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World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor -- it requires only that they live together with mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement.
~ John F. Kennedy
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3 March 2004
There he sat at the table in the polling place. Familiar face. Neighbor.
He glanced up without a flicker of recognition. But he found my name without my giving it to him.
I said a cheery "Hi." He uttered not a word. His eyes were cold and hard.
I got my voting cards from a woman I used to attend PFLAG meetings with. We exchanged brief pleasantries. I voted. turned in my cards, glanced at my neighbor and he averted his eyes.
What in the hell have I done to make me such a pariah in this neighborhood??
It might be that Im so outspoken on gay issues and perhaps he and his family are homophobic, but the shunning predates my "activism," mild as it is.
It might be that its embarrassing to encounter a neighbor who has buried two kids, but the shunning predates the death of either David or Paul. In fact, the shunning apparently dictated that no words of sympathy, whether in person or in writing, should be sent to the grieving family. Either time.
I have gone over and over and over things in my mind. Why it is that this family hates me. I dont think they hate Walt, but then Walt is friendly, gregarious, and not prone to picking up negative body language.
I remember waaaay back years ago, when our children were in the same high school group. The Jazz Choir. I remember going to a meeting, sitting down and having his wife get up and move to the other side of the room. I didnt know why.
Later, she was in charge of contacting all the Jazz Choir parents. We live almost directly across the street from her. Would it have been too much to knock on the door. But no, a note was placed in our mailbox with the business information needed. A nice, professional, non-friendly note. I watched her back as she walked across the street after leaving it--I was home at the time and just happened to glance out the window and see her.
Then Davids death. Then Pauls. Not a word of sympathy from them or from most other people in the neighborhood (though I have a box the size of a half carton of computer paper filled with cards and notes from everyone else in this town after the death of each of the boys.)
I try not to let it bother me. And it actually only bothers me when something like this happens and I am reminded, yet again, that I dont fit in here. That at some point some 20 years ago, I apparently unwittingly did something so unforgivable that neighbors will no longer make eye contact, respond to greetings, or express regret at a traumatic loss.
Well, screw em. I have lived here for nearly 31 years without interaction with neighbors and its too late now to think about building community where there has been none for so long. That bus left long ago. But during brief moments like today, it does bring it back again.
Otherwise, the day went well. Its beautiful and sunny and I had planned to go take photos at the capitol, but my cousin and her husband drove in from Sacramento to pick up some stuff shed left here. They said that the winds between here and Sacramento were brutal. At the same time, my mother and I decided to go on an "appreciation of spring" drive through Marin county tomorrow, so Ill get my photo fix at that time and instead I decided to stay home and get some work done.
I took a mile walk when I went to vote and that was nice. Bent forward, head into the wind. I didnt take much time to appreciate the flowers and blossoms around me, but it felt good to be moving.
Now that spring has come my body is starting to want to be out from this cave. And the 2-lb gain in the past 2 weeks tells me that I need to take advantage of spring and start moving again.
Ive been in contact with my Weight Watchers leader, confessing to her the real reason why I left meetings, in addition to the expense. She was very understanding, having been in a similar situation herself, which resulted in her leaving a meeting she needed too. So weve agreed to stay in touch via e-mail. Its not quite the same as going to meetings, but thats what I need to do at the moment.
With spring here, Im sure that its going to start to get easier, since Ill be back on the bike again as well as continuing with watching my food intake.
There are buds on trees all over town and it feels like a time of new beginnings. Perhaps not a new beginning with my neighbors, but renewal of enthusiasm for the healthy lifestyle.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Weight Lost to date: 43.8 lbs