Longest Ramble In A While…

I’m not gonna link to either of them, but yesterday evening when I was catching up on the news on Twitter, I came across two different things that really bothered me. 😟 Both of them were in Michigan, and both were part of a protest against the physical distancing / stay at home orders that have been put in place due to Michigan being one of the most affected states in regards to coronavirus / COVID-19.

I wanna start by saying that I do get why people are frustrated and want to be heard. πŸ₯Ί In fact, they’re more frustrated than I can even empathize with because they’ve been off work, losing their jobs, their businesses going under, and that’s obviously gonna take a toll on people. πŸ™ I know that I have days where it even gets to me more than I’d expect it to, so when people are unable to pay their bills, their rent, medical bills, etc.

But the first part of the protest that caught my eye were the hundreds of people who forced their way into one of the government buildings. I’m not sure if it was the state house, but it’s where the politicians were trying to do their jobs while protesters were shouting and screaming at law enforcement, banging on doors and walls, demanding that they bet let in. 😳 I think most people would expect a protest like that eventually, but this one went further – because many of the protesters were also dressed up like militia and were carrying loaded semi-automatic rifles. 😧

When you look at the video footage, I hate to say it, but those people looked and acted like you’d expect those kinds of folks to look and act… meaning, people who show up with guns when there’s no apparent reason to do so. πŸ˜’ And the ones who didn’t have guns, it’s not like they were discouraging the ones who did. Common sense says they brought their guns with them so they would be more intimidating, but I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the only protests they’ve really paid attention to are ones regarding gun control issues, where it would sorta make sense to “bear arms” while protesting… and maybe that made them think that all protests require dozens of armed people. πŸ™„πŸ˜ 

But yeah, you can look it up if you wanna see or read more about it. But with the way tensions were, I think they’re very lucky that there wasn’t even an accidental discharge of a weapon – which would have lit the very short fuse on that powder keg. It’s just sad, the smug look that you could see on some of their faces as they stood with their rifles, in the area above where the politicians worked. πŸ˜” And if their goal was truly to be heard, their stunt backfired… because all that people are talking about are the “white guys with guns” who occupied that building without so much as a ticket for ignoring social distancing rules, and questioning what may have happened if that group had been young black men instead. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I don’t like doing those “what if” scenarios normally, but the way all those folks chose to act… πŸ˜’ oh, and because of something that I saw in the second topic that caught my eye. For another part of the protest there was a stage set up where people were speaking against the current rules, talking about the damage that it has done… understandable stuff. But then they had a performance by a couple of girls who looked as if they couldn’t have even been teenagers, wearing skimpy little dance outfits and halloween type masks. πŸ€” One of them being of a black man with exaggerated features. (Looks like they could have been Trump & Obama masks.)

They were doing a dance routine to the old song “Candy Man” but it sounded as if the lyrics had been changed to comment on the current situation. That’s unfortunate enough, where children are essentially being used by their parents to make political statements… but as these little girls were dancing, you could hear men and women in the crowd hooting and hollering as if it were some kind of burlesque show – with people even shouting “TAKE IT OFF!” as these poor little kids did their routine. 😧πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜”

It honestly made me sick to my stomach. 😟 Not just because the kids were being used in that manner, or that gross people were shouting sexual things at them, but also because nobody else in the crowd said anything, stuck up for them, or did anything to show their disapproval. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ (At least not in the clips that I saw.) I understand that people can start “thinking as a group” when caught in a moment, but even when it comes to something as disgusting as that? It’s not a good look for whatever message you were trying to send. 😠

If you’d ask a bunch of those first folks why they felt the need to bring rifles to a peaceful protest and dress in camo… the answers would probably be of the “bEcAUsE wE CAn!” variety. 😐 But that display with the girls, I wonder if any protesters would try to defend or normalize that as well. It makes me feel bad for the “normal” citizens of Michigan, because it makes the state look pretty awful – and I know they’ve got to be angry and embarrassed by all of it, the way it makes their citizens look to the rest of the country. πŸ˜”πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

One might ask why I allow myself get caught up in “news” like this. I ask that of myself too, honestly. 😏 But I dunno… I do try to limit my exposure in general, since 99% of what gets reported seems to be negative, but I guess I just feel like everyone should try to keep up on the more important things – especially if they want to have an opinion and have conversations with others about any of it. 🀨 So with things being as wacky as they’ve been over the past four years, even just “normal” news can trigger someone’s anxiety… and stumbling across “extra” stuff on Twitter, like the topics in this entry, is almost unavoidable. πŸ˜•

But I look back on old news articles and broadcasts from when Mom and Dad were young, and I see different protests, via different methods, at different locations, for different reasons… and I can’t remember learning about any of them and thinking, “Good grief… those people were idiots.” πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m sure “dumb” protests did happen, so maybe the news was just less interested in covering sensationalism back then? πŸ€” But hell… Today? I don’t think a day passes where I don’t read about or see something that makes me grumble, “Good grief, those people are idiots.” I think they were also lucky back then, getting their news (and only a couple hours each day) from either ABC, NBC, or CBS – and that was it. 😯 Not enough “room” to cover the stupids. Thanks to the internet though, we now have an endless supply that we have to work to avoid.

