What Are You Sentimental About?

My town is busy planning and discussing and planning and discussing (yes, continue for several more recursions) the plans for the new high school.

We need a new high school for many reasons. A lot of it is the physical plant, the physical resources. (See where the high school stands.) Note that the Resources and Facilities rate a C. The main building was built in 1915. It has those lovely columns and brick. And, aside from the building itself not holding up that well over the past 100 years, the building doesn’t fit the needs of the 21st-century education.

Many of my local townspeople are concerned about the appearance of the building. We would go from a stately 19th-century looking main building with two wings to something much more modern. They don’t want to lose the history.

My opinion is that they are being sentimental about the building. I can see that. I don’t agree with it, but I can see it.

That’s because I’m not sentimental about places or things. I’m sentimental about people. You might not agree with me.

I enjoy beautiful old places. I love jewelry and other sparkly things. And, I’m not attached to them.

I love my family and my friends. For me, that’s a different kind of love than the love I have for things.

I enjoy things. I interact with things in deterministic ways. Even in winter, with ice, I have a good prediction of how I interact with things.

Part of what I find sentimental is the consistency of some people. I can predict my sister will cry at a sad commercial or a tv show or a movie. Or, that Mark will say something about grilling on the weekend. Or, that my father will find some “blue sky over there.” (Long ago on a rainy family vacation, we found blue sky. The blue sky never got to us, but we saw it over there.)

Part of what I find sentimental is when people surprise me with their strength and depth and love. We all have stories of people, regular people, helping each other. We all see people overcome tremendous odds, or, at the least, use their inner strength to manage their problems. We all have stories of people who extend love and trust to each other.

I’m totally sentimental about those circumstances. Yes, I might even cry at the news, when I hear one of these feel-good stories. Mark gets me the tissues and I have a nice long sniffle.

People are amazing.

I can enjoy buildings, art, and other monuments to our creativity. I don’t feel sentimental about them. People? Oh yes, I feel sentimental about people.

I’m sure that’s me.

Our town will figure out what to do, as we have in the past. It won’t be a smooth path. We’ll lurch down the discussions, taking some side roads. We might even discover a new way that satisfies more people. I’ll be happy with a new high school that meets the needs of the students, one that’s not falling apart every week. I don’t care what it looks like, because I’m not sentimental about the building. I want a building that works for the people.

That’s the question this week: What are you sentimental about?

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