A pack of two…

 We were a pack of two*…

IMG_20160128_170450

He came to our family 14 years ago – and despite a severe case of ADHD, fit in well with our clan. He’d escape the backyard fence, and wander the neighborhood. You could call his name for days, and he’d look at you, give a smile and a wag, and keep sniffing whatever had his interest at that moment. The only way we could recapture him? Drive by, open a car door and yell “Road Trip!” For years our neighbors thought his name was “Roadtrip”…

Mr P Jeepin 2

When the kids moved on to college, and I started over in a new home, it was just us. He kept me grounded through the biggest transition of my life. He loved me at my most unlovable. I was responsible for him, and that meant getting out of bed when I was in the deepest, darkest funk. He needed to walk. He needed to eat.

Mr. P pensive

He listened to every word I said as if it were the most important thing he’d ever heard.Mr. P bed

I jokingly referred to him as my “Canine Life Partner”. My companions had to understand who owned my heart.

Man In My Bed: You’re dog’s giving me the stink eye.

daisyfae: That’s because you’re in his spot and it’s time for him to go to bed.

Man In My Bed: That’s cute…

daisyfae: No, seriously, it’s time for you to leave. He wants to go to bed.

get offa my lawn

As Studley became part of my life, he quickly learned that Mr. Pickles was a pre-existing condition in my heart. He also found room in his heart for my large brown pup. On nights he’d stay over, Mr. Pickles would stiff-leg him out of bed over the course of the night. Get up to pee? Come back to find a giant dog sleeping on the pillow, basically saying “My spot. You got the sofa, buddy.” Most nights, Mr. Pickles was little spoon to my big spoon. I slept best next to my main manimal.

a pack of two

He wasn’t the smartest dog, but he was a gifted instructor. He taught me how to enjoy the moment. Knowing that he was only with me for a short time, he taught me not to postpone joy – a lesson that carried over to visits with my Mom. Struggling with my relationship with her, it was Mr. Pickles that taught me to let go of the past – and meet her where she was as she approached the end of her life. We learned to appreciate the seasons, knowing that the next snowfall, or splash in the pool, wasn’t guaranteed.

Happy Pup

At fifteen years old, he’d blown most canine actuarial tables. A bad reaction to medication didn’t take him down in 2012, even though his liver nearly failed. The big lump of cancer taken from his hip in January wasn’t what did it. In the end, it was his heart that got him. It was too big…

Mr P my boo

A friend told me of a service that does mobile pet euthanasia. The vet came to my home. She was a goddess, dressed in khaki shorts and sneakers… Mr. Pickles settled into his bed, with me spooning behind him. Studley was with us, petting those velvety ears. And with all that love flowing his way, he went to sleep…

pack

We were a pack of two. He wasn’t just a good boy. He was my best boy.

Reindeer Poo

“Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

* Respectful acknowledgement of the amazing book of this title by Caroline Knapp. A close friend sent me a copy years ago, and it seems i’m due for another reading…

Onward.

How do you move on after such a massive disturbance in the force?

i have no fucking idea.  But i can tell you some of the things i’ve found myself doing over the past few days…

Therapeutic Vandalism:  Dropping a bottle opener into the casket at the visitation. Because he was never very good at removing the twist-off caps…

Blasphemy:  As a militant atheist, he would have been unhappy about the full Catholic mass funeral.  But it wasn’t for our benefit, and certainly wasn’t for his, so we sat in the back and tried to contain the snark as best we could.  i made quiet hissing noises as the priest splashed drops of holy water on the box at the front of the church.  When the priest said “He loved animals…” Studley muttered “… but he was acquitted!” under his breath.  Mouthing the words to the “Gilligan’s Island Theme Song” as the congregation sang “Amazing Grace”.  There were no lightning bolts.  THAT was amazing.

Bipolarity:  Smiling and crying simultaneously while seeing old photos of my dead friend.  Pictures of him as a young boy shown at the memorial service.  Pictures of him as a graduate engineering student.  A goatee?  Facial hair?  Really?  Whoa…

Doing puzzles:  Not the cardboard variety, but fact puzzles.  Locating bits of information. Sorting out what is true, versus speculation.  Without stepping on the grief of others, this is a delicate operation – and patience is required.  For each nugget of truth unraveled, we answer one question, but uncover five more questions.  This is a losing proposition, but we can’t help it.  Why, why, WHY the fuck did he do this?

