Some Thoughts on Unpersoning

There’s Nothing Cultured About It

Cancel culture is not new, but as we stumble along into a new decade it’s as if the threat or fear of being canceled or unpersoned (‘unperson’ is one of those wonderful Orwell words) is more prevalent now than in previous years. Both the concept and the practice of unpersoning/canceling an individual fascinates and terrifies me. Cancel culture is not a cultured practice but it has become a cultural phenomenon that is worth a closer look.

“Out of Town”

-K-

From Crushes to Breakups

“It’s not you…” is a Prohibition

Have you ever been on the receiving end of the “It’s not you…” talk? Whether it’s after revealing your feelings to a crush or being on the wrong side of a breakup being told, “It’s not you….” is an interesting form of prohibition.

“Awesome”

“It’s not you…” (along with the awkward and one sided conversation that usually ensues) often prohibits an individual from truly knowing why his/her feelings aren’t reciprocated or why he/she is on the receiving end of a breakup. “It’s not you…” does not necessarily explain why feelings are not mutual or why a relationship is ending, but it does offer the one who says it a means to take some sort of make believe responsibility yet somehow not feel guilty. “It’s not you…” doesn’t make the one on the receiving end feel better, but it does prohibit him/her from justifiable feelings of sadness or remorse because the phrase itself implies there is no need to feel sad or remorseful. “It’s not you…” is like getting a participation trophy, ultimately it means more to the person giving it than to the person receiving it.

-K-

Quarantine is a Prohibition

A Few Thoughts

Ever think about what side of the door you are standing? I discussed Doorways as topic of conversation last year, and last month I mentioned a State’s use of prohibitions as either a means to lock a person out or lock a person in. Today, I’m going to set the metaphors aside and jot a few lines about something literal concerning closed doors, namely quarantines.

“Stop Do Not Enter”

As we approach a year of masks, restrictions, closures, lockdowns, and other various prohibitions let’s take a moment to think about those (the elderly, those with special needs, and others) who have been on some level or type of quarantine for past eleven months. Yes, they can text, call, chat, and Zoom family, but many of these people have not hugged loved ones in damn near a year. We may be social distancing but many of us still have the option of human touch with loved ones. Please keep those who are prohibited from something a simple as a hug in your thoughts.

-K-

Prohibition(s) and the State

It’s Ultimately Access

The State (with the capital ‘S’) loves its prohibitions (both the lower case ‘p’ and the upper case ‘P’). Once the State finishes telling us what we can’t do it’s up to the individual citizen to figure out what he/she is allowed to do. Keep in mind, that State wants you to believe all that you are allowed do is due to the good graces of the State. If you violate (or overlook one of many and often vague) any prohibitions you are at fault and the State is quick to respond.

“No Entry”

Prohibitions are about control, and an easy way to control people is through denying and/or allowing access. The purpose of prohibitions (in most any form) is to keep certain individuals locked out and other individuals locked in. It is the State that gets to determine which side of the door you get to live. The State should work for the citizen, but many of the State’s prohibitions work against the citizens and deny us access, opportunity, and ultimately freedom.

“Prison Door #2”

-K-

One Man’s Trash

Is Also His Story?

When is an empty bottle more than an empty bottle? Another way to start this journo would be to ask how many times have you walked past an empty booze bottle and wondered how it got there? A while ago I noticed that there were empty booze bottles showing up in the alley behind my house. I’ve always been a fan of mysteries so discovering the source of the bottles was a case I wanted to solve.

“Back Alley Bottles”

I found out rather quickly the case of the empty booze bottles wasn’t much of a mystery. A neighbor from across the alley was stepping behind his garage most afternoons and having a drink or few before going inside his house. Mystery solved. But there was still a story, and there were still unanswered questions. Was he drinking because of what happened each day or to brace himself for what was to happen each evening? What prohibited him from drinking in his own home?

Empty bottles may be trash but they are also stories. Stories that may be mysteries, stories that may not have resolutions. The mystery of the empty bottles in the alley may not have a resolution, but I’m positive it is a story of Prohibition.

-K-

Because You Can’t

Some Thoughts on Prohibition

It’s the first day of 2021, but it would be foolish to think 2020 is in the rearview mirror (unless you picture 2020 as some sort of villain form a slasher flick waiting to pop up a cut your throat once you look in the rearview). While sipping from a jar of Kentucky homemade last night counting down the minutes I got to thinking about Prohibition (clear whiskey crafted by people from the hills has a way of doing that).

I started 2019 and 2020 with the topic of Drinking and figured I’d start a tradition of doing the same with 2021, but that jar of Kentucky clear convinced me to focus the topic of conversation on Prohibition. After a few shots, I started to reflect on the events, experiences, and perceptions of 2020 (whiskey is a facilitator of many things, self-reflection being one of them) and started thinking about the many of prohibitions, imposed and suggested, over the last year and their impact.

“Taking Photos Is Not Allowed”

I will continue the tradition of starting the year with the topic of Drinking by discussing Prohibition (with a capital ‘P’) and by also discussing prohibitions in general (with the lower case ‘p’). Here’s to an interesting and creative 2021. Let’s start it off with what we aren’t supposed to do.

