Our cat, Chicken (yes, that's her name), loves bottle caps. She knows when we have a bottle that contains a cap before we even open it, and will not leave us alone until we give her the cap. If we don't give it to her, and we set it down within her reaching distance, she will swipe the cap before we even know about it. She'll go crazy with it for about five minutes, and then stash it away under the couch for another day.
I like to think of myself as a caring person, and attempt to behave compassionately towards others. Sometimes I fall short in that effort, but failing is what humans do, and successful humans learn from failure. I'd like to discuss what I believe is one of my more recent failures, and what I've come to learn about what's behind it. When the masking guidance and mandates first dropped, it short-circuited me. I reacted in disbelief, anger, and refusal to enter places that required masks. Masking was a simple act that was both scientifically and morally justified. I wondered if I really was a decent person, or if this reflexive pushback was just uncovering undiagnosed sociopathic tendencies. I started to wonder if my outward behaviors of positivity and kindness were just facades that I'd constructed around a dark psyche. Given the rhetoric surrounding mask-wearing, which can — as far as I understand — be reduced to “you're a monster if you don't do this,” it was ha