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11 January 2010

Materialism

There was another facet to the story last week that i didn't address.

As Duane's mom was angrily displaying the damage Bear had done, i
could see a certain look in Duane's eye.

He told me later that he was afraid. He said if anyone, person or animal, had done that much damage to something Duane owned, he would have that amount of rage & want to kill them. He doesn't want to feel that way, but he knows himself.

I understand that a little bit, i guess.



These are my "daisy dishes." The pattern is actually "Brown-eyed Susan" made by Vernonware & date to about the Franciscan Apple & Desert Rose (or even a bit earlier, in the '30s), but they were never as popular. I had a few of the items & most of them we use every day, but chose to enlarge my collection of things like a pitcher & those shown above thru Ebay. I used to have a gravy boat up there with the others; it wasn't cheap. Jazz knocked it down & it shattered when we were in the rented house. I cried. Partly because i knew how it was expensive & difficult to find & i couldn't afford to replace it. But partly too, because i knew there was no reason to replace it. It had never been used by me & probably never would be. How often does a vegetarian make gravy? And how could i justify buying another one to sit up on a shelf? (Ok, i just went & looked it up; it wasn't that expensive, but why should i buy it & not use it?)


These are my good dishes. Due to certain circumstances, i nearly lost them some time ago. I think them very beautiful & they are even older than the daisy dishes, probably dating sometime between 1920-1925. Someone kept them for me for a few years (after i almost lost them, so that i wouldn't lose them for i had nowhere to store them). They are not dishwasher safe; washing them in the dishwasher
etches the pattern. I appreciate that the person who kept them for me checked it out & realized that she had to do them by hand, but, the dish she ran thru to check it (that got etched) was my favorite - an odd-shaped serving dish.














My point is that we all have things that we treasure. I love old things. I used to have a lot of them. I've gotten rid of most of them & these days try to keep only the things that matter to me the most. As a child i always admired these weird little blown glass animals that we saw when driving across the country. I wanted a collection of them, but i wasn't allowed.

These days i admire the collections other folks have, but prefer to admire them at their homes, or an antique shop or museum. I no longer desire to keep a lot of trinkets & baubles. That doesn't mean that if our house burnt down there aren't things i'd mourn & miss. Just that i try to hold on to them much more lightly than in my past. And that part of me doesn't understand the rage - & i do mean blind rage - that Duane & his mom seem to share about their damaged property.

Over a year ago someone backed into me in a parking lot & took out the front passenger door of the Honda. Duane's rage scared me & in some ways hurt me, too, for he was too angry to comfort me (i was in shock). I was very, very thankful he was not with me at the time. I wasn't happy about being backed into, but i had a lot of compassion for the lady. He son had recently been killed in Iraq & her dog had been run over the day before. (I believe that more should be done to educate folks on the risks of driving while severely stressed.) She took full responsibility for the accident & did everything possible for the repair to go smoothly. Duane forgave her & let go, but that rage still scared me.

I'm finding i'm afraid to drive "Duane's car." I was in town in the Subaru last week. Someone stopped abruptly in front of me. It wasn't even a near miss, but i realized that had i been distracted i would have hit them. That made my heart patter & i realized that i don't want to drive that car except when we're together & traveling back &forth from OC. (Even then Duane tends to shreik at near misses - which i don't have all that many of. It is usually someone cutting me off. I've told him he needs to stop it 'cause it distracts me when i shouldn't be distracted, but he can't seem to help it.) The thought of coming home to tell him i've had an accident with the Subaru is more than my courage can bear. Duane admitted that he worried the whole time i was gone. (I've not had an accident except being backed into the whole time i've known him. I don't have a history of accidents, i was in a serious one in 1989, & a number when my parents were driving when i was a kid.) My response was, "I told you it would be 4.30 or 5 before i was home. I wasn't late. ???"

I did ask him, mostly in jest, if i'll have to move to Mexico or Canada for a while if i ever have an accident in that car.

