Yesterday a friend and I went to the zoo for the afternoon. She had a couple of free passes about to expire, and it was a lovely sunny day, so we wandered around.
We stopped to look at a tiger yowling and pacing in his rocky enclosure. A woman behind me spoke loudly to her friend.
"Oh, an Asian tiger, huh? Well, yeah, look at that...he does look kind of Asian. His eyes are even a little slanted."
I was torn between quietly going on my way, and turning to publicly mock the speaker. I went with option one, because I am timid and nonconfrontational, alas.
I don't know. I'm no genius, and I feel mean and petty when I think it, but sometimes I can't help thinking that some people are just...stupid.
Of course, that's a depressing way to start the year, so let me include a poem I found recently. I've enjoyed Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series for years, and I like this poem of hers too:
The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper
And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.