Opposing Narratives

Opposing narratives first came up at University when I was studying the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Israelis and Palestinians both believed themselves to be the victim, and in the right, seeing the other as the aggressor, the problem, the threat.

Their common history was all seen through this lens. Attacks were seen as defence. Defence was seen as attack.

Wherever I look at the moment I see this, disagreements between opposing narratives.

Conflict between the U.S and North Korea – the U.S sees North Korea as a terrible threat to world stability and peace who needs to be kept in check. North Korea sees America as a bully, interfering, a terrible threat to their very existence, ready to invade at any moment.

In America conservatives see black NFL players not standing for the national anthem as disrespectful to the country, the military, rejecting America. The liberals see it as peaceful protest against ingrained unacknowledged racial injustice in their country.

Guns are the problem. Guns are the solution. It goes on and on.

In Australia at the moment, liberals see marriage equality as liberating for the LGBTI community, moving the country forward with equality for all. Some conservatives see same-sex marriage as a potential threat to freedom of speech, or to rights of parents. They do not see it as an issue of equality at all.

We are simply not on the same page. We are seeing the same thing through two different narrative lenses.

When you can only see through your own narrative, you are missing the bigger picture. You don’t have to agree with someone else’s perspective, but as the old saying goes “walk a mile in their shoes before you judge them”.

I’m not saying all narratives are equal either, some are twisted and self-interested, and wrong. But where did this narrative come from? What beliefs or experiences has this person had that have contributed towards their view?

How can you have a conversation with someone if you can’t even address the narrative that motivates their point of view?

People’s minds aren’t changed by arguing or insulting. Things change when people come together and try to understand why someone disagrees with them.

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Rebellious Acts Of Little Significance

“Nup. Not a big deal” I said to myself. “Totally fine.”

And yet the good rule-abiding girl inside me was nervous. “Technically this is against the rules” she says, getting all uptight. “If they notice they will be silently judging you or worse openly telling you off!”
“Nup. All good” I tell myself.

I counted then recounted my items as I stood in the 12 items or less line.

13 at first count.
Close enough, right?
Oh no, there are two jars of jam hiding under the corn chips.
15 large items.

At what point is “close enough” NOT close enough? Is 13 or 14 ok, but 15 too much? Where is the line?
I suppose it does say 12 items or LESS. Pretty explicit. Not really open to interpretation. 12 or less.

And I have 15.

I’m doubting my decision, but confidence takes the day.
I smile at the cashier and pretend I have 12 items or less, or that I’m bad at counting, even as I see the tiny words on the bottom of the screen that tell us both I have 15 items.

She doesn’t bat an eyelid. I don’t bat an eyelid. She will not be able to recall this transaction. But I shall keep thinking about it.

12 or LESS!
15.

Venus And Mars

So I had a realisation this week.

It may have been obvious to everyone else already, but to me it was new, hilarious and profound.

Maybe profound isn’t the right word.

My realisation was that I had basically had the same conversation twice this week.

Discussing the true contenders, those just making up the numbers, who would be first to be eliminated. And amongst the true contenders, who could win? Who will make the final? Why could each contender possibly be the winner? Pros and cons.

The first conversation was about the upcoming AFL finals.

The second was about The Bachelor.

So maybe women and men aren’t that different after all? Venus and Mars are both planets.

Boredom And Manchester

Today I had nothing to do. So we went on an adventure to… *drumroll*

the shopping centre!

And I realised that while it is a fun place to go with a baby, as evidenced by the multitudes of pram-pushing-parents wandering around, it can also become a rather expensive adventure.

The plan was simple: lunch and small Father’s Day gifts. Easy! Quick!

All was going to plan until I walked past Harris Scarfe.

And backed up slowly.

Some of the most dangerous words to be printed outside a shop:
“40% off all Manchester”
The beautiful green-themed shop lured me in.

Now, I always try and remember my shopping motto for life:
“50% off a lot of money, is still a lot of money”.

Still. A. Lot. Of. Money.

Manchester is actually a delightful place in England, I have been a few times, but also the bedding-variety of Manchester is a newly found weakness of mine. Because it is technically a non-fun “essential” item, isnt it.
Discounted towels? Done. Friend giving away brand new pillow cases? Yes please. Husband rolling over and stealing all the doona in response to me stealing all the doona; time for a King size doona.

