Posted by Susan Esther Barnes
This story was making the rounds on social media this past Thanksgiving weekend. It starts as a seemingly self-centered passenger complains to a flight attendant about her delayed flight, and how it’s important to her to get to her destination in time to help cook the stuffing for Thanksgiving.
A fellow passenger begins to Tweet about the incident, quoting both the woman and the flight attendant. Through the first few lines, I can see how these Tweets might seem amusing. The woman doesn’t seem to understand that everyone on the plane has the same concern as she does about getting home in time for Thanksgiving, or that complaining won’t help the situation. It’s hard to understand why the stuffing would be such a big deal.
When I read about this incident, I thought how sad it was that neither the Tweeting man nor the other passengers tried to help. I wonder how things might have turned out if he, or anyone else within earshot, had stepped in to say something helpful, such as, “I’m sure the airline is doing all they can to get us to our destination on time. Could you tell me about your stuffing? It sounds very special.”
Instead, the person doing the Tweeting decided to send her a glass of wine, with a note written on the coaster, saying he hopes that if she drinks it she “won’t be able to use your mouth to talk.” This is where the action goes from possibly comical to mean-spirited. Again, I couldn’t help but think how differently the story might have been if the Tweeter had written something kind and supportive instead of insulting her.
Furthermore, I wonder about the collusion of the flight attendant at this point. Did the flight attendant deliver the wine without reading the coaster? If he did read the coaster, why did he deliver it? Why not refuse to do so? It seems to me he must have read it, if you believe the subsequent Tweet, “The male flight attendant is giving me the ‘let’s just pretend this never happened’ face.”
The Tweeter still isn’t satisfied, and wants to send the woman two bottles of vodka, but the flight attendant refuses to do so. Again, why does the flight attendant take no steps to try to stop this interaction in its tracks? He must have some idea of what is coming, or he wouldn’t have refused to deliver the vodka.
The Tweeter delivers it himself, then receives a note from the woman – naming herself as Diane – saying the wine and the vodka weren’t funny. This is the perfect time for the Tweeter to realize he has gone too far. At some point, his actions have gone from possibly amusing Tweets to bullying. Her note could have been a wake-up call for him to cut it out and apologize.
Unfortunately, in the note Diane goes on to call the Tweeter an “awful person with no compassion” and to say, “I’m sorry for your family that they should have to deal with you.” It’s too bad she felt she had to go there, but it’s hardly surprising, giving the insulting tone of his note to her. Still, the Tweeter could have realized how badly he was making her feel, and he could have chosen to take the high road at this point.
Instead, he goes completely over the line, sending a subsequent note ending with a vulgar, “Eat my ----.” At this point, there is no question that the interaction is not funny. Instead of just letting the matter drop, he has ratcheted it up another notch. Some of the commenters online call it sexual harassment. Some believe it’s a typical power play of a man trying to control the behavior of a woman. No matter what you call it, he is now, without question, way out of bounds.
The confrontation continues from there. The whole thing strikes me as sad. There were so many people who could have intervened and so many points along the line when this whole thing could have been stopped. Instead, it was allowed to escalate.
I can’t help but think of the commandment, “Do not stand idly by while the blood of your neighbor is spilled.” Why didn’t the flight attendant, or any of the other passengers, try to intervene? Bullies can only continue to do what they do with the help and complicity of others.
Just as bad were those who posted this whole thing online, saying it was funny or, “She got what she deserved.” She is a human being, and deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, even if she does seem to be a bit self-centered. She most certainly did not get what she deserved, which would be some measure of support and protection from the flight attendants, if not the other passengers.
We all have bad days. We all say and do things we wish we hadn’t. But nobody deserves to be bullied, most especially in an environment, like an airplane, from which we cannot escape, and most especially not when we’re in a high-stress situation, such as when we’re afraid we will miss a connecting flight and therefore miss an important holiday.
All of this would be true, even had nobody posted this follow-up, in which a person claiming to be Diane’s cousin says the reason she was so stressed that day is Diane is suffering from stage IV cancer, so this would likely have been her last Thanksgiving with her family. If she had made her connection. Which she did not; she had to spend the night in a hotel, and missed the family celebration this year.
Now there is something to think about the next time you encounter a passenger whose behavior you don’t particularly like.
12.2.13 at 3:51 pm | Bullies can only continue to do what they do with. . .
