Monday, September 18, 2006

Don't Get Me Started: On The Offensiveness of Being Offended

I am reading today about Pope Benedict's recent remarks regarding Muslims and the terribly predictable outrage from the Muslim people in response. Pope Benedict then issued a "sort-of" apology, which again outraged the Muslims. The Pope then again apologized. Yep, the Muslims are still outraged.

I guess the gist of this story is that the Pope quoted a 14th-Century Christian emperor who said Muhammad had brought the world only "evil and inhuman" things. Now an AL-Queda group is vowing to take over Rome and burning pope pictures. In a related event, I havent gotten any mail for the last 3 mail days.

The lady next door is in a tiff with our Post-Mistress (although I suppose since the woman who brings the mail is over 40 she might actually be a "post-Maiden". Sorry. Couldn't help it.) The argument stems from my neighbor's and my shared porch, which sits in between our two apartments. Although both the neighbor and I have completely different street numbers as addresses, we live in what is commonly known as a four-plex. She has 4 stairs that lead from the sidewalk to her door and directly to the left of her door is her mailbox. My apartment is the same. In between our doors is a small porch that measures roughly about 5 feet long by 3 feet wide. The landlady has placed 2 forest green plastic arrandack chairs in this area, for our use. Alas, herein lies the problem.

Apparently the Post-Mistress is getting tired. Either that or she has bad knees. At any rate, she has apparently decided to use the porch between our apartment doors as a sort of "short-cut" between our mail boxes. This saves her having to climb the 4 stairs to my neighbor's mailbox and then decend them, walk 5 feet to the right, climb my 4 stairs to my mailbox and then decend them. I came outside to gather my mail one day last week and found a notice from the post-mistress stating that she was unable to deliver my mail because of "an obstruction in her path". I looked around in bewilderment for this obstruction and found none, except he same 2 green chairs that have been on our porch for 3 years. Because of this, coupled with the fact that the notice was, ironically, IN my mailbox, I became ...well, I was rather outraged.
After all, I need my mail.

On Saturday, early in the morning, I stepped out onto my porch with my 11 month old son in my arms and found a representative from the local post office at my neighbor's door. Upon asking if I might be of some help, she stated that the green chairs had to be removed. Tossed. They had to just disappear. The Post-Mistress had been authorized by the Post Office to use "any and all available short-cuts on her route" and our two green chairs were an obstruction.
I was offended. I became... well, I was rather outraged. I protested, saying that the porch was actually a seating area. The woman shook her head and stated that there were 50 thousand gazillion addresses that had to be delivered to daily and that those extra 4 stairs were seriously compromising mail delivery. My son gasped in my arms. I believe he was...well, I swear I could clearly see outrage on his tiny brow.

Shifting his chubby girth from one hip to another rather abruptly, I told the representative that I felt she was in error, as my neighbor's numeric address is 125 and my own is 123 and not simply one address with 2 separate apartment numbers. She shook her head. I stated that if there were, say, a partition between us, the post mistress would have to ascend and descend the 2 sets of stairs anyway. She shook her head. In almost desperation, thinking selfishly of my subscription to Woman's Day and the killer Halloween Crafts issue forthcoming, I stammered "But...but what about the whole" through rain and hail and sleet and snow" and ...all that? I mean, isn't it illegal to with-hold our mail simply because the post person is LAZY???" She pursed her lips and shook her head. I was, by this time, really, really outraged. I actually was considering storming the post office with my infant twins and burning a copy of the post office delivery persons hippocratic oath or whatever it is they vow when they take the mail bag exam.

My son began to cry. I felt my own bottom lip beginning to tremble. The representative looked at my slyly and leaned forward in a confidential "just between you and me" manner. In a hushed tone she said,"I think I can solve your problem." She then, very carefully, slid both green chairs against the wall, leaving about a foot and a half pathway along the outer space of the porch. "Good day." She smiled coyly at me, and left. My son stopped crying. The sun suddenly burst out from behind some clouds. I think I actually heard birds singing.

Maybe I will get my Woman's Day Halloween Edition after all.

On my way to where I was headed, which just happened to be a local "Walk For Life" Pro-life event, I thought about how easily offended we can be, what babies we really are, when someone says or does something we don't like. I began to take inventory of where my own personal outrages lie:

I am outraged that 4400 people every day are murdered in this country before they even have the chance to take their first breath outside the womb and have no laws protecting or ensuring their safety or survival.

I am outraged that, according to Kevin Bales of "Free the Slaves", an international organization and lobby group that fights modern slavery, although exact numbers are hard to gauge, there are an estimated 27 million human beings held in slavery around the world, including the United States.

I am outraged that there are up to 3.5 million Americans who will experience homelessness each year and that fully 40 percent-nearly half that number- are children. This is in a country that brags to be the richest country in the world.

These, to me and in my humble opinion, are far greater outrages and call for action far more loudly than an opposing religious opinion QUOTED no less from an ancient document in the press. I understand the Muslim people feel they have been mis-represented by the Pope. The Pope quoted the Christian emporer as stating "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." Now they are burning the Pope's picture and vow to storm Rome and over take it. Wait...isn't that JUST EXACTLY what the Pope quoted?

By the way, last night I moved the chairs back to their original positions. I am one who is willing to suffer hardships in order to prove my point, thank you very much. After all, outrage is outrage. I am going to go and buy my Woman's Day Halloween Crafts Edition at Wal Mart and then I am going to sit on my green chair on my porch and read it cover to cover while I wait for the Post Mistress to show up. I want an apology, darn it.

Well, that and my phone bill should be coming in the mail.....


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