Welcome to my newsletter, Abbe’s Ruminations. I mull, contemplate, ponder – old and new experiences, finding what I call the joy and laughter of repetition or the abandonment to not knowing.

An innocent question from the sales representative at the Verizon franchise center sent me into a tizzy. The early morning robbery of my FOB to enter my condo building, the key to my door, and the cell phone from my locker where I work- out, might have caused my perplexed state. 

His question was simply, “Who are you?”

Lightness with seriousness

It reminded me of my new dentist who after hearing of my dislike of anesthesia, laughing gas, numbing shots and headphones to help with the new crown, asked, “Well what do you like?”

None of my answers were appropriate.  How do I define myself to a thirty-year-old salesman anxious to make a commission, or a kind doctor whose tools of the trade assumed my buy-in to gizmos versus a gentle kindness?

Periodically we are forced to reflect on the impression we give to others. As much as I want to simplify, step out of the any mold, I’m asked to step in and declare myself.  

Recently I wrote a poem, for the local online newspaper, about the homeless encampment outside my window, grown from six tents to thirty-six tents, in two months.  I reflected on my confusion at the inability of the city to give constructive help and the difference between solutions that offer only a band-aid approach that is more enabling and reinforces what the city can’t do, to one that deals with the source problem.  The negative response towards my poem spun me around.  I had titled my piece, Am I a Hypocrite? 

I’ll include the poem here, not for judgement or approval.  I’m revealing my vulnerability, my reflections of who I am, and my struggle to find balance and solutions.  I ruminate, not having answers.

Am I a hypocrite, 
If I refuse to pander
To norms gone awry.
I watch a homeless encampment,
Below my window
Turn into a drug haven.
The city’s answer is 
To clean their mess
And leave the rest.
Even as I lose sleep,
With their nightly antics
And daily confrontations
Of psychotic drama.
Smells of burning fentanyl
Greet me through my window,
And on the sidewalks.
I’d rather not see bare butts--
And brawls.
Explain safety to my grandkids.
I don’t know who I am, 
Without compassion.
But I have no ration,
Of sympathy for what was 
A homeless few
That grew,
Into answers to what the city can’t do.

In answer to the question of who am I?  I am Abbe, sensitive to an unjust world, a person who questions themselves and society.   I respect every being.  I have experienced being poor, faced all the issues that someone of my age can face including death, divorce, illness, prejudice, addiction, and the struggles of raising a family, running a business, and being human.

On a lighter note, I’ll share with you some recent joyful highlights that remind me how grateful I am to all that comes my way.  My youngest daughter is six weeks away from being a mother and my son and daughter-in-law will be parents in October.    I joined Urban Sketchers in Seattle with my friend MaryAnn.  Paige and her cousin, Blake, celebrated their first communion, looking like teenagers instead of their age of nine. 

And finally—Bubbie’s Magical Hair won first prize in Chanticleer’s International awards for Little Peeps Children’s Books. I have signed copies available through my website, www.abberolnick.com.

Postscript: After four months, the homeless camp has been evacuated.  They left quietly to unknown corners of the city.  In their wake, they left us their debris, and the unsettling feeling that we all have failed.

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