Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Detroit News gets it right with identifying Flint's aura

She's so mean but I don't care
I love her eyes and her wild wild hair
Dance to the beat that we love best
Heading for the nineties
Living in the wild wild west
The wild wild west
         -Escape Club

Well, so it isn't the nineties, but I am telling you I SAW the mean chick and "her wild, wild hair" as I drove down Grand Traverse the other day. I'm telling you, she was packing heat! 

Heck, we ALL are! 

The Detroit News got it right today with their piece, "Rampant crime gives Flint aura of wild West." My only quibble - and I mean quibble - is what took them so long??

Francis X. Donnelly opened her the insightful piece with "Nine abandoned homes were torched Monday and Tuesday, and a dozen burned in a four-hour period last month. The week before, a civil rights pioneer was killed in his upper-income neighborhood. Two weeks earlier, one of the police mini-stations erected as a solution to rising crime was burglarized. 

"Once upon a time, these things shocked residents," Donnelly said.

She got that right!

Yippee ki yea!

We're not shocked any more - most people I know are locked and loaded, no longer waiting for our 124 police officers to respond to our 911 calls for help. Yup, that's 1.2 officers per 1,000 residents.

"Vehicle City, the nickname given Flint as the birthplace of General Motors, has become the state's version of Dodge City," Donnelly writes.

DODGE CITY!! Is that GREAT writing or what??

Donnelly's piece noted, "With all of the other troubles faced by Flint, manhole covers have been disappearing. Some 80 covers have been stolen in the past few months, probably for scrap, police said. For residents, the lowly metal objects are an example of how nothing is safe from thieves. 

"A feeling of lawlessness has seeped into the city's psyche, they said."

It's the seeping that has likely led residents to take matters into their own hands. The Detroit News piece described one man who bought two Magnums, calibers .22 and .44; and owns FOUR pit bulls.

Listen, he's not the only one!

Mandy's in the backroom handing out Valium
Sheriff's on the airwaves talking to the D.J.'s
Forty-seven heartbeats beating like a drum
Got to live it up live it up
Ronnie's got a new gun.

Living in the wild wild west
The wild wild west

Sunday, July 03, 2011

What 50 has taught me

At 50, I thought I would understand more than I do. I thought I would finally "get" people and better understand motives and drive and ambition. I thought I might care less for the things that promised so little, see more clearly purpose ... and right from wrong.

And love. and fear. and faith.

And what it means to care.

And care is different from love, you know? It is. I learned that at 50. Just because someone says they love another, doesn't really mean they care - because love can be selfish. We can love others selfishly.

I learned that quite some time ago.

It's the caring that's the revelation.

We have a legal term that defines when someone does not have a surviving parent to care for them - though to say it, for me, feels harsh and unkind and I would hope I would never be so thoughtless or insensitive as to use it casually in any conversation I might have. Just the word orphan pierces my heart.

... does not have a surviving parent to care for them...

In fiction we find that a lack of parents leaves characters to pursue more interesting and adventurous lives, by freeing them from familial obligations and controls, and depriving them of more prosaic lives. Authors create orphaned characters that are self-contained and introspective.

In the non-fiction of my life, however, I see it played out in other ways as there are many moments in our days where we feel as if no one cares. While we would respond wholeheartedly that we are loved, in the quiet of our hearts we all too often wonder if there is anyone who really ... truly ... cares.

I think it's that uncertainty that someone cares that has sabotaged the growth of humanity or community - heck, even our families and friendships and marriages - and how we raise our kids and our pets. How we are churched. How we are governed. It whispers to us when our assessments and achievements of life still feels empty. It lurks on the fringes of our minds and clamors to find a solid place in our hearts.

... But, BUT, does anyone really care?

50 taught me that.

50 taught me that my days suddenly seem and feel more numbered. I have fewer days ahead of me, for sure, than I now have behind me. It taught me that what I might have been even subconciously waiting for should be pursued ... with my whole heart ... because it might not happen.

50 taught me the value of friends ... friends that truly care AND truly love me. Lucky me. Lucky, lucky me.

50 taught me that our bodies really do change - and now it may take work to shape them the way we want them to be.

50 taught me that dragons can be slayed, that forgiveness is a force, that sometimes we have to go back before we can ever move forward. 50 forced me back and now I am moving forward.

50 taught me that fear has kept me from living life fully, that facing people and darkness and pain is better than turning away. That in the facing of fear we discover that fear itself is a coward and cowers when challenged. Sometimes it dissolves before our very eyes. Fear is far weaker than life.

50 taught me that.

And 50 taught me about faith, a life changing faith, an inspirational faith, a non-human powered faith, a faith that says, yes instead of maybe, a faith that takes risks instead of reserves.

I guess it's true then as one author has said, "... suddenly you find - at the age of 50 ... that a whole new life has opened before you."

It has for me. And I suspect it has for you...