When the Facade Slips

 Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty ImagesJoel Kinnaman Suicide Squad

We all can relate to people’s weaknesses. We might put up a facade that everything is perfect but none of us are. When we see that weakness in somebody else, we understand or give ourselves a little bit of leeway.

Joel Kinnaman


We all do it.  We put our best self forward, put a smile on our face, and when asked, respond with, “I’m fine!  How about you?”  We are all fine, until we aren’t.  The facade we so carefully present to the world, slips.

Thanks to WordPress we all have the facade of professional bloggers.  Now, I’m not saying we aren’t excellent photo journalists, feature writers, fashion editors, motivational gurus, and commentators.  But maybe we aren’t all that tech savvy.  I began on a typewriter, graduated to word-processing, and now look at me.  A very professional looking blog.  Thank-you WordPress.  (And you can do it too!)

In our real lives we are surrounded by people, some we know and many we don’t know, who are all coping with situations we know nothing about.  If we are close, they may be comfortable enough to tell us of their life difficulties.  Maybe they just lost a job, have a spouse who drinks a little more than they are comfortable with, are drowning in debt, or they are worried their child might die of a drug overdose, or a host of other situations.

We dress ourselves up, put on our protective shell, and try to look like confident people able to handle anything.  Sometimes we can actually fool ourselves into buying this act.  But the curtain always comes down and we are left alone with our weakness and pain.

We may not think about it very often.  We know our lives aren’t perfect, but we struggle on.  We expect ourselves to deal with it.  For the most part we do.

I guess that’s why, when a man comes up to us, in dirty rags, asking for money, because he is active duty on leave, with a baby at home and no food, a sick wife, and he can’t find the VA offices that are not in this part of town and are probably closed at 7:30 p.m., we are suspicious.  The guy hit all the soft spots, but like Hubby said, no one who is active duty would look like that.

Perhaps we should have taken him into Starbucks and gotten him a coffee and tried to get the real story.  In this area, there is a one-in-four chance that the man is a drug addict.  I would bet he is homeless, or very nearly.  But then what?  Drug addiction is a problem in our community of Huntington, West Virginia (perhaps the worst in the country) and every place of worship, every civic group, every community organization and every level of government is focused on this problem.

So it’s like Joel Kinnaman says, “we understand or give ourselves a little bit of leeway.”  Everyone has problems.  When the curtain falls and you are alone, remember you aren’t the only one.  Others can understand, even if they don’t have a handout that can provide temporary relief.  Perhaps sharing with others is a start.

Celebrating Huntington, WV

When we celebrate we think of cake .  When Cable Huntington Hospital wanted to raise funds for the Hoop’s Children’s Hospital they came up with a cleaver plan to raise money while celebrating their community of Huntington, West Virginia as well as its area artist.

Huntington, WV was  founded in 1871 and was the terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, and named for the railroads founder Collis Potter Huntington.  The approximately 40 to 45 trains that were auctioned off last year to raise funds are scattered throughout town to celebrate this heritage.

For nearly a year, these trains have been displayed on Huntington streets, and it depends upon their owners how long they might be there .

The Souped Up Train by artists Tony Wheeler and Dan Kramerick features a bronze train being driven by a monkey, and was sponsored by Paris signs and currently sits outside the Marshall Cafe.

Walking around Pullman Square you find a number of trains, including:

The Rockabilly Express by artist Amber Marie was sponsored by Frostop Drive-in, and features a Drive Inn on its side.

The Space Shuttle Huntington by artist Deacon Stone is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, and features a train headed out to space.

Mountain State by artist Charlie Barager is sponsored by Dixon Hughes, with a West Virginia landscape.

Spectrum by artist Seth Cyfers is sponsored by Doug Reynolds.

So if you find yourself near Huntington, West Virginia, pull into town.  Have lunch at the Marshall Cafe, or at one of the many restaurants of Pullman Square.  Parking is plentiful and cheep, and you will have an enjoyable visit.

Lunch Maybe

Our modern lifestyle is just too busy.

Huntington, West Virginia is nice sized city with plenty of places to eat, and beyond Huntington there are many more places to eat,  so that is not the difficultly in getting my Creative Cluster (CC) together.

Brittany Johnson and her dog Lacy found a place to eat.  In fact, I think there are at least a half a dozen places (maybe more) to eat at in and around Pullman Square.  This is one of the things that is attractive about a city, one of the reasons people young and old are migrating from the suburbs to the city.  With the many gathering places, movies and other entertainment all within walking distance, we are considering a move to a city for our retirement.

Many cities also have a college or university.  In Huntington, West Virginia that college is Marshall University.  Football, basketball, music and art programs are readily available, and some of these forms of entertainment are completely free.  There is also the option for continuing education, and if you are so inclined earning a degree.

I live a short hop across the river from this pleasant city.  Pullman Square isn’t the most convenient meeting place for all members of our CC, but we have driven further to get together in the past.

It started with an e-mail about getting together the week of August 8.  After a week of negotiations, we end up with this:
So far it looks like:

Eileen S      any day    either restaurant

Eileen C   prefer   Thurs. Fri     Ruby Tuesday

Dolores  leaving Thurs     Wed looks like it is only option Salad place
   Ruby Tuesday ?

April     Friday best

Carol Ma   Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

Carol Mo  ?

Kim    ?

As it turns out, Kim has time restrictions and would like to move the meeting to Saturday or an evening.

Knowing I was going to be in Pullman Square, I put forward an invite that anyone in the group could join me if they were available, and nobody was, although I did get a call from one person.

A week and a half of e-mails and we still don’t have a date, but maybe an evening later in the month would work?   As soon as school starts things are difficult for Kim.

I miss our CC meetings.  Participation got me writing again after an extended writer’s block.  The CC encouraged me to share my work with others.  Plus, I got to know and appreciate the talents of each person in the group.

I hope we can work something out.  Dessert maybe?

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