And so it happened that I exited the shop 40 minutes later trying to push the pram whilst laden down with a king size doona (55% off!), two king size doona cover sets (64% off and 55% off!) and a few bags of Father’s Day presents.

I think I’d better take her to the park next time.

Honestly?

The other day a friend of mine tagged me in a post on Facebook, and I opened it to see a picture of pens with “I hate people” on them.

This friend knows me well, and “I hate people” can be shorthand for “I’m an introvert who doesn’t want to have to deal with people most of the time” or “incompetence reigns! I cannot deal with any more stupidity today!”.

Naturally, I had a look at the online shop and found that this website makes a whole series of honest (and somewhat profane) pens, mugs and badges.

Of course my personal favourite was the “I hate people” range, but I also found a huge amount of joy in the “this meeting is shit” range.

Like, a lot of joy.

I’m not sure I would be game to actually take that pen or mug into a meeting, but really, how many times have you sat in a meeting and thought something along those lines?

The appeal of these items is clearly the brutal honesty in the phrases. Blunt, offensive maybe, but they’re honest. In most of society it is impolite, indelicate, and inappropriate to state “This meeting is shit”, even when it’s the truth.

But some days we just want to walk into that unnecessary meeting, sit through it, and then sip from our “this meeting is shit” mug, while eyeballing the boss.

One day.

You can find the pens here:
http://www.pocketperfectdesigns.co.uk/ourshop/prod_5260632-Blue-I-Hate-People-Pen.html

My Good Friend Agatha Christie

I love Agatha Christie. If you don’t know who Agatha Christie is, she is only the most brilliant mystery and crime writer of all time.

Well, in my opinion anyway. But not just my opinion. She is also the best-selling novelist of all time, selling in the billions of books globally, in 103 languages. Her play The Mousetrap has played continuously in London for 55 years.

If you have heard of the sleuths Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, then you know Agatha Christie. Poirot, with his funny little moustache, egg head and little grey cells, and Miss Marple, the wise little old lady with the twinkle in her eye who knows a lot about human nature.

I first read an Agatha Christie mystery when I was 13, at the suggestion of a friend. Since then I have read nearly all of her 70 plus books, and own a large rag-tag collection of most of these, predominantly sourced from op shops, second hand bookshops and eBay.

Once I purchased some from a second-hand bookshop set up in an old church at Portsea. I’d climbed a little ladder to reach the Agatha Christie section, and picked out a few I didn’t own. After paying $5 for one, I found a $5 note tucked into the back cover. The mystery!

So what do I love about reading Agatha Christie’s books? Every time I am left guessing until the very end. She so cleverly hides the truth, and then reveals it, winding her way back through all the clues that we missed or misinterpreted. It is a brain game, and I love the way she creates her intricate puzzle and then pieces it back together for you. It’s almost cheeky, the way she shows enough of her hand to lead you up the garden path, but not enough to lead you to the truth. She’s brilliant.

This is a long way of saying that I am so ridiculously thrilled to see that later this year one of the most famous of Agatha’s works is again being translated into film.

Murder on the Orient Express is a classic. It is due out in November this year, and the names in it are big too: Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfieffer, Josh Gad, and the list goes on. If you like a good old fashioned who dunnit, this is the one for you.

There are still 3 months to go, but I will be counting down! I have already conned the husband into promising to come with me, so come along too! It looks to be a good one.

Picture from Torquay, UK, hometown of Agatha Christie, which I visited in 2007

Anniversary

Marriage is
You eating my cake off the floor
Because I dropped it
And cried
And you saying it still tasted nice

Marriage is
Going out on a date
Without the baby
For the first time
Holding hands because we finally can
And feeling like a teenager again

Marriage is
You taking the baby
When you’re tired
Because I’ve had enough
And you want me to be happy
So many times

Marriage is
Learning to accept
That we cook the spaghetti bolognaise
Differently
But that doesn’t make your way
Wrong

Marriage is
Knowing that clean shaven and fresh faced
21 year old boy
And this scruffily bearded
30 year old man
And loving them both
So so much

Marriage is
Years
Of
Memories
Holidays
Jokes
Dinners
Days out
Days in

Doing the same thing
Many times
But
Seeing your face
And feeling so happy
Because
It’s
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