“Eastwooding”*:  i had a rather extensive conversation with an empty chair on my deck yesterday afternoon.  Called that chair a Dumbass.  Asked that chair “why?” and “how did we miss the depth of your despair?”  Eventually told that chair i was really sorry he’d suffered so much.  The chair remained defiantly silent.  i decided i should go inside.  Put some clothes on, too…

OCD-Zombie:  Spent today excavating The Girl’s bedroom**, to make it habitable for The Boy when he returns between work assignments on the road.  “Clear the shelves on the bookcase in the theater room.  Haul the books from the bedroom to the theater room.  Arrange books on shelves, tallest to shortest.  Repeat.  Stare at dog.  Start a load of laundry.  Move more books.  Haul trash to dumpster.  Return to laundry room to put detergent into washing machine, after cycle is nearly complete.  Stare at cat…”

Get out:  Studley and i both needed to get out yesterday.  Went to a local Reggae festival.  Danced half-heartedly.  Mostly hung on each other.  Got rained on.  Barely noticed.

Use your passport:  Preparing for a vacation with my best friend, dive buddy and lover***.  Remote island in the Caribbean.  Diving.  Reef sharks, rays, technicolor fish.  Private beach.  Drinking ourselves into a benign, mind-numbed stupor. And crawl inside our heads a little bit…

* In case you missed it, Clint Eastwood was the surprise speaker at the Republican National Convention last week.  An improvised monologue with an empty chair – an implied conversation with the President.  Link to the video is here if you need help staying awake at night… This is some creepy shit.

** Nothing depressing about THAT, is there?  She was in town for three weeks before returning to her home in Turkey.  Loved having her with me, and miss her now that she’s gone.  Won’t see her again until… our next Skype date.

*** No.  Only one person – not three different people.  Although that would be a helluva vacation, wouldn’t it?

Horsing around

It was just over a year ago that my friend, JB, lost his 16-year-old son to suicide.  It has been an awful year for him and his family.  Initially, he found some comfort in writing, but for the past six months has become obsessed with contacting his dead son through a ‘medium’.  One who is paid to contact the dead.

My initial reaction was one of deep skepticism, tinted with rage at those who would exploit grief for profit.  But JB didn’t need to see that – so i’d listen to his tales of contact, and the latest messages he’d received.  Nodding my head, i’d say “This seems to comfort you.  You seem to be getting the answers you need.  How is your wife?  Your son?  Daughter?  Are you still writing?”

In November, he’d mentioned that his wife and he were not doing well, despite continued counseling.  Asked me if i could take her to lunch sometime, just to get her out of the house.

We met at the local market, which has a wonderful warehouse feel, and a diverse collection of restaurants.  Fabulous people-watching, too.  As DB and i talked, she mentioned that it’s just hard to get out of bed some days.  She’s trying, but there’s not much to look forward to…

i mentioned that i’d added horseback riding lessons to my winter plans, partially to have something to look forward to on cold Monday nights.  Her face lit up – “Oh, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do that!  My daughter would love it!”

With lots of encouragement from me, and more details on what is involved in the lessons, i told her i’d be happy to arrange for them to drop in!  She seemed interested, but a little reluctant.

With the holidays, then the anniversary of the death, it didn’t come up again until last week.  i’d dropped by JBs office to see how his golf trip to the west coast had gone.

“I felt good!  My game was way off, but it didn’t matter.  It felt good to do something ‘normal’ again.”

From there?  i nagged encouraged him to get back with his wife about the lessons.  Got him to laugh when i told him i was goin’ “Boot Camp Instructor” on his ass – that this was the time to start moving out on a little more ‘normal’.

On friday, his wife pinged me, and we arranged for them to join Studley and me for the Monday night lesson.

i could write a bunch of shit at this point, but this pretty much sums it up.

Oh, and i’m getting better.  My steed hasn’t dumped me lately…  The horse, either!

i spend a lot of time farting around – Studley and i have elevated this to an art form.  Selfish time, enjoying new pursuits without purpose or meaning.  It occurs to me that perhaps being “Ambassadors of Farting Around” might not be such a bad thing.

i smiled so much tonight that my face still hurts.

There are no answers

At the funeral this morning, i was doing a decent job of keeping my shit together.  Until i saw the group of about five young men – wearing ill-fitting suits, or dark shirts and wrinkled ties with their nicest blue jeans. 

They were standing in the back of the church, waiting to offer condolences to the family… and one of them was sobbing uncontrollably, as another held him tight, and rocked him gently.  A third went for kleenex, as they comforted the weeping boy.

Processing the death of a 16 year-old is never easy.  When the cause is suicide, that challenge is multiplied a thousand fold.