11.27.13 at 12:00 am | Apparently, the technician gave my phone to the. . .
11.20.13 at 12:00 am | When we thank some donors at the expense others,. . .
11.13.13 at 12:00 am | Do we think the dead, like God, can hear us no. . .
10.30.13 at 1:00 am | I like to feel that, somehow, my visits do make a. . .
10.23.13 at 1:00 am | How do you determine when someone has died?
12.2.13 at 3:51 pm | Bullies can only continue to do what they do with. . . (420)
11.27.13 at 12:00 am | Apparently, the technician gave my phone to the. . . (30)
10.16.13 at 1:00 am | It can be difficult to transition from one. . . (29)
November 27, 2013 | 12:00 am
Posted by Susan Esther Barnes
At first, I was a bit confused. Did I not plug in my cell phone completely? Did my computer going into “sleep” mode cause it to stop charging the phone? Eventually, after experiencing the problem with four different cords, including two at home, one at work, and one in the car, I was forced to come to the obvious conclusion: my smart phone wasn’t charging correctly.
It took a while to admit it to myself, because dealing with these sorts of things is inconvenient (although I didn’t know, at the time, quite how inconvenient it would turn out to be). Also, sometimes it charged up just fine, lulling me into a false sense of security.
On the way to services last Friday night, it wasn’t charging, and after unplugging and plugging it back in repeatedly with no change, I hit it against my leg a few times, plugged it back in, and suddenly it started charging. “This,” I concluded, “is a hardware problem.”
After services that night I mentioned to a friend that I was thinking about taking my phone into the store to be looked at, and he said he was having the same problem. He and I bought the same model phone around the same time, so I thought, “Aha! This can’t be a coincidence! It must be a known problem with this model. Now I know I should take it into the shop.”
It turns out my friend got an appointment at the phone store the next day 20 minutes before the appointment I had made. As I sat down to wait for the technician, I checked my text messages, and saw one from my friend telling me it’s an easy fix: His phone just had a big piece of lint in the place where the charging plug goes.
So the technician shows up, with an eager-looking trainee in tow. I tell him the whole story, and he doesn’t find any lint. He questions me to make sure I don’t just have a faulty power cord at home, because it seems to be charging just fine in the store. I remind him the problem has been intermittent, and tell him it’s happened with four different cords.
He takes it in the back to make sure. Then he and the trainee come out of the back room, and start talking to another customer. They’re far enough away that I can’t hear what they’re saying. I start to wonder whether they have mistaken her for me, but I decide that can’t be it, because she would have corrected them by now.
Finally, the two walk over to me. The technician looks down at his hands, then starts patting at his pockets. He looks at the trainee, who looks back at him helplessly. Where is my phone? Apparently the technician gave it to the other customer he had been speaking with. Luckily, she is still there, and he sheepishly retrieves my phone. He tells me he can’t find anything wrong with it.
We conclude that when I hit it against my leg the previous evening in the car, I must have dislodged whatever was stuck in there. That theory holds until I get up on Saturday morning, and find my phone, which has been plugged in all night, is still at 10%.
So I make another appointment for that afternoon, and I head back to the phone store. There I find vindication! After about 15 or 20 minutes of being plugged in at the store on their Official Cable, the phone is not charging. Their diagnostics, however, insist the battery is just fine. Despite my theory of a hardware problem, the technician trusts his diagnostic program and insists it must be a software issue.
So, on the advice of the technician, I go home and restore the software on my phone from the backup. It doesn’t charge. I then restore the software on the phone as if it’s a brand new device (in case any of the backup files are corrupted), and it still doesn’t charge. I smack the phone around a few times, and it starts to charge. Hardware.
On trip three to the phone store on Monday evening, the technician who sees me listens to my story, and picks up my phone. He notices something moving inside. There is only one thing, he says, heavy enough inside the phone to feel like that when it moves around: the battery. He concludes the battery adhesive has failed, causing the battery to move around and intermittently lose connection while charging. This theory fits in with my experience of hitting it to make it charge.
The technician takes the phone into the back, where the battery is removed and a new one is put in. Even though the battery itself is fine, a new one is necessary because they don’t keep battery adhesive in the repair room. Seriously.
