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2 posts categorized "Are you alright pet"

June 25, 2008

Being my own pet

Relationships are important, but the most important relationship a person has is with their self. I've always liked saying that. I like the sound of it, and I can see the logic of the statement, but that doesn't mean that I have followed that logic to a T. I've been sidetracked numerous times by things, appearances, expectations and the everyday rut and my individual perception, something that is the fruit of much conditioning (familial, social and cultural).

Are You Alright Pet asks the animal question: which animal would you be? I have a pet, so I find it easy. I can relate to the pet sitting in its cage, at the pound or at a pet store waiting for a new home. There may be a close relation between foster kids or wards of the state, and potential pets. I say potential, because there are no guarantees. Each time I'm tempted to add to the family at home and visit a sophisticated breeder, I give myself a little shake and snap out of it fast: those pets are bred to order, while thousands, if not millions, of animals are abandoned in shelters. They are bad purchases, impulsive gifts or accidental births. If we treated humans like we did domestic animals (cats or dogs), we'd all be up on human rights abuses. I'm a sucker for pet shops and/or the RSPCA. I can empathize with the situation, and that's the most important thing.

Continue reading "Being my own pet" »

June 23, 2008

Smiles to Strangers

I frequently ridicule the everyday elements that drew me toward my current job – that is soon to be my ex-job – and those elements were custom designed by me, no one else and they can be identified by sophisticated terms, such as Pavlovian conditioning. There are many moments I can count when I've compared some parts of society as a lab. The only difference between a lab rat or chimp, and a human being is that the human can make a decision, and choose to follow or abandon it. The significance that is attributed to certain things can be based on traditional beliefs, or concepts that have been embedded into the brain by friends, family, teachers, and others that claim to have the right idea.

The opening leg of my journey through Are You Alright Pet contains a chapter titled: How to smile at people you haven't been introduced to
. It's an interesting title. Scratch that, it's an interesting sentence that describes ordinary life, especially life in cities that tend to be shaped around corporate events and relationships.

One of my favorite pastimes during my work breaks and right before work, was to stand at The Nicotine Club (polluting the air around me with tobacco smoke) corner and observe the people entering the building. This observation would change as the day progressed: more people entered the building in the morning and lunch hours enabled observing the departures. The facial expressions differed. Those leaving for their lunch looked lighter. The transition, interesting to behold, populated every portion of the individual's body. However, the morning – a comical vision – was witness to the robotic, frowning or inwardly sighing individual, the type that looks like they have swapped loads with Atlas. All have one thing in common – they never smile.

I realized my predicament, one that I placed myself in, a little while back. I'd laugh at myself, at them, and at the silly sacrifice I'd made just so I could say I worked at company X, or worked in the city. I don't think any city makes people more special. People tend to wrestle with the same problems irrespective of location.

The chapter title at the beginning of the book rewound to many moments. How much is a smile worth? Does a smile have a dollar value? Of course not, well not to any corporate suit, so it isn't really considered in the scale of things, but it is considered important to some people – like me – and there have been many moments, especially over the last twelve months, when I've felt alone in the city, or felt a zillion miles away from home – even though my home is less than twenty kilometres away from Sydney's central business district.

I like the tone of the book. It doesn't proclaim miracle cures, but it does emphasize that it is not a book for those who have serious behavioral issues that do require extra care, something that other books conveniently ignore. This book is about the average individual who starts modern life with a healthy distribution of empathy and emotion, and makes an accidental detour, to wind up in a decrepit alleyway. It can happen, and it does happen, and sometimes –after it unfolds – one wishes to trade places, opt for the fires of hell and demonic lashes – anything to get out of a purposeless rut. People need to be reminded that they are people and that they require standing up for beliefs, and not making compromises that sacrifice their spirit, and I think this book, with its informal tone, does emphasize/focus on the individual spirit without requiring additional reading materials to decipher special terms. It doesn't require you to unravel a 'secret' mystical meaning to life like an amateur archaeologist.  After all, when you reach the existential crossroads the last thing you need is a brain busting self-improvement book: you’ve used up more bundles of energy questioning almost everything, from career to relationships.

The title 'Are you alright Pet?' has a key word: pet.

One of the first questions that is posed to the reader, the key question, relates to animals:

If you had to be an abandoned pet in a rescue home, would you be a cat or a dog?

This is the next question that I chose to examine and reflect upon - to be continued.

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© Anastasia Mavromatis 2005 - 2008