About eight years ago, i was on a business trip with JB when he got the call that his father had committed suicide.  This week, the call came when he was in a meeting on Wednesday morning.  This time?  His oldest son. 

Happened in the middle of the night.  Discovered in the morning by the 13 year-old brother.  Nothing could be done. 

When hearing such news about a friend, first you recoil at the depth of pain and shock for the family.  There is no way to conceive of such pain.  Then you extrapolate, and the haunting thoughts creep in from the sides – trying to imagine the pain, you wonder what it would feel like to get such a phone call… and you shudder, and try to push the thoughts away, but you can’t.

JB has very few close friends, and since he’s relatively new to the group, not many people in our organization know him.  He and i worked together closely for about 20 years, but have been on different projects for the last few.  After his father’s death, he leaned on me as his work confidant as he navigated his grief gauntlet.  

The three of us who do know him fairly well converged at work on Thursday morning to compare notes and strategize…

What do you say?  What do you do?  How can you help? 

There are no words.  There are no solutions.  There are only hugs, tears, and thoughtful gestures. 

The visitation was yesterday.  Two hours of an endless stream of family and friends.  People who had known the parents since high school stopped by to offer condolences.  Work colleagues.  Neighbors.  Students who knew him.  Students who didn’t, but wanted to comfort the family.

One young man, with his father, both wearing their best suits, approached JB toward the end of the afternoon.  The young man spoke awkwardly to JB, stuttering slightly as he said “I went to pre-school with your son.  Because I was different, people made fun of me.  Your son was the first person to be nice to me.”  As JB thanked him for coming, and shook his hand, the young man’s father leaned into me and said “Lucas has Tourette’s…”

Since most of JB’s work is on the road, many of the people he’s closest to are from out-of-town – and several came to town for the visitation yesterday.  At the end of calling hours, there were four of us left when all of the family and friends had gone.  i found myself in the back of the funeral home lounge with JB and two close colleagues who’d flown in for the day.

Asking about their return flight, JB said “I think we’ve got time for a drink.  I’ve got some of that amazing hooch my cousin makes at the house.  Want to hit the bar?” 

And so the three of us sat at the bar JB built with his own hands, drinking apple moonshine.  JB stood behind the bar and read the suicide note his son had left on his laptop.  A highly intelligent and articulate young man, he was not confused about his decision.  Acknowledging what felt like faulty wiring in his emotional circuits, he apologized to his family, and held them blameless. 

So we drank a toast.  JB said “God Bless KB.”  Taking perhaps a bit of comfort in friends, apple moonshine, and the thought that his son was in a better place.

Today, as i left the church and saw those young men grieving and comforting each other over the death of their friend, i wanted to hug them tightly… and tell them that the sun will still rise tomorrow, that they will laugh and smile again, and they will never forget their friend but will go on with their lives.

But they were doing a pretty good job looking out for each other.  Sucks that they have to learn to do it so soon.

From left field…

Things are slow at work this time of year, which is why i choose not to burn my vacation time.  Always best to use your discretionary leave when things are busy*.  i’m putting in a solid 5-6 hours a day.  It’s quiet.  i read online newspapers and catch up on e-mail.  People bring in cookies.  i get paid.  Life is good.
 
Today on my lunch hours hour, i was getting a manicure at Big Gay Chuck’s Big Gay Hair Salon, where Tonya, my tattooed, biker nail tech, does her business.  The salon was hopping with women getting gussied up for the holidays.  Chuck was playing a holiday music mix, and none other than James Brown was gettin’ his holiday mojo on when i came in for my appointment.
 
Tonya and i chatted a bit, and then she was exchanging holiday “I’ve still gotta’s” with one of the other clients.  Talking about a roomful of presents to wrap, stocking stuffers yet to be purchased, and meals to be planned and prepared… No longer my world, so i sort of zoned out…
 
And then i heard this…


 
Go ahead and hit the play button – you’ll likely have to go to YouTube to see it…  i’ll wait…
 
i am, at my foundation, a hillbilly.   Although i’ve had some musical training, and have exposed myself** to the fine arts on numerous occasions, i’m generally not a huge fan of classical music.  i can listen to it, appreciate it – certainly a live performance can inspire me.  But when it comes to classical music appreciation, i’m a noob…
 
But there is this piece – the love theme from Cinema Paradiso.  My father’s favorite film – we watched it together, and cried together.  It reminded him of his family.  Of the village in Sicily where his parents were born.  The place he was never able to visit.  
 
