​The paradoxical anxiety and satisfaction of…..button sorting.

The warms

I recently acquired new storage bins, which, as a person who loves putting Things in Containers in an Orderly Fashion, is both delightful and (often) the beginning of Anxious Activity.

I have buttons. Lots of buttons. I love buttons, especially pretty, shiny buttons and oddly shaped buttons and brightly colored buttons. As someone who cannot let a Thing That Might Be Useful Someday (for a definition of “Useful” that includes “in any way” and “Someday” that encompasses “all of known time/space”), I keep all the buttons: buttons I inherited from my Granny, who was a sewist orders of magnitude better than I will ever be; buttons found looking lonely and unloved in thrift stores (I cannot abide lonely buttons); and (perhaps most tellingly) all the spare buttons that come attached to the inside side seams or hang tags of store-boughten clothes.  They all get added to (as Adrian referred to it): my “Notions Store,” where they are appreciated (and occasionally pawed through, as there’s something really satisfying about plunging your hand into a bucket of small things like buttons or beads).

Prior to Thursday my buttons lived in several types of random containers (ick! unsettling!) with only the barest separation of colors, carded buttons, and sizes. This was an unsatisfactory solution, so upon acquisition of a set of multi-drawer-with-movable-dividers craft storage thingies, I set about to bring order to chaos.

With this as a starting point, it was almost inevitable that my anxiety and OCD-ish tendencies would kick in, causing the button-sorting exercise to go awry, but the plan seemed *so* reasonable when I  started [1]: all the yellow, orange, red and pink buttons would go in this one drawer, and I’ll just set the little dividers up so that I have Big Red Buttons, small red buttons, Big Pink buttons …

And just like that I was in the middle of the intersection of anxiety and OCD. Buttons, you see, can be translucent, solid, iridescent or even multi-color.  And when you’re arranging things by color, the difference between a light red iridescent button and a dark pink iridescent button is… miniscule?  Entirely dependent on what other buttons they’re sitting near and how the light is hitting them? (Meaningless? shhhhhhh. Not meaningless. Important. But…tricky.). And so there was Time Spent assessing all the redish and pinkish buttons to determine their true natures.  (ETA: I totally forgot to link to some of the cool info on color sorting that Adrian has — he even wrote a color sorter!)

You see what I mean? The distinction between pink buttons and red ones is fine at best…

I began to get frustrated by the struggle, and especially frustrated by the number of times that I’d mentally declared a particular button pink or red and happily plopped it in the divider with all of its friends, only to discover that it now looked lost, lonely, and quite out of place. So I’d have to fish it out (and they often tried to hide, sinking down and turning sideways, perhaps hoping that I would be unable to pick them out once the light that hit them was tinted by reflection from the other buttons, and they’d turned their skinny side toward me. As you can imagine, this did not fool me…no siree).

At this point it’s probably worth mentioning that the degree to which my OCD-ish tendencies manifest is directly correlated to the amount of stress I’m under.  And, bonus!: my anxiety follows the same formula. Given the state of the world at large these days (war), and the USA (removing what I consider to be a fundamental right to choose what happens to my body and well on the path to go after other, equally fundamental, rights), and my life (several family members are unwell in ways that I can’t fix), my anxiety levels have been running at an all-time-high of late anyway.  

Such a paucity of orange buttons! Must acquire more garments from the 70s clearly.

​But still I persisted. And having sorted less than half of my warmly colored buttons I hit my second snag. For some reason, I had only a very few orange buttons — which I immediately felt guilty about, as if I’d been consciously discriminating against them — but more importantly, which totally threw off my plan for the dividers. No problem. I will revise the divider plan to accommodate my imbalance (I also had a higher-than-normal number of red buttons, though this didn’t surprise me as much, as I love red). 

Not even close to being the same color, amirite?

