Archive | 3:55 PM

Emotionally Draining

19 Jan

When Kim was getting ready to leave the vet hospital to go to Missouri for Christmas, she was stolid towards me.  She had talked to me a couple of times that day–a brief comment about fixing the time-clock.  Maybe that pithy transaction between us was it. . .  Not knowing the logic for her laconic interactions with me, made me paranoid and depressed.

I saw her hug and fawn over Debi, happily reciprocate a hug from Diana, talk to Michelle, and she was just apathetic towards me.  It was very uncharacteristic for Kim to be so impassive to me.  Even when we had been under scrutiny in the past, Kim had never acted indifferent towards me, finding small ways to show she didn’t hate me.  She would give me the remnant of a knowing look, or a trace of a smile.  There were always subtle signs between us, that despite interference from my mom or Mary or both, we were still friends.  I knew, even if she couldn’t show it, Kim returned my affection.

That winter day, she remained terse, and I don’t even think she was going to say anything to me.  I could see no remains of our past kinship.  It broke my heart that she was so phlegmatic in regards to me.  When I approached her, she compensated me with a stiff hug and unemotionally and succinctly whispered, “This is probably the last time I’ll see you.”  At the time I hoped she meant that day, before she absconded to Missouri for Christmas, and before I fled the Cabin-Mansion, but in retrospect, that compact little comment carried a lot of weight–she meant forever.

I am still not certain why she was unconcerned about it like she was–I would miss her greatly.  It was a true statement for the long-term.  I have not seen her in person (and talked)  since my escape from the tribulations at the Cabin-Mansion.  Kim even decamped from my Facebook friendship with her.  I had always hoped to requite our close friendship, but all that have been left are vestiges of conversation, drunk calls to discuss relics of the past.

Supporting Blood Diamonds [Anti-Valentine’s #5]

19 Jan

Here it is, my annual V-Day-hating blog.  Every year, it gets more difficult to bring up a new aspect of this frivolous “holiday.”  My hostility makes it difficult to remain unemotional and objective when writing about this bain of my year.  My unfriendliness won’t be mitigated until this holiday ceases to exist.  One year my blog subject was how women turn into superficial bitches, another year it was a diatribe against patriarchy, a third year it was why Valentine’s Day is a waste of cash, and last year how this February seasonal tradition negatively impacts the environment.  This year, I have chosen to address the diamond industry.

A family is sitting in their hut, minding their own business, when suddenly, a group of well-armed people set fire to everything.  They load all physically-capable people in the village in a cart.  Everyone else is shot.  Those that struggle will lose a finger, or arm, or leg.  Those that try to escape will lose limbs or their lives.  The people that made it to the cart are taken away from family, friends, and their familiar surroundings to a watery, mine and made to work.  Standing bare-footed in filthy water for days a a time, the people are forced to dig for diamonds.  If they are slow, try to escape, or are caught stealing they are maimed or killed.  If they find a diamond it is taken away and sold for a lot of money.  These people are offered no choice in the matter, no compensation, and no recourse–they are now diamond minors.   It’s a pretty bleak picture.  Despite some efforts to restrict the trade of such diamonds, many of them make it to stores each year to be bought for exorbitant fees.

Valentine’s Day is a curse for diamond minors.  Amnesty International states, “More than 4 million people have been killed in diamond-fueled conflict and wars.”  The poor, underpaid and overly abused souls in Africa, digging in horrid conditions is directly influenced by the secretly imprecation marketing of “love trinkets.”   Did you realize you were supporting the damnation of third world countires when you purchased your rings, necklaces, and ear pendants, or did you just not care?  This can NOT go on!  We should refuse to support this sort of behavior any longer.  It is disgusting that the torture has gone on for this long.

In 2008, DIB.com, a Tacy publication on the internet, explains total Valentine’s Day expenditures came to US$1,555,000.  This does little to alleviate my increasing anger at our society, especially in regards to how patriarchal it is.  As one of the bigger ticket items, jewelry accounts for a substantial percentage of this obnoxious sum.  Ten percent of all marriage proposals occur on Valentine’s Day, according to, Diamonds.net.  This means, a bunch of diamond-studded engagement rings change hands, so to speak.  How unoriginal to propose on that specific day, tailored just for such an event, but also how terrible for the blood diamond minors!  At that rate, nothing is going to lighten their burden.

The Kimberly Process attempts to restrict the trade of conflict diamonds, but poor enforcement, loop-holes, and ever-present criminals make it difficult to place full trust in the protection afforded to jewels.  The KP is powerless to moderate the conflict diamonds when consumers do not demand to know where each jewel came from.  I do not understand why society is pushing to know what specific state, and farm every piece of meat they ingest is from, and how that animal lived, yet we are apathetic when it comes to the origin of expensive jewelry.  If we scrutinized the jewelry industry as much as we regulate our agriculture, it would make a huge difference in this human rights problem.

