Collaboration/Condescension

This is my own A-to-Z Challenge for the month of June — likes and dislikes. If you want to join me, just add a comment of something you like that begins with the letter C and something you don’t like.


The other day I was at TJ Maxx returning a few things I had purchased at the same time as my mother-of-the-bride dress when the checkout clerk asked me, “What’s the Rabbit Room?”

I was, at first, startled by the question. Why would she be asking me that? Then I saw her looking at my bag, a lovely spacious bag that I carry everywhere.

My bag has everything I could possibly need if I was stranded in a snowstorm — lots and lots of pens, a blank mini-journal, several other journals, a book (sometimes two), cough drops, scissors, a key fob to get into work, scraps of paper with little reminders on them, a few receipts, an empty glasses case, my wallet, a couple of notes from people I love to remind me who I am, hand sanitizer, a flashlight, and a tic-tac box with one mint left. There’s more, but I’ll stop now.

The sales clerk was looking at my bag as I was shuffling through it trying to find my wallet. On the outside, it says “The Rabbit Room.

My Rabbit Room bag, complete with Rabbit Room personalities pinned to the front

I fumbled for words to answer her. It was like being asked to define family.

I think I said something like this, “The Rabbit Room is a gathering place for creative people. It’s named after a room in a pub in London where JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and some other writers met to encourage each other. It’s both a virtual and a physical space for encouragement, collaboration, and community among artists.”

She looked at me and nodded like she understood. “I had just never heard of it before,” she said.

Once I was back in my car, I tried to rethink my answer. The Rabbit Room is so hard to explain. Community is at its heart. Collaboration is an outworking of that.

Condescension, however, can shut down collaboration with just a word or two.

John Steinbeck said, “There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension.”

Unfortunately, there are far too many answers clothed in condescension too.

Condescension is a smothering blanket on any discourse. Can you tell that I don’t like it?

Collaboration allows questions and answers to be exchanged without condescension shutting the whole process down.

The Rabbit Room is place where that happens


How about you? What do you like that begins with C? What do you dislike?

11 Comments on “Collaboration/Condescension

  1. Maybe because as an Orthodox Christian we just celebrated Christ’s Holy Ascension, the first like that came to mind with C was Christ. Being in communion ( oh, another C) with Christ is am important part of me. Orthodox Christians believe that our christian walk is not meant to be easy, humility is not easy, prayer is not easy, but with Christ’s help it is possible. Probably I have made that too simplistic, I do not write as well as Sally. Now a C that I do not like is cilantro. Please do not put it in my food.

    • I’ve been attending an Episcopal church, and we just celebrated the Ascension, too, on May 26. Do you have a different calendar? I love what you say about the teachings of the Orthodox Church — following Christ is not easy, but with Christ’s help, it is possible.

      I have to say one of the worst things about COVID wasn’t the masks or the vaccines. It was not taking communion (eucharist) for months and months. Actually communion could have been my C word. Such a beautiful sacred holy mystery.

  2. Condescension. I had an interaction some days ago that qualifies. A very unpleasant, shallow, and insecure man who ties his sense of self to a car he can’t afford, lies about his station in life, verbally abuses strangers, and has the gall to demand respect.

  3. Likes: Chocolate, coffee, cooking, Colorado.
    Dislikes: Cleaning up after cooking. Conflict.

    • I don’t know – I get a certain satisfaction out of cleaning up after cooking. There’s something to be said for washing, drying, putting away — and then sitting down to enjoy coffee and chocolate 🙂

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