Wednesday, October 18, 2006

You're Not Paranoid - You ARE Being Watched

You have much more of an impact on the world
than you think you do.
You are never as important as you think you are.

Do you ever catch yourself watching someone -- be it a stranger or someone you know -- and thinking about their actions, their words, their motivations?

What do you think about the person who constantly interupts conversations? Why do you think this person let you cut in line? How did that lady who callously smacked you with her carry on luggage influence your morning? Why on earth is that blue SUV honking their horn? Didn't it make you feel good when that person offered their seat?

Are these people aware that you are watching and thinking about their actions?

Now turn it around. What do you do? How do you carry yourself? What is it that you do that makes friends and strangers take note? What kind of an influence do you have on the people around you?

I'm often amazed at times and wonder about the motivations of the people with a 'me first' and 'better than you' attitude. I find myself making up excuses for the rude rush of other drivers. Of course, it doesn't get me anywhere faster or make my ride sweeter if I become angry with them. And it makes me smile when I sit behind them at a light after they just cut, swerved and zoomed by about a mile before.

I make room for the pedestrian hogs who walk three people abreast through the crowded corridors of malls and mass transit terminals. I like to think I'm being considerate when I alter my route for people to pass. But, flip the coin and I find myself grumbling "Why should I be the one to make room? What makes them so important? Next time I'm going to stay my course. Someone needs to teach them consideration of others." But when next time comes, I instinctually make room.

I saw a woman purposely stomp on the heel of another traveler as they walked through a crowded terminal - then blame her actions on the person she stomped on. The other traveler graciously shook it off, accepted the blame, apologized and moved on.

I was right behind them and witnessed the whole nasty thing. I went up to the traveler and told her that she was very kind and carried herself well -- that I was impressed.

Anyhoo, the point is this, you are watching people and people are watching you. I don't mean people are stalking and peeping. I mean that anywhere you go in public, your actions are being silently scrutinized by complete strangers as well as by acquaintances and close friends. They see you smoke, litter, drink, fart and belch. But they also see your random acts of kindness, alms to the poor, thoughtful compliments and gentility.

Your watchers may make comment or they may not. And the strangers may just file it away. If they ever see you again, or you ever pop into their memory, you'll be (good or bad) 'the person who ____ that time at the ____.'

Why am I writing this?

I have recently discovered an online description of me. I had no idea that this person gave me or my actions much beyond a friendly but passing thought. But there I am plain as day in the eyes of another.


I mean, I already had this philosophy, (I even have the tattoo to prove it) but sometimes it really smacks you. The single line of your life, short or long, wide-reaching or narrow, weaves in, around and through everyone else's lives with whom you come in contact, making them weave in, around and through as well.

How does your zig make them zag?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Martinsburg Journal - Letter to the Editor

This letter to the Editor was printed a couple weeks ago in the Martinsburg, W.V. Journal Newspaper.

Put yourself in my shoes.

If your husband or wife were gravely injured, you could not visit them in the hospital without their family's permission. You would have no part in the decisions of emergency medical treatment. If they died, you would have no legal stance regarding burial or estate.
In these traumatic moments of your life – when they need you the most – you would be separated from your loved one.

The privileges of marriage are extended to people like Britney Spears who was married for 55 hours and to Mickey Rooney who was married eight times.

Why does West Virginia deny my family even the most basic rights and privileges of marriage? Whose idea of the 'sanctity' of marriage includes a two-night stand and serial divorces, but excludes a relationship of years of love and commitment?

No logical argument can be made against same-sex marriages. Childless couples enjoy the benefits of marriage and single people procreate all the time so one can't argue that children are the purpose of marriage. If one argues using religion, by whose religion are we creating law? Observe the natural habits of the animal kingdom before arguing same-sex marriages are unnatural. The tradition of marriage is made by man, and can be changed.

We live here. We work and pay taxes. We vote and deliver your mail. We sit next to you in church and on the train. We're your neighbors and family. Give us equality, West Virginia.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Byrd

Mr. Robert C. Byrd

In response to my letter, in which (if memory serves) I inquired as to why you are against same-sex marriages, your office sent to me Volume 150, Number 97 of the Congressional Record dated more than two years ago, July 14, 2004, with page S8084 tabbed—which referenced your vote against Senate Joint Resolution 40, a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage.

Although I am pleased to have received a tailored response, I am extremely disappointed with the content and can only surmise that the response from your office was intended placate and befuddle a reader of lesser education or skill. How little your office must think of the average West Virginian.

In a June 7, 2006 statement (Ref. 1) that followed the procedural vote on the Constitutional amendment on gay marriage, you clearly state that you strongly oppose same-sex marriages. The only support you offer for that stance is your personal religious conviction, misquoting the Bible and using such words and references as; holy, Bible, Good Book, sacred and God-fearing.

Your religious zealotry is denying my family what the United States General Accounting Office has identified as a “total of 1,138 federal statutory provisions classified to the United States Code in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving benefits, rights, and privileges.” (Ref. 2)

You do not accurately represent me.

Charles E. Walker
Martinsburg, W.V.

Ref. 1
Ref. 2
GAO-04-353R Defense of Marriage Act - Update to Prior Report