If buyers are impassive, the higher-ups are most certainly stoical.  It is not in the best interest of diamond dealers or purchasers to mollify the presence of conflict diamonds, because it drives hassle–and prices up.  Conflict-Free Diamonds just aren’t a reality yet.  Zimbabwe, a known war zone, in third world Africa, is a participant in the KP.  It’s a big problem, because that country is chaotic and war-riddled.  With all the corruption there, the diamond industry is still most definitely funding the torture of people in the diamond mines.  Just watch National Geographic’s documentary, “Blood Diamonds” or Leo DiCaprio’s dramatic movie of the same name.  Not a pretty picture–and not a neat and easy solution to the problem.

Matthew Rolston

How to allay the situation and avoid the torture of innocents by your jewelry purchase–just stop demanding and exchanging diamonds (for Valentine’s Day especially)!  You can’t fathom being the only gal un-bedecked on February 14th?  OK, if you must partake, at least get cubic zirconia.  And guess what ladies?  Cubic Zerconia (go ahead, look this up on Wiki) are actually stronger with 1.6 times the specific gravity of diamonds.  They are visually flawless, and can be made more colorful, or with no color at all.  They are more refractive than diamonds too.  The cubic zerconia index, which shows lower numbers for less impediment to light reflection,  is 2.15-2.18 compared to 2.42 for actual diamonds.  And because cubic zerconia jewels are MADE by scientists they come a lot cheaper than “real” diamonds, which take a long time to form in nature then have to be found.  They also don’t kill innocent people.

But really, do you NEED a diamond to proclaim love?  Again I implore couples, isn’t love abaout LOVE and not some contrived romantic cliche’ designed to get you to part with your cash?  Do something more original, people.  Think about those diamond minors next time you see a Zale’s commercial, which by-the-way are overplayed this time of year.  Anyone else recognize their theme song?  No good can come from celebrating Valentine’s Day.  I’m off to partake in the good part of this calender time–the televised Daytona 500 festivities.  Until next year. . .

Sources:

http://www.diamondintelligence.com/

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Farmer in the DEL

19 Jan

Del (Mary’s Mom)

In her hey-day, Del was venerated matriarch of not only the Minor family, and their ranch, but trenchant member of the historical society.  The entire town knew of Del’s praiseworthy work for the community, and knew she was married to a respected former school board member.  They were one of the longest established families in the small town.  Del was obeisant in Dayton, not just because the Minor family had been in the area forever, but because she was so involved in community activies and outspoken for Dayton.   Also she and her husband had produced five children who became productive, meritorious members of society, which is creditable in itself.  Two had even made it back to Dayton to live their adult lives.

Though Del was of an older generation, lived in a conservative ranch town, and was very naive, she never displayed xenophobia–meeting and liking Mary’s first longtime girlfriend (unbeknown to Del) who happened to be black.  When Del found out this black lady was coming to her husband’s funeral in rural Dayton, she wondered aloud to Mary if she would be able to recognize her.  I find this color-blindness admirable–especially considering Del’s age and rural background.

Despite being held in high-esteem by the town, I’m not sure Mary felt a closeness to her parents the first time I knew her.  Mary always felt like a forgotten child, and talked about how her parents were tired and didn’t care all that much by the time she came around.  Del and her husband had told Mary to play within hearing distance of the car horn.  Mary was always appalled at how far that was.  I happen to think it’s laudable that Del did not develop a drinking problem after five kids, but I digress.

Another of the common stories Mary liked to tell about Del was how she had been an accident.  Mary had liberal beliefs and thought abortion was alright even though her mother adamantly disagreed.  Mary could not stand to give her mother the courtesy of her opinions and tried to debate the subject with her often.  When they would discuss the matter, Del would say that if she had believed in abortion Mary wouldn’t be here today. . .  Maybe it’s commendable going through an unplanned pregnancy, maybe it’s worthy of ethical scrutiny, but your mother is still your mother.

Pragmatic Del had probably lived a hard life, and had helped manage the ranch while getting deeply involved in the community, and successfully raising five kids.  She told me of how when she first moved to Dayton and the Minor Ranch she and her husband were initially supposed to live in a chicken house.  She said she cried when the dilapidated thing fell apart on the way to it’s spot on the property and she had cried.  She said it was for the best, and even when things seem bad at the time, they happen for a reason.  You couldn’t help but to revere that kind of logic.

When I came back to Dayton in 2007, Del was looking much more hoary then I remembered–the recent death of her husband probably did not help.  She was still honored in the Dayton community, and Mary seemed to give her more homage than she ever had before, trying to include her in activities at the Cabin-Mansion instead of shutting her out like she previously had.