When he died in 2002, i had to have it played for his visitation.  My daughter taught me about Limewire, and i stayed up all night downloading the music i needed.
 
And i stumbled upon this version.  Itzhak Perlman makes that fiddle wail in agony. This piece overwhelms me.  It never fails to make me weep…
 
Tonya started laughing when she noticed the chicken skin on my arms as she buffed my nails.  Asked me if i was cold.  As the song finished, she looked up and saw me crying…
 
“What’s the matter, hon?”
 
“Nothing.  i still miss my Dad… and sometimes it just sneaks up on me.”

By the time i got around to planning our trip to Sicily?  He was too sick to go…

~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

* Yet another reason i am astonished that my organization continues to have me serve as a mentor for the young scientists and engineers.  Do they really want me to train the next generation?
 
** No.  Not at the philharmonic.  But i have gotten partially nekkid on stage in the name of the arts…

Rafting the River

There is a creek that splits on the North American continental divide*.  One channel, Atlantic Creek, flows east into the Yellowstone River, to the Missouri and then Mississippi rivers, hitting the Gulf of Mexico.  The other, Pacific Creek, flows west to the Snake River into the Pacific Ocean. 

The water churns merrily along, molecules of H2O entwined in a raucous aquatic parade.  Consider a gallon of water**, frozen at a moment in time upstream.  Percolating downstream.  Simply doing what water molecules do.  Each molecule traversing the moment.  Rafting.

As this conceptual gallon of water arrives at Two Ocean Pass, something rather remarkable occurs.  The fate of each molecule is determined by something random.  Something seemingly inconsequential.  Something that may itself be transient… a stick in the stream, a fish, an anomalous blip in the current due to something that happened much further upstream.

Two molecules, momentarily adjacent, diverge.  One meanders along Atlantic Creek, eventually being dumped in the Gulf of Mexico.  The other, rides the Pacific Creek out to the Snake River and emerges in the Pacific Ocean.  They never saw it coming.  And they sure as hell can’t go back…

Two Ocean Creek, Wyoming

Two Ocean Creek, Wyoming

Copyright – Ralph Maughan (image sourced here)

*Two-Ocean Creek, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming.  This spot is known as the “Parting of the Waters” National Natural Landmark.

** For reference – and my nerdier readers – a gallon of water has ~1.27 E27 molecules…

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Thank you again, ms…. Still chewing on this….

End games, revisited…

A short conversation with Mom last week in the car recounted events from seven years ago.  Seems to me that we have this conversation every year*, and it doesn’t change.  Just like the events from April, 2002 aren’t going to change either.  In the end – just as we did seven years ago – we agree to disagree.

Dad didn’t die of colon cancer.  It was multiple organ failure, compounded by sepsis.  Started with a botched lithotripsy for kidney stones in January.  He experienced excessive bleeding, and a massive urinary tract infection – missed by the urologist who performed a cursory and dismissive follow up. 

Dad became weak, and fell, tearing his Achilles tendon.  This landed him in the hospital, and then a rehab facility where he was stuck on his back for a month.  During this time – after a direct accusation of malpractice from one daisyfae – the urologist got off his ass and prescribed antibiotics for the infection.

While Dad was flat on his back doing some rehab three times a day, a fluid-convention began in his lungs.  Then, after perhaps too many days of Keflex, he developed a serious bacterial infection.  But by then, he’d been admitted to the hospital to deal with the fluid in the lungs.  i noticed one day an unusual red “biohazard” sign on his door.  Off to the nurses station.  We learned that the bacterial infection was pretty damn serious, and we probably should have been scrubbing in and out of the room… Nice of them to inform us.

Dad was augering in pretty quick.  The doctors recommended thoracentisis, a palliative treatment to fuse the lining of the lung and prevent further fluid accumulation.  The last conversation i had with my Dad alone was the night before the procedure.  He was lucid and clear-headed when the thoracic surgeon came by late in the evening.  After the doctor left, Dad said “I’m tired”.  i knew what he meant… His wishes had been consistent.  No heroic measures.  He didn’t want to linger.  He didn’t want to suffer.  His living will said “do it!”

After the procedure the next day, Dad never fully regained consciousness.  In and out of a semi-comatose state in the Intensive Care Unit.  We took shifts – Mom in the morning, me in the afternoon, and my sister, S, or niece, DQ, in the evening.  The doctors wouldn’t offer advice, nor could they predict the future – “we’ve adjusted his fluids” or “his kidneys are shutting down”.  They only stated facts.

i grilled them daily: “His organs are failing.  Is this reversible?”  “Have you ever seen recovery from a similar state?”  “Have you exhausted all options?”.  They clearly hated these questions.  Mom was dead set against hospice care**.  We had to aggressively seek pain management.  He’d be tossing and tugging with discomfort and we’d run for a nurse to jack up the morphine.

