Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Have a Neighbor

I have an old neighbor - she has lived here longer than we have and is older than we are. In fact, she was one of my teachers in religious school. She stressed how important it was to keep a kosher house and buy only from a kosher butcher and I annoyed my mother and pestered her and then, one day, my mother met her mother in the supermarket and her mother was not buying kosher anything. Myt mother took me out of that religious school and we never set foot in there again. That's not to say that I did not have a religiou education, because I did and so did our children. Religion is more than the Ten Commandments, although that is a start. Religion is how people act to other people, not so much their proclaimed belief in God.

Anyway, to get back to my neighbor. My children, and sometimes my husband, cannot understand why, every once in a while, I call her, just to check in. Frankly, I can't understand it either. It must be a moment of weakness or extreme boredom. To generalize, success in other people just comes naturally to them. She does not think that hard work, intense concentration, hours of review and practice enter into other people's accomplishments. Her lack of achievement is due either to anti-Semitism, a payoff, or nepotism/patronage. Forget hard work and superior ethics.

She does not know how to hold a conversation. During the course of a few words about fracking in Pennsylvania, she picks out one word, say water, and proclaims that the price of oil and gas is already too high and if fracking is held back, the prices will get only higher. When reminded that fracking may (or may not) pollute the water reservoirs for years, she goes back to the high price and ignores the environment.

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