Hello all. Yes, yes, it’s been a while. You know when more time than usual passes in between speaking to a friend, you keep thinking you should call, but the more time passes the harder it becomes to make that call? Yeah. First I was in a bit of a funk; there’s nothing to say, no one cares what I have to say, blah, blah, blah. Then, in the past few weeks, there’s been so much going on I couldn’t decide where and how to jump in. Nothing has happened to me/mine personally, it’s been wonderful having Man Child home, he has a good job, Nerd Child is in the last stretch of high school–drove north and saw his final production the other day–that young man is an excellent director! Art Child is well, Husband is well, Incredibly Stupid Dog continues to forget which end is supposed to be on the pee pad when she lets loose…all good in Fringeland. But the world around me? Prince died, which I took more personally than I have any right to. North Carolina has decided genital checks are in order because thinkofthechildren. The Bernie movement has faltered (to say the least), and Donald Trump has won the GOP nomination.
After two weeks of pretending that last tidbit couldn’t be real, I have to accept it. I have to get on the train. Not the train car supporting him, of course. I feel like it’s rush hour and the car open in front of me is suspiciously empty. If you’ve ever been a subway rider, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, let me give you a tip. When a crowded train pulls in, if the car you’re about to get on is miraculously empty with several open seats, there’s a reason–and that reason usually involves a stench so foul even the most weary and unsteady travelers would prefer to be squashed nose to armpit in the next car.
Yesterday I was having a conversation about this nightmare with a friend of mine, and I referenced playground politics. For me, this sums it up. Because it doesn’t feel like a train. I’m an adept rider; pains, nerve damage and all, I can keep my balance, squeeze into the most narrow space between two man-spreaders if it means a seat, and throw myself through the closing doors without getting my purse caught. This is more like a throwback to childhood, a concrete lunchtime playground where girls have cooties and with a choice between splintered seesaws, dodgeball, and a cement water fountain that dribbles rust. So here we are, this cycle of American politics where might makes right and he who spreads the most outlandish, the most vicious rumors wins. Where is the lunch aid? Where are the teachers? Where are the grown-ups?
As I’ve said previously, I like Bernie. I never thought he was a perfect candidate, and I had questions, but I thought he was the best choice. For a moment, I thought he had a real shot. That moment is over. I don’t love Hillary. I have a lot of questions and reservations about her that I don’t want to have. (I’m a feminist ferchistssake, a woman for President? Yes, please.) But I’m not hesitating to support her, especially when I look at the alternative. The alternative isn’t Bernie Sanders, it’s Donald Trump. A man whose positions take us from an unsupervised playground to Lord of the Flies.
While I wasn’t blogging, I did more reading than I’d done in a while. I even decided to read Infinite Jest, it’d been on my to-read list forever, and it seemed like the perfect time. I got about 600 pages in, and spent a good 500 of those pages feeling certain that I’m an idiot, because I didn’t get it. Not that I wasn’t able to follow the storyline, I was. Not that I didn’t notice and appreciate some lovely sharp prose, I did. But I really, really don’t understand the how/why this novel became the lauded, prized bestseller that it did. So I gave up, once again determined to accept that I’m just not that smart, and clearly incapable of understanding the publishing industry. If a friend had written it and given me the manuscript to beta read, I’d have suggested cutting about 500 of the 1200 pages. But the timing of my attempt to read this was perfect for today’s political climate, because today is when we are living the backstory of Infinite Jest. If Donald Trump becomes President of the United States, we will slide right into Subsidized Time, and tomorrow will become the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. I may not be smart enough to slog through all 1200 pages, but I’m smart enough to know I don’t want to live inside them.
You’re frustrated? Me too. You’re broke? Me too. You’re tired of the status quo? Me too. But my eyes are open. And what I see is hideous. A circle has gathered around the combover playground bully. The circle is growing, gathering legitimacy and support, and it’s feeding on greed, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and wishful thinking. I know some people speak of idyllic childhoods and pine for their lost youth. Me? I was glad to leave the playground behind, and I don’t want to return. The lunch aid isn’t coming. We have to turn away from the childish blowhards telling us might makes right, get on the train before it derails completely, and be the grown-ups. We may or may not be in the gifted program, but we’re smart enough to recognize the stench of fresh shit.