Crowbar of Love

Nothing to Decide 1962

For every action there is a consequence, this is not the same as Newton’s Third Law; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In fact, what I just said is quite different, consequences may not be equal to actions, may seem entirely unrelated on the surface, nevertheless when we peel back the covers it is apparent even for the most obtuse to see. We make choices, those choices lead sometimes to intended outcomes and all too often to unintended consequences. Here are some examples:

  1. One day I stopped for gas and cigarettes. Nothing special did it often with nothing more to show for it than a lighter wallet and a few minutes delay in my arrival home. The consequence of this night, this stop was life changing for many others and me. The consequence of this night set my feet on a path it would be years in the making.
  2. One day I picked up the phone and made a phone call, all I wanted was medical information. I was an adopted child you see and was tired of being asked if certain medical conditions ran in my family each time I saw a new doctor. I could only answer, “I didn’t know”. When they called me back to tell me I could open the file, there were letters of consent it didn’t take me long to decide.
  3. One day I said, “Enough, you may not treat me this way any longer”. I said these words to an employer, one who believed in the power of his penis over equality, equity, fair play and ethics in business. How was I to know this simple statement would create so many ripples in the workplace. Did I say ripples? Let me rephrase that, how was I to know it would create such a witch-hunt with me at the center.

There are so many small things, so many actions or choices we make each day sometimes without even thinking. Yet, each of our choices at any time could carry huge consequence for our own lives or for those around us. We just never know, never consider how our actions might influence the future. Some of us, me included at times walk through life completely unaware.

How did each of the above choices change my life?

  • Anyone who has been reading my blog knows what that night was, it was the night I was kidnapped / carjacked, shot three times and left for dead. Now overall that was a pretty crappy night. The upshot of all that pain though was finding a mission, becoming more aware of what is wrong with society and why we need to fix it from the inside out. Victim Impact is only one part of that mission, it is important and every year I am glad I speak out. But, even more important is lending my voice to justice, equality and education programs.
  • I have told small snippets of the story of meeting my biological family in these pages. Not the entire story but some of it, there is more to tell and perhaps with their permission one of these days I will tell some of these stories.The impact on my siblings in me finding them, of me reentering the family was not entirely positive on any of us. It has taken thirty years to smooth the rough edges; some of them still aren’t smooth. Some of them might never be, but some of us are getting there.
  • The upshot? I sued and won. I also haven’t had a ‘real’ job since then. It is a scary thing to say, especially at my age. Oh sure, I can say I am my own boss. I can say I am an Independent Consultant. I can say those things with pride most of the time, but the reality is; in this economy, in my industry, as a woman, at my age it is scary as hell out here.

Each of us can look at choices we make every day, we can mull them over until our heads hurt with thinking, or we can jump in with both feet and hope for the best. Each of the actions above are different types of choice: (1) Everyday choice, thoughtless; (2) Reflective choice; (3) Angry choice, not made in anger but because of anger.

Most of us do not have the prescience to know how our choices will influence our days let alone the decades to come, if we did we might find life quite boring. Do any of us think through our every choice, our every stop along the way? Or instead do we stumble along, hoping, as we grow older, wiser and more mature we will be better able to make choices without too often stumbling into the potholes on our path.Crowbar

I know for me, the fissures still seem to catch my heels; I stumble frequently. My foot still seems to be stuffed in my mouth more often than I would like. My fears still seem to catch up to me and I am still all too frequently second guessing myself. The one thing I do know, I am not malicious in my choices I don’t make them selfishly. I have finally figured out I can’t fix everyone, can’t even always make choices that will make everyone happy. Some people will never see the light of day. They will always choose their ass over sunlight; I cannot fix this, not even with the crowbar of love.

Everything is not You

The Wild Child returns or was it truly the Prodigal Daughter

My annoyance is at a high point, really, I don’t tell others what to do with their lives I would prefer if others would show me the same courtesy. I am going to rant this morning; I might even descend into raging. This may indeed be one of my off the grid, not so politically polite vents. If I offend you, well not going to apologize for it.

