Extreme Inconsideration

What a strange place America has become. My parents taught me to be polite – say “yes sir” and “no ma’am” and “please” and “thank you.” It seemed like overkill at the time, but I’ve grown to really appreciate those simple niceties. Plus, I feel better about myself when I treat others with respect and dignity – whether they’ve earned it or not. Holding the door for someone is almost a sacred duty – something you do to show esteem for your fellow man. Thanking someone who returns the favor should be an automatic.

Of course, we all know times ain’t what they used to be – especially where manners are concerned. As a society, I find us to be rude, insensitive, obnoxious, accusatory, boorish, inappropriately opinionated, and outright nasty. And I’d just love to blame it all on the so-called younger generation (“Oh, those kids!”), but it’s the older folks who tick me off the most. Who yelled “You lie!” at the President during his State of the Union Address? It sure wasn’t some hip hopper strapped to the nines. I once heard an octogenarian proclaim it was her right to block the grocery aisle, saying “You can just f-ing wait until I’m through!” And we did.

At the risk of sounding all high and mighty and without becoming too much of a royal suck-up, I go out of my way to be polite. I don’t need to trample others to be first in line. I always thank my waitress for that refill or apologize when I spill something. I won’t force you off the road, occupy two parking spaces or sneak into the one you’ve been patiently waiting for. I try my best to be a civil, reverential person who realizes the world hasn’t revolved around me since I stopped wearing diapers. But alas, we are a dying breed, I fear, and by way of proof I offer these true events of extreme inconsideration I’ve compiled over the past few months. See if any of these ring a bell, or maybe it’s just me.

1. She opened her car door into mine with so much force that it left a dent. She smirked and said, “That’s what you get, asshole.” What? No “sorry”? She, of course, was parked on an angle.
2. “I only have one item,” she said, pushing her way to the front of the checkout. The gentleman who was next only had two.
3. Blinker on, when I sped up, he sped up. When I slowed down, so did he. I missed my exit, and he gave me the finger as a bonus.
4. The man parked in my daughter’s assigned space, so she parked in his. He knocked on the door and told her she had to move her “piece of shit” because he was having a friend over and that’s where he told her to park.
5. Someone changed the baby’s diaper in the pasta aisle and placed the soiled garment on top of the San Giorgio rotini boxes. Yum!
6. During a difference of opinion, a cashier called the Sikh gentleman a “towel-head terrorist.”
7. Unsolicited, the lady told another woman looking through a dress rack, “don’t buy any of those, honey. You’re way too fat to wear stripes.”
8. It was suggested loudly that old people should have their own line so “the rest of us don’t have to wait for them to count their change.”
9. In one day, I held the door four times without a “thank you,” had three doors slammed into my face, and experienced two line jumpers.
10. “The founding fathers died so we wouldn’t have to deal with minorities, Mexicans and the gays.” Succinct and to the point I’d say, albeit grossly inaccurate and… Aw shucks – stupid.

“Where on earth do you live, dude? That kinda stuff never happens in my neighborhood.” Sure it does – you’ve just become desensitized to it. Or maybe you’re one of the guilty. It happens everywhere, cuts across all races, income brackets, age groups, religions, and political parties. We’ve become a nation of unappreciative, ill-mannered cretins, and I’m not sure how long we can survive like this before the next war we fight is with ourselves. There’s no love these days. Oh! And don’t forget – the polite thing to do is to click the “like” button below. 🙂
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

Complicated Creatures

Here’s a dream. I walk down the stairs to my mother’s basement, and there are two cots neatly made up. Each with brilliant white sheets and pillow cases; each with a bright red blanket – one is turned down. To the right and at the foot of the cots, my father sits in a brown leather chair. He is wearing a starched white shirt and an expensive-looking black suit. He is beaming at me and questions, “you don’t like me anymore?” Based on his expression, I take it as some kind of joke that I don’t understand, but I am also confused by his presence and the scene. Since my wife has entered the room, I answer, “Of course. We love you!”