-K-

Winter Finally Arrived

and I’m Not Impressed

It snowed yesterday afternoon through early evening over here in Illinois (I read somewhere that you shouldn’t start a piece of writing with a description of the weather). The news, with its cadre of weather forecasters and meteorologists, warned us that the weather was going to be severe, the snow plentiful, and the dangers real (nothing like a little bit of fear mongering to keep the readers clicking and the viewers fixated). There was some heavy snow and ice in other parts of the Midwest but we got about two inches of snow, half of which melted by this morning. With a new year approaching I came away from winter’s arrival with two pieces of information.

The first piece of information is that the news is not the best source available to get my weather forecasts. I’m thinking maybe I’ll just step outside with my morning coffee and look at the clouds each morning and make a reasonable guess at how to prepare for the day. The second piece of information is that winter is not too impressive so far. There wasn’t even enough snow last night to make it worth my while to take out the camera and snap off a few shots. Maybe winter will come on a bit stronger in January but I’ve got my suspicions that it is going to be just cold enough and snowy enough to make life uncomfortable for the next couple of months. Winter may even stay around long enough to bump the first part of spring.

“Snowy Morning Drive”

Tomorrow is the last day of the year and today is the last day I’m going to write about winter. A sad snow storm seems to be a fitting end to this year. I wonder what 2021 has in store for us?

-K-

Still Waiting For It

‘It’ Being Winter

There was a light frost on the car windows this morning and a few flurries in the air on the way to work but there is no winter yet. The news engaged in a bit of fear mongering this past weekend (as the news likes to do) and warned us about the possibility of a few inches of snow and below zero temperatures all week. Neither happened or is likely to, at least not this week. As I was driving home today with the windows cracked and minding my speed (see “Where is Winter?”) still waiting for winter to arrive I got to thinking about a rather odd question (as I like to do).

“Chair in Snow”

What is an actual Midwest winter these days, and how does a modern Midwest winter compare to those winters I remember from previous years? I mentioned on December 9th that winters of the past were punctual, predictable, and parted in a timely manner. Winters of the last few years haven’t shown up when they should. The news can’t seem to make any sort of accurate prediction concerning the weather out here in the Midwest, and when winter does arrive it stays long enough to rob some of the beauty of spring.

“Snowy Six Corners”

Maybe it’s time to stop being sentimental about winters from the past and embrace these new Midwest winters. Maybe I need to keep short sleeve shirts and flip flops ready through January. Maybe I don’t need to get the snow blower ready by Thanksgiving. Maybe I need to accept that there won’t be as many winter photo opportunities as there were in years past. Maybe I’ll just keep waiting.

-K-

Where is Winter?

or How Winter Has Become Kind of a Jackass  

Damn near 55 degrees on the drive home today. I had the windows down, the radio up, and was appreciating the weather when those all too familiar red and blue lights of the Illinois State Police lit up behind me. This isn’t going to be a journo about the $164.00 stocking stuffer that I’m giving to the state of Illinois. Sticking with the topic of winter, I want to tap out a few lines about the indecisive weather here in the Midwest.

We’re into the second week of December and I could have worn short sleeves to work today. There is talk of snow in the forecast for this Saturday (a week of ago the forecast for today was the low 40s) but a few flurries does not mean the arrival of winter. And this delay, this waiting, this wondering when winter will finally show up makes its arrival all the more difficult. It’s hard to lean into winter if you don’t when it will show up. Old Man Winter used to be a pretty reliable guest. You knew he was coming, he showed up on time, and left when he wore out his welcome (give or take a week or so). Now, winter is more like one of those jackass phone solicitors telling you your car’s warranty is about to expire. You don’t when he is going to call, when he does call it’s at inopportune times, and he even though you block his number he never really goes away (not my best metaphor but I’m thinking of selling my good ones to pay for the ticket).

Winter in part of living in the Midwest and it is something that I’m used to. What I am not used to is the thought of wearing flip flops in December (unless I plan on going back to Mississippi). So Old Man Winter, wherever you are hiding, quit acting like a Jackass and show up, do your thing, and leave once you’ve worn out your welcome. Oh, and do you have a hundred bucks I can borrow?

-K-

A Winter Checklist

The Good, The Bad, The Cold

  • Hot coffee, hot chocolate, and hot tea (this is not sweet tea weather)
  • Scraping ice off your car windows before going to work
  • Waking up to single digit temperatures
  • Soups, stews, and chili (oh so many chili recipes)
  • Owning a convertible (yep)
  • Walking the dog in below zero temperatures
  • Whiskey weather (oh so many hot toddy recipes)
  • Always losing just one damn glove
  • Snow in your dress shoes
  • Sledding with friends while drinking the above mentioned hot toddies
  • Starting the snow blower after it sat idle for nine months (damn two stroke engines)
  • Hard wood floors and no slippers
  • Christmas and New Year
  • Breaking the ice scraper before going to work (try using you driver’s license)
  • Two words: WIND CHILL

-K-

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