And so ​I moved dividers (and buttons), and continued on to the Cooler Family of Buttons, which had been given their own drawer (fair, balanced, and even-steven). Upon starting the green-blue-purple sort, I quickly stumbled into issue number three (if you’re keeping count, as you can better believe I was): I couldn’t (in good conscience) put the lime green and chartreuse buttons in with the kelly and forest buttons. In fact, it began to feel like the limey-chartreuse-y buttons were a color family of their own.

This felt unfair to the blue-green and green-blue buttons, which hadn’t been so separated. (I feel I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that (to me) these are two entirely different colors: blue-green also being known as teal, and green-blue also known as turquoise). This, of course, necessitated further divider relocation and button reallocation, though after several trial segregations I decided that the blue-green and green-blue buttons got along well enough that they could share a compartment (while there clearly would have been fights about “who was the real green” had I not separated the limey-chartreuse-y greens from the kellys and hunters. I suspect there may have been some Bad Blood there, the genesis of which was probably when the “real greens” — their term! I value all greens equally — claimed the limey-chartreuse-y greens were just yellow wanna-bes.)  

As you can see the blue-green and green-blue buttons seem to be enjoying each other’s company, though I’ll definitely keep an eye on that situation.

And then I hit the Real, Substantive Issue, which nearly sent me into an Orwellian tailspin. You see I love all my buttons, but I’d be a big, fat, lying lier if I didn’t admit that certain buttons make me happy beyond their ability to close a garment in an appropriately matching (or contrasting) fashion. You can probably imagine which these are:

the fabric-covered buttons;
the tiny, pearlized shank buttons;
the buttons made from a thin, wavy sliver of actual shell;
the truly vintage metal buttons that have intricate molded images;
and, of course (insert the singing angels here), the rhinestone-embellished buttons
And better still, their purely rhinestone sistren (I had originally said “brethren” but that seemed wrong).

But suppose I were to find a tiny, royal blue, pearlized shank button?  Where does it go: amongst its other, equally blue buddies, or should it be separated somehow; put into a category with other such “Special” buttons.  You can guess which direction I went: in short order one of the drawers was designated “Specials.”

And then, my friends, came the guilt and indecision: who was I to arbitrarily designate this button as more special than this other button?  And how could I justify this button being included in the Specials, while this other one, which could be described using roughly the same set of adjectives, didn’t.

In the end, the Specials process alone probably took me an hour, but I am OK with that. I arbitrated fairly, and I was willing to admit when a button caught the light just right and way and showed itself to be, in fact, more Special than I’d given it credit for.

And much of the angst and anxiety about the unsettledness of life in general has been worked through, thanks to the microbcosm of making order out of my buttons. My buttons are beautifully sorted and I am (somewhat more) settled.

[1] Aside: any of you who know me or have worked with me are cracking up at this point, probably thinking something along the lines of “Seriously, Gina?! You have a Grand Plan for sorting buttons… shouldn’t that have been a tip-off?”  Ok. Fair enough. But sorting buttons — so I could find them! — did feel like a reasonable thing …at least when I started.

(From the archives)

IOW: recovered from the Internet Wayback Machine. First posted in 2002!)

You should have seen me fixing my washing machine!

It’s a 13-yr. old Maytag, and I noticed (while sitting on my rear and watching stupid sitcoms, if that matters) that the wash cycle seemed to be taking overly long. In fact, I noticed that it had been trying to wash during all of Grace Under Fire and Ellen. On a whim, I called the 1-800 directory and asked if they had a 1-800 number for Maytag. They did, so I called.

Imagine my surprise when, instead of laughing in my face (“HA HA! You want help with a 13-yr. old-way-out-of-warranty-machine!?! HA HA!“), they most kindly referred my to a maintenance guy I’ll call “Scott” … since I think that was his name.

