Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Books to Live By

Kimber thinks the scriptures are important, but she has also found other important knowledge in other books which are not the scriptures and which she will tell you about right now. But seriously, read your scriptures; there's some crazy stuff in there.

Born To Run by Christopher Mcdougall: This book not only told an awesome story about running, but it explains why all people were born to run, and why. It made me, one of the laziest people in the world, start running. So even if you don't want to read it, you know it's convincing.

Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared Steel: This book explains, to put it bluntly, why brown people aren't as technologically advanced as white people. Don't worry, it's not racist, but it does explain a lot about a lot. It may be a little academic for some peoples' tastes, but I liked it, so you should too.

Garden Anywhere by Alys Fowler: I hated yardwork until I read this book. Alys Fowler is a classically trained gardener who approaches things guerilla style. She's a proponent of dumpster diving, seed gathering, and renters' gardens.

That's all I can think of for now. Look for a part two tomorrow.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why the Post Office is Awesome

Kimber goes on a happy rant.

I love the United States Post Office. They have friendly, competent workers, they make stamps that are little works of art, and they deliver to and pick up straight from your house. I know that a lot of people hate the long lines, junk catalogs, and occasionally lost piece of mail, but I think this is all part of the adventure. Junk mail can be recycled (and it gives me a David and Goliath feeling to hunt down the right way to get my name removed from the list), long lines give me a chance to people watch without seeming creepy, and lost mail is just an odd thing that happens every now and again, like the bus running early, or my dog chewing up my favorite piece of clothing. Sometimes life has a few speed bumps, but I think they're there to show us what a problem really is, as opposed to an annoyance.

More important than all of that is the sense of importance I get when things come for me in the mail. I love ordering packages online, and getting letters are even better. I'm a little sad about direct deposit, because it means I don't get a paycheck in the mail, but I suppose that's a good thing, because then I don't have to worry about going to the bank in time to cash it. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love getting letters in the mail. It means the person took the time to send me something, even if it's just a post card with a hastily scribbled note on the back, and that they didn't mind getting stamps, putting it in the mail box, or the risk that I might not get it. To me, personal mail means love, which is why I try to send out as many letters as I can.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

White Guilt

Kimber doesn't know what to do.

I like to read feministe, a feminist blog which has guest bloggers during the summer. One of these bloggers is Maia, an insightful woman who, while rejecting the use of punctuation and typical editing, has opened my mind up to new points of view. However, though she is showing me a new way of thinking about things, I also find myself dredging up a lot of old anxieties, particularly the one that I am racist.

I have yet to do anything blatantly racist, and I'm pretty sure the few inadvertent racism faux pas I've made have been taken care of (i.e. I've apologized and pinpointed what was wrong with my thinking). Still, I worry that by the very nature of being white, I am oppressing colored people the world over.

Really, this anxiety is making me more racist than anything, because every time I see a person of color I go out of my way to be nice to them, or even just smile at them as I'm passing them on the street. It's a kind of screwed-up personal affirmative action.

I partially blame this on growing up in a primarily white community. I had a few multiracial friends as a child, but that was before my anxiety started to crop up. By the time I was nine, all my friends were white, and they've mostly stayed that way. Thinking about it, I realize I've had several non-white friends, but pointing to them as proof of my non-racism just feels more racist.

Really, this is all terribly egotistical. If anything, I should just accept that possibly I am racist (or at least have racist behaviors). I don't really think this is true, but it is the worst that could happen, so accepting it, resolving to do better, and moving on might be the best course of action I could take. Plus, it would result in less anxiety-related stomach aches.