Waiting on the Waiters

It has happened again! I’m out for a meal on my own and the wait staff check with everyone else in the restaurant. Are you okay? Do you need anything else? And they don’t visit me!

Why is that, I keep wondering? Is it my resting bitch face? Am I giving out a vibe? I don’t mean to.

Perhaps it is because I’m reading a book. Head down, clearly engrossed, not looking around. Maybe that’s the message they’re reading. She’s obviously happy enough. She’s engaged in her own pleasure. And if she wanted something, we’d soon know.

I am reading, but I’m also observing.

The older couple near me. How he keeps offering menu choices to his wife, but she isn’t interested in any of them. She wants fish, but not the cod. Too fishy!

The younger South African couple who make many comments ‘under their breath’ about:

a) the size of their meal (too big)

b) the tea strainer not working (leaves in their tea).

Asking the waitress:

a) for a better strainer

b) for another serviette; and

c) to take away their food.

The man who has brought his grandson into the pub, sits at the bar and orders sandwiches and water. School must be out early.

A fellow on his own, drinking beers and watching sports TV.

And the ladies nearby who could be a bookclub. They’re winding up, but talking books as they depart. Makes me think to mention to the TLC (Treasured Ladies Club) about making one Saturday a month a book meeting.

While I pause reading to write these observations on my phone, the waitress has asked a new patron how she can help, but still not looked over to me 😀

Recently, I brunched with two friends, one of whom was annoyed at how often the staff bothered us, while we were conversing! The restaurant wasn’t busy, so perhaps the staff just had time on their hands. But they can’t win, can they? 😀

Oh, here we go. A very lovely Irish lad has offered to wrap up my leftovers, no bother. “Thank you,” say I. “And I’ll have a cappuccino to take away, please.”

P.S. When clearing plates for the older couple I mentioned above, their waitress threw out the standard “Hope you enjoyed the food?” Cod lady wasn’t happy. Her plate was almost completely empty, but something was just not nice.

The waitress (and her husband) were embarrassed. I was not surprised!

BEST PLACES TO EAT IN GALWAY – FOOD + SERVICE

  • Marmalade Bakery (Best Coffee). Also make and sell their own bread, sweet and savoury cakes and scones.

  • Cupan Tae (Great Tea). Huge and interesting range of teas. Also serve brunch and afternoon tea.  I love their courgette cake and coffee and walnut cake.

  • Black Cat, Salthill (Tapas). Good food and atmosphere, great service.

  • Dough Bros (Pizza). Delicious thin crust pizzas with unusual toppings, excellent service and good atmosphere. Won many awards.

  • Gourmet Tart Co (Lunch salads/wraps). Also do delicious biscuits and quick meals.

  • Petit Delice (Pattiserie). French cakes and pastries. Also really nice baguette/sandwich bar.

  • Gourmet Food Co, Salthill (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner). Very popular. All meals large and excellent. Make a great cocktail special too!

  • An Pucan (Gastro Pub). All round casually excellent. Very busy. Very attentive staff. Excellent food. Loved their Jameson Black Barrel BBQ Sauce with Cashel Blue Cheese Dip.

NOTE: If you enjoy my Random Thoughts, you may also enjoy my travel stories – Trish’s Place for Travel.

What makes you laugh?

FeaturedWhat makes you laugh?

 

Laughter:
The simple pleasure of a belly laugh! What a physical experience it can be.

What brings on that kind of laughter for you, dear reader? Does it happen often?

It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud. I’m more of a quiet smiler. Sometimes the smile is so quiet, you could think I was unaffected. I often ‘feel’ the smile in my head and know that it isn’t showing on the outside.

Watching movies often brings out a noisy laugh. Usually over slapstick comedy. I consider slapstick as physical comedy; somebody has fallen, for example. I laugh and laugh like a sicko! There is nothing very subtle about my sense of humour 😀 I’ll find myself laughing so hard that I can’t catch my breath. Sometimes, it is scary because it seems I’ll never get it back. I think this is because I struggle to let myself be loud and my natural inclination is to stuff it back in.

Graham Norton makes me laugh. I love his show. I chuckle my way through it, up to and including the red chair! Graham is very clever at bringing his guests right along, sharing with us their unusual stories and cracking us up.

