Writing The Balance

15125228371_8d48671870_wWhen writing for the public eye, I have this odd need to mention both sides and even advocate both sides. Thus, when I wrote “The beauty of a cell tower“, even though with my background I do not personally believe there are issues with cell tower radiation, and I heard people who were voicing opinions and sharing information that were plausible and coherent. Realistically, no one has come out and said there are no issues because they can’t. We don’t know. At least some of us believe not, and at least some of us believe so. Who is right? I do not know. I acknowledge I can be wrong with my personal opinion; it is an opinion after all, and so I explored what could be researched.

As I told a friend recently over a drink, “I don’t think that there is a danger, but I imagine if I had a pacemaker in my chest I might view things differently.” That I do not have the fear does not make someone else’s fear less real. And as I sat with my morning coffee this morning and considered perspectives around me, people reaching for solid answers on a topic, it seems to me that this is a lot of what is missing in social media, and even between peoples sitting across from us. 

What was most amusing to me was that someone said the article was misinformation, when in fact there is no misinformation in there – sources are linked, and a topic explored that probably could afford to be explored more. If there is no risk with cell towers, why then doesn’t the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health say something on the topic?

It’s an inconvenient topic. As I mentioned in the article, there is a balance between progress and concerns that must be addressed and while I have an opinion, and while everyone else has an opinion, what we lack are facts. So do we become paralyzed about it? No. We should not be.

But that’s the trick with trying to present something that is balanced. People with strong opinions that cannot acknowledge that they might be wrong will accuse writing of misinformation, even gaslighting (such a popular term these days though few seem to understand it when they do it). To dismiss the fears of others without addressing them also fits ‘gaslighting’.

Vaccines are another example. I believe in general that vaccinations have value. Others are worried about what’s in vaccinations – some out of profound ignorance, some out of informed opinion, but it’s inconvenient to address both for some so they… gaslight. Rather than address the concern through knowledge and rationality, it’s easy to simply gaslight and make someone question their reality. 

Balance has value. There is room for more than one perspective on anything that we think we know or that we believe.

We Interrupt This Blog For Coffee Cups.

Coffee ArtThis morning, my last coffee cup broke. The wind outside picked up the sheets of paper under my coffee cup, knocking it off my outdoor writing perch, shattering it. It was the last of the set, and the end of my procrastination to get new coffee cups.

I’m particular about cups. I don’t like the little 8 oz thimbles that they sell. That means I have to go back and forth, soiling more spoons. No, one must have a coffee cup that one can sit with for periods of time. This requires 16 oz or better, in my experience, but those are difficult to find without having some dopey seasonal message, or some trendy saying on the cup.

In looking around today, I saw the remnants of what had been picked over for Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas… and then there were the religious ones… and lo, even a “Live Love Laugh”, the wisdom of 3 words attempting to summarize a philosophy built simply to make people think the world doesn’t suck. Spoiler: The world sucks.

The pickings were slim. Covid-19 has caused all sorts of problems with getting items into Trinidad and Tobago, and coffee cups are not native. Yet I did find some, two 20 oz cups associated with The Mandalorian.

That should be the end of the post, but it’s not.

TCKSomeone I know on Facebook asked, “What are the best things you have read, watched or listened to that relates to ‘belonging’, ‘a sense of home’ and ‘estrangement’?” with the quote to the right – a quote very near and dear to me as a “Third Culture Kid (TCK)“.

Home, for me, is not what home is for others – so what I consider as a sense of belonging or home is not tied to geography.

Today, I realized at least part of it is tied to… cups. Coffee cups. Wherever I have a familiar cup, I am home. I’ve had many over the years. The earliest one I remember was from Hershey, Pennsylvania, and may be the reason for the entire association.

It was a plastic Hershey cup, it said, “Hershey’ on it, and I associated it with my parents before their divorce, before moving to Trinidad and Tobago, of freedoms that I lost when I moved, about culture shifts… it was broken in what I was told was a washing accident by my stepmother, but that never added up. It was plastic, not brittle, and the base broken. Quite a bit of drama for my 11 year old self, where no one else seemed to realize what that cup meant to someone in an alien environment, whose mother was supposed to be coming and suddenly wasn’t, whose father was acting weird at best, a stepmother I didn’t really ask for and who really didn’t seem too interested in having me around… It was the last bit of evidence that I existed somewhere else, once upon a time, in a happier place.

And, until today, I didn’t realize the significance of my cups throughout my life. When something good happened, when I achieved something… I would replace my cup, or get an additional one.

Home? A concept I’ve been trying to understand as others do.

Breaking Out.

I don’t know what’s going on in the world today. I know, but I don’t know.

It’s in my nature to try to write something productive, something that has some sort of impact however small for however small an audience. To point out wrongs, to show what would be closer to right. Yet these past few years since the pandemic started, I have been… paused. In every sentence I have found a judge.

I’ll find threads and pull on them. For example, this whole pandemic mess: Simply because it astounds people that some little virus could wreak such havoc throughout our species on the globe, we had and have people looking for something or someone to blame.

It’s the equivalent of stepping in shit in your yard and suddenly noticing the neighbor’s dog peaking through the window at you. You don’t know it was the dog, but he sure looks…. happy.

“Bastard. It must be his.”

You don’t know that, but hey, that was definitely shit.

Really, we shouldn’t be surprised, should we? Some smart people predicted it, but they also predicted a lot of stuff that wasn’t true. We have this population of humans that just keeps spreading, we keep more and people alive longer, and we’re somehow surprised that something said, “Hey, let’s take those incubators for a riiiiiiiiiiide, man….”

We’re walking ecosystems, ask any doctor- we have our own flora and fauna, and when we get out of balance, we’re sick in some way. Generally, we’re too stupid to even understand that, so caught up in this artificial ecosystem of economy, where what you can buy defines not just who you are, but how well you’re treated, how long you live, and who you have children with. Slaves to our own machine, a twist on Thoreau which isn’t a twist because we largely have become the tools of our tools.

We don’t have time to get sick. We got stupid stuff to do. Sisyphus asked you to pick up his dry cleaning. Icarus needs you to pick up some Gorilla glue.

There’s just so much going wrong to take in. People who apparently never got hit with a science book are arguing with scientists but are dismayed when atheists who have been repeatedly hit with religious texts argue with the religious. It’s a ridiculous society we have. Where are the real critics of society? Where are the people who were supposed to be keeping us honest, or at least within spitting distance of honesty?

Where do we even start?

Where do I even start?

Well. I have a few ideas.

Inner Critic

In every sentence I find a judge

A jury

An executioner

A basket at the end







lenses, light, bend

and suffer

a flurry

In every sentence I find a judge.