Apparently they don’t think it’s necessary because it’s unheard of for a battery to come loose. In fact, they often have so much trouble unsticking old failed batteries that they have to warn customers – including me – that when they try to remove the battery, they may break the phone, so I may have to end up buying a new phone. Each new battery comes with its own adhesive, so buying a new battery is the only way for me to get a solidly attached battery into my phone. I tell them to go ahead, I’ll pay for a new battery.
As I write this, it’s Tuesday afternoon, and my phone seems to be charging correctly. I’ve gotten used to my daily visits to the phone store. I sure will miss those guys.
November 20, 2013 | 12:00 am
Posted by Susan Esther Barnes
On October 29, Erica Brown published an editorial titled, “We Need Jewish Micro-Giving” in the New York Jewish Week. In it, she argues that people who cannot afford to give large amounts should still be approached for donations, because otherwise, they will feel “invisible” and disenfranchised.
She says, “Pay up and you get instant status and rewards. I don’t mind that money can buy love. My concern is for those who are still paying something – and maybe even a lot, but not enough in someone else’s estimation to get any love.” I agree, but she didn’t go far enough.
While trying to thank big donors, Jewish institutions, and others, often make the mistake of devaluing the smaller donors. And while making this mistake may have some implications for some charities such as symphony orchestras, it has even more devastating effects in synagogues, where we claim to value everyone and claim we want to be inclusive.
How often have you seen donor lists which name donors, categorized by how much they gave? These names gave over $10,000 each; others those gave “only” $1,000 to $5,000. Then there is the long list of “also rans” who gave some minimal amount.
Some people say these categorized lists encourage large donors to give more. “I don’t want to be outdone again this year by the Schwartz family, so I’ll give enough to be in the next category up,” the thinking supposedly goes. Now, think about that a minute. Is that the kind of one-upsmanship synagogues ought to encourage? Turning donations into a competition creates an unhealthy environment for the large donors and for the synagogue.
Those who somehow actually believe a donor competition is a good thing don’t ever seem to stop to think about the feelings of the people who can’t afford large donations. It’s possible – even likely – that the person who donates $18 is giving a significantly larger percentage of his or her discretionary income than the person who gives $5,000. Yet the person who painlessly gives $5,000 is treated as more valuable than the person who scrimped and saved and maybe give up meat for a meal or two in order to give $18.
When people see the large donors listed prominently, and separated from the rest of the pack, the smaller donors not only feel invisible, they feel undervalued. They may wonder, “Why bother?” A donation of $18 may seem like nothing compared to a donation of $5,000 or more. It can make the smaller donor feel worthless.
Even worse is when a synagogue or other institution proclaims it values not only “treasure” but “time and talent” as well, but doesn’t follow through. They say donating time and effort is just as important as donating money, so even those who don’t have a lot of cash can still make valuable contributions.
However, often these are just words that are not followed by deeds. When was the last time you saw a list published with categories divided into how many volunteer hours each person contributed, or how many great ideas they suggested in the past year? I’m guessing the next time you see one will also be the first. And in those institutions that publish lists of monetary donors but not other time or idea donors, believe me, it is noticed. Feelings are hurt. Motivation is squashed.
Worse yet, some organizations give gifts before the High Holy Days or at other times of the year to large monetary donors. This is a great way to say “thank you,” but when it’s based entirely on dollars, with nothing going to those who volunteer their time hour upon hour, week after week, the message sent is received loud and clear: “We value the people with the big bucks, but not you other folks, no matter how much time or talent you contribute.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I think it’s okay to believe we can get away without thanking those who give to our synagogues and institutions. We should thank them. It’s just that I’ve seen the harm caused when it’s done the wrong way, so the message is that the rich people are highly valued and the other people are not. This happens in institutions which claim to value everyone equally, but actions speak louder than words.
Instead, we need to thank everyone who gives equally. Every contribution is an important part of the whole. If you can afford to give $10,000 that’s great. If all you can afford is $5, we appreciate that very much. If we’re going to list donors, we need to list them all, equally, without categories. If we claim time and talent is as important as money, then whenever we publish a list of monetary donors, we also need to publish a list of time and talent donors. If we’re going to give gifts, we need to think deeply about whether everyone receives them, and if not, who are we leaving out, and why?
In order to build strong Jewish institutions, we need to thank people in a way that recognizes that all of us, regardless of means, are created b’tzelem elohim, in the image of God, and which recognizes everyone as being not only visible, but of equal value.