I laugh with my husband, unexpectedly. Not because I don’t expect to laugh with him, but perhaps because a moment ago life was staid. Nothing particularly outstanding was happening. And then, something is said – we’re on the same wavelength and something clicks – then we’re both bent over in raptures of laughter. Take a peek at each other and again we’re falling around. If you’re lucky enough to have that kind of bond with somebody, then you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

I’m naturally a very serious person. I laugh with people I can relax with. That includes my children and my sisters. There are only a few friends that I’ll find myself laughing with.

I didn’t grow up with a wider network of family. It was always Mum and Dad and my siblings. All aunties and cousins lived in another country. And so, I didn’t develop strong bonds there.

My husband and I just spent a day with a cousin and his wife. We’ve been developing friendship over the last few years, mainly via Facebook; and we visited with them in 2013. But we laughed and laughed this weekend. It was very natural and friendly; non-judgmental laughing at each other and ourselves. A lightening of spirit experience.

The endorphins released from laughing are real. You can feel the release and relaxation after a good bout of laughter. It must be why there are laughter therapy classes, why comedians are so popular and why everyone loves the Simpsons! 😀

If you’ve read this, hopefully you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about and you enjoy loud and proud laughter regularly. If you don’t get enough laughs – search it out! What makes you laugh?

I’m including a link here to something that still makes me laugh. I hope you’ll get a good chuckle out of it too.

NOTE: If you enjoy Random Thoughts by Trish, you may also enjoy my blog Trishs’s Place for Travel.

Greta Thunberg – modern Joan of Arc

We have all by now heard of Greta Thunberg, a Swedish schoolgirl who made headlines around the world in August 2018 by refusing to attend school in the face of climate devastation, and the severe ramifications for humanity.

The simplicity of her stance in striking inspired school children around the world to emulate her, to call out government and declare that ‘enough is enough’.

This girl and her journey should be an inspirational one for us all. Her actions represent the quality and bravery of the upcoming generations – our children and grandchildren.

Greta’s message resonates with her own generation. School children continue to take action, skip school and protest. I assume that these children have been supported by their parents and schools. Some children would not have been supported in this action and just ‘wagged’ school. Perhaps others have not participated, whether by their own choice, or because they haven’t been allowed.

To see a variety of stories around the topic of Greta, climate change strikes and our reactions to this, check out The Guardian.

This month, Greta travelled to New York to attend a UN summit on climate change. She brought attention to her quest by travelling via yacht, instead of flying and contributing to the carbon load. Then we heard her speak.

It is surprising (and embarrassing) the vitriol pouring from so many after listening to Greta. Some of the people commenting in the negative do not surprise. They have almost nurtured an expectation as people that are behind the times, misogynistic, unsympathetic about difference and climate change deniers. Even those that may have some sympathy and awareness of the climate fiasco, aren’t prepared to hear a 16-year-old girl ‘tell them off’. And unfortunately, her presentation style grates.

Have you heard the slang sayings ‘fish wife’ or ‘harpy’? Derogatory terms for ‘a course scolding woman’ and ‘a very unpleasant female person’. These hateful descriptions could be applied to the presentation style.

Let’s be honest here. In marketing, beauty sells, sexy sells, a honey toned voice sells. Promises of success, wealth, love, safety and longevity – for ourselves and our children – sell. A message of doom, coming from a red faced and screeching teenager, that does not sell.

People also question who is feeding her the agenda? She has presented fact-based, scientific reports to support her case. But who is feeding her the line?

Does it matter where she is getting it from, if the information is accurate, science based and might help to create a required shift in consciousness? But of course, one socially awkward 16-year-old girl can’t be allowed to just stand up for her beliefs, with passion. Because it makes the rest of us look bad. Lazy, selfish and apathetic. Really, it comes down to selfishness!

I have at least one friend on Facebook who has not been shy to share phrasing such as “irritating and annoying”, but who at the same time announces that “we are too stupid and selfish to do anything significant until it’s too late, so (I’m) just counting down the clock until we are engulfed in war and natural disasters of our own making.” This is one specific person, but I feel it covers a gamut of feeling from people. And many people will hold back from saying the negatives, because in a PC world we aren’t encouraged to express the unpopular majority viewpoint; otherwise, we become the monster. That new term for favouring one group or thing over another  – reverse discrimination.

