The job I had before I married and moved away from it was one of those high-stress, high-politics kind of jobs in a cut-throat company. In the last two years, most of my colleagues were demoralized and bitter, and conversations in the office fed an increasing cyclone of dissatisfaction. I started having stomach cramps from the stress.
And then, one day, I simply stopped participating in the conversations. I decided that, as long as I took my employer's dollar, then I would play by my employer's rules -- up to but not past my ethical lines. Unless I was willing to walk away, I had no reason to add to the bad feeling around me.
My stomach uncramped. I wasn't happy. But I wasn't stressed out beyond my endurance, either.
So, you'd think I'd learned my lesson. But, the last 8 years in my country have been 8 years of highly partisan, highly voyeuristic and highly critical emotions. Everyone assumes the worst of everyone else, and revels in it when they find it. I have tried to stay clean, but I learned today that I have not.
There is a story in the NYTimes about a cat in Germany that was barricaded up in a tub wall for 7 weeks. The poor animal had wandered into a neighboring apartment as workers were doing some stuff with the pipes, and had the wall to the tub deck open. The cat curled up in the hidey-hole, and the workers unknowingly walled her up when they finished. It took 7 weeks for the neighbor to hear the poor thing crying. The cat lost 8.8 pounds -- from a weight of 13.2 to 4.4.
She survived. Although the vet advised putting her down (because of her extreme weakness) the owner nursed her back to health, feeding her watered-down kitten food. She's almost normal, and jumped up on her human's bed for the first time since the incident.
Happy ending. And I'm glad. Truly.
But I am appalled that my first reaction was not, "Oh! How wonderful!" but "Why didn't the woman keep her cat safely in her own apartment, locked in a room where the workers did not need to go in the first place. That's what I would have done."
I think it's time I stop reading so much news -- maybe I'll get back to my normal, cheerful and tolerant self.