So, my way of handling this is to drive the Trooper. Period. A smaller car is much more convenient (the Trooper drives like a boat), but it isn't worth the worry.

I'm not sure i entirely "get" this. I do like nice things. I don't like my things to be damaged (particularly by someone else). I want to keep our cars nice.

But when it is all said & done, a car is a tool to get from point A to point B. Money can be used or abused. Things are nice to look at, but people are more important. (But that doesn't relieve the fear that i'll do something to mess up Duane's car.)


Make no store of wealth for yourselves on earth, where it may be turned to dust by worms and weather, and where thieves may come in by force and take it away.
Matthew 6:19 Bible in Basic English



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5 comments:

Curly Muse said...

Hi Katy

I have not written in a long time. But took some time to read through some of your posts. I am sorry about Bear I had never heard of being able to put a dog down for any other reason than illness or an attack.
I was thinking of you the other day, nothing in particular. Just missing my blogging buddies.

Kathryn said...

I'm glad you're back!

I think in most states animals are considered "possessions" & therefore the owner can do almost anything with their animals, as long as it is not considered (overtly) inhumane or cruel. Meaning, i think folks can put their animals down for whatever reason, or no reason at all, although sometimes shelter workers will talk the owner into relinquishing the animal for adoption, especially if it is young. (Like the dog that Alane took in.)

When i worked at an animal hosp. in college, we had a breeder bring in "inferior" pups to be put down all the time. She would NOT allow them to be adopted as she saw that as competition to her business. It was awful . . . & i think i won't think on it anymore. I'm not a good candidate to work at a shelter, it breaks my heart.

Land of shimp said...

Things like this are difficult. Different people are wired in entirely different ways, and sometimes do have responses we (and they) just don't understand.

It is scary, isn't it? Being witness to anger from people we love. Even when it isn't about us, we're bearing witness to it, and it has an impact on us.

The best way I know of to handle that -- because realistically the people around us aren't always going to have responses that are like ours -- is to figure out what to do about it when you are both calm.

Just saying, Duane sounds like an awfully good-hearted guy, who loves you dearly. When he's calm (which it sounds like he usually is), I'm sure that his response to, "You frightened me." is that he would never want to choose to do that. The guy loves you, you love him. Maybe you could figure out a plan of action?

Maybe "Hey, you know, I understand that you have this response, but I'm going to choose to turn around and walk away from it, and see you when you are calm." It's basically just a different version of "I'm going to take a walk until I calm down."

It doesn't always work, but it's worth discussing. It's funny, because I think the disparity in your responses comes from the same place -- people react with anger when they feel threatened, and loss of stuff, or damage to stuff feels threatening to security. Duane reacts with anger because his security feels threatened -- and you want to be comforted for the same exact reason. "I don't feel safe!" just sparks different reactions in you both.

You want someone to love you, hug you and say, "It's okay, you are safe." and Duane wants to lash out at the thing that made him not feel safe.

I don't think it's really about stuff, or possessions, but about that feeling of safety we all crave. Understanding why we have a reaction can help us cope with them. It isn't about the stuff, it's about the feeling of security being threatened.

So I say, talk to him, he loves you dearly, and you return that feeling. Seems like a good place to start, you know? When this stuff arises, tell yourself, "I am safe."

It is a fascinating thing, that response comes from the exact same emotional well-spring, but manifests differently. You react with fear, and want comfort. Duane reacts with anger, but you are both trying to get back to that feeling of safety, and security.

Maybe understanding that it is actually coming from the same place, and just manifesting differently would help?

Amrita said...

I like your dishes and animals, are you collecting them now.

the only stuff I like to collect are books and music

Kathryn said...

No, i don't collect them, but i still think them very cute.

I have a collection of shells, of buttons, & of rocks, each in their own jar. I've said i won't collect anything that needs a display case! I guess i'm a bit off there, 'cause i do display my dishes.

My mother kept sending me dolls over the years, "for your collection." I don't collect dolls! I gave them away. I do have two that are a little like one i had as a child, but i don't think two is a collection!