My boss has a friend--an ex-State trooper--who is taking a statistics class for his MBA. And struggling with it. So my boss got us hooked up--being as I know a thing or two about stats--so that I could help him along. So he came over today and brought a whole stack of work...due Tuesday.
While working on it, it evolved from Dawn tutoring into Dawn doing the problems into "Dawn, will you finish this for me and I'll pay you?"
And I said yes.
Bad 'gund! Bad bad 'gund! *hangs head in shame*
It's tax time, I admit. I could use the money. Bobby and I live a simple life with no children and lots of savings and that means that we owe money, despite the fact that my income puts me just above the poverty line (and Bobby's isn't anything stellar). This country punishes people who want to save by taxing their interest year after year...after taxing the income that put the savings there in the first place. We're saving for a home and a business--two supposed "American dreams"--and apparently that's not as acceptable as squeezing out a few kids and settling into a life of debt.
So the stats stuff is...well, going. It's been literally years since I did any of this stuff. My boss' eyes cross when I mention anything more than an average. (And he doesn't even know that there's more than one kind of average! I tried to explain this once, and his eyes crossed and his head spun....) Never mind the fact that I don't like the program I have to do it in, and one of the exercises apparently has a bug that prevents it from recognizing the correct null and alternate hypotheses even when I put them in correctly, meaning that it's impossible to complete the exercise. Of course, I wasted a half-hour figuring this out.
And while I'm on a roll, I might as well admit as well that I am becoming an intolerant person. My sister posted an LJ entry about the South Dakota abortion ban, and she got me thinking (as she has a tendency to do). I remember past conversations with my sister where we discussed whether we should be ashamed to be Americans and whether the current political climate is fostering intolerance (in us) for Christians. Not just the nutjobs...but all Christians.
I have Christian friends. And I want to maintain that I am not feeling a twinge of intolerance toward Christians....
But there is a deep place where bias rests where I do twinge. Despite the friends; despite the fact that I know it's wrong. But when someone introduces him/herself as a Christian, I feel my guard fly up. I go on the defensive. I expect to be confronted about my beliefs--or lack thereof.
On the other hand, when I learn that someone is an atheist or an agnostic (like me), I feel instantly more comfortable with them. "Okay, you're good peeps." Right? No!!! Of course not! Atheism/agnosticism doesn't make someone "good" anymore than Christianity makes someone pushy and intolerant, and I know this in the part of my mind where logic lives. But in the place of deep-down conditioned bias, I flinch when someone admits, "I'm Christian" or "I'm religious" or starts talking about his/her church. And an evil part of me wants to start talking about gay marriage or abortion or stem cell research, just to provoke the person and prove my own stupid, biased hypothesis.
And this makes me want to throttle the conservative nutjobs all the more because I used to deeply respect faith--even though it is not the spiritual choice that I have made in my own life--and now I find that being replaced by something bitter because of what is happening in South Dakota; because of the snafu where they wanted to protect the "rights" of pharmacists to destroy a woman's birth control prescription; because of the fact that they want their fairy tales and icons in every school, court, and park in the country; because they can't let people like me just be.
Yet I know most Christians are not that way. Most Christians are like me and recognize that their own morality and the law can be--indeed, sometimes, need to be--different. Most Christians celebrate diversity and recognize that people of different beliefs make the world a better and more interesting place.
But still: I twinge.