Aside from being busy, stressed, cranky, sleep-deprived and so on, it’s actually been a fairly good week.

I got in some classtime at the gym on Tuesday, when I participated in a class that combines tai chi, yoga and possibly something else. I felt like a ninny at first, moving my arms around in pseudo ‘blocks’ (right, like that would’ve been effective at any attacker other than maybe a sweater), but once it moved into some yoga poses and other more challenging things, it got more interesting. Of course, since I’d done an upper-body workout with my trainer just before, as well as some abs (and then extra abs, after she left), some things towards the end got much more challenging for me. But I also really enjoyed the rest period we did before the final cool-down; something like that always feels a lot more refreshing than even a nap might have.

Tuesday I also picked up some jeans (one of which I have to return to the store with, as they left the theft-deterrent sensor on it), some knitting needles for my next project, some supper for the Smooshy and I, and as I said, the gym. Wednesday was class, whoop de shit (various controversies regarding proposed projects and massive class rebellion, but it blew over – though the prof seemed disappointed. To him, I have to say: Sorry dude, but most of us have lives outside of your class. No one is taking your class exclusively, and unlike your pet, not all of us are looking to suck up to you by engaging in these new class projects that weren’t on the syllabus and would require several hours of outside research… especially when you already have a difficult time with time management). Since we got out even later than usual (again with the time management), it was fairly late (10:30?) when I got home. And I’m probably one of the people who lives closest to campus, too. Urgh.

Yesterday the Smooshy and I had our post-poned Valentine’s Day celebrations. They looked like they might not happen, since we were both crabby with one another (apparently I have a knack for being grumpy at the exact wrong moment… there are some serious challenges to dating someone more sensitive to you that were not covered in the handbook), but we managed to pull it off. We ordered in a buttload of Chinese food, I had picked up some white wine and some cinnamon buns (classy all the way, I am!), and we watched the movie I’d rented last week, “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.” It’s a documentary about a guy who took an interest in the wild parrots that he noticed in and around his neighbourhood, and took the time to get to know them and look after them. I’d seen a trailer for it when Ben and I saw March of the Penguins, and I wanted to watch it.

I found some parts of the movie especially easy to relate to, like when he has to give up one bird in particular whom he has bonded with, or when he relates the story of the last days of another bird he looked after. There are also the birds that simply stop returning, and whose fate is always somewhat unknown; these are all things I’ve had to deal with in my short lifetime of pet ownership. I greatly admire his ability to do the right thing – to find a good home for Mingus, to ask the city to leave the birds be, and to let the wild birds stay wild. He really seemed to understand and respect the spirit of what the birds represented, as well as the birds themselves – if that makes any sense whatsoever and doesn’t sound too airy-fairy to the rest of you.

The Smooshy thinks I’m crazy, ‘cause movies about animals are 100% more likely to make me cry than movies about people. He’s not the first person to think that I care more about animals than I do people; The Ex- thought the same thing. Sometimes I get the impression that people who say things like, ‘A movie about orphans in [name developing country of choice] is much more likely to make *me* cry’ feel that they are better than me, or more sympathetic, or more humanitarian, or something. It makes me kind of defensive, but I don’t usually bother to argue the point much.

The thing is, I’m a fairly emotional person, but I tend to hide it more than some. I feel vulnerable when I’m emotional, and I don’t like to show that side to others. When I was crying during Wild Parrots (especially during the last 20-30 minutes, which the IMDB board indicates is a common occurrence), I was trying to hide it as long as I could. Smooshy knew, and eventually it was undeniable, but it’s a side of myself that I don’t like to show many people. Hell, probably about 1% of my friends have seen me cry at any given time.

But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get choked up about things. Hell, especially when I’m PMSy (which I think was another culprit last night), I get choked up about the dumbest things. I can remember once getting worked up over the last episode of Saved by the Bell, ‘cause I was PMSy. I’m a loser, I know it.

When it comes to people, I think expressions of joy or despair are usually the two that get me. The people who jumped from the top of the World Trade Center rather than get crushed by rubble, or the people who had to choose which child to let go of during the tsunami; those are horrific situations in which to be placed, and I hope to never have to make those choices, or be so far from any sign of hope as to make choices like those.

I feel that animals are less able to look out for themselves in face of human cruelty than other humans. There is no explanation for some of the harm that we inflict upon on another, but a grown man punching another grown man can defend himself. A grown man punching a dog or a cat… people torment one another, and in extreme situations, the tormented brings a gun to work and kills. But a person who torments an animal, sometimes there is no recourse for that animal, and it will simply never trust anyone else again – or not without a lot of care and attention. Certainly sometimes that animal will turn and snap, but others will simply give up. And yes, this is seen in people, too.

I know I’m not making an especially strong argument, but it’s very difficult to explain why you feel a certain way about something that happens to be very close to your heart. Without bringing religion into it, try explaining why you’re opposed to murder, or abortion, or gay rights. “It’s just wrong” doesn’t really cover it very well, but it’s hard to come up with other arguments that are very strong – they’re just part of your moral or ethical code (one is changeable, and I think it’s values, but I can’t remember). According to my mom, being an animal lover is in my blood, and that’s just how it’s always been. I can’t explain why movies about animals are a sure-fire way to make me cry, whereas I can be horrified or upset by a movie that features poor treatment of people and stay more composed, but that’s how it is for me. Maybe it’s like humour; poo and fart jokes don’t make me laugh, but the book “I wanna go home!” by Gordon Korman still makes me laugh out loud, two-dozen plus readings later. Go figure.

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