The memory of smoke

The memory of smoke

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why I need to stay away from Gypsies and OCD patients

I read Bury Me Standing many years ago, and it haunted me. Because this is a culture that is alien to everything I believe and value. I have compassion for them as human beings, but I feel deep dislike, discomfort, with that society. I knew, therefore, that I should not watch any of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. And of course, I did, and turned it off, unsettled and irritated. In part at myself, for being repulsed at any group. Hating my own prejudice. Although, having never met any Rom myself, and only disliking them based on what I learned about them, that is not probably the correct term.

This is a people who starts out with a whole different set of assumptions about how the world works. And I love reading, knowledge, restraint, stability, equality. I struggle not to label them as being willfully ignorant, superstitious, and treating women badly. Instead, they value their oral traditions, their beliefs are more situational, and divide their labor differently - which works in their world.

But if I had to deal with them often, I think it would grow into bigotry. This is a shameful admission.

I also know I should never work with people with OCD. I nearly hit a patient once, who was perseverating on a ritual, and managed to walk away. I never let myself be alone with patients with that disease again. It was as if they could hit a switch in my brain that disinhibited my self control and decency. I cannot trust myself there, and I will not.

Ugly truth.

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