Anger? Nah, I am so past anger. What’s next up the spectrum….disgust….paralysis? Nope, that one isn’t strong enough either. Rage. Yeah, that’s the one. White hot, steaming out of my eyeballs, spittle in the corner of my mouth, seething, soul paralyzing, blinding rage.
It was exactly 12 months ago that I was cruising blissfully through the countryside road tripping around Lake Michigan. What beauty! What amazingly artery hardening food! What the fuck was with all these red hats? Oh, that’s right, I was in the thick of blood and necks, both pretty red, conservative and absolutely fascinating – not my style, but fascinating. I don’t judge. Much. As they showed me their guns, big trucks, bigger platefuls of food….”don’t worry Honey, around here it’s no the quality of the food, but the quantity,” and bitched about the crazy people who lived on either coast. Nope. Not offended. No judgement remember? Totally zen.
Fast forward 12 months. I saw the spiral happening, I just didn’t believe it could happen to me. Zen has been replaced with a twitch in my left eye. My body language resembles some character from the Night of the Living Dead. I haven’t seen mascara in 90 days, and I don’t think I remember what a Starbucks soy latte tastes like. I didn’t just fall off of the non-judgmental bandwagon, I leaped off, did a half-gaynor with a twist and some spectacular tumbling while holding sparklers announcing, “HALF OF THE COUNTRY IS BATSHIT CRAZY!!!!!” Goodbye intellectual discourse. Hello downard spiral of judginess and doom. The best strategy I have come up with this week? Denial.
Off goes social media, because I do NOT want to know how your inner 10% biggot feels. I prefer to bask in the illusion of the 90% of you that I still want to believe is a rational, kind, open hearted, socially minded human. I want to like you when this is over. I do not need to know that when the zombies attack, you are gonna ring my doorbell, and run like hell while they are eating my brains…because in the end, what really matters to you is YOU.
Here’s the thing. I know guns. I don’t particularly like guns, but I understand them. I also know that if you own a gun, it is your right to do so. It is also your responsibility to leave it unloaded, or a least to make sure that you keep the safety on, even in your own home. It is not for YOU, it is for the safety of your children and your community. It’s the right thing to do.
I know condoms. I don’t particularly like them, and haven’t needed one in a long time, but I understand them. I know that if you’re going to have sex, it is your right to do so. It is also your responsibility to PUT ON THE DAMN CONDOM whether you ‘feel like it’ or not. You do so not only for your own safety, but for your sex-partner and the health of every other sex-partner you will ever have….and you’ll prevent unwanted pregnancy. And for those who may have forgotten, sex is a not a right. The only right that exists in this particular arena is the right to say no.) It’s for the good of everyone.
I know what bare feet look like, and have admired my share of bare chests. Neither of those things are allowed in Trader Joes, or in most restaurants, grocery stores, shopping centers or most other places that I would venture out for a visit right now. It’s a service dress code, usually posted around the same place as the “we refuse the right to serve anyone,” sign. Just respect it. Don’t video tape the nice grocery cart service person when he offers to do your shopping for you because you refuse to wear a mask. Don’t make me have to explain to you that ADA does not give you the right to do whatever you want, it legislates reasonable accommodation. Do NOT start throwing HIPPA at the poor guy either. That only protects your medical records between your doctor and other medical providers. If you knew this, you’d be more concerned about the damn video being blasted on social media, so everyone knows that you don’t know your law and policy.
WHAT THE HELL is the problem then? I have been recently scolded because my use of a mask, and told that my making over 300 of them to give to local healthcare and essentials as my GIFT to them, implies that I am scared of the world. Hell yes, I’m scared of the world. I’m a 55 year old asthmatic with immune issues. I have a husband who is exposed to covid-19 every damn day he goes to work. I have two in-laws per age 87. I have enough to worry about, and now I have to feel bad that I am having to protect myself from YOU, mister bring-a-gun-to-a-virus protestor?? Because I bet you have the safety on your gun while you tell me that my mask is stupid, and you have no responsibility to wear one to help ME not die.
Yep. Rage. I am raging and I am profoundly sad. I can no longer function behind the smile of the zen, educated, spiritual, patient me. It has stripped me bare, and I am left with a gash in my armor of optimism, and I don’t know how to heal it.
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Our current reality is unreal. I keep expecting to wake up from this and then I realize I AM awake. What’s wrong with people?
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Do you remember the poem about the frog in the slowly boiling pot. We’ve been on slow simmer for four years, kinda numb. This year, the pandemic really freaked us out to the point of apathy. This, this is all the pot boiling over and us wondering why there’s so much steam. You are awake. I am awake, but I think some of us have been asleep for a long time and this is the 6am alarm going off when the freaking house in on fire. Thank GOD for women (and men) like you and most of my chosen tribe….. you keep me sane and laughing at the blackness.