The other day, a middle aged gentleman came in for a cuppa coffee. I recall the house blend that day was Sierra Madre-- a lovely dark roast with a subtle nutty undertone.
  "Sierra Madre--", said the customer, "that's the name of a Humphrey Bogart movie. I bet you didn't know that." I, in fact, did not know this.
   He went on, "Can you name his most famous movie?"
  I don't know what to tell you. I'm really not familiar with his work, or even movies from that era. I thought for a minute and admitted I did not know the answer, when he told me (it's Casablanca, by the way).
   I have to tell you, this conversation irked me just a little. In my mind, he was tip-toeing just a bit too close to the border of 'condesending',just because I'm not a connoisseur of "the talkies". Different generations are variously savvied. Fact'a life. I really wanted to come back at him with:
  "What does Flava Flav always wear around his neck? When does the last season of 'The Hills' start? Name ONE Usher song."
    That's what I thought.


In the Throes of Compassion

   This is my blog-- so I get to be honest, right? Cool.
  For various reasons, I'm just not a compassionate person. I am a bad reactor and my bedside manner sucks. Sometimes it's a flaw; just as often it's an advantage. I won't bore you with those particulars.
   I've lived alone for almost 6 months now. I think over the course of the past week, it's finally started sinking in that this is "all me". I'm responsible for everything that takes place or doesn't in my life. If 'X' runs my bank account dry, or 'Y' gets me in hot water, or 'Z'causes something unthinkable, I have only myself to blame. Reality is striking, and it's turning me back into the worrier I have been in the past.
  Worry is a funny thing-- it can really have a ripple effect. Last week when I had a day off, allI could do was "what if" about myself and everyone I know. I'm trying to find the owner of a stray cat, and I'm feeling so uneasy about all that (again, I won't bore you with particulars). I remember a couple months ago when a coworker's mom was in the hospital with a dire emergency. I sat on my couch for hours and worried for this girl I barely knew. My friend, boss/coworker, and extended family member Kelly has cancer. I don't usually talk to people about it because it makes me worry and hurt for her. Just writing that sentence provokes an uneasiness I never want to experience again. At this moment, my friend Chad is at the hospital with his dad, feeling powerless and scared.
   Here comes some more honesty: I'm so glad I wasn't blessed with the gift of compassion. Hurting for people... hurts. I've walked my share of painful valleys in my life. Why would I want to revisit those when I don't have to? Commiseration is incredibly foreign to me. I was never taught how to cope with it. (But was anyone?) So here's what I want to know: if I'm hurting for someone, is it 'heartless' of me to choose to "just stop thinking about it"? Do I become kin to Satan himself if I opt not to think about it in the first place?
   I don't know how you tenderhearted types do it-- but more power to 'ya.