I wasn’t going to do it, but…
An unexpected event happened on my doorstep this morning which connected so perfectly with it, that it would be ungracious of me to ignore the promptings of the universe.
Here are the links to their respective posts:
I did try playing blogging-tag before, about a year ago when saw the fun Melanie of Sparks From A Combustible Mind was having with a group of bloggers whom I did not know or follow. I joined the group – as in followed those bloggers, but… I mostly don’t play well with others and it shows.
But I do like to test and challenge myself to do what I view myself as not doing and such… sometimes thanks to self-tests and self-challenges I find my self-narrative is wrong, and sometimes it’s right even if to others it may be wrong.
So I wasn’t going to accept the tag, but I do appreciate being asked to play.
And I like Angie. Part of why I like Angie can be seen in her post on Gracious Greetings.
I wanted to find a way to decline participating which was respectful, appreciative and gracious… which honoured both sides, both people, both Angie and me.
I didn’t want to do that thing which annoys me when I do it and when other people do it too – where you accept a gift because you don’t want to be rude and be seen as rude, but you don’t want to accept it because you don’t want it.
So you accept the gift, then put the gift on a shelf and ignore it.
And maybe the person who gave you the gift, gives you another gift like that because they think you genuinely liked it due to you pretending that you did, and would appreciate more gifts like that because you accepted that one with fake smiles and thank you so muches.
While you can sometimes get away with that… there are times when you can’t.
Sometimes doing the rude thing is more polite than doing the polite thing which ends up being far ruder in the long term.
If and when the person who gave you the gift finds out that not only did you not want the gift but you didn’t want any of the other similar gifts they gave you with such pleasure – it made them feel so good to do that and now they feel so bad about it.
They’ll view what you did to be polite and not be seen as rude as something deeply hurtful.
You’ve been lying to them = treating them like a fool.
You’ll lose their trust – that’s a beautiful gift they gave you, and a terrible gift given to lose all because you wanted to be polite and not appear rude.
Being gracious isn’t about appearing to be gracious…
That photograph above is actually here to represent the star of the unexpected event which happened this morning and which changed my mind about not participating in this tag (I’m not tagging anyone though, so if you want to participate in this – tag yourself and you can say I tagged you if needs must for the sake of… appearances).
It’s a photo of a whippet but it’s not of the whippet I met this morning…
I didn’t have time to take any photographs or even think about taking a photograph, even if it had occurred to me to do so – whippets move very quickly and the entire event happened in the blink of an eye (several blinks but it was blinking quick).
It all started before I became aware of it, as things always do, we always join a story in the middle even if for us it feels like the beginning.
I was sitting at my desk, typing a reply to a comment on one of my posts when something which first appeared as agitated flickering seen from the corner of my eye drew my attention to it because it was different than usual.
I can see the road from where I sit.
It’s a busy road and its activity is always flickering away, flashes of traffic, mainly heavy goods vehicles pretending they’re on a grand prix circuit, on a straight stretch of it just after a chicane where they can put the peddle to the metal. Cars, trucks, and farm machines go zooming by.
I see them but don’t see them.
I hear them but don’t hear them.
Unless the trucks have squealing pigs in them – no, they’re not necessarily on the way to the slaughterhouse, they get moved from pig farm to pig farm sometimes, but they will eventually end up as bacon and sausages.
One of my neighbours is a pig farmer, they adore their pigs both while they’re alive and when they become organic sausages – you can taste the love.
Too brutal for you – but you’re a human, aren’t you?
Humans are brutal – we’re slightly less brutal now than we have been throughout history, in some ways humans were more honest then than they are now about being human.
Sometimes the open brutal is more gentle than the effects of the denial of our brutal which some humans consider to be a life mission – brutal hidden under the clothing of gentle lamb.
That gentle lamb will eat you alive and then pretend to be a gentle lamb again who would never ever do such a thing, must be someone else – points finger at someone who looks brutal but is really genuinely gentle, crowd believes the faux-gentle lamb, grabs pitchforks, turns the real gentle lamb into bacon and sausages and congratulates themselves on a job well done, they’re safe now! Faux-gentle lamb chuckles internally but looks faux-genuinely-upset by what the pitchforkers did just because they pointed finger. Tsk tsk! Other people…
We’re still brutal no matter how much positive spin we put on it, and how much we ignore it, bubble up, cover it up with happy smiley faces.
