Sunday, November 30, 2014

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - November 30, 2014

Good morning! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! This is my weekly off television topic post in which I reflect on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way.

Speaking from Concussion Land here, while I've rested a lot this past week, it hasn't been necessarily easy. The fuzziness is really bothering me. I'm not used to thinking of each word I want to say, nor taking five minutes to write a coherent sentence.  I have found that I'm better at typing than actual writing. But, still ...

My only outing this week was to the neurologist follow-up on my brain MRI. The results of the MRI were good (which I already kind of determined from looking at the CD the MRI place gave me -- no huge splotches, etc.) So, the doctor says it will just take time and told me to take another two weeks.

My own Thanksgiving was quiet, just Vincent the Cat and me. I roasted a chicken, made stuffing, cheated with frozen Brussels sprouts, frozen Green Giant garlic-roasted potatoes, canned cranberry sauce and triple chocolate gelato for dessert. My appetite and sense of taste seem a bit off. I'm still living off the leftovers. Vincent had turkey with gravy canned cat food.

I find the events of Ferguson this past week incredibly saddening. It seems hard from all sides. Living in a black majority community (with Hispanic rising) here, I can't imagine a basically all white police force. While Plainfield definitely needs more Spanish-speaking officers to keep up with the population influx and language barrier, this traditionally diverse town has a majority of black officers.

The community here still bears the scars of racially-incited riots back in 1967. While I was aware of the Newark and Watts riots of the 60s, I was young and living in upstate New York at the time. I didn't know about Plainfield. I was advised upon moving to New Jersey, NOT to live in Plainfield, mainly due to racial and crime issues.

Guess what? I've lived in town for thirteen plus years now. While I've seen the increase of Hispanics and do have a bit of communication issues with them due to the fact that my Spanish is horrible, I've had absolutely no problems with the black folks in my community. If anything, the people here are the friendliest of any place I've ever lived. People are people. There are good and bad, wise and foolish, people of every kind.

That said, I can't imagine a situation like Ferguson going down here in Plainfield these days. First off, a one-man unit would call for back-up in a situation like that. It sounds like back-up wasn't called for until after Michael Brown was already down on the ground. Wilson shouldn't have even left his car until he had back-up. He knew the kid was shot and would have to seek medical help. He didn't see a weapon other than his own. Maybe it's not typical of Ferguson, but there seemed to be no common sense in how the officer handled the situation. Brown himself was no angel. It's a shame that his own actions paint him in the light they do (as a faraway observer), but Wilson was also wrong. Brown didn't deserve death for being a stupid big kid pushing his weight around. I really don't think the situation would have gone down the way it did had Brown been white.

It saddens me to think that there is still such a racial divide in our world. I'm glad there's not that kind of hate within me, but wish everyone would just accept folks as inherently the same regardless of color, religion, etc.

I have no answers. I can only do my part by thinking every person I meet on my path might add something positive to my own life, every interaction might be warming or thought-provoking.

If only ...

This post at the Friends (Quakers) Meeting House in Plainfield has the saying in four different languages. This past week's events across the nation and some of the hate I've seen on the internet is disturbing and very sad. What does it say for us as a people? I mean ALL of us.

Tom Turkey and wreaths

This duplex on Berckman Street in Plainfield is always symmetrically decorated each season. I always wonder if it's one person's doing or a joint effort. Either way, it's always pleasant. This house also had the ONLY clear sidewalk perfectly shoveled and salted on the block last winter. I caught a woman doing that. Go figure.


Defunct bus company

About the only interesting building near the neurologist office. Alas, it's not defunct enough for really interesting photos. Edison, NJ. You can see the snow and sleet mix coming down.

It's snowing on me!

I didn't wear my boots as they're a bit too much for what little I expected while out and about. My Sketchers sneaks have adequate tread. My boots are definitely warm (too warm for the day) snow boots rather than dress boots.

Straight from Queens

Caught this truck out of Flushing, Queens, going through Edison as I waited for the bus home. Still goes with my previous claims that all the graffiti-laden trucks in this area of NJ hail from NYC.

Not fair weather Friends

Look around, leaves are brown, there's a patch of snow on the ground - Paul Simon

The sidewalks were getting slippery by the time I got back to Plainfield. I ended up indulging in a cab ride home. Between dizziness from the concussion and slippery sidewalks, I didn't want to take a chance I might fall.

Brr ...

Out the window

Once I got home, the snow turned to rain. Well, freezing rain and rain. Of course, I was out on the nastiest weather day of the week.

Always warm

Meanwhile, Vincent is always warm and comfy. Ah, to be a cat ...!


Palmaltas said...

Your perception of the events in Ferguson is the best I have read or heard reported. I hope you recover soon completely from the concussion.

Bernice said...

I agree, your commentary was very perceptive and balanced. Pretty good for someone whose brain bounced around! I hope you feel better soon.

Jackie said...

Thanks, Pat. I think back decades ago when I was night managing a convenience store. A regular customer, black, local college kid, always pleasant ... well, his car broke down on a snowy night not far from the store. Before cell phones, he used the pay phone outside to make a phone call. He stopped in the store and told me his situation.

After I realized he was still standing outside in the cold and snow, I told him to come inside. As he warmed up, we talked. And, what he had to say gave me insight into how people might perceive black young men. He told me he hadn't asked to wait inside because he was a young black guy and didn't want to make me worry that something might happen. Say what?

Now, I'd never personally given him that perception. But he was basing it on his own personal encounters in life. Here he was ... a good kid, a college kid, so not a problem kid ... and he was worried that his being black might be seen as a problem if he came inside from the cold. Shame on society for making him feel that way! He was the kind of kid who'd make any parent proud and I hope he's done very well in life. I bet he has.

Sharon N said...

Your life has been made interesting and rewarding by all the various interactions you've had with people from all walks. It's given you an excellent perspective and acceptance. Would that everyone could be more open-minded and accepting.

Though I'm a few years older than you, I'm sure we've both observed many changes over the being people not showing quite the same kind of disdain over mixed relationships (including gay).

No matter how much it's said that everyone is equal, the Ferguson issue brings the continuing suspicions, discrimination to the forefront. Despite steps forward, it's obvious and discouraging that 'real acceptance' of all races, religions and relationships will be many years in the future.

Peggy said...

Just as I would never presume to judge you in the performance of your job, since I don't know how to do your job (whatever it may be), I feel it is wrong of you to judge the officer'shandling of this situation. If you have never ridden in a police car or interacted with a hostile subject, you cannot predict how you would respond or if the officer was right or wrong in how he handled this situation. Also, you are placing your opinion above that of 12 well informed, intelligent people of both races in deciding the officer was wrong and should have reacted differently. I encourage you, once you recover from your concussion to take a citizens police academy and ride with a couple of officers for their shift and then see if you don't see a different segment of society, hope you get well soon

Jackie said...

I have worked with police officers, Peggy. I said mistakes were made on both parts.

Nickelpeed said...

I hope you feel better soon. Concussions are horrible.