I personally, passively worry and acknowledge that whatever I do will make little to no difference, with regard to anything, but especially to climate change. I also don’t have confidence to take a stance on something if I don’t personally understand every detail behind the issue. Basically, I’m not a scientist, and throw my hands in the air.

I have, however, for many years now boycotted the cheap product (discount) retail stores – the one buck shops, two buck shops, euro shops, reject shops – even KMart or WalMart or Target. Stores that sell a lot of crap that won’t last long, with a high proportion of plastic.

Plastic that not only litters and doesn’t decompose, but (I believe) wastes fossil fuel (oil) both as an ingredient and of course in the manufacture process itself.

I also actively try to not just collect stuff. Except books. I have to admit. And I’ll continue to buy books until the day it is legislated that we are no longer able to use trees to create paper.

Generally, I pay the carbon tax on airfares too. Not every time.

Now, if every single person in the world followed or performed even these small steps – it would make some difference. Every single person.

But:

  • This doesn’t apply to desperately poor people; they can’t afford to collect crap.

  • Developing countries want what we have, aspire to it, and why not?

  • Each generation engages in the notion of the next generation being better off, it is what they’ve worked for. This really peaks with ownership and wealth.

  • Two buck shops allow us to buy whatever piece of rubbish that appeals, allowing us to feel we’ve some say, some power, some ability to beautify ourselves and our homes.

  • Comfortable people – those at any level of the wealth spectrum that fools us into thinking we’re safe – don’t want to change.

  • Somebody else will sort it out.

  • It isn’t real.

  • It is somebody else’s problem. AKA some future generation.

One of Michael Moore’s books, and I can’t remember the name at the moment, has a scene where his granddaughter lends him a pencil to write something. There is some sort of disagreement where he uses it too quickly, or wants another, and she scolds him because pencils are rationed – all due to how his generation wasted resources and ruined the world. I’ve googled it and found it is Dude, where’s my country? Click to read an extract. Published in 2004.

My point is, Michael Moore was referencing climate devastation in one of his books in the late nineties, early noughties.

It is now 2019.

Another very scary book I have read in the last 15 years is the Chaos Point, which clearly identified a tipping point as the end of 2012. That after this point, it was too late. Published in 2006. This book did become a bit weird for me, as it moved into talking about ‘expanded consciousness’, and so I didn’t finish it. But the ‘facts’ described early on were frightening.

It is now 2019.

I’ve been a science fiction reader all my life. And so many other speculative fiction novels (let alone non-fiction offerings) have addressed the potential devastation of climate change. As in so many areas of science, these fiction authors have predicted what has become truth.

Somebody has to jump up and down about important things. On a smaller scale, mothers and fathers do this! How else do we learn to grow into good and responsible humans? Your teachers do it. Bosses do it. Doctors try to come down hard about your health. Scientists have been trying for years to wake us up. The Michael Moore’s, the Al Gore’s, the Bill Gates’ – to name some – have all cried ‘open your eyes, we can make a difference, we can make a change’. And, now Greta.

These people are unfortunately trying to sell us inconvenient truths. We don’t want to hear them. It is easier for us to scoff, and find reasons to denigrate the message and the messenger!

I haven’t heard Greta’s full speech. I switched web pages. I don’t think I thought negatively about the message – but I did react to the delivery. I was immature. I was being self serving; selfish.

Good on you Greta Thunberg, and your support team. Thank you for trying. You are making a difference. I don’t want to hear the message. I am concerned about the impact the pressure will have on you. But I do, applaud your dogged perseverance.

 

ABOUT ME – Trish Nankivell

I’m an Australian wife and mother, born in Ireland and aspiring to be a fiction novelist.

Eric & Trish May10
My beautiful husband xx

This has been a dream my entire life – but it is only now in middle-age that I have begun working on that.

Blog writing (I call them articles) began when my husband Eric and I took long service leave in 2013 to base ourselves in Spain – and I kept a travel blog. More personal and humorous than what I write in Random Thoughts.

This site, Random Thoughts, compels me to write when I have particular topics that irk or inspire me – and I’m trying to bring in some lighter subject too.