Let me say up front, I am a smoker. I have been a smoker for 45 of my 56 years on earth. Yes, you read that right I started smoking when I was eleven (11) years old. I quit one time in all those 45 years, it was the most miserable two months I spent. Smoking is part of who I am. I enjoy the taste of my cigarettes. I enjoy cigars too. Hell, I was shot because I stopped for cigarettes. After I was shot, I had to give up drinking for the most part, the one vice I kept? Smoking!

I am not stupid. I fully understand the risks and I accept them for myself. I also happen to know, I do not have a genetic predisposition for any of the normal outcomes of smoking including cancer.

Don’t smoke? Good for you, if you never smoked even better for you really. If you are an ex-smoker, you did a great thing for yourself, you quit when you were ready. There you see I can be polite. Now, please keep your non-smoking / ex-smoking opinions and self-righteousness out of my face and air space.

It is already true I cannot go out for a meal and enjoy coffee and a cigarette afterwards. The non-smoker brigade has stripped me of that pleasure. It wasn’t enough for restaurants to provide a segregated smokers section, no indeed you wanted more dammit you wanted it all. Then you went after bars and billiard rooms, now I can’t go play pool and fire up a cigar while I rack’em up and play. Another tick mark on your side, never mind smoky pool halls were once de rigueur or that they are privately owned not public places and you could choose to not patronize those that allowed smoking.

I just spent a week looking for a hotel in Duluth, MN for a two (2) day stay, I looked at my normal chains, nothing. I looked at some others, nothing. I looked at three stars, then two stars, then even one star nothing. I thought maybe it was Duluth.

After my search yielded terrible results, I called Intercontinental, owners of Holiday Inns and other properties. I am an Ambassador member of this chain, supposed to yield me privileges, not so much. I asked if their holidayinnproperties were now smoke free and was told yes, they were moving that direction, while some of the older properties still allowed smoking all new properties would be smoke free. New properties included properties that had undergone renovation.

I will be cancelling my membership with Intercontinental and moving all my points to my airline miles, currently I have over 100,000.

Marriott_NoI wasn’t really shocked when the Marriott chain went entirely smoke free. This was years ago and after all it is owned by Mormons, why wouldn’t they take the first opportunity to jump on the Smoke Free bandwagon. It should be noted, their Asian and European properties are not smoke free, only the North American.

When they went smoke free I moved all my points to airline miles, at the time I had over 800,000.

On average, I stay in hotels 170 days per year. Yet the on-going campaigns of vacationers have driven many hotel chains to become “Smoke Free”. This creates unsafe environments for women who smoke, forcing us out of our rooms at night onto city streets or unguarded front entrances for a cigarette. There we are, huddled on a bench 50’ or more from front entrances out of the light and unseen by the front desk  the perfect target for perverts, rapists or other unsavory characters because you want to make certain entire hotels are smoke free and could care less if we are safe. Your drive for smoke free hotels for your 5-day vacation has created an extremely high-risk situation 170 nights per year for me.

I smoke. It is my choice to do so. I don’t smoke in your house nor would I ever think to do so. I don’t throw my butts on the ground; I have an ashtray in my car. When I smoke outside I make certain I am not near a crowd, I stand downwind whenever possible and throw my butts in the nearest bin.

You don’t own the public parks though you want too, I know. When you stop driving your cars and polluting the air, I will consider not sitting on a public park bench and smoking. My taxes, by the way pay for that bench. My taxes from cigarettes, my hotel taxes in your cities as well contribute to your parks, roads and other comforts.

I don’t complain when your children rampage up and down hallways when I am trying to work or sleep. You are on vacation, your 5-day holiday and I understand you might not be up to controlling your monsters. I don’t complain when you’re next door having that party you always wanted, I get it really I do. It is the first time you have been away from the family and the conference is great, free alcohol and that girl you met at the bar looked great after your seventh martini.

What the hell though, why is it you insist on smoke free hotels? Is it really too much to ask that I am allowed a room somewhere in the hotel with an ashtray? Up to now most hotels put their smoking rooms at the end of a hall on a single floor usually in a place well away from other rooms. Why can’t you be satisfied with that? Why do you need the entire f’ing hotel?Kickm

In fact why do you need everything?

#smokefree #smoking

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