He continues to smile, but my wife is looking for something and does not acknowledge either of us. I go to sit on the cot closest to him and notice two packs of cigarettes (my brand) and a white lighter on the small end table. When I look back at him, he laughs loudly and then we sit in silence – staring at each other for what feels like quite awhile. Eventually, I am distracted as my wife goes up the steps, but when I turn back around, he is gone. I am then alone in a very dark space – still sensing his presence even though I fear he is no longer there. “Dad, are you here?” There is no answer, and I awake.

I can remember every detail because it was one of those hyper-real dreams; the kind some folks say are actually visitations from the spirit of the person you dreamed about. I went over and over the events before I ultimately drifted back asleep – finally convincing myself that it was his way of saying that cigarettes were going to be the death of me; that I had made my bed and would lie in it – the other bed belonging to my deceased sister, a victim of lung cancer. I was certain my wife ignored us because she was unaware we were there – as if the deed was already done; a fete accompli, if you will.

I never pay very much attention to dreams even though they seem like the perfect vehicle through which to deliver important messages. Considering the immense difficulty we have in communicating with the other side, thought to thought through dreams seems like such a flawless method. In theory. However, I am reluctant to put too much stock in them – they seem such fragile nonsense. We jumble them, combine them, and remember them wrong, but once in awhile, a specific dream does stand out – it’s perceived message lingers.

So, did my father use this vague whimsy to visit me? I don’t know. Probably not. More than likely, something within me decided that smoking would do me in – that’s a sensible determination. Besides, I desperately want to quit and have tried almost every cure to no avail. I could have easily expressed my concern through a dream, and one’s deceased father is, after all, a memorable spokesperson. Predictably, the message stayed with me so much longer – indelibly.

On a personal level, I don’t actually need to know where dreams come from, nor do I actually care, if truth be known. I tend to accept things like this on whatever level they’re presented to me, but I enjoy the notion that my father’s spirit might have visited to provide potentially life-saving insight, so I’ll go with that. But every concept we have of spirit is collectively lacking, and since we really haven’t a clue, to think we do can only increase our ignorance and lessen our chance of ever truly understanding. I know enough to be satisfied with wondering.

But I ask again – do I think my father actually visited me in a dream? Well why not? It doesn’t matter if I really know the correct answer. It was just nice to see him again, and very comforting to think he is still able to care. And let me add, he was rocking that suit, but even better, he looked really healthy. That’s encouraging, you know. We are such complicated creatures.
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

Video Addendum – “It’s Been Emotional.”

For those of you (dear readers) who do not follow The Voices Podcast, this entry will hold little meaning. It is, in fact, a video addendum to episode 88 of the podcast, which was entitled “It’s Been Emotional.” During the broadcast, mention was made of this footage and it will definitely mean something to podcast listeners. However, I invite you all you watch anyway, and I encourage everyone to have an opinion.

Let me say at the outset, that the phenomenon recorded here is not a reflection, a shadow, or some light anomaly created by investigators, whether by accident or otherwise. It is not a malfunction of the camera or lens, and there has been no fakery. I am the only person who has handled, edited, or enhanced the video, so if you believe any of it has been manufactured, you’ll be accusing me directly. Rather, this video depicts something for which I have no explanation – nor can I conceive of any natural occurrence that could have caused it. It is therefore, something paranormal, because it is outside the realm of sensible explanation.

I do not claim this to be a spirit or ghost captured on video, although that does seem like a possibility based on the events that preceded it. I don’t know what it is, and I’ve never personally seen anything quite like it ever before. No EVP were captured during this small window of time, and there were no physical manifestations noticeable by anyone’s naked eye. For some reason, this showed up on camera without benefit of credentials. So, I ask you – what do you think it is?

Feel free to let me know your thoughts, and if you’re new to The Voices Podcast, I would encourage you to at least catch up on the backstory of this video before passing judgement.

Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.