Since being introduced to Friday Fictioneers (Flash Fiction) I endeavour to write 100 words based on a ‘photo of the week’ and seeing what it inspires you to write. I don’t follow it every week; I mean to, but then it’s suddenly too late 🙂

Through National Novel Writing Month @NaNoWriMo I’ve written two draft novels in 2015 and 2016. This April 2017, I’m working on the 2016 novel – editing, adding more words and rewriting (all at the same time). Completion is winning in nanowrimo –  not quality of writing – so it’s a fun goal setting and writing experience. Especially good for procrasti-writers! 😀

I’ve great ideas for improving and evolving my 2015 novel, but that needs to wait its turn; and I always notebooks with my scribbled ideas around the place.

In 2017 I’ve enrolled in a few courses through the Australian Writers’ Centre @WritersCentreAU – Blogging for Beginners and How to get more Blog Readers, 2 Hours to Scrivener Power and Copywriting Essentials. I also enjoy following their podcast ‘So you want to be a writer’, available through iTunes.

Another great podcast I’m following is The Bestseller Experiment @bestsellerxp, also available through iTunes. These two Marks endeavour to write and publish a ‘bestselling novel’ in one year – and in the process they gather useful information and interview a huge range of people to do with the industry of writing – authors especially, but also people who provide information on ‘how to find your voice’, ‘kindle direct publishing’ and ‘how do I get an agent’. But, I have to say, the author interviews are fantastic – Joe Abercrombie, John Connolly, @SarahPinborough (hilarious and rude!) Michael Connelly, Ben Aaronovitch and Joe Hill, Michelle Paver and Joanne Harris. Loving it!

Hope you enjoy these writings; they are the beginning of my future! Trish

MILLIONAIRE HOT SEAT – DREAMING

MILLIONAIRE HOT SEAT – DREAMING

Hello all my friends out there!Hot Seat

Well, if you didn’t know already you’re about to hear that I’ve made it to an audition for Hot Seat. In Melbourne, this coming Tuesday 11th April.

In case you don’t watch TV quiz shows – Hot Seat has evolved from ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ and is still hosted by Eddie McGuire.

So clearly, this audition is on my mind and I had a crazy dream last night.

The main crux of this dream is that I sat down (at a long meeting table) with the other wanna-be contestants and we were presented with our written test. AND I COULDN’T DO IT!

There were random and wild reasons why I couldn’t do it …. and here goes the story 🙂

An assistant to the show gathered us up and lead us to this meeting room, and then put a sheet of questions (the exam) in front of each of us, and left the room.

I look down at the first page – and can’t see anything on it! It was blank – a grey page, not white – and empty. I look around at the others and they’re all heads down and working away. I make a disgruntled noise, like ‘I don’t get it!” 🙂

Funnily enough in this dream, even though it is an exam situation, they all engage with me. And they’re going ‘what’s wrong?’.

“There’s nothing on any of my pages!” I say, and I then look over at the pages of the people closest to me, and their pages are also blank – but these guys are answering questions. The assistant comes in and asks what’s going on. And I show her my page!

“There are questions on there, Trish” she says.

“No there aren’t,” I’m becoming quite cranky and flustered by now. “Um, maybe you could turn the lights on,” I say.

“The lights? It’s bright enough in here,” says the assistant, huffily.

“Well, I have terrible eyesight, so maybe that’s it,” I answer and one of the contestants gets up and finds the lights. Voila! I can see. Thank God!

And then, WTF. The questions don’t make ANY SENSE. First of all this should be a multiple choice exam, like the show format. What I see are columns of letters and blanks and on a further page, numbers and blanks, and further along still there are random questions – but no multiple choice.

I stare (blindly) at the letters and blanks – it’s like on Pointless, where they offer a category, say ‘Famous Musician Eric’s’ and then give letters and blanks and you have to work out the names of their bands, or songs or their surnames – yeah? But these are letters and blanks – with no context.

I tell you, I’m pulling my hair out now – and there’s a lot of hair to pull out! I’m freakiHot Seatng EFFing and carrying on – and I grab up my exam and dash out of that meeting room. As an aside, by now we aren’t the only ones at the table. There are people gathered at the other end – famous people like Mark ‘The Beast’ and Anne Hegarty ‘The Governess’ from The Chase, and they’re all talking loudly and laughing and causing a HUGE distraction.

