Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

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See With Your Eyes

I am a third of the way through the second Game Of Thrones book, A Clash Of Kings. Arya’s sword fighting teacher says to her, “See with your eyes.” This phrase returns to her on several occasions when there are conclusions her mind would rather jump to than see what is in reality before her.

That we see what we want to rather than what is has been on my mind. But I only just connected this thought to something that’s been troubling me for months. It’s been hard for me to reconcile people I know to be honest and hardworking and their support of 45. And it’s been hard to understand why if you value hard work you might value someone who regularly shafts his business partners. It’s hard to understand why if you value hard work you might value a person who has profited off obvious scams. Trump University was quite clearly a scam, even if you refuse to acknowledge that his real estate business most closely resembles a Ponzi scheme.

My working theory to explain this has been that they just aren’t looking at inconvenient facts. Or that their media preferences ensure they never see these facts at all. But another theory altogether has arisen in its place. What if the American myth around hard work is the con? What if this has been the lie deeply embedded in the American myth deployed at anyone without hope to distract them into endless toil?

And perhaps 45’s people believe themselves in on the con. And they will say the words to further the myth. But that’s all they are, words, not deeds. Ironically, I think his people are at once in on the con and the marks, but that’s really beside the point.

If the founding father’s really believed in hard work what exactly did they need slaves for? Why wasn’t Thomas Jefferson out there tilling his own fields? If hard work really purifies the soul, I don’t know why they enslaved others to do all the heavy lifting.

One of the aspects of 45’s presidency that I personally find fatiguing, is that I keep stumbling over American ideals and finding them facades papering over the enshrined right of the powerful to exploit the weak. In some ways it reminds me of losing my faith. I never lost faith in The Beatitudes. I never lost faith in the golden rule. I just saw with my eyes that some of the very people espousing these things to me do not practice them. I shed the naïve belief that people using these words would in fact keep them in good faith.

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How I Came to Helping a Man Facedown in the Street

My recovery plan for Midpoint Music Festival was to eat a nice brunch and write my MPMF reviews at the coffee shop. After brunch I headed to Findlay Market where I had a really nice chat with the woman behind the counter at Churchill’s Teas. I left with a matcha wisk and some Samauri grade matcha.

While I was walking down Race Street toward Central Parkway, I heard a hollow thud behind me. I turned around and saw a man face down in the street. I stared dumbly at him for a few seconds, because someone lying motionless in the street is quite unusual.

He seemed in no hurry to get up; oncoming traffic urged me to reach him before vehicles did. In the contest between this guy and addiction, the addiction had it by a landslide. The grim on his clothing had been building up for months. I talked to him. I shook his shoulder. He didn’t move. I got in front of him to direct traffic around him to make sure he didn’t get run over.

While I was directing traffic one woman drove up and asked if I needed 911. I said yes. She pulled her car over and made the call. Two other women in the next car pulled over. One woman was a doctor and came over to check the man’s pulse. A passing cyclist asked if I needed help, and agreed to bike a block north to look for the police that I recalled passing.

Once the police arrived they carried the man from the street and agreed to check him out. I went on my way figuring that I had done all that I could. It was a bit unsettling to see, as that man was someone’s son. Someone loved him. Someone probably still loves him. And this is where he is.

I stewed over that on the rest of my walk to Coffee Emporium. Upon arrival the doctor and her friend were already there in line. They bought me a coffee for stopping to help the man. It was a sweet gesture.

Here’s the thing that struck me about this. Of the 8 people who saw what was happening, 7 of them stopped and asked if they could help. When all you see of other humans is what’s on reality TV and in the news, things look really bleak. But that’s not how most real people act. That’s a spectacle that we don’t have the good sense to look away from.