Well, Scott spent the next hour and a half talking me through the:

  • removing of the washer from the tiny little cubby closet in my bathroom where it lives;
  • getting down in the little space formed behind the washer and underneath the dryer;
  • getting back out of the little space formed behind the washer and underneath the dryer to get the wrench that I should’ve had before I ever got in there;
  • determining that it was a little solenoid-thing that was stuck shut (rather than a jammed hose or some other problem); and 
  • removing same solenoid-thing in anticipation of replacing it.

He even told me to call him back the next day so he could talk me through the re-installation of the new solenoid-thing. So, I went out the next day and bought a replacement solenoid-thing, called Scott (still on the toll-free number!!!) and installed the new piece. And I’m pleased as punch to report that the washer seems to be working flawlessly now!

Birthday at the Biltmore

I spent my mumbledy-mumbleth birthday at the Biltmore Inn on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. I’d always wanted to stay at the Biltmore (so, win!) and, more excitingly, the gardens were featuring an installation of large-scale glass pieces by one of my very favorite artists, Dale Chihuly.

Adrian (who bestowed this most gracious gift unto me) was incredibly patient while I took All The Pictures.

Here are a few of my favorites:


I also loved these three things:


And I’m calling these my Ghost Fish:

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#MeToo: what I’d said initially, and some additional thoughts

In mid-October, I’d posted on Facebook that, like so many of my friends, #MeToo .

(I was sexually assaulted by a guy who broke into my mom’s apartment. I was 16 at the time, and ended up (thankfully) only severely beaten and concussed.)  My experience is, in a weird way, “easy” to talk about (though it was hell to experience), as it seems so clearcut: I was sleeping and woke up with a guy on top of me. There’s no possibility of blaming me:  no one (has yet, anyway) pointed a finger at me to say I “deserved it” in some way (as happens to so many other women), nor do people disbelieve me when I tell them about it (I had the black and blue, hospital records, and newspaper crime report to prove it).

Stop for a moment and reflect on how broken it is that the horrible, bloody, violent circumstances of my assault make it easier for me to share the story, compared to friends who were date raped or sexually harassed or molested.

yeah.  Very wrong.

At the time, I didn’t post about all the other incidents — large and small — that had happened to me that were also sexual harassment. I suspect that, like most women, I’ve grown numb to a lot of it, and don’t notice it unless it is very pronounced.  I also think that my one horrid thing eclipses all the other things in the same way that being in a coma for six months might eclipse breaking a couple bones.   If you were sitting around telling injury stories with friends, and you had broken your leg skiing and been in a coma for six months due to an automobile accident, you might not mention the skiing injury.

But the skiing injury still hurt.  And it still cost money. And it still sucked… and having Something Worse in your life, doesn’t mean that anything smaller than that isn’t of notice.

With that in mind, I’m trying to give more airtime to the rest of my experiences with sexual harassment and misogyny, as I think that cultural change will only happen when there’s greater understanding of how pervasive this is.

And with that as background:
I happened to go to YouTube last week (as opposed to watching videos inline), and noticed I had a comment on a video I’d posted a couple years ago about making templates for oddly shaped things. (The context was that I’d had to create a template for the Corian sink in our island, which is semi-hexagonal, and having discovered a clever way to do it, I thought I’d share.)

Here’s the comment (which has been removed):

Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 5.36.50 PM

For the men in my circles: can you imagine posting a video of something technical, in which you were wearing dirty work jeans and one of the two comments you got was “Nice dick”?

I know it happens (there are lots of terrible comments posted on all kinds of videos), but this struck me as particularly egregious as I’ve only posted a couple of videos to YouTube and this one was as far from “sexxxxayy” as humanly possible.

So, yeah. #MeToo then. And #MeToo quite recently.