November 13, 2013 | 12:00 am
Posted by Susan Esther Barnes
Jewish tradition isn’t clear about what happens to a person after he/she dies, but it is clear we are supposed to look out for the feelings of the dead person. Part of the ritual of taharah, for instance, in which the body is ritually washed, dressed, and placed in a coffin, is an apology to the dead person for anything those performing the taharah may have done to offend or upset him/her.
Some say the spirit of the person stays with his/her body from the time of death until burial. Because a dead person cannot study the Torah (although it’s not clear to me why they can’t), we are allowed to read Psalms while sitting with a dead body, but we should not study Torah while doing so. Nor should we do other things near the body which the dead person cannot do, such as eat or drink, because it might make them feel bad.
Some Talmudic passages speak of what we may or may not do at a cemetery, including an injunction against wearing a tallit in a cemetery, again, so as not to make the dead person feel bad about something they cannot do. These discussions imply that, perhaps, even after burial, the spirit of the dead person may still be present in the vicinity of the person’s decomposing body.
Indeed, it is common among Jews and people of other cultures to visit the graves of loved ones and to speak to them. There are certain days, like the anniversary of a person’s death, or the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when it is common for people to visit the grave of their loved ones. This, too, implies the person’s spirit may still be near the grave.
Interestingly, there are other places where we sometimes speak to the dead. For instance, in many synagogues, there is a wall where the names of dead loved ones of congregants are inscribed on plaques. Often, the living will go up to one of the plaques, touch it, and sometimes whisper something to the deceased. Does this mean we think the spirit of the dead person may also hover near his/her plaque? Or do we think somehow the dead, like God, can hear us no matter where we are?
Now, modern technology has allowed us to take this idea one step further. I have a friend whose mother died about two years ago. She showed me an email her brother had sent recently, with their dead mother as one of the recipients. Apparently, her email address is still valid, and he copies her on emails he sends which he would like her to see. Do we believe the dead have access to their email accounts, even if they can’t respond? Why not, if we believe they can hear us no matter where we are?
Not only can we and do we speak to the dead, but another effect of modern technology is the dead can speak to us, as well. Some people save outgoing or incoming messages their loved ones left on their answering machine before they died. A local disc jockey has been airing blooper calls for decades, and I’ve heard of at least one family who listens to the recording of the blooper call of their deceased loved one, just to hear his voice.
Many people have videos of their deceased loved ones, which they can watch whenever they want to see and hear that person again.
In some ways, these activities can be a helpful part of the healing process. In some ways, I wonder whether, when we speak to the dead in these ways, we’re just fooling ourselves. I wonder how much of it is healthy, and how much of it is a potentially harmful refusal to let go and move on. I suspect the answer is different for each of us.
October 30, 2013 | 1:00 am
Posted by Susan Esther Barnes
For the last few months, on most Saturday afternoons I have been visiting a woman I will call Betty, in order to preserve her privacy. Betty is in hospice, which means she is approaching the end of her life, and is living at home in a hospital-type bed she will likely never leave, with the constant attention of a caregiver.
I met Betty because I am a volunteer for the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center. Living at home alone, unable to go out, and seeing only one person (or the caregiver’s relief on her days off), can be quite a lonely existence. So I was asked to visit.
Unfortunately, by the time I got to visit Betty for the first time, she was already suffering from dementia. I have never had a conversation with her. Once or twice she has asked me who I am, but when I answer, there has been no coherent conversation after that.
Once, the entire time I was there, Betty was talking. Part of the time, she was asking me whether I had my car keys, and she seemed to want to go someplace. Some of the time, she was speaking with people I couldn’t see. At one point, she appeared to be hosting a dinner party in her mind, and was concerned that the roast come out of the oven in time.
Usually when I see Betty, she is asleep. Sometimes I talk to her. Sometimes I quietly sing or hum some Jewish songs to her, knowing that music is processed in a different part of the brain than speech, and hoping she will recognize the tunes.
At times, I have wondered whether there is any point to my visits. Generally, she doesn’t seem to know I am there. Even when she opens her eyes and looks at me, I’m not sure she really sees me. But part of me hopes that somehow, on some level, my presence is making some kind of positive difference, if only to help her to feel a little bit less alone.
