I’m a Lumberjack and I’m OK……. Tolerance is a Many Pronged Fork

Tolerance is a virtue.  Tolerance is a curse.  I present four stories for your consideration.

#1

I’m a lumberjack and I’m ok.  

i sleep all night and I work all day.
I cut down trees, I wear high heels,
I like to pick wild flowers……….

In case you don’t know the song, I invite you to view the famous Monte Python video.

There’s a very nice man that works here in my office building.  He works for the ARPN, who offices around the corner.  I see him multiple times a day.  Several times a week he wears a black and red flannel shirt.

He’s also quite a flamer.  I use that terminology in jest and as a descriptive term, nobody get mad.

I’ve got nothing against homosexuals mind you.  I am not one, but I wholeheartedly shout from the mountain tops that what you want to do in your bedroom (or where ever) is not my business and I do not judge you for it in the least little way.

But still, every single time he wears that shirt, the Lumberjack song runs through my head all day.

That is hardly showing Tolerance for people that live a different lifestyle than I do. He’s a very nice man, although it isn’t like I sing the song in front of him.  Am I really living the “tolerant” life that I believe I do, if I make a whole office wide joke out of a shirt?  Is it no big deal?

Tolerance.

#2

We live in Spanaway.  In Spanaway there is a growing homeless problem.  I understand that some people just get down on their luck and lose everything.  Some people end up living in their cars while they look for a new job, or try to save up for a new apartment.  That’s sometimes the case.  It is, I’m sure of it.

We know a couple that have been homeless for several years now.  They used to be acquaintances from the Oaktree.  Initially they ended up homeless because of a car accident.  She was t-boned by a police officer who was blazing up Military Road, lights flashing with no siren going.  The light on Pacific Avenue, her road of travel, was green and she didn’t see the flashing lights on the police car in the blinding summer sun.

Her car was all but totaled.  She had no insurance and as a result of the accident she had a horrible shoulder injury.  The police deemed the accident her fault, since she did not yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle.  She had no insurance because money was tight, and for the same reason she had no lawyer to help her fight for her rights.

She ended up losing her warehouse job due to being unable to perform because of the shoulder injury.

They lost the home they were renting as a result of her not working, because they couldn’t pay their rent.

See how things can snowball?

Do we tolerate the behavior of the police department, or is it the police department’s insurance company, for taking absolutely no blame for the accident?  Or is this acquaintance a victim of her own circumstances?

Tolerance.

#3

Fast forward two years, they are still homeless, the car is long gone, and for a while this couple were living out of a tent in the woods, riding bicycles around for transportation.  Every few months she knocks on our front door looking for help.

They often have something to sell that they approach my Rooster with.  A big power washer, tools, a very random time it was cut crystal drinkware.

Once when I was home and my Rooster was not, she came over alone and tried to sell me ten gallons of diesel in two rusty metal gas cans.

The stuff is obviously stolen.  We do not participate in buying stolen goods (not ever), and do not allow them to hang around longer than it takes to wash up and use the bathroom.

Equally as obvious is the drug abuse that keeps them in the homeless trap life that they still live in.  They are pale and unhealthy looking, with scabby faces and messed up teeth.  They are dirty and smelly.  They both behave unpredictably.

There have been times that they have wanted to do laundry at our house, or hang out and watch the game.  We cannot have people eyeing up our home, even people we know.

The help that I am willing to offer them comes in the form of a meal and couple of bottles of water, we will often give them a few dollars.  Not enough to become dependent and come around more often, but enough to help for now.  My Rooster has been known to give them our recycling that he saves up until it fills the dump trailer.  We help with what we can without putting ourselves in danger.

One morning she stopped by and said that her boyfriend had been arrested.  After a little research, I discovered that he was arrested for burglary.

They had somehow procured an RV that runs since the last time we had seen them.  She voluntarily admitted that she had parked in the alley across the street from our house overnight.  My Rooster nicely told her that it wasn’t okay for her to camp out there and that she would have to find another place to park.  He gave her coffee and a few bags of cans to recycle.

After she had driven away, we discovered a pile of used needles on the ground in the alley.  There was also an empty prescription bottle with somebody else’s name on it, discarded and just as used up as the needles.

I often speak to her about help that is available via City programs when I see her.  She won’t give it a chance because it will be the end to a lifestyle she is trapped in and yet not ready to give up.

Are we too Tolerant?  Are we not tolerant enough?

It is absolutely unacceptable to me to put our livelihood (that we work hard for) in danger, for people unwilling to help themselves.

Tolerance is tricky.

Finally, #4

To be tolerated, is an entirely different feeling.

You all know that we and most of our friends are bikers.  We enjoy the biker lifestyle, the activities and the whole bunch of mayhem that comes with running around with groups of leather clad, beardy folks on big noisy machines.

Back in the old days, bikers were often considered ne’er do well criminal types.  Drug addicts and gun runners, who zipped up and down the highways and side streets with a complete disregard for the lives of your children.  You know that story right?  That is a tale born in the 1970’s and even earlier.

I will admit to you right now that there are ne’er do wells that ride motorcycles.  They also drive cars and some even go to church on Sunday.  You cannot judge a ne’er do well-er by his vehicle or activity of choice.

In 2018, many people out there are aware of the fact that it costs a lot to own your own motorcycle.   Almost all of our “biker” friends are “professionals”.  No, I don’t mean professional bikers.

In our group there are medical professionals, engineers, machinists, contractors, investigators, firearms specialists, real estate moguls, and salesmen of all types.  You wouldn’t know it from our appearances when we go riding, dressed in hundreds of dollars worth of black leather, rolling along side by side on $30,000 motorcycles.  We do look like ruffians for the most part.

We don’t just ride around together, we participate in many fundraisers and memorials.  We collect Toys for Tots and visit nursing homes.  We are more charitable than most people you know, I would bet on it.

Yet we get treated like scum of the earth more often than not.  There are drivers out there that would like nothing more than to run us off the road.

We are merely tolerated for the most part.

To sum up……..

Why?

All of this tolerance and intolerance is circumstantial, most of it is based on lifestyle choices.  Why do we judge each other so harshly?  Sometimes it is a safety issue, and  possibly more often a perceived safety issue.

I think maybe we ought to all just retract our bubbles a little bit and worry about our own worlds a little bit more.  Perhaps we would all have to be less “Tolerant” if we minded our own business.

Tolerate.  I’ve typed it so many times by now that the word has lost all meaning.  Maybe that’s a good thing.

Thanks for tolerating my rant, my hope is that I’ve given you something to think about next time you are judging someone for the choices that they have made.

You have to take responsibility for living your own best life and let others find and live their own best lives.  Mind your own purpose.

Next time it will be an adventure story.  🙂  I promise.

 

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