Rewiring the System


In The Shower

Posted in Uncategorized by rewiringangel on November 9, 2010
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I am very tired, this has been a long long day!Is it the rainy season yet?  That time of the year, when it rains, day after day for two months or more.  Here in the San Francisco Bay Area,  that time of year has not arrived. Yesterday, it did rain, and I was glad to have it but today it stopped. Today was a glorious, sunny, warm, big blue sky beautiful day, that is expected in California. It is the weather that brought me to this coast.  I came west for the weather and to hug a palm tree.  Today was a no socks day.

In the shower woman talk to one another.  Here at the simple but well equipped and clean YMCA nice people sometimes talk to one another in a light easy fun sharing. I have  a gaggle of friends who I have never seen dressed. They are my Pool Friends! Would I recognize them in other place?

November Second, the bi-election, I was hired by the county and worked at one of the neighborhood voting places, just three blocks from my home.  It was a blast. Our area voters all came prepared and did not ask one question!  A woman came in and said ‘hello’ to me because she says she recognized my voice!  We are Pool wave and smile and hello pool friends.  Pool friends come in every stripe of the rainbow. I have a pool friend that I go out with for breakfast. Four or more are my walking talking in the water friends and we look forward to saying hi and checking in about our days. All of my walking Pool friends noticed and were comforting to me when I was really frying from the radiation. I was very moved by the affection of noticing me and saying something directly.

I go to the Y to shower because my home bathroom does not fit my ability to step over the hight of the tub itself.  It is slippery when wet and it gets wet when anyone showers. I have asked the Manager for the last two years to give me a soaking tub in my apartment that I can get in and out of easily. It is just not the right hight. It is too high for me to step over easily.  I have fallen on my back flop on the floor! I actually got off easy  with a few injuries since my heal slide and I flipped.
There are some times I feel it is the wrong kind of society to find true long term friends – because there is too much individualism. Once again I feel in my heart a longing for new great fun friends who I can go to events and do some of the many possible things available here.

I am a light in the world. I see the light in friendly kind people.
“She has a light inside her that makes other people look better.” I heard Simpson about his wife.  We cross our bridges when we come to them. I cannot imagine how or if my Pool friends will cross over to my real dressed life. When the light inside of me and her and him make pools of light on the path for accident free footing, we will find collegial goodness. I feel safe in the rain with this little warming light of mine burning in my heart and filling my life.
Today I needed to step up to wash the bottom of my right foot. I am going to be perilously close to the woman in the stall closest to the long seat. I ask permission to be in her boundary space. She smiled at me and somehow we started talking about Kindness. It is a subject I think about a lot lately since the health care professionals by and large have not shown me real medical care or human kindness. She tells me that I am being too careful and I did not invade ehr space.  Just a month ago I overheard on woman tell another that she was splashing water on her as she took her shower.  Since that absurd moment I have been especially careful not to cross into another woman’s comfort zone.  The were standing in adjacent shower heads in a public opened space with six shower heads in the confined area.

My apology was greeted with mirth. She suggested that I might really enjoy a book about Empathy that she has read. Carefully spelling out the name of the writer and my carefully repeating it to commit it to my memory because paper and pencil do not work in the shower. I do not know this woman’s name and I do not know if we will be at the pool at the same times gain and again as I have been with my stable Pool Friends, but our conversation was very inspirational. I am inspired because she shared a point of interest and that It Was A Point that I have thought about.
Is there an empathy gene? Are we hard wired to care about one another? She made me remember the writers last name which I could pop into the various searches and find a lot about his work over the years and specifically the book talked about in the shower. I was so happy because the conversation was both rich in information and personal warmth and really freely and Kindly given! It felt safe to talk though nude to the woman .
The book she was referring to is ‘The Age of Empathy: Natures Lessons for a Kinder Society, by Frans de Waal

Here is a good review posted on the book selling site:
“It’s hard to feel the pain of the next guy.    First, you have to notice that he exists…then realize that he has different thoughts than you…and different emotions…and that he needs help…and that you should help because you’d like the same done for you…and, wait, did I remember to lock the car?…and…  Empathy is often viewed as requiring cognitive capacities for things like theory of mind, perspective taking and the golden rule, implying that empathy is pretty much limited to humans, and is a fairly fragile phenomenon in us.  For decades, Frans de Waal has generated elegant data and thinking that show that this is wrong.   In this superb book, he shows how we are not the only species with elements of those cognitive capacities, empathy is as much about affect as cognition, and our empathic humanity has roots far deeper than our human-ness.”
~Robert Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers and A Primate’s Memoir

I spent three hours with doctors today so at the end of all that doing it was nice not to feel alone . The conversations rince away the dreary sameness of medical treatments and conversations where the patient is to be as the name says and quiet too.
For the last fie or six years I have wondered about the Bonobo as I was told that they ended conflict with sex. Everyone all the Bonobo had a lot of SEX! I learn about Monkeys who have sex in the shower.  The Y is good!
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