Thursday, May 05, 2022

 

Advanced apology for this tall glass of whine.
 
 
It’s been a tough half a dozen years in the U.S. Everything on the scale from high to low. We have the pandemic, which produced the most surreal events of my entire life (and that's saying something). Several things make me cry every time I remember.
 
While waiting for takeout during the quarantine, I witnessed a Christmas parade, floating down Main Street with Santa, the Mayor, horses and a marching band…no spectators. It was like a Ray Bradbury story where everything keeps running on automatic, even after the end of the world.
 
I was also waiting for takeout when I glanced at my phone and saw that RBG had died. I told the restaurant cashier that I couldn’t wait and had to go, tears streaming down my face. Because English was his second language, he thought I was upset with him or the restaurant about something. He shoved a $10.00 bill at me (more than I had spent) and told me to just go. 
 
January 6. Every time something makes me think of it, I picture that confederate flag waving inside our Capitol. A symbol of horror.
 
Ukraine.
 
And then yesterday, the leak. It appears that Trump’s coup is still moving along at a nice clip. I know that I’m not alone with the way I feel. Some of you are expressing your outrage by posting meme after meme, demonstrating every angle you can find of the horror of it. But I can’t stop staring at the wall. I feel gutted. Violated. Disrespected. Marginalized. Manipulated. Helpless. Hopeless. Exhausted. Enraged. And so full of sorrow in this world I never imagined. I never imagined that I would see a time like this, a time imposing such weariness on me that I can’t do anything but sit and stare at the wall. 
 
So, I decided to find something to watch, to take my mind off of it for a few minutes. I haven’t been able to concentrate on work. I can’t look at Facebook. Everyone’s just stirring a pot that’s already come to a boil. The whole thing feels vaguely staged, like there’s something I’m missing that would cast it in a different light. I don’t know. I can’t get a grip on a tangible reality today.
 
I settled on a documentary about musical theater and Jewish composers. It worked somewhat. It was a story of immigrants who came here, feeling different, looking for a new life, outsiders looking for a way in. They found their way in through musical theater. The film showed clips from musical after musical, with actors I haven’t seen or thought of in decades. Story after story of people yearning to be transformed, people who ultimately transform others, people who come here full of horror and full of hope, who ultimately grow to love this country. And I thought…maybe this is it. It’s all up to the Jews. They can show us a way out. They’ve done it before. Where’s Mel Brooks when you need him? In this documentary, he says that one of his life’s ambitions is to get back at Hitler, and the best way he could do that was to make people laugh at him. Anyone who could do that must certainly have a formula to yank chains in all the right places. We can’t stop the filibuster or increase the members of SCOTUS or keep the electoral college from being gerrymandered until it’s red in the face. But we have something the right doesn't have. We have the Jews. I hope they're working on it.
 
And then I come back again to this sense that something is being staged. What am I being distracted from noticing? Like when Kushner’s dirty deal came to light, and the right suddenly pumped up the volume on Hunter Biden again…and we all dutifully forgot to press the story on Kushner. This feels bigger. Should we be following the money? Should we notice who might want the stage to be stolen from him at this precise moment? Doesn’t matter, because, as Bill pointed out, all the world’s a stage, so there isn’t really anyplace to hide. All they can do is direct the tempo to pick up with different actors. 
 
Sorry for the downer. That’s what I’ve got today.

 Tin Foil Hats


I went out for a burger last night, and, when the man sitting next to me ordered a sample of the mojito cider, I asked him if it really tasted like a mojito.  He moved his glass over and offered me a sip.  That should have been my first clue.  In this newly maskless world, I am still very much in covid-mode. 

 

 

The man started talking about how nice it is to have a pleasant evening when things are so messed up.  I raised my glass and said, “Here’s to better times.”  Nancy, just shut up.  Didn’t Mom teach you never to talk to strangers?  But, in my world, it’s pretty much talk to strangers or just never talk to anyone.  He raised his glass and opened his mouth and didn’t stop talking for ten minutes.  During this time, I closed my book and listened, as the horror grew.  This guy looked like he might have been a business executive, around 45 – 50.  But he was so out there…I mean out in some universe of someone else’s making. 

 

 

I thought that those people who went to Dallas to greet the second coming of JFK must, on some level, know that what they were doing was not serious.  Like the people in the 1980s who staged and participated in scavenger hunts to find Elvis.  They were deadly serious, but they knew that Elvis was really dead.  Surely, on some level, the JFK people must know that their excursion into Dallas was a game.  Last night ended that notion.  This guy was talking about an international police force that is on the verge of stepping in and removing all the pedophiliac bankers and high-level democratic government officials from their hidden lair in the Ukraine…blah blah blah.  Oh, yeah… pedophiliac bankers and high-level democratic government officials and the Bushes.  Everyone knows about this, he kept telling me. 

 

 

The woman behind the bar asked me if I wanted to order, and I laid cash on the bar and said, “No.  I’ve got to go.”  I walked to my car, shaking it off.  I’m still shaking it off. 

 

 

I’m already pretty isolated.  I do not need experiences like this, encouraging me to feel unsafe going out.  People like him are somewhat laughable but that doesn’t mean they’re not harmful.  And I don’t see any way that people who are this deep into a delusional world are ever coming back from it.  No way.  And they vote. 

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Why Can't We Just Talk About Politics?

 

My fingers began to form a fist, digging my nails into my palms to keep myself from reacting. 

 

Stu and I have known each other for 8 years, since Lucy was a puppy.  He’s a dog park friend.  We are at opposite ends of politics, and I jumped on him once, telling him not to bring it to the dog park.  It needs to be a safe place for all, I told him.   

 

A couple of weeks ago, no one else was around, and he asked me how I thought Biden is doing.  He didn’t like my answer, and we fell silent.  Then I made a mistake.  I asked him what he respected about the former president and the republican party.  He could not answer.  But he burst forth with a stream of hatred and rage about the things he didn’t like about the other side.  I interrupted , saying, you aren’t answering my question.  He began again and couldn’t do it.  He was just all about his rage, his fear.  He talked about all the violence democrats are bringing into the world by supporting violent groups like Black Lives Matter.  "Just go to Seattle, you’ll probably get killed by the fighting in the streets," he told me.  A church is quieter than the streets of Seattle these days.   

 

As he went on, it became clear he was afraid of me.  He was afraid of me...that I would perpetrate some kind of violence on him.  What the fuck has he been listening to?  And which one of us is more likely to be armed with a concealed weapon?  

 

 I eventually got up and walked away, knowing that the most dangerous thing I could do would be to let my lion brake from its cage.  Still, he bellowed at me about the senseless massacres in the streets.  I couldn’t help myself.  Looking over my shoulder, I said, “But you apparently support weaponizing children.  Kyle Rittenhouse.”  I turned and continued on as he shouted at my back, “You think he did something wrong?  Do you?  Do you?”  I kept walking.  It took days before the sound of a deep-throated growl faded from inside my cage.