After today, we're in the pre-Thanksgiving planning phase. It happens this year I'm doing the cooking for everybody. That's going to be interesting -- it's never been on be entirely, before now.
But hey. There comes a time when we have to sort it out for ourselves. At some point, no matter how Hank did it, we've got to do it ourselves.
This evening I went to a charity benefit for the Classic City Rollergirls ("Waging War on Wheels"), a rollerderby outfit to which a female friend of mine belongs in a kind of prospect capacity. They're a serious bunch, in their way: the sport involves tackling roller-skating women at high speeds on concrete. It's a violent sport, and these women are bold to engage it. I like them.
The benefit was fun. I'm discovering things about myself, the more that I deal with people here back home. I had three people hit me tonight. The first was a woman who was angry about something I didn't understand, but I let her hit me until her hands were worn out -- it really only took about four hits -- so she wouldn't take it out on whoever she was mad at at the time. Then I made her boyfriend hit me too, so he wouldn't mock her later for being unable to get anything out of hitting me. He didn't either.
He offered me a return 'fair play' punch on himself, but I declined. It really wouldn't have been fair at all.
Then there was another woman, drunk as you can want, who was demanding that everyone comply with her or shut up and respect her. Her particular complaint was that religion was necessarily associated with intolerance and violence, which proposition she intended to enforce intolerantly and with all necessary violence. I did my best to get away from her, but she happened to pin me down in a way that forced me to be close beside while she undertook to declaim a man present I thought deserving of respect. I explained that she was wrong on the facts, and she told me to shut up or she would slap me. I told her to do her best, and she did.
I guess it's a function of the South that a woman can feel free to hit a man without fear of reprisal. She hit me, and I told her she'd have to do better; she hit me again, and I told her she'd have to do better than that. She hit me a third time, far harder -- something about the blow suggested to me that she was at her psychological limit -- and I grinned and told her I thought that now she was getting started.
And so she went away, and didn't even look in my direction the rest of the night. Others apologized for her, but really, she'd only done what she wanted and what I invited her to try. No harm was done, and maybe she learned something about her ability to use violence and threats to push others around.
My wife later allowed that it was well she was not present at the time. That's doubtless true! But no harm was done, and some good. There's no reason to resent the violence as such. It was a learning experience for her, for them, and even for me.
Perhaps it speaks badly of me that I feel so comfortable with violence. I've seen much worse, though, than what America currently has to offer. I want people to understand it, and not to fear to think it: I want them to know it for what it is. It is terrible, in its way, but it leads to knowledge. Perhaps I am terrible, too, for embracing it. I didn't use my strength to hurt them, but I let them use theirs against me without protest. Perhaps that is something wrong with me.
But this was very small force, a kind of toy by those who were only playing with it. I think perhaps it is good for them to look in the eye someone who has seen the thing for real, and to know that their toy is no more than a toy. Maybe that is -- perhaps I am -- sent as a lesson for them. That doesn't make me better, for I know my heart embraces far greater force: but perhaps it helps them, and in some small way improves the world. I hope so.