I woke up in the middle of the night last night and struggled to get back to sleep. I think I’m still feeling overwhelmed, with some anxiety and depression that may be heading back to clinical levels with the winter and the persistence of COVID. I’m not settled into my new job, and I’m worried about my relationship with PIMOJ, and one or two other things, and there’s still COVID… Still, my devar Torah (Torah thought) this week was on God not letting us retire from life and have it easy when there is work to be done here in this world.

I didn’t do much at work. J took me with him when he went out in the morning; I’d love to say where we went, as it would strike you as unusual and perhaps a little Gothic, but I probably shouldn’t, for reasons of anonymity. The afternoon was largely spent trying to work out why Dropbox wasn’t working for either of us (on Monday it was just me who had a problem). I felt vaguely guilty about this, as my Dropbox stopped working first, despite knowing that I have no rational reason to feel guilty. Then J said we should leave early, I guess because there was little that we could do without Dropbox. I did at least speak to the helpdesk on the phone. Like many autistic and/or social anxious people, I hate the telephone and find it harder than any other form of interaction, so it was good that I made myself do that even if I didn’t get an answer.

Other than that, today I managed about half an hour of Torah study, which was a little disappointing, and finished off my devar Torah for the week. I find that during Chanukah (which started tonight) a large part of my evening is preparing and spent lighting “candles” (I use oil lights, although Mum uses candles, but we still call them candles for some reason), sitting around the candles with family and eating dinner near them (which is not obligatory, but is nice), so it eats into Torah time and relaxation time. Despite that, it is an oasis of calm when winter is beginning to bite. Tonight’s donut: jam.

***

It occurred to me that I’ve spent years trying to find my “tribe,” the way you see people write about finding their “tribe” (usually counter-cultural in some way, from LGBTQ to fandom to the Liberal Democrats). I’ve never found it. Over time I’ve tried and hoped that Orthodox Jews, Doctor Who fans, Oxonians, autistics or depressives might be my tribe, but none of them really are. I realised today I was hoping to find a group that was uniformly thoughtful, introspective and intelligent; probably also cultured and witty. None of them are that, obviously. It’s too much to ask one group to be all that. Maybe the point is to stop trying to find people who are like me, and to concentrate on finding people who can accept me. I’m not sure where to start, though.

***

My shul (synagogue) fees are going up. I’ve been paying full price even though I’ve been out of work for most of the last two years, and have only been working two days a week when I have been working. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t ask to have my fees reduced; maybe shame at admitting my employment situation. Now the fees have gone up and I feel I need to ask for a reduction, but I worry they’ll say, “But if you paid when you were unemployed, why can’t you pay when you’re working?” Also, the contact details if you want to talk about a reduction is phone number only. As I said, like many autistic people, I hate the telephone and find it harder than any other form of interaction and it’s making an awkward and difficult interaction much worse.

***

There ought to be a term for an argument that you feel is logically sound, but which you reject because of the pompous, sanctimonious way it’s put forward. I experienced this twice today. While on our work excursion, J had the radio on in the car and A Well-Known Talk Radio Host was talking ranting about Brexit. I am agnostic, if not downright confused, about Brexit these days. I think the economic and geopolitical arguments favour Remain, while the domestic political arguments (sovereignty) favours Leave, as well as the democratic need to see the referendum result through. So I am at least open to the idea that Brexit will cause major economic problems in three weeks’ time. But the Host seemed so self-righteous and gloating in his delivery that he really annoyed me, especially as I felt he was putting up so many straw men, he could open a scarecrow factory.

Then in the afternoon, I confess I was bored enough to look at Twitter on the way home, and George Takei (Mr Sulu from the original Star Trek) had tweeted that vaccine refusal is “not living up to the ideals of Star Trek.” I am completely in favour of vaccination. However, it seems a little ridiculous for an actor to use a TV show he used to be in as an argument in favour of what is an entirely medical decision. I’ve seen similar things in online Doctor Who fandom too, people with the wrong opinions being told that they are “against the ideals of the Doctor” or whatever. I’ve seen some debate online as to whether these people really derive their personal values and ethics from a TV show or if the programme just resonates with already-held beliefs. I hope it’s the latter, but I worry.

12 thoughts on “Finding My Tribe, and People With Logical, But Annoyingly-Argued Views

  1. I agree with you about Takei’s admonition. However, I am concerned about the percentage of Americans who will refuse to get the vaccine, thus continuing our fight with Covid indefinitely and giving us no chance to reach herd immunity. Then I think that ANYTHING, even the pressure of Star Trek philosophy, is justified. I too hate talking on the phone, so I can imagine how difficult it is for you; it sounds like you managed it well though. I don’t know that I believe in tribes. I have a variety of different people in my orbit for diverse reasons. Sometimes for reasons I can’t quantify.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t have a tribe either. I think I am not counter-cultural enough.

    Re: dues, you never know. I took on the role of Finance chair for the minyan I belong to. I had a blanket no questions asked policy if anyone ever requested reduced/waived dues. That worked out fine. I also had a don’t-chase-people-with-reminders-to-pay-their-dues-during-the-COVID-crisis policy which was less successful because a) the crisis is on-going and b) then 25% of the membership didn’t pay their dues, which then messed up the budget and now the board wants me to do more chasing. I don’t like chasing. It’s so awkward. If I chase and someone says they can’t afford it, I’ll grant the waiver (the board is fine with this), but I find it so awkward to chase.

    I have heard horror stories of other congregations that really give people a hard time if they ask for reduced/waived fees due to hardship. It’s unfortunate.

    I’m also not a fan of those political arguments.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. At my old shul, they suddenly cut down the amount of people on reduced/no fees by asking to see bank statements or benefits statements before they granted a reduction. Which isn’t such a bad idea, but still seems a bit scary when I’m already dealing with social anxiety and phone phobia.

      Like

  3. In terms of what George Takei said, I think the term “refusal” is key. People may decide that the vaccine is not medically appropriate for them, but refusal in this context implies people that who aren’t making the decision based on science and logic (which I’m guessing is along the lines of what he was referring to as ideals). A medical decision not to get the vaccine because of concern it may aggravate an autoimmune condition is quite different from refusal to get the vaccine because Bill Gates is using it to put microchips in people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand (and agree with) what he’s saying, I just think that talking about “the ideals of Star Trek” just sounds really self-important. There are better reasons for vaccination than being a Star Trek fan.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Consider some ways liberals have used their cultural prominence in recent years. They have rightly become more sensitive to racism and sexism in American society. News reports, academic commentary and movies now regularly relate accounts of racism in American history and condemn racial bigotry. These exercises in consciousness-raising and criticism have surely nudged some Americans to rethink their views, and to reflect more deeply on the status and experience of women and members of minority groups in this country. But accusers can paint with very wide brushes. Racist is pretty much the most damning label that can be slapped on anyone in America today, which means it should be applied firmly and carefully. Yet some people have cavalierly leveled the charge against huge numbers of Americans — specifically, the more than 60 million people who voted for Mr. Trump.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s