“So may the outward shows be least themselves:
The world is still deceived with ornament.
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it and approve it with a text,
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.”
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
This time the traffic was at a standstill which never happens unless there’s roadworks, but there aren’t any at the moment, or a really slow tractor, but they are always considerate of other drivers and regularly pull over to let people pass.
There was a woman running around in the road.
Funnily enough, she looked a bit like Beckie from Beckie’s Mental Mess.
She was waving her arms around and shouting something.
I stood up and went to the window for closer inspection and… wtf, why are a bunch of women wandering around in our driveway!?!
I’m Introvert level: Hermit.
That’s one of the first things I told my neighbours about myself when we met and exchanged greetings. I wanted to make sure they realised that if I appeared to be avoiding them it was because of me avoiding all people and not just them.
I’m the weirdo being and doing weird, okay. It’s me and not you and I’m not saying that while meaning the opposite.
Luckily they’re all really lovely people – genuinely lovely not pretend lovely. When they smile at you, the smile is in their eyes too, and their gestures. Small gestures of whispering kindness from one human to another, no strings attached.
Luckily being eccentric around here is the norm rather than the exception.
My partner and I, when we were exploring the country to decide where to settle down, picked this county in the UK because when we stayed at a local pub during our travels, a man walked in with a bird of prey on his arm, an eagle or a falcon, and no one batted an eyelid.
This is us – this is normal and natural here.
He had a pint and chit-chatted, then eventually he mentioned the bird on his arm, who was totally calm as though she lived there and always had, and why she was there. He’d found her, she was lost, not supposed to be in the UK, and had taken her in, caring for her as though she was where she belonged – he was hoping to return her to her real home when she was ready.
This is one of those places where everyone is kind to each other, understanding, helpful, a real type of nice.
I was thinking about that while at the local supermarket yesterday – everyone here bucks that trending narrative going on out there of everyone being ruder to each other these days.
And yes, even the teens (who get such a bad rap especially from adults – like those adults were never teens and have forgotten what that’s like) are kind to each other… there’s a post on my blog wherein I mentioned a conversation I overheard between teens in the supermarket. One teen felt weird and unlikable, the other two reassured the one that they liked them, everyone is weird here, so don’t worry. It was very sweet!
Whenever I hear people online tut-tutting about “people these days” being meaner, ruder, less friendly, less gracious, less empathic, less understanding than people in the days of those…
My personal experience of the days of those was that people were rude and obnoxious then… I think people are less rude and obnoxious now.
Maybe I’m living in a bubble of a place where we’re all eccentric here because we’re doing our own thing which includes being gracious to each other when we meet because we enjoy being that way. It’s done for ourselves rather than for others.
Yes, people here can be rude here (the area is notorious for a fatal shooting – this is the UK people shooting people is rare – of a trespasser by the owner of the property and the trespasser’s family wanting justice for their trespasser’s life being taken while they were breaking and entering and possibly going to vandalise and steal while trespassing. It was an unusual and unique case) but usually it’s easily understandable why they’re rude in that moment and no one needs to make a big deal out of it, we’re all human here…
Except for the star of the unexpected event, who was a dog.
Being an Introvert level: Hermit who tends to avoid people doesn’t mean I don’t confront people if they trespass on my property. I’m a guard dog when it comes to keeping my piece of hermetic peace.
I rushed downstairs, barking alarm to my partner – Did you notice there are people in our driveway? – who got to the door and was outside before me.
The instant we appeared outside and were seen, without us saying a word (hmmm… I think my partner may have asked – Hello?) the female collective of trespassers apologised for trespassing, they didn’t want to but… and they quickly explained the situation and scenario.
A dog had been running around on the busy road.
All traffic had stopped to avoid hitting it.
Many of the drivers, the group of whom these women were a part (one was super chic, with what was probably an expensive shawl which she was using to try and thrown over the dog to catch and calm it), had gotten out of their cars to attempt to catch the dog, or at least corral it off the road – which is why it had taken refuge in our driveway, and they had followed it.
