Hello all. Greetings and salutations, hail fellow well-met, g’day milady. And how is everyone doing today?
I’m asking that question not just as a matter of polite form, but rather because I genuinely want to know the answer. It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot recently.
It’s a question that’s supposed to express, and model, a general civility. The word “civil” has generally passed into usage as synonymous with “polite.” But that’s a mistake; to be polite is just to observe and practice an accepted normative form. But to be civil, actually civil, is a wholly different animal. To practice “general civility” is to genuinely want to know the answer, when you ask how someone is doing today. Not just because it’s nice, but because it’s sensible. We live in this community together, therefore we exist in some measure of mutual dependency. If the state of your being is well, then wonderful, I’m glad to hear. And if it’s not, then I’m concerned and I wonder if I can help, if there’s anything I might do for you.
And to speak frankly now, I’m asking this question today because to me, life in Boulder County has become such that observance of the polite form is assumed to be enough. The practice of general civility has become truncated, is mistaken as a kind of charitable exercise. Even worse, purposefully neglected, because, oh gosh, watch out, you might end up having to give someone part of your so very precious time. Which you must guard, because you need it so that you can spend it alone staring at a very small screen and moving your thumbs a lot. Or because you’re rushing away to your second job as you try to keep your head above Boulder County’s ever-rising economic waters. Or because c’mon already, climate-change, who has the time to give for the sake of just being nice anymore? Or because the very large amount of money I have tells me that I’m more important than you, wage-slave, and so of course have no time for your tales of surely self-induced woe.
And having lived for more than half of my 41 years here; having been raised here, and having left and then returned, over and again. From within that body of experience, I can tell you that life here was once very different.
That’s why I’m writing this column, the raison d’etre of Raised and Returned. To explore these changes. To do a certain kind of battle with these changes, and to make a certain kind of peace with them as well.
Said otherwise, I do intend to use fightin’ words. But the place I want to get to is the one where we can get along.