Growing up in the Mojave Desert, my world was rocked in 2010. As a military spouse, I was living in Maryland against my will, (I’m over exaggerating, but it’s partly true) when Snowmageddon struck.
Two storms struck Maryland, back to back. We had snow up to the peephole on our front door. These were no ordinary blizzards.
Roads were closed.
The National Guard was called out.
It was terrifying.
The icicle pictured was right outside of our balcony. I’d never seen anything like it before.
What surprised me more than the snow was the attitude of the populace.
It’s not like living in Maryland was my first time out of California. Before we’d even moved there I had driven across country and lived in several states. Never, in all the places I’d been, had I felt the slime of contempt dripping in the streets, the stores, and the roads, quite like the way I did in Maryland. For the record, I used to commute to L.A. so dealing with traffic and road rage of a metropolitan cease-pool wasn’t my first rodeo.
D.C. is on a whole ‘nother level.
The anger, judgement, and downright viciousness seeped into every commuter town, including the one where we lived.
The women were the worst.
It seemed everywhere I turned one would twist her face into a gnarly scowl.
As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. Proverbs 27:19 NLT
That’s not to say everyone I met in that region were bitter. I was blessed to join a robust Protestant Women of the Chapel and sometimes there was a nice soul in passing.
Those refreshing moments were sparse. Most of the time, regular errands were scary.
No, I’m not talking the kind of scary I grew up around. Gangsters, speed racers on every commute, gunshots, and crime commonly occurred in the desert I’m from. Yet even in the insanity of Los Angeles County, most people were nice. People in my homeland may have piercings and dress weird, but generally, they’re pleasant. When I lived in California, it was common practice to compliment strangers. Anytime I saw something I liked, whether it was an outfit, shoes, or hair, I didn’t have to worry about saying so. It wasn’t received in a strange way. California girls are genuinely happy. At least, we were back then. Very seldom was there a glare, or harsh comment in passing. Anyone that did behave that way was obviously from a trailer park. It was easy to distinguish the criminals. They were usually sketchy and mean. I avoided them.
In Maryland, however, I dealt with women in business suits and cozy sweaters who said the meanest things every chance they got. It certainly wasn’t just me that dealt with it, either. At first, I was worried it was. That they somehow knew I was an outsider. When I first moved there, I wondered it was because I was pregnant and they saw me as weak. After spending enough time in public, I watched the sparks fly from woman against woman, all around. It was like living in a constant state of competition for who could tear each other down the worst.
Instead of hearing things I was used to, like, “Cute shoes,” or “Nice purse,” in passing, it was, “Agh, that jacket,” or “Are you’re really wearing that in public?” at clothes that weren’t ugly or even cheap looking.
Like sharks swimming through the aisles of the local markets, these women hunted for anyone and anything they could bite to shreds.
You couldn’t smile at them to offer light or kindness, either. Oh, no. That was an act of war that often received a glare.
The cashiers had it the worst.
I’ll never forget how many women held their heads down at the insults they’d receive from women who were in-line in front on me. I always tried to be extra nice to them. Sadly, it wasn’t received as anything but fake.
Sometimes, there’d be a woman with the light of God shining from her in passing. Just a few seconds in a presence like that would make the whole day better.
It’s amazing how the way we treat each other has such a profound effect on everything.
Now and then, the way we treat each other can be dangerous.
To put things in perspective, California has very strict pedestrian laws. If you run somebody over, especially on a crosswalk, you’re going to pay for it. In the same light, jaywalking is illegal. Still, if someone jaywalks in front of you, even on a busy road, it’s not just common decency to stop and avoid hitting them, but it’s also the law.
In California, when I would walk over a crosswalk, I always made sure there weren’t any cars before going. Even in parking lots, I made sure to keep a fast pace when walking up to the store. Rarely would someone in their car stop too close or rev their engine. When they did, they were treated by everyone around as though there was something wrong with them, and rightfully so.
In Maryland, however, I experienced a whole different outlook on pedestrians. Even when I would look both ways before walking up to a store, someone would go out of their way and SPEED up to threaten me with vehicular manslaughter.
I’d NEVER had my life threatened like that anywhere! Not in Hollywood, not when I’d visit Las Vegas, nowhere had I dealt with that. Even when pregnant, this happened. I walked as fast as I could, so there was no excuse, yet it happened everywhere. Most of the time, it was nice cars.
Something else changed during my time in Maryland…
Texting became popular.
It used to be when you’d see a car swerving on the road, you assumed they were drunk. Once the trend to text everyone instead of talk took hold of the nation, that assumption drastically changed. Whenever you saw a car swerving, you’d check to see if they were staring at their phone.
Sure enough, there head would be tilted AWAY from the steering wheel, usually staring at a phone hidden in their lap.
After watching this decline and society, I imagined how to fix it.
This is where the idea for Zyandite was born.
I didn’t know at the time just how I’d create such a society. The concept for the War Torn Trilogy hadn’t come to fruition until after I moved to Texas. Just the thought of a polite and united society where no one would dream of threatening to kill someone in a parking lot with their car, or verbally cut each other down in passing, became an inner paradise for me. It was a place for escape when I’d make it home from a day of urban warfare.
Another shock for me happened when we moved to Texas. Believe it or not, tailgating is worse here than in D.C.!
In California, no one (other than the mentality-ill or drunk) drove like that. The ticket would be huge! Not to mention tailgating is an automatic at-fault if you’re in an accident.
So, having ginormous trucks tailgating me in the slow lane with my baby in the backseat, rattled me. I wasn’t used to it. I’ll NEVER get used to it!
In my opinion, tailgating is the dumbest thing anyone can do on the road. Even when there’s a lane open for passing, they do it to bully the car in front of them to break the law the way THEY want to break it.
To put this egregious lunacy in perspective, someone I know still living in California, just recently had a car tailgate her. They did the side to side bully-swerve, to make sure she’d see them in every mirror. It was scaring her, because she refused to speed. Within seconds, the tailgater was pulled over.
I told her that’s an everyday occurrence on Texas Interstates WITHOUT the LEO enforcing the law.
But wouldn’t it be better to not need some agent of authority to keep us under control?
Imagine a society where the people love their countrymen so much, they’d never dream of treating them like that!
That is Zyandite.
I show the contrast by Kira’s experience in the War Torn Trilogy, Book Two. After leaving Auctairea, Kira steps into a society where people aren’t just polite and empathetic, but well-mannered and peaceful.
In Zyandite, no one would think of speeding up to where pedestrians are crossing. They wouldn’t tailgate, either. Not because of the threat of a ticket, but because it’s wrong.
Wouldn’t it be nice if people in America cared enough for each other to behave that way, too?