So Very Fortunate

I am so lucky — people are nice to me in all kinds of unexpected and delightful ways!
The other night at the Belle & Sebastian/Andrew Bird show I went to go find Seamus and Kerri to say hello and chat, and by the time I headed back to where we were sitting on the lawn, it was on the verge of dark.
I had made a note of where we were (yah for doing that much), but even when it’s full daylight I have a weird vision thing that makes it difficult for me to recognize people at the 7′-20′ distance (exactly, BTW, where people expect to be recognized). Add some very-near-dark and a whole passel of people and you end up with me standing on the walk, near where I knew we were sitting, peering into the lawn, frantically scanning the crowd for my people, and considering whether I need to text Adrian to tell him where I am so he can come get me.
And here’s where the SuperNice happened: I was just pulling out my phone to text Adrian so he could come claim me (yes, like lost luggage) when a random woman who was sitting 15′ away gets up and comes over to me. She asks: “Are you looking for your people?” and I say (probably pitifully) “yes — and I know they’re *right here* but I can’t find them.”
She points to a spot 15 feet away (in the direction I hadn’t been looking) and says: “They’re right there. Don’t worry I’m not a creeper, but I remember seeing you get up before and…”
I interject: “Ohmygosh, thank you! thank you!”
… because *wow*!
This wonderful woman got up, walked over to a lost-looking stranger, and helped her find her people (and she knew where my people were!). I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such kindness, but this is *exactly* the sort of goodness that I believe we’re suppose to be adding to the world.
Thank you, nice woman!!!

Learning while frustrated

“So,” I think to myself, “I’ll use this time while the other POSSE participants are working on an exercise to practice my CLI skillz because they’re very rusty (and/or non-existent).”
On my work laptop (Fedora 23), I open a terminal window, run ls, see a couple of files that can bear removing. One is called ‘cascading_menu_HR’
I type
rm cascading_menu_HR
and get
rm: cannot remove ‘cascading_menu_HR’: 
No such file or directory
I ls again (in case it vanished when I wasn’t looking).
Nope. Still there.
OK, I think to myself, I can figure this out. I google.
Perhaps I need to remove it more forcefully. So I try:
rm -rf cascading_menu_HR
and get
rm: cannot remove ‘cascading_menu_HR’: 
No such file or directory
grrr. Angrypants.   Maybe I am not powerful enough (probably not the case, but I’m exhausting my options).  Besides ,’sudo” fixes everything, right?
sudo rm -rf cascading_menu_HR
and get
rm: cannot remove ‘cascading_menu_HR’: 
No such file or directory
Not unexpected but still frustrating.  More googling: “cannot rm -rf file but shows when ls”.  Find the following article: “No such file or directory” when trying to remove a file, but the file exists?
The article suggests that I run ‘ls -lb‘, explaining that ls -lb will list long form file names with octal escapes for nongraphic characters.[1]
And as it turns out, that file I was trying to remove was named ‘cascading_menu_HR/’  — what?!  Why wouldn’t the listing just show me that?
More confusing yet, / isn’t a /, it’s an indicator that a space is being quoted, so I really need to use an extra space in my command:
sudo rm -rf cascading_menu_HR\  <- there's a 
space at the end that you can't see
The sudo business and the remove with great force were both probably unnecessary, but at this point I’m a little angry at this file, and I just want the blasted file gone.[2]
And the file is finally gone! Hooray!
Then I remember something that I *just* learned last week:  Linux commands have a long form and a short form.[3] Turns out that -s is the same thing as –size and -a is the same thing as –all. Huh.  That makes a *lot* more sense to me (and eventually I’m sure I’d use the shortcuts, but it’s a lot easier to remember –size than -s).[4]
Last night I was talking to Adrian about how this new long form command business is a big helper for me, and he tells me another thing that I didn’t know: the short forms of commands can be smushed together behind a single dash.
So, I’m thinking that I should be able to “un-abbreviate” the -lb into two component parts. Google and find that -l means long form of the listing, so I think that
ls --long --escape
will work
Nope.   I get:
ls: unrecognized option '--long'
Try 'ls --help' for more information.
????  -l means long but isn’t the short form of –long?? Whhhhhhyyyyyy?
Ok. Whatever. Moving on. I try some other stuff:
ls -a -s
works.  And
ls -s -a
works but is much slower (is it because it has to do things backwards?)

