I’m getting Alan’s cold. It’s a chest-living variety, and yes, we both tested, him twice, and we’re both negative. People still get colds. Especially after two years of living behind masks. As if trying to civilize this fucking dog isn’t enough of a stressor, now this.
But I did get about 20 minutes of down time yesterday afternoon, and caught up in nostalgia, I did a little Facebook-searching for old colleagues, classmates, etc. — the sort of people I don’t stay in touch with, but am intermittently curious about from time to time.
I looked up a guy I used to work with, who I remember as a gentle soul who was certainly traditional and probably Republican — like 90 percent of Hoosiers — but the sort of Republican I remember from there, which is to say, wrong but not an asshole about it.
You see the punchline coming, right?
He’s fond of memes. This is the one that rocked me back on my heels:
Oh. OK. I sent this to a friend, who also worked with him, and he replied:
The greatest underrecognized impact of Trumpism is grief. I feel it so often when I look at all the people who taste-tested authoritarianism and decided they wanted more. They’ve been carried away by some kind of psychological contagion, but I remember so much else about them and share so much history and experience with them before the mess we have now become. In the shortest form, I stand by what I told (my wife) the morning after Trump’s election, when she demanded some kind of explanation from me, because I’d been pretty confident about an HRC win: “I guess there are a lot more rotten people in America than I thought.” I can posture as smug or contemptuous or dismissive, but five or six years later, more than anything else, I’m still grieving the loss of so much regard for so many people. Living with so many fellow citizens who are so diminished makes me feel diminished, too.
I think that is exactly right. It’s less so for me — I tend to skip grief and go straight to anger — but I, too, have that disorienting, dispiriting feeling of looking at someone you thought you knew and realizing: I didn’t know. Of course you don’t know, in the know-know sense, someone you work with. But every day we have to interact with people we aren’t intimately acquainted with, and that’s the feeling I’m talking about, of going through a day, buying groceries, working, commuting, walking in the park, and having to think: Is it you? Are you one of them?
The day after the 2016 election, I walked Wendy in the morning, still feeling utterly shell-shocked, and a man passed me on the street. He looked me in the eye and gave me a smirk-smile that I still remember. And that was before we knew how terrible Trump would turn out to be! In 2016, that smile said, “I hate Hillary.” Today it would say, “I’m OK with all of it.” I’ve lived deep in Republican country for most of my life. Like I said, I thought I knew these people. I didn’t know them.
Oh, well. Let’s uplift the mood a little, shall we?
I found this story, which someone in my network posted, the other day. I’m astonished this is the first I’d heard of it. Just the headline, OMG: The guitarist who saved hundreds of people on a sinking cruise liner, and it does not disappoint:
“I was calling, ‘Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!’ and just waiting for somebody to answer,” Moss says.
A big, deep, rich voice eventually replied. “Yes, what is your Mayday?”
Relieved, Moss explained that he was on the cruise ship Oceanos and that it was sinking.
“OK. How long have you got left to float?”
“I don’t know – we’ve got the starboard railings in the water, we’re rolling around, we’ve taken on a huge amount of water,” Moss said. “We still have at least 200 people on board.”
“OK. What is your position?”
“We’re probably about halfway between the port of East London and Durban.”
“No, no, no, what are your coordinates?”
Moss had no idea what their coordinates were.
“What rank are you?”
“Well, I’m not a rank – I’m a guitarist.”
Why has no one made this movie? You know who helped him save all those people? His wife. His wife the bassist. It’s too good.
OK, off to shower and consider how I’m going to handle Kevin today. Yesterday started well and ended badly. Today is calm so far. We’ll see.
Good weekend, all.