Lengthy Grumpy Ramble

I’m glad that I don’t have anything on the agenda for the rest of the week, since that allows me to take the things that I wanted to do today and move them to tomorrow. I must have slept funny or rough last night, because man did I wake up feeling beat up today. 😣😟 It looks like I’m going to have to actually go in to the pharmacy to deal with two of my WC prescriptions, since I’m gonna have to get some printouts proving that they’re unwilling to pay this month. πŸ˜’ But with my knees and neck acting up today – tomorrow just seems like the better option. (Stress can add to my physical pain, so I don’t need the BS at the pharmacy to pile on today…)

The insurance crap that I was gonna work on… that didn’t go anywhere today, since they needed all kinds of specific info that I didn’t have handy when I made the call. I figured since a bunch of paperwork had already been sent in, giving them the account number along with my name would have been enough. But nope, gotta get into my files and dig out the little notebook with a few dates and some other specifics that I need.

So I dunno… I guess the little bits that I accomplished today will serve as the “getting ready” for tomorrow, when I’ll hopefully conclude things with both of those situations. πŸ“žπŸ˜•πŸ€žπŸ» My mood is shit today anyway, so waiting until tomorrow will probably help me when it comes to not barking at the people who are trying to help me, since they aren’t the folks who are making things difficult. 😏 Those call center / customer service jobs must be awful, since most folks aren’t as considerate to their lack of power or responsibility when it comes to any given account or situation. πŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Oh, speaking of crappy jobs… I guess Jim felt like he wasn’t gonna be able to cut it at the Whirlpool factory where he recently started working. πŸ˜• He’s worked in stocking type positions most of his life, sometimes also driving a forklift – sometimes not, so when he’s basically worked one type of job for most of his adult life – you could imagine how his first taste of assembly line work would feel intimidating. 😯😳😬

The difference between his job and my former job… the line at Whirlpool is controlled by the machines, where my line was controlled by the people. Plus, even though we worked at a ridiculous pace (that did end up eventually damaging me) we didn’t have parts that weighed upwards of 40 pounds to deal with. 😣 It’s also concerning when he tells me that he hurt his neck, and that it also caused his shoulder and arm to hurt… ‘cuz that sounds way too familiar. πŸ™πŸ€•

It just sucks that after years of being able to switch stores and jobs if he wanted to, and having an excellent employee / work record, he’s hit a phase where nobody wants him for those positions now. I mean, he didn’t “job hop” a lot, so I don’t think it’s that… so I’m wondering if it comes down to employers seeing his age on the applications. Glowing work histories don’t help if you can’t get past the HR people who see “47” and throw his application on the “nope” pile.

I was trying to think of what to say to him to keep his optimism up and his twichy-ness down, but it’s difficult when life seems to constantly bag tag a person. 😏 It sucks that he lives so far north of Columbus now, because I have a friend that could probably get him into Jiffy Lube almost immediately. But after I described the job to Jim, pointing out the ways it would be so much easier than a factory, he just replied that he doesn’t know how to work on cars, so the job wouldn’t be for him. πŸ˜’πŸ€”

It’s frustrating, because he’s almost always good at whatever job he’s working at… and you don’t have to know how to “work on cars” to work at a Jiffy Lube. Not to mention the fact that they’ll obviously train you before letting you loose on customer cars. πŸ€“πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ”§πŸš˜ For example, if he started off working in the pit, under the floor, he wouldn’t have to do much more than locate the oil plug, drain the oil, plug it back up, and perhaps change some oil filters on the cars that have them more easily accessed from the bottom.

I hate to see him not working and struggling, but I think the anxiety from all of the things that have happened… it’s got him to a point where he’s questioning his own abilities, and thinking that he’s not good enough for even basic “some skill required” type jobs. 😟 And I get not being a “car guy” but employee training will give a person the skillz required for any given position. πŸ˜žπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh… he’s a good d00d, and he’s done a lot of good things for other people who were struggling at various points in his life, so it just sucks watching life doing its best to chew up yet another friend who doesn’t deserve it.

Couple Days Off

I’ll definitely admit that I’m not the NASCAR fan that I used to be, but I still ended up watching much of most of the races this year… so I still get that “meh” feeling that fans get this weekend, now that the 2019 season is over and the races are done. πŸ˜• Luckily the Penn State vs OSU game is on, and it should be a pretty good one, so I’ve got that on the TV while I side-eye the stack of mail from this past week and try to talk myself into getting into it all. 😏

This is gonna be a low-key weekend for me though. Was busy through a lot of the past week, and already know that I’ll be busy next week getting tires put on, furnace looked at, garage opener likely installed (among other things) so I’m hoping to keep my ass planted at home and take it relatively easy today and tomorrow.

