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Expat Life

We are not cats

I got up with the sunrise.  I didn’t do it on purpose.  But, the noise of some parrots that live in the trees across the street from us left me no choice.

The little flock (I think that’s what you call a group of parrots) numbers about eight birds. They really are beautiful.  But lately, I find them less entertaining then when they first appeared in our lives.  Because now they love the idea of circling our building and landing on the ledge outside of our bedroom window.  We live on the top floor, so they like to take off from their perches in the park and fly about three or four circles around our building before taking a break.  Our window ledge seems to be just perfect for that.

Every once in awhile, they tap on the window.  Like today.  Not because they think it’s funny, but because they like to mess with our cat Cici.  I think they in fact look for her.  Because if she doesn’t come screaming into the bedroom to jump up on the ledge when they tap, they fly around to the front of the building and land on the living room window ledge.  They now know that Cici will eventually show up in one location or the other.

Then they tap a few more times and just walk back in forth in front of her as if to say, “Wow, it’s really nice out here.  Too bad you’re stuck inside you foolish looking furry thing that can’t fly.”  In doing so, they drive her crazy.  And I don’t mean she gets a little excited.  I mean she goes “bat shit crazy!”

In fact, right now she is running back and forth between the living room and the bedroom trying to see them on their next sequence of circles.  They just made their third lap.  What is going to happen next is they will stop on the ledge in the living room one last time and just wait for her.  She will jump up on the desk in front of the window and stand with her front paws on the window itself.  Then her tail will puff up to five times its normal size and swing back and forth (like the stupid cat clock you see in kitchen and bath stores).  And she’ll do this funny “clicking” sound with her mouth that actually sounds primal.

Now that I am more awake, I have to admit that this is very amusing.  It’s one of those things that nature brings to us that are so odd to imagine.  How does Cici know she is supposed to hunt those birds?  Because she has always been an indoor cat.  Yet, she knows for a fact that these birds are her enemies. Or prey.  No one showed her that.  We certainly didn’t teach her that.  She just knows it.

It truly is a “nature versus nurture” thing.  And in this case it has to be “nature.”  Somehow her DNA tells her that this other species is one she is supposed to attack.

But what is our excuse?  Why do we attack our own species?  Where does our hatred of other groups come from?  For example, why do Neo-Nazis hate the Jews and blacks? Why do Muslim extremists hate “infidels?” Why do some whites hate blacks, or vice versa?

It’s nurture.  These groups of people have been raised to hate another group.  Imagine, in many places, throughout the world, parents teach their children to hate.  To say, “these people are inferior to you.”Or that,” God does not approve of gay people.”  Or that,”men are superior to women.”  Or that,”people of color are inferior to white people.”

All of these things we teach to our offspring.  They are not born with it.  They have not evolved with it in their DNA.  We as a species teach it.

And all of it.  All of it, is disgusting.  No man or woman is born superior to another.  Many are born into better situations to others.  And get better educations and socialization.  And receive better pre-natal care.  And have better brain nourishment during development.  But they are not born “superior.”They are only better than someone else based on what we as a species judge to be the characteristic of “better.”

But would God (yes, again, I do believe in a God that is behind this mystery of life) say that a “smarter” child from a Westernized world is “superior” to a child born into drought stricken Africa, who is the next in line in an undernourished, under educated family tree?  Or that a child born with birth defects is inferior to one born without? Or that a wealthy person in a car is “more deserving” than a woman selling caramel popcorn on the side of the street?

I don’t believe so.  And because of that I am going to say this, any form of superiority is laughable.  We are all from the same species.  We all live, die and leave no mark on the history of time.  Our existence on this planet is a speck of nothingness that is only graded during the time that we are here.  And by what we do, and how we think while we are here.  So all the political, religious or economic measurements we use to judge others is pure crap.  It means nothing.

What means something is how we treat others in our species regardless of who they are or where they are from or how smart they may appear.

So what’s my point other than to deride racism?  My point is this.  I’ve seen some of my fellow expatriates treat other expatriates with disdain (mainly online).  I’ve seen some of them treat the locals with superiority.  To talk down to them because they are uneducated.Or because they are dark skinned.  Or because they are poor and “disheveled.”

For those of you who came here having been nurtured on those beliefs since you were a child, grow up.  You are no better than anyone else.  None of us are.  Not one bit.  Not me, not you, not the next expatriate that arrives next week.

We are simple microscopic dots on the blueprint of life.  And here and now is our only chance to prove ourselves to be worthy of the gift of life.  So before time runs out, you need to know that unlike Cici, your nature is to actually to love one another.  Not the other way around.

We are but many different versions of the same species.

I’m just sayin.’

10 thoughts on “We are not cats

  1. Michael, THANK YOU! I just recently viewed a YouTube presentation from (I think) National Geographic. It was the result of ten years of research by a geneticist who was searching for the “genetic” Adam; and he found him. He traveled all over the world taking DNA samples from various “ethnic” groups.

    What he found was that EVERY male human being derived from this one man, who came from east-central Africa, and probably had very dark skin. Skin color is a protective attribute that humans have to keep our skin from drying out, and helps us synthesize Vitamin D from the sun. That is why people who live in sunny, tropical parts of the world have dark skin, and why those who are of Scandinavian descent have light skin. Scandinavians are not exsposed to as much sunlight, so they need lighter skin to absorb and synthesize the Vitamin D, which is essential to life. It’s why I’ve tanned since moving to Cuenca from Seattle.

    So, you folks who think your white skin makes you superior… remember that your ancestors had blck skin, as did the progenitors of the whole human race. Under the skin, we are all the same

  2. Thank you Michael.
    I couldn’t agree more. One additional thing to consider for all of us. What mark will we leave on the world? How will each of us be remembered? How we want to be remembered should be guide for how we live and treat one another.
    Thanks again for your insights.
    Dave

  3. “All we are is dust in the wind….” Thank you, Michael for another heartfelt column.

  4. Micheal, thanks for this article. Very well put direct & too the point. So many people need to read this article and think about how they treat their fellow man/woman. Keep posting great articles like this. Something for us all to think about daily. Thanks again!

  5. Only two kinds of people in this world, the tolerant and the intolerant.

    The question is to be considered tolerant must one be tolerant of the intolerant.

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