Which reality is real

In the morning we get up and pour ourselves a cup of outrage. We turn on the TV or log into antisocial media, and someone is screaming about an injustice or some foolishness, or an upside-down brain is insisting what used to be wrong is perfectly right and how dare you for clinging to those old-fashioned notions.

I have noticed something about those mornings when I don’t turn on the TV or log into antisocial media. The sun shines, or if it doesn’t, something else that’s beautiful is happening in the land around our home. The puppy — who looks more and more like a dog every day — is so darn cute. My sweet red-haired companion is very good company, better company than I am if I’m honest, with my inclination toward hermitage.

On days when I delay my entry into the rant race, my mood is more serene. The sooner I tune into the daily log of outrages, the sooner I am rolling my eyes and wondering what tomfoolery and darn fools are populating this crazy world anymore.

Is it turning my back on reality to spend some of the morning to ignore the constant barrage of “holy mother of God, look what awfulness occurred overnight this time”? Or am I actually turning my back on reality when I turn on the hate machine first thing? What if the reality is that people generally get along with each other, our pets are darn cute, and when we leave each other alone to be themselves, our lives are better?

I started this week devoting an average of 10 hours a day to the day job three days straight, because the Memorial Day weekend is chock full of activity in these parts. I went to a high school graduation, a community salute to those who died in warfare — with no one talking about whether those wars were just, only celebrating their memories — and a festival with a big parade and a car show and plenty of rides and games for the kids.

I chose a career in which my contemporary peers spend a lot of time finding points of conflict, fanning flames, and searching for new embers to fan into a conflagration. I started my career in a small vacation destination town and worked my way to larger communities before settling back and finding comfort in other small towns, where people smile at each other and, if something bad happens, shake their heads over how stuff like that doesn’t usually happen here.

Again, did I escape reality by choosing to stay in small towns, or are small towns the places where reality is happening, good people can thrive, and the worst of us are discouraged from flexing their badness? I don’t really know the answer to that, or maybe I do — When I focus on finding what’s good and right and clean and as pure as faulty human beings can be, I find a lot more of what I’m seeking than when I focus on finding the opposite.

There’s good news tonight, but it’s kind of boring, because it happens all the time.

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