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Movie Quote Monday – To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

Since I can’t get cable or satellite where I live, I watch movies.  I have a lot of movies.

I used to buy used movies for cheap at my local rental store before it went bye-bye, so I’ve gotten a lot of them that I only watch once every few years.  Every so often, I get one of those random movies stuck in my head, and I have to indulge myself with a viewing to get it out of my system.  That’s what happened with this movie; it got stuck in my head somehow, so I had to watch it.

Maybe my subconscious was telling me something, because there was a scene in the movie illustrating a topic that has come up recently on a couple of blogs that I read: 

Noxeema:  See, Vida, there are times when you help people, and then there are times when, if you help people, you end up being killed.  So, you don’t help people!
Vida:  Well, she trusts me and I trust her.
Noxeema:  Honey there’s a fine line between trust and stupidity.

Vida:  I thought you had learned just a little bit more than this, Noxeema.
Noxeema:  Well, I thought you had learned how to mind your own business.  Look, Vida, what is going on upstairs has nothing to do with you.  Nothing.

In the movie, the question at hand is whether or not to get involved between a wife and the husband who is beating her.  I haven’t been in that position, but I know people who have.  And I think we’ve all been faced with that question: get involved or mind your own business?  I have debated with myself on whether or not to step in and “help” people who were clearly making decisions that were damaging to themselves and others.  But step in how?  And how far?

As Noxeema said, it’s a fine line.

Some issues are not as clear-cut, in terms of crisis.  For example, my friend’s mother (who lives with her) has Alzheimer’s.  Some months ago, I saw a notice for an informational session that I thought my friend might benefit from, and my instinct was screaming at me to call her up and see if she was interested in attending together.  But I didn’t.  I let my fear guide my decision – fear of butting in where I wasn’t wanted, of bringing up something that she might not want to talk about, fear of I don’t know what.  I suppose it was simply the fear of treading where I do not belong.

On Saturday, the subject of her mother came up, and I tested those waters.  I found her welcoming of anything that I was able to offer.  And I felt guilty for leaving her on her own for so long.  I was afraid of interfering, and so I offered no support at all.

What I’m finding is that this fine line is drawn in the sand, and not carved in stone.  For me, that means that where I’ve erred before, I can learn from it.  I can wipe out the line and move it – anywhere I want. 

I think the key is to follow your intuition…and your heart.  Do what you know is the right thing.  Maybe you get thrown through a wall.  And just maybe you’ll save someone else from going over it.

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Items of Interest:

A Letter To the Student Who Withdrew Himself by RASJacobson (in which a teacher reaches out)

None of Your Business? by educlaytion (in which Clay goes through a wall)

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the reminder that if we are not in this whole crazy thing alone, we need to reach out to others and take a chance–but with a tad of caution. It is a fine line. Thanks for the quote too, I love that movie and have not thought of it in a long time!

    November 28, 2011
    • Yeah, it’s hard to know what to do sometimes.

      I like that movie, too! It’s got a really sweet quality.

      November 29, 2011
  2. A fine line between trust and stupidity indeed. Thanks for the mention!

    November 30, 2011
    • No problem! Thanks for getting driven through a wall 😉

      I had already decided to use that quote for the next Movie Monday, and when I read your post, I couldn’t believe it. What a great post to link to – and it fell right into my lap!

      November 30, 2011
  3. Thanks for the mention! What a lovely surprise that my tendency to get involved in things that are none of my beeswax could possibly be considered noble. Maybe. 😉

    December 1, 2011
    • Well, I don’t think it was none of your beeswax. As your student, I think it was a normal kind of thing for you to wonder and be concerned.

      The thing is, we often ignore these feelings because we’re unsure if we should consider it our beeswax. Like we’ve all said, it’s a fine line to walk. But it’s a good and caring and kind thing to check up on people, even though you’re unsure if you will be well received or completely rejected.

      December 1, 2011
  4. Once a long time ago I lived in an apartment and heard my next door neighbor’s husband screaming at her that “no one liked her” and she “didn’t have any friends” and how “stupid” she was. This couple was very young and they had a small daughter, who I’m sure was home during the husband’s tirade. I felt so bad for the young wife, and his verbal abuse made me furious. I didn’t call the police, and doubt they would have done anything because he wasn’t hitting her, but I always gave the husband the death stare every time I saw him after that. I thought about talking to the young wife, and telling her she didn’t have to put up with that, but I never did. They moved within a month and I always wondered what happened to her.

    December 1, 2011
    • It’s interesting that you’ve remembered that one incident for all these years, and it was probably a blip in her memory, blending in with so many other times. My ex-husband didn’t verbally abuse me, but he had a tendency to say things similar to that when we fought, along the lines of calling me stupid, etc. It never went beyond the name calling, nothing like the “no one likes you” kind of thing. He just fought dirty, which he learned from his family.

      Your situation is the hardest thing, because unless that person is ready to stand up for herself, you are the one who will bear the brunt of her anger, not him. And it sounds to me like she wasn’t ready to stand up to him. But you never know, and that’s why it sticks with us.

      December 1, 2011
  5. rebecca #

    You have been in that situation, with me and handled it wonderfully. You said that you weren’t going to let your sister get hurt and then you left me to make my decision to stay or go. If I remember correctly you had a blunt hard object in your hands. It made me feel loved, we hadn’t really been close before then – but it let me know that I was your sister and you love me. Oh, I continued to make bad choices, but at least you said your piece.

    I have the problem of knowing that I should stay out, but the inability to keep my mouth in line.

    December 9, 2011
    • I forgot about that. I don’t remember what I had in my hands, if anything, but I do remember being scared for you. It’s was a tough situation, because I was prepared to call the cops, but I knew that doing so would have effected you as well as him. Also our relationship. But I would definitely have done it had you not shown your face. You kept saying you were fine, but I had to make you come to the stairs. I can tell you that I would have killed him had he hurt you. I just would have started hitting and then I don’t think I could have stopped myself.

      December 9, 2011

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