Argh.  Yet again, I find myself stymied by the stupidest things. I want to understand it …and when it doesn’t make sense it frustrates me. Greatly.

And so I end up feeling like “if something this ‘easy’ [5] has stymied me, then (a) I must be very stupid and (b) this is probably something I shouldn’t mess with anymore.

[1] No, I have no idea what that means, but if it makes it quit erroring.
[2] Annoying realization at this point: I don’t really care about removing this file — it’s been there for who knows how long and doesn’t seem to be hurting anything — but my little “CLI practice session” has turned into the very definition of stubbornness for me.
[3]  Well, some of them do, but not all.  ls doesn’t seem to have a longer form. (?? – why wouldn’t it be list?) and -l means “long” and -b is the shortcut for –escape (???).  (And if you’re thinking to yourself that they must’ve used -b because -e was being used by something else?  Nope. Not that I can tell.)
[4] BTW, why in heaven’s name does the long form require when the short form requires ?  Why couldn’t they both use -?
[5] Reminder: deleting a file via the command line is all I wanted to do.

Invisalign: my $.02 worth

01111_p_9aek3m4zz0192I was a candidate for braces when I was twelve: my teeth were a little crooked, so it would have been a primarily cosmetic procedure, but my orthodontist at the time was pushing hard.

I, however, said “nope”  The way I figured it, I was already four-eyed and terribly unpopular, with standing memberships in both the science club and the A/V club.  I did not need any additional “markers” of nerdiness, thank-you-very-much.  I told them “No,” and said that if I needed them when I was a happily married grownup, I’d get them then.

Which brings us to two Thanksgivings ago when one of my  lower front teeth cracked right down the middle.  The tooth-cracking thing has happened before, but it’s always been in an easy-to-get-to tooth, which has meant that the ensuing root canal and crown was simple enough, if not painless.
unnamed-3This time was different, as the tooth that cracked was nearly perpendicular to the two teeth on either side of it, a fact which hadn’t bothered me in the day-to-dayness of life, as my lower teeth just didn’t show when I smiled.  However, that tooth’s unusual orientation posed a challenge for the root canal, as there was no way to get to the back of the tooth to make the needed hole, as the back of that tooth was smushed up against the side of the tooth beside it.   You can see it especially well in the middle right photo above.

I’d be totally ok just doing the root canal and crown and going about my business, but the crooked tooth is preventing that.  My dentist suggests I visit an Endodontist to see what she thinks, and she thinks the tooth should be straightened out before doing the reapair work, so she sends me to an Orthodontist.

The Orthodontist, Dr. Brogden, felt pretty sure that Invisalign would straighten them out.  Well, as I’d said when I was twelve: if I need them when I’m older and happy and married…

Dr. Brogden predicted 2-2.5 years with Invisalign, assuming I was compliant and wore them as directed.  I had 47 trays, each of which was to be worn for two weeks, plus there’s sometimes some extra time needed on the end for stabilizing.

My Review

The Good:

They weren’t as bad as I had feared. I think a couple of things helped on that front:  each set of trays was only painful for 48 hours or so, and by the end of each set of trays I could tell that they’d done their duty and I was ready to move onto the next set.  In addition, it helped to know (from a not freaking out mentally standpoint) that I could take them off any time I wanted to.

Because I was so compliant, my orthodontist said I could switch my trays out more quickly than the standard 14 days.  I could feel when each set was “done” and that’s when I’d switch them.  Sometimes I’d leave a set in slightly longer than 14 days too, as I wouldn’t want to switch trays on the first day of a trip.

And because I *waited* until I was a grownup, the technology got better!  Less than two years of braces — and ones that were *invisible* and *removable.*  So, so, soooo much better than the options that I had at age 12.

The Bad:

I have really sensitive skin, and having hard plastic rubbing against my gums was not a happy thing.  I became a copious user of dental wax, which I discovered that you can buy in 20-packs on Amazon.

