Tuesday, November 15, 2011



Since I am about as prepared as I am going to get for the end of my first term in school in over 17 years (not counting the semi-effort I made in the provincial town), I figure I will take a little time out to concentrate on an entry of my own.  I tend to separate posting from commenting because I can only focus on so much at any one time.  Adding school has meant something had to give and since it has been hard for me to train for the last month or so, my session with Ken (a.k.a 'Bucko') on Sunday being my first in over three weeks, it prolly will be posting.  But more on that later, first I’d like to get back to Ken and his visit to Omaha.

The most memorable part of his visit was the very end… when we said our good-byes.  Ken gave me the biggest hug, the kind that I am used to giving to people and he said, “I love you, man!”  Wow, thinking about that moment still brings a tear to my eye.  Of course there was plenty of good conversation and some good advice given that I will do my best to heed, along with some good food, and the discovery of a beer that I actually like to drink!  Boulevard is the name of ‘the cool amber beverage’ and you could tell that I liked it because it disappeared as if it was a glass of Coca-Cola!  Two is still my limit, however, and it would also depend on how good the company is, too.  I don’t like to drink in what I consider ‘mixed company’ or in a potentially hostile environment.  My instincts require me to stay sharp and on my toes, so even something alcoholic that I like would not go down easily.

I really enjoyed my company and did not mind watching the Bears Lions game (and you would have thought teams would have learned NOT to kick anything near Devin Hester by now!).  It was simply awesome to have a friend in town!!  Omaha really is a nice looking town with a lot of good people and now it is well known that I am not just talking crap.  But I will admit that after listening to some locals talk about the town, you would wonder if the Germans have been feeding me information…


This morning while waiting on the bus for school, I overheard a couple of locals talking about the social environment of the town.  They seemed to have a familiarity with one another though as for that, I am far from certain.  The woman, a slender, black lady, around her early 30’s was talking to a white cat the same age.  He was about her height, 5’7-8, and had long ‘biker hair’ with a beard to match.  She was doing more listening and he was going on about how polarized Omaha is and how entrenched the segregation is in the city, among other comparative problems to other places he has lived.

Sure, all those things he mentioned were correct assessments.  Is their discrimination, redlining, or any other problem exclusive to here?  Last time I looked, this kind of thing had caught on nationwide.  Another conversation that I caught was one where Omahan’s (??) had ‘attitude problems’ and were not as friendly as the speakers thought they should be.  I clucked silently, because I don’t think that they have spent two minutes in Atlantic City, Philly, or the D.C. Metroplex.  So I just kept my thoughts to myself and let them inform me of the Omaha that they know.  It isn’t that they are wrong… how could I make that claim when I have been here for a year and a month?  But anything is what you make it, and between the two conversations what I heard does stay with me but their opinions will not inhibit me from doing what it is I am out to do while I am here.

I think ‘objectivity’ is like ‘security’, something that is spoken of as if the idea is easily understood without an example, but the concept does not exist in nature.  How many times have has a person offered to give an unbiased opinion or advice and what they say is streaked with their personal relationship whatever topic they are giving their opinion on. 

One of the things in the aftermath of my divorce that I made sure to do was to explain clearly to whoever I was dating that my bias towards my ex-wife was because of MY relationship with her.  It does NOT have to be yours.  The things that I can tell you only apply to me and her and you are free to have whatever kind of relationship you feel is appropriate.  You may even like her, who knows?  After all, my family is fond of her beyond just being ‘aunts, uncles, and grandmothers’.  The only thing I can say with any truth is that I do not like her and no matter what you see or hear betweens us that I want as little to do with that woman as possible.  For me, that was about as objective I could be on something that I had a deep a personal investment in and at stake as well.

The joke is that computers are ‘impersonal’, but they are still subject to the whims of who is in charge of data input.  After that, whoever interprets that data affects how it is read and from there…

So Omaha has some marks and there are some wrinkles and a mole or two on it as well.  That doesn’t matter to me, because I like it the way the French like Jerry Lewis!  And it felt good to share a little of my appreciation for Omaha with Ken last weekend!


DB said...

I'm glad you had a good time with Ken. He's a very good man, that clown.

About objectivity I am fond of saying that a man could be happy being an observer of his own life if he could only find a safe place to stand.

mrs. miss alaineus said...

tony just signed up for his last term. i know you made a huge step forward in going back to school, i am so proud of you for pushing yourself out of the proverbial nest and going to a new place and doing the things you forsaw yourself doing back when we were still on aol.

i like what db said in reply- that's just brilliant.


Beth said...

I'm glad you guys had such a good time, and I'm only sorry that I wasn't there to enjoy it, too! And we really do love you, Mark. You're one of the good guys. :)

I have a hard time believing that any Midwestern city is super-unfriendly. I think people often judge their own city quite harshly. You should hear the way some of the Benders talk about South Bend! Cousin Shane and I talk about that often, since we both grew up here; we agree that while we have our problems, it's generally a pretty good place to live. Of course, maybe that's just our optimistic nature coming through.

Anyway, you know you like it there in O-town, and that is what matters. We often make our own reality, and we can also create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I love the old district and it was my pleasure to have you as my tour guide.