I rush out and find another room close by, with a large table, and I plonk down on it with my exam. Directly in front of where I’m sitting, there are curtains or sheets or something dumped there, like they’ve come in from the clothesline. And within seconds, OMG, I’ve got my paperwork tangled up in them. For fuck sake! I’m standing there shaking out these EFFing sheets and the assistant comes up “What are you doing, Trish?”.

“I’ve got my EFFing exam lost in these EFFing sheets,” I’m yelling, tears pouring down
my face and I’m almost bald by now. And then, a most amazingly transcendent thing happens …

David Duchovny appears at my side! Ahhh, he is the host of my Millionaire Hot Seat dream and he now asks ‘What is wrong here?” And after that first lustful, breath of air, I revert back to the screaming harridan and begin to get stuck into Mr Duchovny about the absurdity of this audition exam.

“It doesn’t even make any sense!” I cry out, waving the papers (now recovered) about. “What the fuck are all these As and Bs about – random letters with no context. What have they got to do with your show format? It’s a lot of bulldust and I’m over it. Leaving now!”

David speaks to me calmly in his lovely Duchovny voice (Ahhhh) and I’m momentarily distracted by that …. but then I turn around and leave. I find myself outside with a long bridge to cross and I begin running across it. I’m running, running and David is chasing me with long, loping, sexy action movie type running – and I stop suddenly. Shit! I drove the other contestants here. We car pooled. (I know it doesn’t make sense. It’s a dream! I don’t know any of the other contestants!) 😀

I can’t run out on them; that’s not fair. So I turn around and start to walk back, head down, fists clenched and breathing hard. And David starts talking to me as we walk back. He begins by telling me I’m lazy, I’m giving up, what a loser! Ha! My inner demons haunting me in my dreams.

Then somehow it comes up between us that perhaps if someone read out the questions, because clearly my problem is that I have bad eyesight :). If the questions are read out, then I’ll be able to complete the test! You beauty! For a few seconds … and then it hits me, I still have to deal with all those EFFing letters and blanks, which don’t make any sense at all.

The dream ended. Sorry folks. Clearly, I have entered panic mode! I thought I was only worried about my appearance and how I could sound interesting when speaking into a camera for a minute (part of the audition, if I make it past the test). But no, no, no – arrgh.

Well, bring on Tuesday is about all I can say. Fingers crossed – I could use $1M, or $250,000, $100,000 – I’d settle for $10,000. 🙂

Ciao, Trish

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Winner

nano-by-the-numbers

National Novel Writing Month 2016 (NaNoWriMo) and another small novel down. Two years in a row for me – and that is the great thing about the program. A want-to-be author, who has only started blogging since 2013 and not done any creative writing since she was a teenager, has now written over 100,000 words of fiction.

When you are a wife and mother (and most often at work) you put aside all the dreams – at least I did. My desire to write is deeply buried; with my creative muse. And all things practical take precedence.

Even as things have changed, it has been hard to realise that I now have the time and my own permission to pursue this area of interest. Lee Child only wrote his first novel in his mid-40s, so a late start is not unheard of. Of course, Mr Child’s total life and career background has been fertile ground for his imaginative and action-packed thrillers. For me, a simple mummy-type background hasn’t been a breeding ground for amazing ideas J!

The first novel in 2015 About Lucy sits in the romance genre; and is still in draft mode and needing beefing up. At the rewrite, it will change and not be as light, with a bleak beginning; but that will be the impetus for the rest of Lucy’s journey and there will still be room for the light and funny parts. A lot of rewriting to be done. And ironically, I only began to imagine what to do with a rewrite as NaNoWriMo 2016 approached; when I was supposed to be thinking up the next story.

The Shimmering is the 2016 effort and is again a romance, but with a foot in the door of ancient Ireland. In fact, the novel is set in the modern age, but there are faeries living ‘almost’ among us – remnants of the Celtic Gods. And my main character, Jenny, is a direct descendant of these Celts and therefore unwillingly becomes the main attraction in a supernatural happening – called, The Shimmering.

I think this second book has more depth to it. I’m happier with the quality in this second attempt at writing a ‘novel in a month’.

I have two ideas for the next stories rumbling around in my head and while I’ve got the writing habit happening, I shall begin on them. The first is an imagining of losing a young child at the airport – and how that happens; how do we react and what happens to the child (how does the child handle it?). The second is a ‘zombies living among us’ story. I know; Zombies! I read eclectically and clearly, I’m going to be an eclectic writer J.