Of course I’ve still got random little shit around the house that I’ll probably work on if the motivation hits me, but my only planned project is getting the new mailbox mounted. I guess it’s gonna be sunny and decent tomorrow, so I’ll probably wait until then to take the old one off, measure out the holes on the post, and drill out the piece of wood that I’m gonna end up using as the mount.

I bought a cheap plastic universal adapter type thing, same brand as the mailbox, but for some reason not only does it not line up with the horizontal screw holes on the mailbox, but in the plethora of holes for mounting to a post – none of them appear to be in the locations needed. 🀨😐 That’s probably why Grandpa fastened the old mailbox to the post with a piece of wood underneath too… which, over many years out in the weather, has slowly rotted away. I’ve already found the perfect plank of wood, so I’m just hoping that it won’t be difficult to remove the old bolts from the post. πŸ˜¬πŸ™πŸ»

Worst case scenario, if they’re rusted solid or I don’t have the torque to loosen the nuts from the screws, I’m sure Rick would come over and get it sorted. (But I’ve got to at least try to do it myself first.) That’s the irritating thing about my left arm, man… 😟 something that should and would be a piece of cake if my shoulder wasn’t gimped – it’s now sitting out there as this intimidating prospect, knowing that I’ve only got Sunday to get it done before mail resumes on Monday. 😳 When simple things can’t be simple… it’s just frustrating.

Meh… it is what it is. Just glad that I’ll have decent weather to (hopefully) figure it out w/o killin’ myself. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

EDIT: Damn… this game is moving fast. Either that, or I’ve just been really slow as I was typing out this entry… ‘cuz I feel like I started it right after the game started, and it’s already down to two minutes left before half-time. Good… guess that means my plan of taking it easy is working, if time is passing that fast. πŸ™‚πŸˆ

Me? You Sure About That?

Another big part of my yesterday and the day before was spent trying to help a friend who’s going through some serious shit. 😒 Granted, if you’ve read many of my posts here, you’ll already know that I’ve got plenty of acquaintances, friends, and family that are going through their own personalized flavor of shit at the moment. πŸ˜• Some worse than others, some where I can help, and some where all I can do is just listen, try to understand, and hope and pray for the best. 😟 But man, this person’s state of mind over the past two days… let’s just say that it was very concerning. 😳

(I know this person doesn’t read my blog, nor does anyone that really know this person, so even though I’m sorta putting their business out here… it’s not something that will affect them, and even if they knew, I think they’d actually be okay with me posting about it anonymously like this. They know how I am… how a lot of times, processing my thoughts on the site here is just how I have to do things if I want to attempt to clear my brain of all the clutter…)

I am glad that I have people in my life who feel like I’m the right person to open up to, even when the topic is something as serious as it was… 😬 but I am so not the right person to be able to handle something like that right now. I mean, I did… because I had to… but not without getting completely emotionally drainedΒ (and actually physically ill from the stress of the conversation) and realizing how little I could do about any of their problems. πŸ₯ΊπŸ€’ But despite that, of course I’m glad that they turned to me… even if I was essentially helpless and basically only able to listen and talk things through with them.

The hardest thing about the drawn out text conversation was that as they’d mention this thing, the next thing, the thing after that… I could absolutely understand how the weight of all of those things piling up on them, seemingly all at once, could push them (or anybody, for that matter…) to the point where they’d just be ready to give up. 😒 It’s scary because it’s hard to know if you’re making a difference with what you say, when in the back of your mind, it’s like “Wow, yeah… I get it.”

But at least for now, I feel like our conversations helped. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Enough so that I might be able to sleep sometime tonight, and I’m finally able to eat something and keep it down. And I’m not saying that to give anyone any crap. If someone feels like their last resort is reaching out to someone, they do so knowing that it’s not going to be an easy conversation for either side, and that the person they are talking to cares enough about them that they’re going to get pretty messed up by the whole thing as well. πŸ˜• But as stressful as it is to be on the receiving end of that sort of conversation, I just know that I can only pray that someone would be willing to be that person for me if I ever felt like I’d run out of reasons to keep going.

I dunno, I just had to post this. πŸ€” Often times I still feel like people, in general, who know me… they’ve got this mental image of what I’m like, what my days are like, and that it usually falls somewhere between lazy” / “boring” / “uneventful” / “a little stressful” / “what’s he complaining about nowheh 😏 Sometimes I wish that they could spend a couple days in my head… to know how things reallyΒ can be. And as I typed that…Β just now realizing it, that’s probably what all of us want – even the people who feel like everything is crashing down around them… we just want someone to know, to try to understand, to realize that there’s so, so much more going on behind our “game faces” and other people’s assumptions. πŸ™πŸ»