Note: This post is long, rambly and clip-happy. Readers looking for a succinct well-written blog post may wish to search elsewhere in your reader.
At the beginning of “A Wrinkle in Time”, one of things Meg Murry’s family picks on her about is never having a happy medium. Of course, when they chastised her for not having one, they meant this:
a course of action or condition that is between two extremes: Our climate is a happy medium between hot and cold.
a satisfactory compromise between two things that are related in such a way that one increases as the other decreases: We need to find a happy medium between conserving land and developing property
For Meg, her needed happy medium was in reference to her temperament. So of course, I was delighted at the literary pun of sorts when Meg goes on her sci-fi journey and meets her:
So what does this happy medium have to do with the Happy Medium? That’s where the pun comes in: the Happy Medium lives on a planet where everything has been evened out to a medium gray, but she herself is a different kind of “medium,” the kind that works for the Psychic Friends Network. And she is indeed happy, though it seems she gets to be that way through pretending unhappy things don’t exist: as she says to Mrs. Whatsit, “Oh, why must you make me look at unpleasant things when there are so many delightful ones to see?” (5.84). Her cheerfulness is not that of a person who looks at the world straight-on and still finds cause to be optimistic, but of some who maintains a positive mood by sticking her fingers in her ears and singing “la la la” when anything upsetting comes up.
The Happy Medium’s power to show the kids the shadow of the Black Thing over Earth strengthens their will to fight. She also offers another kind of lesson, to Meg at least, that maintaining a happy medium, or a Happy Medium, at the cost of self-enforced ignorance is not a worthwhile goal
Delightful as I found this pun as a child, as a struggling disabled adult I am searching out the first sort of medium. Which is my verbose way of getting to the point of my post.
Being disabled by a chronic illness, I find that quite a few people, maybe not quite the majority, but enough to launch a coffee fueled sermon, react to my condition in one of two unsatisfactory aka enraging ways.
This rant may make me come off as hypersensitive, impossible to please or ungrateful for what I do have going for me and I’m not trying to be any of those things. It’s difficult and to be honest it’s hard not to have mood swings about the whole thing.
I hate when people don’t recognize the extra effort that everyday life takes for me because they don’t understand the extent of my disease. Or jerkoffs who think that expressing impatience with my disability will suddenly cure me eg the guy who sees me waiting to cross the street with my walker, stops for me to cross, then starts loudly revving his engine when I am a quarter of the way there.
I also hate it when people who do acknowledge my handicap act like I deserve a Nobel Prize for showing up at one of my children’s events. Or that I don’t know what’s good for me when they offer help, I say no thank you , and they forcibly “help” anyway.
Long story long, I wish more people would listen to this guy and take his advice to heart.