After four days of this, Mom still hadn’t signed a “do not resusitate” (DNR) order.  This meant that if Dad went into cardiac arrest, they’d have to slap the paddles on him, burning his chest.  My niece and i had tried to bring Mom to the logical conclusion.  That night as my niece and i sat with Dad in ICU, he showed up one more time.  He opened his eyes, pulled at the restraints.  Looking first at me, then her – unable to speak because of the tubes – he shook his head “no”.  Unmistakable direction.  He tired, closed his eyes, but was still thrashing in the bed.

We got the nurse, she upped the morphine, and he went back to sleep.  It was 11:00 pm when we got to Mom’s and told her to sign the fucking DNR.  She did the next day.  He was still on full life support.  And could linger a very long time in that state…  The doctors said “we’ve done all we can do”, and when pressed by aggressive questioning “he is suffering multiple, and irreversible, multiple organ failure”.

It was another five fucking days before Mom made the call to stop life support.  The rest of us told her that we were comfortable with the decision, but she waited.  Knowing his wishes.  Understanding the medical situation.  Waited.  For what?  i’ll never understand.

So we went through it all again in the car last Sunday.  She thinks we did it too early.  i think we could have done it sooner.  And we disagree***.  Same conversation, same time next year… My personal “Groundhog Day“.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* It may be part and parcel of a ‘standard’ grieving process to go over the events leading up to the death of a loved one.  Mom starts this in January every year, recounting each section of track being laid as Dad rode the “Gonna Be Dead Soon” Train.  i listen.  i encourage her to talk.  It doesn’t make him less dead, but maybe somehow it makes her feel better…

** It was a Catholic hospital.  i  found out much later that one of the nurses had told Mom that if you go to hospice, you have to sign over all of your assets, including your house.  Seriously.  She wouldn’t even let me look into it.  Dad had wanted to die at home, and because Mom had misinformation lodged in her head, we weren’t able to follow leads to make that happen… i’d like a few minutes alone with that nurse… and maybe a sock full of quarters.

*** Mom’s desire is to hang on a long time.  She and Dad saw this very differently.  She is terrified of being let go too soon… Which has led to some funny moments along the way. 

Pinning Points

Every November, i have the same argument: “Put up the damn Christmas tree!”  This is followed immediately by “What’s the point?”  Sometimes, i have this argument out loud.  By myself.  For several minutes… Because it amuses me.

Never one to go overboard with decorating, i’ve always kept the holiday stuff at a reasonable level. Never put out more than i could take down on a cold, January afternoon. As the kids grew, there were a few standards they wanted to see – the “mouse countdown” calendar, Santa’s Marching Band, and of course, the random collection of weird shit on our tree. 

The other family tradition?  Once the tree is assembled and decorated, we must stand beside it and say “It’s the most beautiful Christmas tree ever.  Just like last year…”  The kids often delivered this line in monotone, with corresponding eye-roll. 

The tree itself? For the past 15 years, it’s usually been the same artificial tree – assembled branch by branch. It looks good, but never as nice as the real ones we’ve murdered purchased from time to time.  And it seems that i am always near tears when i’m putting it up, or taking it down. 

So why the fuck do i do this?

Holidays provide easy “pinning points” in our lives.  i mean, you don’t sit there on some random May 15th and say “damn, i remember May 15th from four years ago…”.  It just doesn’t work that way.  So when that damn tree is put up, or comes down, i am overcome by memories of over two decades of tree assembly or deconstruction.  And all of the emotions that were present at the time.

Every year i tell myself “Fuck it.  Don’t do it.”  But i give in… and it usually feels right after it’s up.  Sometimes i tell myself it’s for the kids.  Although they say it doesn’t matter whether there’s a tree or not, i suspect it represents a pinning point for them as well.  Sometimes it’s just because i’m not ready to become one of those people who drags out a small, fiber optic tree and says “Voila!”  That’s so my Mother…

This morning.  Removing the ornaments.  Smiling at the goofy shit* we’ve had on the tree for years.  Groaning at the hideously ugly** ornaments Mom has given me – which i dutifully place on the back of the tree.  Branch by branch.  Moment by moment.  Year after year.  Stuffing the scratchy synthetic wires into the large cardboard box that will sit unnoticed on a shelf in my garage for the next 11 months.  Carefully taped shut to keep out spiders.