Last Saturday, Betty woke up shortly after I arrived, and said, “Who are you?” I answered, and then she reached out her hand. I held her hand in mine while she fell back asleep. I started humming and singing some Jewish songs, mostly from the Saturday morning liturgy.
Suddenly, for the first time since I’ve been visiting her, it occurred to me to sing the Sh’ma. I had mixed feelings about this idea. The Sh’ma is the most recognized prayer in Jewish liturgy. Even those Jews who aren’t very observant know it. We chant it as part of every service. It is called “The watchword of our faith.” So, although I wasn’t sure whether Betty knew all the other songs I had sung to her, I was confident she knew this prayer.
On the other hand, the Sh’ma is supposed to be the last thing we say before we die. I certainly did not want to imply that Betty was about to die. For a patient who is coherent, and certainly for a person in hospice who was aware that the Sh’ma is said right before death, I wouldn’t dream of suggesting it. But in this case, I decided, it would be okay, because I was confident it wouldn’t register with Betty as a sign of impending death.
So I began to chant the Sh’ma, using the tune so familiar to Jews around the world. And as I began the second part, the V’ahavta, Betty drew the hand I was holding in mine to her other hand, so she could hold my hand in both of hers.
She held my hand in hers like that until I approached the end of the prayer, when she pushed my hand away and opened both of hers, letting go.
I don’t know what it means, but I like to think Betty recognized this most familiar of prayers. I like to believe the tune reached a part of her brain that still remembers. I like to feel that, somehow, my visits do, indeed, make a difference.
October 23, 2013 | 1:00 am
Posted by Susan Esther Barnes
On Monday night I attended the first in a series of classes by Kevah, an interesting educational institution based in Berkeley, CA. Most Jewish education courses are top-down, with the institution deciding the topic of the course and where it will be. They then go in search of students to attend the course.
Kevah, on the other hand, is bottom-up. If you know a group of people who are interested in serious Jewish education, you (on your own or with Kevah’s help), can decide on a topic, and then Kevah will design a course around your needs. You meet in the home of one of your group’s members, or in any other agreed-upon place. In addition, they focus on building community at the same time that they are educating.
The beauty of this system is you get to learn about exactly what you want to learn about, with the folks with whom you want to learn, rather than with random people that happen show up. Our group chose “Jewish Ethics,” which, of course, could cover a wide variety of potential topics. Our instructor, Joshua Ladon, started with the question of how do we determine when a person has died. Is it when their brain stops functioning? When they stop breathing? When their heart stops?
He said he wanted to choose a topic that was interesting, but not one that was so controversial that we might come to blows or ruin our relationship with each other. That seems like a wise way to start, especially since he hasn’t worked with us before, and didn’t know what to expect from us. I’m happy to say we’re a pretty congenial group, and we are used to disagreeing on occasion in a way that maintains our mutual respect and affection. So, I suspect we will be able to tackle more controversial subjects in the future.
We started with a discussion of when we think a person has died. We then discussed a number of related excerpts from the Talmud, as well as the opinions of R’Moshe Fienstein and his son-in-law, R’Moshe David Tendler.
It was a revelation to some in the class that Orthodox Jewish opinion is not settled on this issue. We in the Reform world often get the impression that Orthodox Jewish law is settled on most important matters, so it can be eye-opening to see where there are differences of opinion, especially on a question as fundamental as when a person has died.
In addition to what constitutes death, we also spent some time discussing end of life issues, and whether it is okay to be either passive or active in regard to the end of a person’s life. For instance, one person spoke of a relative who had asked that no measures be taken to revive him, and how hard it was to sit nearby as the heart monitored slowed and then stopped. Even if you know it is their wish, it can be very difficult to passively allow a person you love to die.
Similarly, I spoke about having to make an active decision when my grandmother was dying. The doctor said she would never leave the hospital alive, and that she was in pain. He told me he could give her more morphine, but it might cause her to stop breathing and die. Making that decision was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
This class helped us to discuss important, deep issues, and to examine our own thoughts and experiences about them. I am very much looking forward to discovering what next week’s class will be like.
October 16, 2013 | 1:00 am
Posted by Susan Esther Barnes
I’ll start by saying I’m not converting to Orthodox Judaism, and I’m not transgender. So this whole blog post is written from an outsider’s perspective, and as a result, it may contain inaccuracies. I apologize to anyone who feels I have given an inaccurate picture of either the conversion or transgender experience.
