In the course of some e-mail correspondence with a friend she mentioned that I am “so serious sometimes”. I could try and deny it, but it is the grain of truth. I would say it is a heartier grain, an oat perhaps.
I feel it is being a parent more than anything, but the changes in society in the last ten years (probably more 20 years, but I feel it has hastened the last 10) are directly a result of poor communication and a refusal to understand the other sides point of view.
While my paternal instincts are the most likely culprit for my sometimes solemn demeanor I will admit 9/11 has much to do with it as well.
The event itself was shocking and heartbreaking. Equally so was how we reacted to it. For a few weeks it appeared we were going to unite and better ourselves as a nation. Even Congress pledged to work toward more unity, once thought to be a sign of the impending Apocalypse. At the end of those fairy tale weeks it was back to a more polarized back biting, cover your own ass selfish America Fuck Yeah approach to society. I think we failed a big litmus test. From the beginning of that turning away I felt so. Not much of what has transpired in the nation since has made me feel otherwise.
I often try to subtly inject the opposing viewpoint into conversation because I believe that is what is most lost these days empathy and consideration. Most often I am of the minority or dissenting opinion I bring forth, but not always. I am not trying to change peoples minds, rather just get them to look at the whole picture.
Our current set of leaders see fit to do nothing to change our course, in fact they are doing nothing at all. Special interests on both sides coupled with severe apathy by the general public have lead to a system that is so corrupt and driven by the interests of lobbyists that we have two people in all of Congress(out of 535) who are not bought and solid by special interests- Representative Ron Paul(TX) and America’s Senator Bernie Sanders (VT).
I have gotten to the point of staying away from politics. I have no real voice in how it goes other than in the voting booth. I am to the point where I am almost ready to vote for anyone who is not an incumbent… almost. If there were a way to take money out of the process or at least strip much of its power I would invest more time into it. That would be unlikely. Oh well, I am serious enough without politics thank you.
I find plenty of smiles, but I will say most are at home, with my family. I have a loving wife who has been my partner for 18 years and wife for 12 this year. I have two adorable children. While we struggle with money at times (Raise your hand if you don’t… where are those hands!) we do our best not to let it define us. We have a roof over our head and are not hungry and we laugh often.
I believe much of my seriousness, especially at work is driven by a need to be the opposite of the stereotype of a government worker. I have developed a strong work ethic over the last 15-16 years and it is something I take tremendous pride in. My current job has allowed me to earn a living doing what I learned was so valuable in my youth attending church and Catholic school- being of service to others, especially those in need. Like any job it carries its frustrations. The rewards surpass those negatives incredibly.
Today is a day I need to remember that. I am so removed from the dominate culture at work that I am, surprise, in the minority. So be it, Jedi, or some such pop culture throw away. It was a day that not even my favorite cover song could break open. Some days it is just not meant to be.