Remembering the tree assembly from 2006.  Knowing at the time it would be the last holiday we would be spending together as a foursome – a pseudo-family***.  Having a ridiculous fever of unknown origin**** but plugging through it anyway…  The Girl was sailing through Europe during her Semester at Sea.  The Boy and his girlfriend lending me a hand as i wheeled around the tree in a rolling desk chair to conserve energy…

Flashing forward to an unknown future.  Knowing that choices i’ve made in my personal life are far-reaching.  And will bring moments of darkness, along with the freedom i crave.  Letting this knowledge wash over me like a scalding shower.  Branch by branch.  Moment by moment.  Blasting through year after year.  Tossing aside the idea of getting a gigantic 12′ pre-lit artificial tree for next year.  It wouldn’t be the same…

Pinning points.  Our lives woven around them.  Sometimes a beautiful tapestry.  Sometimes ragged, uneven web…

http://www.zastavki.com/?lang=amr

image sourced from:  http://www.zastavki.com

* the traditional first ornament is a miniature 6-pack of beer.  we’ve got an alien spaceship, painted pine cones, holographic glasses… silliness abounds…

** she gives each of us two gold-plated “collector” ornaments each year.  Some of them are hideous – including the gold-plated mini-van.  Seriously.  A mini-van?  it’s like the people who have to come up with new ornaments for the series are sitting around saying “Holy Fuck.  We’re out of Christmas shit.  Let’s start doing cars…”.

*** Our divorce was final in August of 2006, but it was quite amicable.  We agreed to spend that holiday together to soften the transition.  The Girl was 20, and The Boy was 17…

**** At the time, the doc thought it might be malaria (after a meet-up with The Girl in Vietnam and Cambodia).  It was only mono that i contracted in the Cambodian jungle, but i didn’t get that diagnosis until early December.  Around the time i was diagnosed with breast cancer…  Sucky month, eh?

Grieving on Election Eve

No matter what happens tomorrow, i’ll be sad…

We will remain horrifically divided as a nation.  There will be cries of election fraud regardless of the outcome.  There will be outbursts of intolerance – potentially from either side of the argument. 

What brought me down?  Two separate conversations over the past week tell me that i need to get working on my “Find Me a Husband” profile on a Canadian dating website. 

The first?  In the office.  After a strategic planning meeting with the working troops, a few of us were doing the post-meeting analysis.  One mentioned that he was encouraged to learn that a mutual friend – an outspoken lifelong democrat – had “seen the light” and plans to vote for McCain.  i expressed surprise, as this individual had been so far left of center in his positions, he made me feel downright uptight in my own.  But he was apparently appalled by the “scam” that is Mr. Obama. 

colleague A:  well, you know, they’ll riot no matter what happens.

daisyfae:  Huh?  Who?

colleague B:  you know, they riot no matter what’s going on…

daisyfae:  Seriously, who “they”?

colleague B: Remember Rodney King?  C’mon… you know there’ll be trouble no matter who gets elected!

i was stunned.  But rather than express an opinion, i did the best i could – and played dumb.  Keeping with the “who are the ‘they’ you guys are talking about?” to see if they would eventually say it…

colleague A:  They riot when their sports teams win or lose, so a presidential election with this much at stake is bound to get them in the streets!

daisyfae: What? Ohio State football fans? Not tracking here, guys…

and so it went…  and by the end of the conversation, i was just very sad. 

And then there was this little bit from Mom over the weekend.  Mom has made her choice, is disturbed by the direction the country has taken under 8 years of Republican leadership, and voted for Mr. Obama.  She shared that my sister, S, is worried about the outcome of the election.  S works in downtown Cincinnati, at a large law firm.

Mom:  S is thinking about taking the day off Tuesday in case there’s trouble.

daisyfae:  What?  What sort of trouble?

Mom:  She said she’s seen so many foreign people downtown for the past few weeks.  They’re taking pictures of the buildings.  Wearing backpacks.  All the people she works with are worried that there will be bombings or riots.

daisyfae:  You’re shitting me, right?  She’s serious?

Mom:  It’s not just her, but it’s everybody she works with… there was talk of letting everyone work from home because people are so nervous.

What do i grieve for?  The loss of critical thinking skills, rational thought and intelligent debate…  We’re fucked, people… And i’m off to learn the words to the Canadian National Anthem.