Taking out the trays is awkward, especially in situations where it’s not feasible to sneak away to the ladies to take my teeth out. I got pretty good (I think) at having the tray ready under the table and popping the teeth out really quickly and sliding them in the tray.

And before putting them back in, you’re *supposed* to brush your teeth. I was adamant about that at the beginning but eventually I figured out what reasonable compromises I could make.

And then there were the “tooth barnacles” (my term. I think they were properly called “attachment points”), which are little…barnacle-like things that help give the trays something to grip to.  Those little boogers were sharp! Sharp enough that they’d cut up the insides of my lips, and thus I discovered another use for the dental wax.  (And, I must admit, it was good incentive to get the trays back on sooner rather than later so as to prevent scraping and tenderness).


The Amazing

My teeth!!  Not even 1.5 years and WOW!  They’re so straight!  I feel like it’s still going to take me a while to get used to being able to actually bite into things (my prior approach was more a grab-with-teeth-and-tear thing). Check ’em out!

The Final Verdict?

I approve.  Invisalign is a Good Thing and I approve.  Also I think Dr. Brogden rocks :-)

Edited to Add: Lessons Learned

  1. For me, it worked best to switch trays right before going to bed if at all possible. Usually the first hour or so with new trays wasn’t so bad but around two hours in they started *ouching* — and if I could sleep through that, it went better.
  2. I found that new sets of trays did make me lisp a bit, which was problematic when
    I was supposed to be presenting at a conference. Thankfully, since they were trays, I could pop them out before I spoke (advantage: Invisalign).
  3. I must admit, I ate less.  Taking out the trays, brushing your teeth before putting them back in, knowing that every time they came out it counted against my “time out of mouth” and that on any given day that had to be less than four hours — that all added up to wanting to take them out less, which meant eating less.
  4. I mentioned above that the trays can cut into your gums and tongue (depending on how sensitive they are)…well, the trays can also be ground down by your orthodontist so they aren’t so sharp. Theoretically they can also be filed down at home using an emory board, but I never had much luck with that.
  5. The sharp tooth barnacles can also be smoothed some (though so so much that they are no longer barnacle-y)
  6. You can also use normal tooth whitening gel in the trays, which is kind of nifty — cleaner and straighter for the win!


Things I learned today

IMG_1419Things I learned today, while sorting through my Granny’s thread stash:

  • I love knolling (although technically this wasn’t knolling, as I wasn’t arranging everything at 90 degree angles..but they were round things, so some leeway would apply, yes?)
  • I have a peculiar affinity for button thread — every time I find a spool I squee inside. I have no idea why.
  • I desperately want my thread spools to be tidy so it angers me beyond reason when manufacturers don’t put that little slit in for the loose end of the thread to go into.  It’s such a tiny thing! Why wouldn’t they just do it always? (I forgive the wooden spools, but the plastic ones have no excuse!)
  • Very little orange thread, despite much of this coming from the 70s. Though I did hate the orange crayon, I don’t know why Granny had so little.
  • I have such a sense of knowing her through this ritual– so much of her love was expressed through sewing (and cooking)

IMG_1420Also, I have a veritable museum of thread types:

  • American Thread Co.
    • Geneva Glace Finish
    • Star Mercerized (Will Boil) – I am getting the sense that boiling thread was a big deal?
  • Belding Corticelli Pure Silk Buttonhole Twist
  • Brother Embroidery Thread (Made in Japan) — I think this one must have been mine
  • Centennial 100% Spun Polyester Sewing Thread Best Value in 200 Yrs
  • J&P Coats
    • Dual Duty Plus – NEW! Dacron Cotton Wrapped 25¢
    • ​J&P Coats Dual Duty Plus – Mercerized Cotton Covered Polyester 99¢
    • Finesse