I’ve written on this site before about NaNoWriMo and how it is a vehicle to get people to write – who otherwise mean to, but procrastinate, think they’re not good enough, it is something other people do, etc. The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month – from 1st November to (pens down) midnight 30th November. You’re a winner if you reach that 50,000‑word target.

I tell people I’m a winner, because I achieved the goal of 50,000 words. Most people go ‘oh yeah, that’s good’ or ‘good on you’; but I don’t believe that they realise – me and the other ‘winning’ participants wrote a small novel in 30 days.
Out of a beginning number of over 400,000 (I don’t know the 2016 numbers, but in 2015 there were 431,626 adult participants) only so many finished. In the entire world. And I was one of them! You can see from the graph that it is a small number of people who reach that 50,000-word goal.

 

I have a way to go before I’ve got something that’s publishable (basically, I’ve written two first drafts) but this is a massive achievement for me.  @nanowrimo #nanowrimoworks 😀

When is it okay to hunker down and look after yourself?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated in June 2016 that ‘at the end of 2015 there were 65.3 million refugees; that is, one out of every 113 people on earth and that was an increase of 5.8 million on the previous year. This is mainly driven by the Syrian war and other protracted conflicts.’  http://www.unhcr.org/emergencies

An article by Reuters in December 2015 estimates:

  • 2 million refugees fleeing wars and persecution
  • Almost 2.5 million asylum seekers with requests pending in Germany, Russia and the United States
  • An estimated 34 million people were internally displaced – with Yemen reporting the highest number of newly uprooted people at 933,500 – after civil war erupted in March 2015
  • Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan; as well as Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Congo and Iraq – have all lost people through displacement, due to violence.
  • Many refugees will remain in exile for many years. The chance that a refugee will make it back home (today) are lower than at any time in the last 30 years.

These figures are only those for refugees brought about through the violence of war and fighting.

This week the news is about 90% destruction in parts of Haiti through the passage of Hurricane Matthew. The numbers of dead are high, but it is the number of people who are displaced and have nothing – estimated 300,000 that is worrying. This is a country that hasn’t recovered from the earthquake of 2010.

Historically Haitians escape to the US, due to poor lifestyle and corrupt government, but are routinely returned to Haiti because it is decided the refugees ‘do not suffer reprisals when they are returned’. However, anecdotal stories would suggest this is incorrect

emergencies2

* * * *

I’ve barely touched the tip of the refugee iceberg with the above notes. Let me tell you though that I worry about a world where so many people are displaced, unhappy, persecuted – with nowhere to feel safe. They need somewhere to belong and while some countries have opened their arms – such as Germany and Italy – they do so at the risk of their countrymen rebelling and at the risk of losing their own cultural identity.

Losing cultural identity doesn’t sound too bad – does it? Globalisation is the holy grail in this modern age – globalisation equals loss of cultural identity. However, I believe that there is a genuine and healthy need to nurture cultural identity – and that is for both the country that has accepted these refugees and for the refugees , within their new country.

I’d suggest that the healthiest and happiest people are those who celebrate their cultural uniqueness. They know who they are, their people, their history and where they belong.

Those who are ‘lost’, who haven’t been nurtured in the wealth of their heritage; perhaps they have moved around a lot and don’t have a sense of community. These people ‘suffer’ in their lack of identity.

* * * *

I sit here in ‘comfort’; that is, I’ve a roof over my head, food on the table, clean water. There is money for movies and a book and too much takeaway. Financially, we are in ‘start-up’ mode again, due to a recent relocation, so we feel poor. However, we have prospects and as long as we work hard and continue to have some luck, we’ll be okay; because life in Australia is safe.

Yet, I continue to despair at the plight of refugees. Previously I have written about my disgust at the way our Australian government handles our domestic refugee intake and how government and media encourage us to fear refugees. The media certainly encourages us to fear people based on religious beliefs or ethnicity.

The question remains – How do we help these people in dire need while keeping our own freedom, culture and security intact? And I still don’t know the answer.

I feel “How dare we be comfortable” when so very many people are suffering. At the same time, I’m not willing to give up my freedoms or comfortable life; so, stalemate.