Culture

Inured to that which is out in the open

A few years ago, well a decade or more ago, I learned of the word “inured.” It is what me referred to as a GRE word. You know those fancy test score words. Regardless of when it came into my life, it is an awesome word to know. I feel it is quite appropriate for many of us in many current, modern-day situations. Do you know the word’s meaning? It means to become accustomed to something, especially something unpleasant. It makes one hard against a circumstance. It makes one, almost, indifferent.

I was thinking of that word today when we were driving through Los Angeles today as we did 101 errands in a tight deadline. Aa we were driving, I was snapping photographs as I tend to do. I am always taking photos of that around me. Just the other day, I introduced a colleague to the term food porn. Who hasn’t heard that before? Apparently many people out there. Which is bizarre to me ad I always take photos of my food. I even take photos of other people’s food. I have no shame really.

Anyway, I was snapping photos of the urban LA landscape when I caught myself taking photos of the power lines and remembering what my friend’s spouse had said about the United States. He is a foreigner who finds the power lines amusing (in a bad way). He noted that in his European home country such power lines were not in plain sight. He found them ugly and the sign of some American inferiority. I scoffed and noted he should go home. Well, in my head. I, despite myself, was trying to be welcoming.

But, I did find amusing the idea of how there are things we just become accustomed to and just do not question. I have recently met a group of individuals who have been working at the same place, despite its horrificness, for an average of 16 years. These are people who complain and note how horrible certain things are and yet they roll roll with it because they do not know any differently. They know things are bad, in the grand scheme of things, but yet do not attempt to change anything. They are used to it all and do not feel compelled to go somewhere new where they would have to learn a new way of being. Things may be bad where they are at but they know it and have become hardened to it. They have become inured to it all.

I look at them and try to hide my judgment as I really try to be nonjudgmental. Yet, inside I feel sad for them and hope that I will never become so inured. I like feeling. I like feeling disappointment, anger and outrage (not the crazy all encompassing outrage) as it means that I am alive. I want to stand out like a power line in the open and be electric. Ok. Too much silly metaphor. But you understand what I mean, right?

I like the word inure. I like the word because to me it is a bad word. You know how George Carlin noted a long time ago the seven words you cannot say on television. I think inured should be one of them. Don’t feel it. Don’t say it. Don’t be it.

Wake up.

11 replies »

  1. I dunno. I read a lot of classics, including things like Dickens and Wuthering Heights and Silas Marner and Tess of the d’Ubervilles and Nathaniel Hawthorne. ‘Inured’ isn’t uncommon (though referring to it as a GRE word is perfect), and I would used ‘hardened’ if I needed a synonym. Reminds me of the GREs – no one told me you needed to prepare for it; it was my first standardized test ever! I had started university in Mexico, and finished in Seattle, and Mexico didn’t test, but I wanted to get into grad school in physics, and they told me I should take it, so I showed up the appropriate Saturday morning…

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  2. You can be inured to good things too. It is called being jaded.

    “I want to stand out like a power line in the open and be electric.”

    Most of the time that would get me arrested. I still do what I can.

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  3. Great post. I know what you mean about having a foreign visitor and seeing things in a new perspective through their eyes.

    I had a friend visiting from the UK. We went into a restaurant where there was a sign on the door: “No Soliciting.” He started laughing hysterically and asked me what it meant. In my American mind set I informed him that it meant they didn’t want people trying to sell things (and of course I’m thinking actual vendors of legitimate businesses). He quickly informed me that he thought it meant “no prostitution on the premises.” 😮 Well that’s a polite paraphrase, but you get the point…

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