  • Coats & Clark
    • Mercerized Sewing – Boilfast (™) 15¢
    • Pure Silk Twist​
    • All Purpose – Dual Duty
    • Super Sheen 15¢
  • Fruit of the Loom Spun Polyester
  • Gütermann
    • 100% Polyester
    • Dekor 100% Viscose
  • Lily
    • Lint-Free
    • Nylon Seaming Size A 25¢
  • Mettler
    • Quilting Cotton Mercerized
    • Metrosene
    • Silk Finish Cotton Sheen
  • IMG_1456Molnlycke Spun Syntet
  • Molnlycke Wrights 100% Polyester (Did someone buy someone else?)
  • Notion
  • Stitch N’ Time Polyester
  • Suisse (™) Symbol of Excellence Long Fiber Polyester 60¢
  • Super-Spun (™) Polyester – The Perfect Thread for All Fabrics 75¢
  • Talon
    • Polyspun Permanent Press
    • PolyPlus 100% Dacron (for permanent press knit stretch)
    • Mercerized Sewing Colorfast 25¢ (and 15¢ – both 125 yards! Price hike!)
  • Trusew 100% Spun Polyester
  • Zayre Dept. 94


Thoughts on learning from bad behavior

Today I was witness to a conversation online (after someone posted the video where the mom yanks the kids out from behind the dad who is broadcasting from his home office) where Party A said something like “it just bugs me that people have to go and ruin the fun by getting upset and saying it was racist when some people thought she was the nanny.”
Party B explained (quite well, I thought) that the video is funny *and* the comments from people who automatically assumed “nanny” are problematic *and* it might be a good thing to consider listening when people raise issues like this rather than brushing it off as a joke, or whatever.
Person C (someone who often gets under my skin, I admit), posted that “reasonable people can tolerate problematic speech.”
Person D chimed in with “yeah, especially when they probably didn’t mean it as an insult.”



When people raise issues like this, maybe consider just listening and trying to understand instead of just brushing it off or saying “it was just supposed to be funny.”

My response:
I think this is where the “reasonable” humans part comes in.  I don’t think that a lot of racist (or sexist or homophobic or (…) speech is *intended* to be insulting or hurtful (or illegal, for that matter).
But *intent* and *outcome* are different.  I guarantee you, I’ve never *meant* to get into any fender bender that I’ve gotten into.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m not responsible for the outcome of those fender benders (or wrecks), as I clearly am.  Can you imagine how this would turn out:
Nice person who I’ve just rear-ended:  “Um. You read-ended me!”
Me:  “Yeah, but I didn’t mean to, so you shouldn’t be upset.”
Nice person: “Well I am upset!”
Me:  “Well, it doesn’t *look* like your car is damaged, so let’s just go on our separate ways, ok?”
Nice person: “I know it doesn’t *look* like my car is damaged, but I felt the impact and I suspect there is damage, so I need to get your insurance info.”
Me: “*I* can’t see any damage, so there isn’t any damage, so I am not going to do that.”
And just like it’s reasonable to expect adults to take responsibility for the outcomes of their behavior, it’s also reasonable to expect adults to want to learn when they are causing harm — even if *they don’t see it* — so that they can avoid doing so in the future.
And, yes, one could argue that everyone should simply beef up their bumpers and expect to be hit every now and again and to not take everything so personally all the time…
…but do you really want to be the person who makes everyone else feel like they are in danger?
Think about that. As easy as it is to write off all of this concern as “political correctness,” the outcome of your behavior when you treat issues around (racism or sexism or homophobia or transphobia [or]) as something that is *their problem* (because they’re weak, or take things the wrong way, or because you didn’t mean it that way, or because you were just repeating something someone else said, or because you thought it was funny [or]) rather than your mistake to be corrected and learned from, that’s exactly what you are doing.
You are making all those other folks feel like you can’t be trusted. That you don’t have their best interests at heart. That you would intentionally hurt them, even after having been told “hey – this hurts. Please stop.”
If you’re ok with that, then carry on.