There are times in a writer’s life when he has absolutely no idea what to write for the introduction of his next bit of self-reflection. That’s exactly what is happening right now. So let’s just be real, accept things for what they are, pretend that these opening lines are Pulitzer-Prize worthy, and jump right into the main course. Here we go…
ONE. The implosion of a certain American presidential candidacy over the last 48 hours.
There is so much I could say here, but I’ll limit it to two thoughts: First, is anybody with a respectable level of intelligence really surprised that this has happened? Second, the fact that, even as I write this, there are still loads of people out there supporting this man makes my heart hurt.
TWO. I should not be allowed near the Halloween candy display at my local Target.
I tried to be strong. We went there with the sole purpose of picking up some of those dripping-wet sheets for our Swiffer mop. (Because using a real mop is soul-crushing and we don’t have the strength to go there.) But as soon as we walked in the door, I knew I was in trouble. The blinking lights and colorful packaging were right there at the front of the store (of course they were, it’s called marketing) and within seconds my partner and I were zipping around like hummingbirds, hoisting heavy bags of chocolate and sugar above our heads in triumphant discovery, near rapture.
Ten minutes later, our shopping cart was so full that one of the wheels snapped of and took out an innocent consumer in the express check-out lane.
The saddest part about this whole mess? We could have driven just down the street to Costco, where you can get a bag of candy the size of Melbourne for about two bucks. But no, we had to stock up on the pricey candy to the extent that the timely payment of our next electric bill is in serious question. Please help me.
THREE. The “flat tire” hazard light has been blazing on my car dashboard since we got back from Spain.
This annoys me rather than concerns me. Because just before we went to Spain, I went to the city dump to drop off the recycling, and one of my tires was punctured by a metal piece of crap that some idiot had carelessly left on the ground near the recycling containers. (We don’t need to go into how I didn’t notice the metal piece of crap and stupidly drove over it, leading to a rubber breach that thankfully did not lead to a surprise pregnancy. Let’s just celebrate the fact that I was recycling and saving the planet. Go green!)
So I drove my violated vehicle home, hissing all the way but not yet at the Armageddon point, and we eventually swapped the hisser with the dusty spare tire. (There was a slight delay in getting around to this procedure because HGTV decided to air several episodes of “House Hunters International” featuring several countries where we might actually want to house hunt, and we had to scratch that itch first.) The next day I drove my compromised vehicle to our nearest Discount Tire facility, where we have maintained an account for years, due to the “discount” angle and a lovely clause in their contracts which stipulates they will replace, for free, any tire you purchase from them that becomes compromised at the city dump.
Jesus music was playing on the radio when I walked into their establishment. I’m not trying to make any kind of judgement, I’m just setting the scene. There are already far too many judgements being made in this country by people who haven’t tidied up their own houses.
Luckily, the service representative at the desk was quite efficient and he arranged things with an expediency that made me wonder if I was still in America, where many service representatives have an attitude along the lines of “why are you asking me to do my job?” We barely made it through the chorus of Carrie Underwood asking Jesus to take the wheel before my car was ready. Apparently Jesus didn’t want my wheel for any longer than was necessary.
So I drove the car home and mere seconds later we were on a plane to Spain. Two weeks and a serious dent in my retirement budget after that, we were back at the house. I hop into my car to go buy Halloween candy, because I have issues, and I see that the “flat tire” light is once again in the alert mode, warning of instability and death. This makes no sense. All of the tires (including the spare) look fine and I haven’t driven the car since the disciples at Discount Tire parted the Red Sea and sent me on my way to the Promised Land.
Which means that I’m headed back to Discount Tire in my foreseeable future. Of course, it might take me a few days to make said journey, because now “House Hunters International” is running a series of episodes concerning places you can live where you don’t need a car. I better make some popcorn.
FOUR. The Obama Administration is now saying that Russia was definitely behind the cyber attacks on the Democratic Party’s websites and databases, intent on disrupting the American elections.
There was a time when this would have been a shocking and galvanizing moment for the American public. Instead, it’s a sub-story buried under reports of a misogynist who thinks he’s the Messiah (and I’m talking about the guy who is not Ted Cruz), a hurricane where hundreds of people died in Haiti but the focus is somehow on yuppies who lost power for a few hours in Florida, and the shenanigans of the latest ex-husband of a Kardashian.
Let’s get some priorities, folks. Putin is a dangerous, amoral man. And he’s in a bromance with Donald Trump. (And I’m still extremely miffed at the International Olympic Committee for allowing the Winter Games to take place in Sochi in 2014, despite the wretched treatment of gay people, among many other transgressions. Have you no shame, Senator McCarthy?)
FIVE. Sometimes you just want to turn the world off and read a nice book about the gentle nuances of social interaction in a rustic Italian village where people are basically decent and kind, albeit a bit quirky.
I want that, the simplicity and inherent respect. But some of us have lost our way, lost hope, lost our ability to breathe as one, instead choosing separation and walls. This is not what we were meant to be. Let’s change that, shall we? Of course, this means taking a stand in this age where many let others take a stand. Don’t be that person.