I'm the woman who opens her mouth and inserts foot ... up to her kneecap. I'm so fervent I'm strident.
You know people like me. We have opinions.
Our opinions have opinions.
And our opinions are not always right.
Not that we’d necessarily agree with your assessment on that particular point.
But you know me.
I haven’t thought that far ahead. My thoughts are on constant churn, macerating with some little tidbit of something.
I'm the lady complaining about how terrible coaches are ... to a coach. How scary religions are to the devout. How awful healthcare is to the doctor. Mine is the voice you hear from across a crowded room, saying whatever tone deaf thing that should probably have been left unsaid.
This lack of forethought isn't a new phenomenon.
Ever since I was a teen, I've been telling it as I see it. Somewhere between the dark side of the ashram and the upside of utopia. Of course, I know that not everyone sees the world through the same puce-colored lenses I do. Of course I know all about projecting. Of course.
But ... Maybe I can persuade some...
The hope of persuasion is some intoxicating gas, isn't it?
Hope is what saves us.
But I’m not usually able to persuade.
Often, a person will smile politely and immediately remember an urgent matter they have neglected to attend.
A few yards away.
I don't blame them.
We are, after all, adults. We can be adept at displaying some form of civility, either genuine or otherwise.
Of course, I'll regret saying whatever it was I just said.
I'll try to backtrack. Or apologize. I'll startle awake in the middle of the night with the memory, still fresh and vivid, though it may be years later.
You'd think I'd learn.
Or at least adapt.
Honestly, I don't believe I'm unique.
Most of us say things we wish we hadn't.
Most of us come across in some way we hadn't intended.
We make mistakes that seem huge and unfixable.
And some of us will pay a price that isn't at all justified.
Honestly, I mostly feel lucky.
These are the things that passed through my mind as I watched the Netflix adaptation of Jay Asher's novel about teen suicide, "Thirteen Reasons Why."
My daughter, you see, started watching the series without me.
She had viewed two episodes before deciding, on her own, it wasn't something she was ready to handle.
Once I tuned in, I could understand why.
The title was a misnomer: there wasn't just an odd number of reasons that had gone undetected. The list seemed an infinite distraction. The real cause went beyond bullying. It settled in the place between criminal law and mental health. Where the system we've created seems to fail just about everyone who can't "just move past it."
I have to admit; I think we adults can learn a lot from 13 Reasons.
Perhaps the most important of which is to accept that we can't ever know all there is to know, and our answers are not always correct. Our best hope is to stop talking and to start listening.