How to change the world by parking like a sane person

I have odd thoughts on the school run at times: I might think about what to make for dinner or I maybe contemplate a future where I walk down a different road than this one.

Today, I thought about how much better the world would be if people parked as if they actually cared about others. And then I thought: Wow, this may actually work.

You see ever since that election there in that USA, I have been contemplating on how to change the world, and how we probably won’t because “activism” is kind of a scary concept for many of us. It’s huge and overwhelming and “OMG where do I even begin”. Activism can also be very judgey because you may not activist enough for some who have been activists for years (I’ll tell you that joining a political party in 2015 opened my eyes in ways I did not expect). So many of us, including myself, don’t get involved.

But here is something that everyone can do and if more of us did it, the world would change beyond recognition: You can try to be the nicest version of yourself and give a thought of how you can improve the world around you just a little.

And parking is such a thing. Parking on double yellows just because you quickly need to dash into the chemist to get something. Parking as close as possible to school because you are late and heck, so what if the car is on corner, surely the parent with their pushchair find another place to cross the road. Using the parent and child spot despite the fact that your child is closer to university age than toddler years because heck, you are tired and you want to be close to the shop.

All these are signs of our collective “I don’t give a damn about others” attitude. Let’s get the parking under control and take it from there. Once you park like you actually care about your fellow humans, you may take your trolley back to where you found it. You may choose to bring your own bags to the supermarket. You may actually start to recycle or recycle more. Maybe you don’t even buy the trash in the first place.

I think parking within the law might be the start of the slow revolution. Let’s all do it and see where it takes us.

I guess what I am trying to say: Be kind to folks and creatures. That’s where it starts.


Thoughts and words

The US presidential elections are over and like so many of the people I know it felt like a stab in the back. It’s not that I had not seen it coming, after all my husband for one was like the Oracle of Delphi once more (I wish he predicted lottery numbers with equal accuracy) and said for months, that Trump would win. I guess I am a “hoper” (I know this is not a word, but I don’t care) and so I hoped that it would not be Trump. In fact when the stories came out about his sexual assault on women, I thought, that this would surely do it, because after all, we are all decent people who would not have someone like that in charge of the most powerful country in the world. Surely not, right? Oh Melanie, you have learnt nothing.

I feel at the moment as if I am stumbling through my days discovering all the things I don’t know. I don’t know how to politically engage anyone. I don’t know the right words to express how I feel and I don’t know how to go beyond the fear of meaning well but saying it wrong. I don’t know how to make a change and how to be involved in things that make a difference. I don’t know what a first step would be and how to take that step and then the next one. I don’t know who to take these steps with. Alone, forcing myself along by sheer willpower, all the way fearing that it is just not enough? I don’t know what to do with my anger at the political establishment, my anger with those that resort to conspiracy theories to explain the world, the anger with those that patronise me and my views, my anger that as a woman in 2016, I am still scared to walk any distance when it’s dark. All of these and more. And the only thing I know for certain is that I know nothing anymore.

And the thing is that when you know nothing, it’s so hard to find the words. The words that would do justice to the way I am feeling. The words that could explain all the million things that go on in my head. The words that could give comfort not just to myself but to someone else too. The words that would not be wrong because being on the left end of the political spectrum sadly often means that your harshest critics are your “comrades” who will shout you down for using a wrong phrase. The truth is that I no longer have anything to say. It’s as simple as that. It’s comforting and scary at the same time. Comforting because when we take the words away the silence can seem so blissful, finally everything has gone quiet. Shshhh. Yet it’s scary because if people like me no longer say anything where will it go and who will be the people that fill the silence.

And then, suddenly, a revolutionary thought occurred to me: I don’t want to be part of the fury anymore. Fury achieves nothing. I may the only person who feels that way, but I know that when I am angry, I don’t achieve anything. I am just angry. Quite often when I am angry at the world, I don’t even manage to make myself a decent lunch. Yes, I have opinions and reactions to events that happen all over the world, but I shall try and no longer trust my opinions and reactions, ignore the lurch in my stomach and simply sit with it for a moment and try not to get angry. or even furious. Who knows, maybe this will lead to knowing things again. I might even find some words to talk about things again. I shall report back.