Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, May 3, 2014



There is an invasion of tiny flies.  I heard the first tentative reports from one of the reference librarians.  She was mobbed enveloped by them at her house and in the parking lot.  I did not see them when I arrived in the morning, but we all live near the big water and they are sometimes worse in some years.  She was the first person in the building to encounter them.

Then, on the way home from the shelter a couple of days ago I saw a FedEx driver walking briskly down the walkway to a house, wildly shaking his hat and waving it around his head, running back to his truck.  Hmmm...gnats?  Gnope.

Yesterday when I came home from work I saw them hovering, milling around, just a bunch of thugs, albeit really teeny thugs, near my parking space.  I watched them and they were definitely not gnats.   They were too big and looked like little flies, only chubbier, but not gnats, which are so little you can hardly see them.

They seemed to be drawn to the warmth of the car engine, so I waited to see if they saw me in the car and were just biding their time.  They gradually dispersed and I gathered my bags, got of the car and ran like heck.  The little guys valiantly tried to follow, but fell behind.  When I got to the porch, they quickly caught up, but seemed confused when I walked to my mailbox.  When I got back to the door they were gone, probably looking for someone who could speak teeny thug.

Whilst eating my not-healthy dinner of unhealthy stuff, I turned on the television and the news story was about the insect thing in my city.  They had some stunning pictures of the sky being darkened by bugs and a sea gull struggling guessed it...the teeny thugs, which turned out to be midges.

They are harmless, have extra special reproduction cycles where there are many more of them, do not bite and will eventually find mates and disappear back to wherever they are most of the other years.

They are also pretty cool and I am planning to sit out on the porch tomorrow after church and watch them.  Yeah, I am going to church.  Who woulda thunk it.  I have been attending services once in a while when I am not sick or working.  Tomorrow is the first Sunday that I am not doing either of those things, so I am going to go and then stay for the group time they have afterwards, whatever it is called.  Maybe Hospitality, probably not.

Anyway, I am going.  Should be interesting.

Interesting like my week.  I had some of the funniest clients this week.  One is a person who obsesses about everything and always complains that she contacts her placement agency every week and they never have anything for her.  Whilst she was there, she called one of them.

Keep in mind that companies use placement agencies for managing their hiring of new employees because it is less expensive for them to have someone else vet potential hires, but also to keep people from  telephoning or just showing up, asking about jobs and generally messing with their day-to-day work.

So, she sees a listing on-line on one of the aggregators and calls them.  I sit back to observe.  First she demands to know if the job is still available (I had told her that the person answering the phone would not have that information), and...surprise...the person answering the phone does not have that information and tells her to click on the listing and complete the application.  Next she demands to know who the company is, which the agency person is not going to disclose (told ya so).  Then she wants the address and when that info is not forthcoming, she takes a breath and says, "Well, then, exactly how am I going to know if I can get there?"  That, actually, is a legitimate question, but she might have gotten more cooperation without attacking the person at the agency.  A few more snarky remarks and she hangs up.

She looked at me and told me that is pretty much what happens when she calls them every week, that they do not help her at all.  I suggested that she might want to think about how she speaks to this woman and that a milder approach might be more productive for her.  Her response was "Did I do something wrong? to which I replied that there were a couple of things she might have done differently.  She asked what they were, I told her and she really did not care.

At the end of lab time and when she was leaving I gave her a tutorial that she can use for searching job listings when she is not working with me.  She thanked me and then said that she would like one that was not torn.  It took me and one of the librarians to find the tear.  I am not really thrilled to see her arrive at lab, but she makes me smile and laugh and she can keep coming as long as she likes.  I suspect that will be a relatively long time.  Oh, dear.

She is not the only person who is struggling with the whole job issue.  People, good people, who would be excellent employees are not finding jobs.  Part of it is the condition of the economy here.  Our unemployment rates are officially low, but those of us who work with the under/unemployed know differently.  There are a couple of areas in our county, in town and a rural area, where the true unemployment rate is very close to 50%.  No kidding.  And, it looks to not be on the improvement track any time soon.

But, in their frustration and desperation, many job seekers are not behaving in any way that helps them.  I get that and I sympathize, and whilst I try to help them with résumés and all the rest of the documentation they need, interviewing tips and practice, many of them are panicking in their desperation.  For some people, there is not any easy way to find a job and it is mostly because of how they behave.  You know, how they behave, continue to feel disappointment, before they give up.

The shelter is much the same.  Despair.  Frustration.  Making choices and behaving in ways that are not in their best interest.

The populations with which I work are the microcosms of the macrocosm.  We are all the same.  We appear and are perceived differently because of the limits of our ability to see only the part to which we directly connect.

I do not have any answers, only ideas to support people in their efforts and desire to improve the quality of their lives.

It is all that any of us want.

The gnot-gnat midges are this week's illustration of that.  Teeny flies trying to live their lives to the best of their abilities.  Not hurting anyone.  Probably lacking any true recognition of us as anything aside from an attractant or barrier.  Just doing what they need to do to survive.  Just like me.  Just like my clients and shelter residents.

Just like  all the people I will never know.  To me they are my human version of what is not part of my awareness, just as I am unknown to them.

My always and forever hope is that I will remember that what I do not know or understand is not my enemy.  That what does not know me refuses to ever view me as a threat.  This is more than my teeny brain can conceive, but it is all I have.


  1. It is interesting to read about the unemployment issue over there in the US, J. I saw a documentary a while back about people who had had really good jobs and had lost them resulting in them losing their homes and were now living in a motel room...the whole family! So hard to believe. I had hoped that the economy had improved.

    I am sure your brain isn't 'teeny' at all. :-)

  2. For many people, it has improved, but there is this part of the population that has effectively given up, and on many levels. I see it every day that I work and there is a disconnect between those days and the ones where my experiences of of much greater abundance than that of my clients.

    I feel conflicted about all of this.

  3. It's a real shame when good people can't find work, unfortunately there will always be those people who make being unemployed a lifestyle :( Great post, you really do have a talent for writing, you need a column in a magazine or summat, you do ya know ♥

  4. I agree with Sue,you are an excellent writer and would make a great columnist!
    It must be frustrating to see people who could help themselves out a bit more...some folks don't understand that they can get much farther with a positive demeanor than a negative one.