With a noticeable chill in the air my mind drifts to the many rituals associated with the Fall that my Exhibits and I have shared.
The unpacking from summer travels, the endless laundry and looking for drawer and closet space for what once fit in so nicely, the getting ready for school and all that entailed (checking the class lists, registering shock at which parents did split up and which ones didn’t), doctors’ visits, shopping for new clothes, shoes, and school supplies, coordinating morning commutes…. It all seems so delightfully innocent and simple.
Now only one Exhibit is still in school – college – and she is pretty much resistant to my offers of help and organization. However, I will be driving her and her minifridge, bedding, fan, storage ottoman, floor lamp, bicycle, and clothing up to campus, and then…. I won’t be needed.
Which gives me more time to dwell on what’s going on inside my head.
It feels like an enormous infection has been growing in my brain. It is angry, breathless, impulsive, braggy, self-centered, and insatiable. It is Trump. In addition to all the buildings that have leased his name and gotten shiny signs and brass for a price, he has taken over the real estate inside my brain – for no money down. Such a deal! For a while that was considered a prime location.
I have lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in a while. We tell each other our news, our children’s doings, our parents’ health, our partners’ ankle injury or hypertension. And how great was your trip to Iceland! And how wonderful the scenery! And you learned how to paddle board! And then it hits me. I realize you learned to paddle board, yay, but Trump was still the president.
I pledge to stop reading news on my phone (as often as I was reading it before). I succeed but still news of his dishonesty, news of his Cabinet’s malfeasance, news of his family’s lack of awareness and lack of hubris (ditto for everyone attached to him) linger in my thoughts like a thistle whose hooks are stuck in my favorite sweater. I don’t want to risk damaging the wool, so I leave it alone for a while, hoping it’ll just fall off. I don’t think about specifics, as I am going to sleep, but I am thinking about consequences.
I’m thinking about the world we are leaving to our Exhibits. It’s not fair. They didn’t grow up recycling all their lives to have a government dismantle the EPA and deny climate change. They didn’t study hard (two of them, anyway) and do community service just to see the rights of the under-privileged sliced away further. They are good people, just like your children, and they deserve to feel safe, to feel they inherited a promising future in a world where their children can play in the grass and climb trees and rocks, and swim in lakes and oceans without permits or risk.
Not only do I add to my own growing lump of worries; even worse I am contributing to the overabundance of Trumpy thoughts in the world.
I know you are but what am I?
In the future, when there is no Trump in the White House and our republic has begun the long slog towards repairing and healing [note spelling], we will find a new normal. And if we’re still suffering from insomnia, we’ll find less news and more old-fashioned self-promotion on our timelines.
September 1, 2017