One van driver (who in the UK tend to have a terrible reputation) had taken it upon himself to locate its owner, which he figured would be in one of the houses around here… although there is a car park for a nature reserve here and many non-residents of the immediate area come to this spot to take their dogs for walks off the leash even though you’re sort of supposed to keep them on the leash due to the wildlife.
Only one of my neighbours has dogs, but it wasn’t either of his dogs. The younger one has run up his long driveway to the road a few times but it usually runs back, especially when I spot it and give it chase.
The dog was not one I recognised, but it turned out to be owned by a family member of my dog-owning neighbour.
That neighbour is usually the epitome of bonhomie, he’s a hail fellow well met who always makes you feel excellent after being with him, but when he turned up… he was fuming – you could see the smoke coming out of his eyes, ears and top of his head.
Once he arrived, all the very kind and caring, very gracious strangers who took time out of their busy lives to look after someone else’s dog, vanished as though they had never been there.
Traffic returned to normal.
Had any of it really happened or did I just imagine it!?
Well, the dog was still loose in our garden and didn’t want to be caught any time soon.
My partner and my neighbour chased him (dog was a him, but I didn’t catch his name) around our back garden.
I stayed by the road to stop it from rushing out onto it again.
I know we’re supposed to be all gender neutral, but… once men are in action mode and that action is heroically trying to fix a problem… us women would do well to just enjoy being female and let the males be males. Both are of equal power because of their differences… they hunted and I did something along the lines of gathering.
I know I’ve expressed that badly… you can express how badly you think/feel I’ve expressed that in the comments on this post – please be aware that I reply to all comments and my replies tend to reflect my guard dog side if I feel/think you’re trespassing on my property… although I do try to be fair and understanding, I may fail like a typical human being human regardless of gender.
I succeeded in stopping the dog from returning to the road several times, but eventually I failed when I tried a female approach to calming the dog (later, after it was all over, I thought: “Damn… if only I’d tried the Barbara Woodhouse… stoPPP! siTTT!… approach” but then I thought: “It’s probably just as well that it didn’t occur to me to do that – maybe that would’ve made things worse rather than fixed things” – forgetting something in the moment is often a blessing rather than a curse, remember that when you’re cursing yourself for not having remembered something which you’re telling yourself would have been so much better than what was in the moment. 20/20 hindsight is… a know-it-all asshole) and it slipped passed me.
Luckily the road was experiencing one of those no-traffic moments and it zoomed across like lightning un-hit and unharmed, running towards the driveway of my neighbour’s house, going home with its tail between its legs after a jolly old jaunt.
My neighbour stormed after it, mumbling and grumbling about that bloody dog… don’t worry, my neighbour may have been in fuming grizzly bear mode but he’s a sweetie especially with animals. He was shocked and scared that the dog who was in his care had run off into danger during his watch. He’s one of those people who takes things to heart, does his best to be the best he can be, be responsible and such.
Thank you, Angie, for the gift!
Before I shut tf up and let you get a word in edgewise, one last thing – a couple of links to two articles I read today which are sort of connected to this while sort of not connected to this:
I’m a fan of seeing the blessing in the curse and of doing a double-check double-take on what you’ve labeled as “bad” and asking yourself – is it really bad or am I just narrating it that way and making it so because that’s my narrative?
But I’m not a fan of the whole “Power of Positive Thinking” movement… or at least the way certain humans use it and interpret it.
That is a personal bug which goes deep for me. I’m the child of narcissists and as the child of narcissists, from an early age you become constantly hypervigilant for signs that your narcissist parents are about to crash and burn… you to the ground. When narcissists are in manic-positive mode they’re climbing crash mountain and you’re going with them whether you want to or not.
That’s all I’m saying about that here and now, this is long enough.
Here’s something which I consider to be a positive quote which when practiced in a certain way can lead to gracious greetings:
Feel free to ask questions and share yourself… I may bark but I rarely bite, but I may bite so you’ve been warned, and I know you can bark and bite too.
Hail fellow human! Let’s try to well meet as best as we can in our own particular and possibly eccentric way.
Now it really is a – that’s it!