Kage Baker, being a basically courteous person, acknowledged that sometimes people are just not in a good mood. She never told people to smile or to just get over themselves; she hated it – though silently and with ladylike restraint, of course – when someone did that to her. She tried hard not to commit against others the things she felt as cruelties to herself.
“I don’t know a better way to observe the Golden Rule,” she fretted once. “I don’t know what’s going on in other people’s heads. But I know it hurts if someone hits me with a stick with a nail in it, so I shouldn’t hit anyone else.”
“Not for us to judge,” I agreed.
“Oh, I’ll judge ’em to hell and back,” she said. “I just won’t hit people with sticks with nails in.”
Practical, cautious and virtuous.
I am less inclined to judge. While ignorance may be faulted, stupidity is a tragedy that cannot always be helped. However, I am far more prone to lose my temper and whack the crap out of somebody being what I regard as egregiously stupid. Especially if it’s hurting someone else – like the people who’s response to a celebrity death is to avidly recite every scandal the deceased were ever in, or who announce that victims of misfortune must have somehow deserved it. They pop up with every natural disaster, riot, domestic killing or epidemic, virtuously explaining the will of God to anyone in ear shot.
I’d like to hit them hard with some pointed object. However, the satisfaction is brief, and the repercussions can be quite severe, and further involve the innocent. So I usually just leave. I’ve eaten a lot of lunches in my car rather than listen to the venom in the break room, as it were. I am cautious of online forums, do not text, seldom message, and take sabbaticals from Facebook whenever it gets too High School Confidential over there. Right now there is an unusual level of spite, ill-temper and asininity among my correspondents – rather than vagueBook something mopey and sad, I just announced it was too uncomfortable for me for a few days and left.
No need to contribute to the rising tides of unhappiness. When I get irritated by this kind of thing, I’m as nasty as whatever is annoying me; better for all concerned if I just go away and do something else.
So if no one sees me round the ol’ Facebook tables for a few days, Dear Readers – don’t worry. I’m outside smoking illegally in the Arcade. I have a story to write, too, which has been coming along pretty well – I want to make sure I don’t lose momentum. I’m planning a wonderful final scene involving desperate squirrel harvesting during the onset of a brush fire in the Coastal Range on the Pacific Coast Highway …
Then there is the time-consuming anxiety of waiting for Fantasy and Science Fiction to say me Yea or Nay on the story they still have. And a few new books that have appeared on my Kindle unexpectedly – such fun, to pre-order books and then forget, so they show up like sudden gifts!
Really, there is so much to do! And all of it is so much of it better than quarreling over the Oxford comma, or whether Exene is still a viable artist, or if you should sue your kid’s school because they served him uncut oranges.
Kage would run away. And so can I.