada yada. I don't want to do any of that stuff, and I dont' really want to be tempted to do that stuff, but on the other hand, if you get an old one with a small amount of memory, you may not even be able to open some websites, or do basic things, as even the basics get jazzier and jazzier. I want it to stop, and it won't, and I don't have the guts or the wherewithal (apparently) to just jump off... I bought the new one, though a low end model. blah.

And there are things I question needing which I have much better justification for - my house, health insurance, a car (!)

I wonder what it would be like to decide I don't need those, to find another way. The house I'm most determined about, though it's the greatest expense. Plus there is plenty else to look at before that even becomes a reasonable idea (all the crap IN the house, for starters...)

I fantasize about a quaker community/commune - growing our own food, having some simple, sustainable, needed business. Maybe it woudlnt' need to be quaker. I've been drawn to Eastwind, which makes peanut butter, and which has been most in front of my face over the years because I eat their peanut butter, but I don't know. I have never even visited.

And I don't want a bunch of other weirdos to go off and play in the forest with, I want a revolution, all over.

I want to see air travel fall off immensely, and car travel. I want to live in a world where people know the names of almost everyone they see all day (not because they're isolated and only see three people, but because they're in a vibrant community) I want to live in a world where work that doesn't need to be done (making crappy clothes, or stupid plastic toys, for example) just doesnt' get done, and we do something meaningful, or at least fun or relaxing, with that time.

I'm not sure how it relates to class, but how we think about what exaclty we need seems crucial, and how much we need to have before we have enough to share. In my experience the more people have, the farther away that figure is from where they are right now.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Class Stuff

Jeanne has some interesting new posts about quakers and class, and particularly education. Martin made an excellent comment on the latest one about feeling pity for those of us who put emphasis on status and education, rather than really following Jesus' example of hanging out with the grubby.

I'm finding, also, that I'm running up against a disconnect about financial privilege and, maybe intellectual snobbery. They can be related, and they're both important issues, but in some ways they're very seperate. I think it's important not to lose sight of either.

As far as economic justice, there is so much to say, and I'm almost lost. I imagine all sorts of radical (at the roots) changes, a real spiritual revolution, not just in wealth distribution, but in thinking about what we need, and what we have to share just to be ethical. I think Quakers try, but from what I can see, it's so focused on buying the right things (organic food, priuses) without quesitoning the model (what if we grow our own food? bike everywhere? carpool?) - not entirely, but enough to be frustrating.

And the thing is, we so can't do it alone.

I grow some greens and tomatoes in my little front yard, there are increments, but I'm not going to, and don't even want to, be the hero of a revolution. How revoluntionary woudl that be? a revolution without special heroes.....

I don't claim any superiority here. I just gave up and ordered clothes from Old Navy for work, ugh.

As far as other class stuff. I think of it as cultural, and related to racial and other divisions in our meetings.... I'm not sure what to do. I joked over email with Jeanne once, when talking about the food at potlucks (how it's often so weird for a working class person (and plenty of others) - that I fear a time when we all bring beer and pork rinds (didn't George HW Bush love those? maybe, gasp, my stereotype is off) to potlucks in the name of "cultural sensitivity" but not move forward in any real way.

What's the difference between trying to be something we're just not? (me, a vegetarian, bringing porkrinds to potluck because I hope it will make someone feel more welcome) and the, for lack of a better word, real issues?

Not only, why are we all impressed when a kid in our meeting goes to an ivy league college, but not if they go to trade school, or start working? How much do we pay attention to that and overlook the chance to celebrate how well they're living into their light?

And what about all the kids who can't go to ivy league schools, even if they're smarter than our kids (gasp!) - because they didn't ever have a shot at that sort of education?

What about, for that matter, the existence of quaker schools? It seems to me possibly unquaker to send your kid to one. I mean, I dunno. I went to one, and I think I might well have been eaten alive at my local public school (an idea that some of my teachers, sadly, promoted, and which I've heard from kids at my meeting who go to quaker school as well) but if all children are god's, why can we give some of ours an "out" - rather than committing to public schools and working as hard as we have to to make them places we'd be proud to have our kids go (and bringing all the other kids along with us, hopefully)

What if we really saw ourselves as inherently connected to each other? including our garbage haulers, and the gang members in our cities? (different groups I know, and I don't mean to imply garbage haulers are criminals, I've just never seen representatives of either at meeting) what would that be like?


I had honey in my coffee this morning. Funny, cause it's motivated by wanting to "eat local" - but that's pretty much an impossibility with cofee and me. I'm not even sure I want/"need" coffee in my life, but sometimes I really do like it.

And I'm justifying it ala Barbara Kingsolver, who drinks shade grown coffee almost as a form of activism (my words, not hers) as it allows the trees to stay standing. And, if they had to switch to another crop to make money, they wouldn't. Hmmm

But anyway, honey in coffee is kinda weird, but also good.

I went swimming yesterday, and it was REALLY NICE. I've been lake swimming on Oct. 7th in Minneapolis once before, but then calling it swimming is definitely a stretch. I ran into the water, dunked my head, and ran out. Yesterday I actually got to swim around, it was chilly, but lovely, "brisk" and "refreshing" were the favorite adjectives of my few compatriots.

I didn't go to my regular lake. Well, I drove there, but there weren't many cars around, and it's very isolated, and I was alone and apparently a woman was raped there this summer. So anyway, I chose not to, which makes me sad, not feeling safe in one of my favorite places, but such is life.

I went to my old favorite beach, which used to be the quasi-illegal beach. I already would feel safer there as it's less isolated, and likely to be more populated, but I hadn't been there in over a year, and they've cut down all this brush and there's a lifeguard stand and buoys now. The folks there tell me "the peculiar people still come" so it's not so bad, and the lifeguard doesnt' even stop you from swimming out past the buoys, which is the most important thing. Still, I was sad to see it so well groomed....

it improved my mood immensely. I will miss being able to swim.

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's World Vegetarian Day

I think that's a little gimmicky and annoying, but also sorta cool. I find it alternately amusing and annoying that every day is a "holiday" about something now - carrot day, egg day, monster truck day, whatever. It's probably also world side of beef day, knowing how ironic the universe can be.

Or not. In a way it's a good idea - like the great american smokeout or whatever (do they still do that?) I wonder if it works.

I would have tried to be vegan today (and I can still try for the rest of the day, or week) but I didn't find out until I got to work and I had a bagel with (local, organic) cream cheese on the way here.

After 21 years of eating vegetarian, I am getting less and less comfortable with the absolutism of it. Plus I have a crush on a meat eater. (dang)

But it seems like almost everyone has a much easier time quitting something all together than cutting back, or simply paying attention - at least AA thinks so.

There are lots of great reasons to be a vegetarian, or at least eat that way more often - it can be better for you (but maybe only if you switch from a bad meat diet to a pretty good veg one, which is actually sorta what I did - at least a better one), it's obviously better for animals (esp if you weren't eating exclusively sustainably, humanely raised animals), and it seems to me quite reasonable that it's better in terms of world hunger and the environment.

But really, we only need to radically reduce meat eating to attain most of those things (be able to have earth-friendly, small scale farms, where hopefully the animals get a fair shake) - It would be MUCH better all around if everyone switched to eating meat once a week than if a few people go totally vegan.

But, as that's not happening quite yet, I suppose I think of it as making up a little bit for someone who's not thinking about it (which is still most people, I think)

For whatever reason I was thinking about it this morning, about how I wish I had more people in my life who understand why I do it and respect that, but DON'T think I'm better than them or something, or that I think I am. It's surprisingly infrequent to find that.