I have read quite a bit of commentary by transgender people over the last couple of years, as well as by people who have converted to Orthodox Judaism. And it struck me how much these two groups of people have in common.
One thing both groups of people must contend with as they realize their situation and decide to pursue it is they have no idea how their friends and family will react. Both groups are likely to experience some resistance from at least some of the people who are closest to them. Both may experience feelings of rejection and hurt.
Families of both may feel like the convert/transgender person is rejecting them as well, even when they are not. They may think, “Why won’t the converting person eat in our home any more?” or, “Why won’t my daughter wear the beautiful earrings I bought for her?” Some of these issues may be smoothed over through conversation and attempts to understand the viewpoint of the other, but they may result in long-term confusion and hurt feelings.
In addition, both groups have to contend with doubts about their motives and sincerity. Both may run into people who think they’re not pursuing an identity that feels authentic to them, but may think they are “acting out” in order to get attention. Both groups are likely to run into people who believe what they are going through is “just a phase” and that they will go back to their “normal” life once they’re a little older and more mature.
Next, both groups have to contend with gatekeepers who test their sincerity and try to keep them out until they are able to “prove” that they belong. Both groups are asked to live the life they say they want to adopt, and neither group is taken as sincere until they have done so for some period of time.
Orthodox Jewish converts must meet with rabbis and possibly others who monitor their progress, just as transgender people frequently meet with doctors and mental health professionals who monitor theirs. Both groups are at the mercy of these gatekeepers, who may tell them that they cannot convert or, if they want reassignment surgery, they can’t get it.
Furthermore, even if the gatekeepers allow them in, they are held to a higher standard than others who were born into their adopted group, and there are always others who will continue to doubt their sincerity.
For example, those who are “frum from birth” may break the rules every once in a while, without anyone doubting their Jewishness. But a convert who is seen breaking those same rules will raise doubts about whether his or her conversion was sincere. In some cases, conversion has even been revoked.
Similarly, for example, females who are born with a male body are expected to always wear their hair and to dress in a feminine fashion, while females born with a female body are free to wear short haircuts and wear more “masculine” clothes without anyone doubting their gender or raising a fuss.
I’m sure there must be other similarities I haven’t mentioned. It just goes to show how difficult it can be when a person seems to be born into one group, but doesn’t fit into that group, and makes an attempt to be recognized as part of another group. I would like to see a world in which both Orthodox Jewish converts and transgender people could recognize their similarities, share their experiences with each other, and support each other.
October 9, 2013 | 1:00 am
Posted by Susan Esther Barnes
Pretty much every day, usually more than once a day, I ask myself, “What am I going to write about in my next blog post?” Sometimes, people ask me what I’m planning to write over the next few weeks, as if such a plan has ever existed in my life as a blogger. Sometimes, I’m worried I’ll never come up with anything interesting to write about again. Yet, every week, something seems to present itself.
And then, sometimes, what seems like a perfect story unexpectedly appears out of the ether. It’s a story with drama; it has a beginning, a middle, and an end; it includes moments of humor; it even presents a few displays of human kindness.
Such a story appeared this week. And I can’t tell it to you.
As a human being, over the last decade or two I have practiced being more open and revealing about myself. I continued to do that through my writing, and made my inner thoughts and feelings even more public when I started blogging a few years ago. It’s been quite a positive experience for me, and I highly encourage others to reveal their true selves and to say what they mean whenever feasible.
However, most people desire some degree of privacy. Not everyone wants every little detail of their lives splashed across the internet, for all to see, in perpetuity. I get that. And, while authenticity and self-disclosure are important to me, it is also important to me that the people around me know they can trust me not to share or – God forbid – publish what they would like to keep secret.
It does present a bit of a problem for me, since I can be a bit obsessive about my writing. When a story “wants” to be written, it won’t leave me alone. It keeps swirling around in my head, presenting phrases and even paragraphs, refusing to quiet down until I release it into a Word document or onto a piece of paper. It can be quite disruptive, interrupting me whenever I’m trying to think about something else.
I’m hoping that writing this piece will settle this particular story in my mind. If not, I may need to write it down even though I don’t intend to share it with anyone. But, no matter what happens, I’m sorry to say, I won’t be telling it to you.