February 9th, 2010

Be nice to everyone week!

Longtime Rose-coloured readers may know that I hold the wildly unpopular position that Family Day is fascist. I’m less alarmed about Valentine’s Day because it’s a Hallmark initiative, not a legislative one–if the government gets involved in telling people how to woo, I’m moving to Sweden–but it’s not my favourite occasion.

I am certainly very fond of the concepts of both familial and romantic love, and don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating them–I just think that since not everyone finds themselves in a situation where a celebration is possible or appropriate, maybe the government might stay out of it (especially since they’re really just trying to keep Ontario businesses from inconveniencing American sister offices by being open on Presidents’ Day).

But I’m not going to prevail on this one, and I’ve (largely) stopped ranting. As you’ll see in the posts above, I’m trying to use this week for a more relevant campaign of affection–for strangers and friends and acquaintances, whoever doesn’t have a socially prescribed position in my life. Taking out my earbuds at the cashier and saying “How are you?” like I care about the answer (I do!) . Giving my seat on the subway to whoever looks tired. Taking down my garbage early so it’s not a hassle for the super. Tipping generously, giving to charity, baking for bakesales (Thursday!), noticing new haircuts, and carrying the heavy stuff–I’m always trying to remember to do this stuff, but this week I’m trying extra.
When I start the “Family Day/Fascism” stuff, friends always point out that I have an awesome family, and I do; I know I’m lucky. It just seems weird that we would have a day where those who are lucky celebrate that, and those who aren’t so lucky get to feel extra bad about it. I think maybe my viewpoint is somewhat skewed because I volunteered for several years talking to people who didn’t have anyone else to talk to, but I do feel that more people are isolated and lonely in our society than us lucky ones care to think about. And those people might not be feeling so great about the weekend o’ mandated emotion coming up. A little niceness might go a long way for them right now–or anytime, really.

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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