I may be about to give you more information than you need or want to know.
Bear with me on this.
At around 4:30 this morning I awoke with my dog licking my hand.
There you have it: Bonnie sleeps on the bed.
And if that’s not enough to turn you germ-hating spermophobes and cat lovers against me, I have to confess I laid there and let her lick.
I see this as her way of connecting, and strange as it may seem, I found it comforting.
Don’t get me wrong here.
We all have our phobias.
I know a few keraunophobes (those who hate storms) and astrapophobes (cowards about lightning).
I have had occasion to meet folks who fear open spaces (agoraphobes) and some who shun closed-in places (claustrophobes).
I have even traveled with a few gephyrophobes (those who are not wild about crossing bridges).
Well I’m a coporophobe — one who laments the death of small business! (I may be making this one up.)
But surely I digress.
As Bonnie continued to lick the hand that feeds her, I began to think:
Humans, what a strange breed we are.
Here I am, cozy in bed, with a much-diseased tongue (I should assume) working me over real good. In my mind’s eye I see many-eyed microscopic bugs of mythic proportions entering cavernous pores in my hand.
Yet I lay there feeling and appreciating a deep sense of companionship.
Yes, humans are, if nothing else, a twist of emotions.
We are truly a tapestry of logic, action, inaction, optimism, pessimism, morality, immorality, kindness and hatred.
Like it or not, we have it all.
It seems to me our minds are always seeking balance, searching for the point of compromise between disparate themes, ideas and emotions.
We are forever aging, yet we yearn to be forever young.
Wanting to be rich, we often seek the simplicity and honesty that can come with poverty.
We travel the world in search of new places and when we find them we immediately gravitate to what is familiar and comfortable.
We think big, act daring, and yet find great solace in pulling our legs up under us, sitting tight and small, fetus-like, under the safety of a huge tree in the middle of nowhere.
Leaning forward over a cliff, we tip our heads down, unable to resist our innate curiosity about the bottom. Then our head comes back and finds the balance that keeps us on stable ground, out of harm’s way.
Yes, we have it all. A body that seeks rigidity, balance and harmony and a mind that teeters with creativity and instability.
We are marvelously original and painstakingly rigid, some yin and a little bit of yang.
Now that I am wide-awake — Bonnie by the way is twitching in deep sleep — I take all of this to the next level.
We are all conservative and liberal.
Socialists and capitalists.
Some of us believe big business is governed by small minds, and that this mix will lead us straight to environmental catastrophe.
Others want to believe the future of the small family farm is big and bright, and that this is the quickest way to good health and wellbeing.
Small is beautiful, big is better.
Small is efficient, big is more cost effective.
There is wisdom in the economy of scale.
You are foolish to go out there by yourself.
Go it along, dance to your own drummer.
There is power in numbers.
Real security is standing behind the one with the bigger stick.
And so it goes: humans are up-down, left-right, artistic-scientific, secular-spiritual, bold-timid, hot-cold, worldly-parochial, native-nomad, first nation-second class-third world-forth dimension-fifth estate.
And through all of this — perhaps in spite of all of this, maybe because of this — we have within us one saving grace: we can, if we so please, change our minds.
Given good information, more information, better information, we can, and often do, form new opinions, take different sides.
This most human of all characteristics is what we fall back on when shit hits the fan.
So now at around 5 in the morning, I change my mind.
Ready for this?
Keep in mind this is coming from someone who has railed consistently (and persuasively I would hope) against the eco-destructive corporate consciousness of giant retailers — the archetypical coporophobe.
From now on, Wal-Mart will get my business!
Hold steady mate.
In Friday’s column, I will tell you why.