I might have been annoyed this week. But I wasn’t.
I live in the Czech Republic and the president is Milos Zeman. I’ve been watching his political career for nearly twenty years, since I was an intern at the main English-language newspaper here in the mid-1990s. I’ve always noticed that he has some sort of muscle anomaly in his face. I don’t agree with his politics most of the time but I did think it was refreshing that a politician with such a physical difference became president.
Then this week he did something very, very, very… irritating. He went to lunch in a small town and before he got there his event team went in to check out a nice restaurant. They liked the space and everything about the place, except for two of the employees. One had a visible physical disability. The other was clearly developmentally disabled. Both are regular employees of the restaurant, serving customers and earning wages and tips. But the president’s staff said they couldn’t serve the president. The restaurant was required to give the two employees mandatory leave and hire temporary workers from a hospitality school.
Now as many people know, I’m legally blind. So... I found this news item disturbing.
My husband pointed out to me that one doesn’t have to be directly associated with the irritating news of the world to be affected. He was similarly disturbed by listening to a radio program which made a case for why same-sex spouses in a legal partnership are not allowed to adopt children, including the children of their legal spouse. So, if you are gay and you are married and your spouse has a child, you are not allowed to adopt the child to ensure that the child has a parent in the event of the death of your spouse. The reasoning? Children must have both male and female influences. They apparently forgot that single women and single men are allowed to adopt.
Okay, our children are adopted from orphanages where many other children wait for parents who are open-minded about ethnicity. So I guess we feel associated with that issue too, but is anyone really unassociated with these sorts of issues? If you don’t have a family member who is affected, you surely have a friend who is.
The world can be disturbing.
And so it is good to have a sanctuary, some place where the world can’t intrude. Even if that’s just a corner by a window that’s well-suited to reading or a spot under a favorite tree.
I have always made a sanctuary for myself, even when I traveled. I’ve lived out of a backpack for years at a time and I kept a candle, a handful of pretty pebbles, some tea, a tin cup and a alcohol burning mini-stove tied up in a scarf. This I could spread out anywhere – and did – on a rock in the Himalayas and on the floorboards of a shack in the Amazon jungle. It made a place of peace.
Now I have a larger sanctuary. I am lucky to have a little house with heated tiles on the floors and a warm fireplace. I even have a garden outside full of maturing trees and herbs. And these days I have the luxury of being alone in this place to write for several hours a few days each week. That is a great privilege indeed.
And so, I really wasn’t all that irritated this week, even though I was tempted.
Instead I listen to my children playing in the other room. I can hear them playing with their collection of letter stamps. I can hear the soft sound the stamps make as they push them against the ink cushion and the “thunk, thunk” as they stamp them onto pictures they are making. I can hear the whack as one child hits the other with a stamp and the yowls of protest. I call a truce, backed up by Mama-power, and they sit separately for awhile until they are calm. Then they resume their pictures. All the while I am making apricot cobbler and I don’t have to turn my head to “see” what my kids are doing.
So, the Czech president can have his bland lunch. This time I’m not irritated because he’s got nothing on me. I am sorry that he doesn't know about the richness of all the senses of the body and all the uniqueness of the mind. I'm sorry for him. There will be days when my ire is raised but not today.
The peace of my writing sanctuary has brought me to the half-way point in my first draft of the Kyrennei Series Book Four. Don’t get too excited, if you’re an avid reader. It is still a rough draft. But it is coming along and the computer demons have been largely appeased.
Being a rebel with a pen is a lonely job but someone's got to do it. We're here to support each other. Keep in touch. Write a comment below and tell me what you do to keep from getting mad. I love to hear from you.