Monday, December 15, 2014

Confrontation and consciousness

I stepped out of my building with my dog in tow. In front of our coop building we have a new tree, where we constructed an iron fence around the new tree. The fence is there to keep dogs out. A woman was there, letting her dog in the fenced in area.

In a gentle tone of voice, I stated something I believe is obvious: "We put a fence around this tree because we don't want dogs in there."

Of course, the woman got defensive, and a common way to speak defensively is to avoid what someone has said directly. "I have a bag! It's not like I'm going to leave it there!"

If I had had my wits, I would have repeated my first sentence verbatim. Having a bag does nothing to mitigate the fact that we don't want dogs there, whether you pick up after your dog or not. I told her that it's the urine that is the real threat to the tree's health, which is true, but in a sense, it was also beside the point. We don't want dogs there, and that's really all there is to it, reasons or no reasons, good reasons or bad reasons. Why else would anyone put a fence in? Would anyone rightly think a fence is a reminder to dog owners that they should pick up after their dogs? No. A fence says unambiguously, "Stay out." It does not say, "Behave yourself when you enter (or allow your dog to enter)."

So what thought goes through the minds of dog owners when they allow their dogs inside tree-surrounding fences? Silly question, I know, because I'm using the words "thought" and "mind," as if they are actually involved.

I'm tempted to hang a sign on the fence that says, "The fence is here to keep dogs out. Please don't let your dog in." Is that likely to get people to engage their minds? Maybe not, but it will give some people a chuckle. Or at least, it will give one person a chuckle.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Gender identity: what do we call people?

Times are changing. How do we deal?

A friend wrote:

I don't want to offend anyone, but the subject doesn't interest me enough that I'd want to really work on getting it right.

It depends on what the meaning of "work" is. Skimming the wikipedia article on Transgender, I see it's complicated. I know I have to respect that there aspects of all this that I can't or won't understand, and no one wants to know if I think any of it is a good idea or bad idea. It just is. I accept that.

My decision is to listen. I will listen. I am listening.

One of my daughters is gay or something. She doesn't want any labels. I respect that many young people now say let's not use labels. It seemed hard at first, but in just a few months, I found that I accept that, and it's not hard any more.

LGBTQ people raising children is becoming common and open. My daughter is interested in having kids eventually, and I predict Julia will be a good parent.

I just learned that my cousin's fiancé was raised by two mothers. He is about 29. It doesn't change my view of him. No, to be honest, it does. I like him even more now.

Acceptance of all this new stuff seems to be spreading like wildfire, even in conservative areas, though I'm far from those areas to see accurately.

What's happening in your corner of the world?