Oh, it might not be my brightest idea to try to write this post in ten minutes. But I wanted to follow up on some of what I was saying yesterday. I just re-published a long-ago (and looong -- remember 2005, when people read 2000-word blog posts?) post about rules and legalism and modern-day pharisees. The important part for this discussion is at the beginning: I like rules. This can be a good thing. It makes me a good therapist, for one, because spotting patterns is the key to changing them. It can also, of course, be a bad thing.
I don't only get judgy in Mass; it's just that I'm most aware of the perils of judginess there. I struggle all the time with how to respond to behavior that I dislike. I mentioned a few examples in the comments, but maybe this is the best one: at our gym, there are signs in the women's locker room saying you can't bring a boy in if he's older than four. People flout this rule ALL the time. It makes me uncomfortable. Once a woman brought in a boy who was at least 10. I called her on it, because I did not want to be naked in front of her 10-year-old. She told me it was okay because he was handicapped. I said, "You should take him to the family changing rooms anyway."
Because I love rules by temperament, I tend to take them seriously. I like learning about rules; I feel embarrassed if I've inadvertently broken a rule. It can be an act of charity to say to someone, "You know, that's not how we do things here."
It can also be an act of pompous pharisaism. Worst of all, it can be an act of charity on the speaker's part that's interpreted as pompous pharisaism by the listener.
I don't think I'm the only person who's uncomfortable with bigger boys in the women's locker room. I think, in fact, that other people there are likely to appreciate it if I say, "You know, the family locker rooms are just down the hall." I think it's better for me to bring it up myself, kindly, than to involve a manager from the get-go. And yet I hate doing it. (I hate not doing it too.)
Enjoying the comments on yesterday's post so much! Thanks for your understanding there. And now to bed...