TOWOIT #223: Love and Trouble

August 31, 2017… Day 224

I got carried away and wrote three blog posts for one day.

4:45 am: Morning Edition makes me cry in the shower again

The radio takes on a different quality, early in the morning, when you’re alone and brewing coffee and it’s dark outside.

On NPR this morning, they ran a story about a reporter in Houston driving a woman named Angie back to the home she was evacuated from when the flood waters got near it. They ran into some water in the road that the reporter’s car couldn’t handle, but a Latino man in a big jacked-up truck came along and drove them the rest of the way. The Latino man talked about how in Houston during the flood, it has been everyone helping everyone—it hasn’t been about white, black and brown.

For a reason that I missed, the reporter and the other man went in to look around inside the house while Angie waited outside for them. They came back out and told her everything was dry. She’d been especially worried about her clothes, but they were fine. The water had come up to her doorstep but no further. The men had snapped pictures of the rooms to show her they were dry. As they drove away, the woman looked through the photos. She had a low, raspy voice and you heard her say—sort of to herself—“I know my house is junky, but…” and then she just trailed off.

When that recorded story ended, the reporter and the host talked briefly about how Angie was one of the lucky ones.

Although I was emotionally affected by the story, I thought “This is fine. It was a happy ending. I didn’t just see a video of a wet dog afraid to be rescued, or a senior citizen stranded in waist-deep water, or a baby floating in a storage tub. I’m fine.”

Then those tricky bastards at NPR played the first several bars of “The Water is Wide.”

The version they played was instrumental but unfortunately I knew the words. So then I was crying into my coffee, followed by crying in the shower. All the way to the bus stop, I was still humming the tune, thinking about Houston folks and sniffling.

If you don’t know that song, the verse I know goes like this:

The water is wide… I cannot cross over

Neither have I wings to fly

Give me a boat that can carry two

And both shall row, my love and I

 

6:25 am: Love and Trouble 

On the bus to work I read Claire Dederer’s Love and Trouble. I was on the chapter that’s a letter to Roman Polanski, telling him what it’s like to be a 13-year-old girl. At one point she asks Polanski if he only sees holes everywhere. We have to point out, because people don’t get it automatically, that a girl is not an object. It’s devastating.

Dederer takes into account the idea that Roman Polanski was a tortured genius, that the 1970s were a weird time. She’s as generous as she can be, but you couldn’t read her paragraphs out loud without tasting piss in your mouth. All the feelings she packs into that chapter—they are what saturate everything now. Rape culture and misogyny are lain bare, retroactive, stinking everything up. It’s in the Oval Office. Every day Gallup tells you what percentage of your compatriots are cool with it, although it’s really more. 53% of white women voted for it. It’s stinking up the Democratic party too.

The founders of the start-up Witchsy invented a male co-founder (hilariously named Keith Mann) to correspond with people who were brushing them off. My social media feeds are full of women I know talking about how real it is — the disrespect, the brush-off, the battle to be recognized as a viable professional. It discouraged me more than usual. I’m turning 40 next year, and I want to take risks and move toward freelancing and my own creative projects. I want to Be Excellent. How clever will I have to be, and how bright will I have to burn, to compensate for my gathering invisibility, for my high voice, for my eyes welling up sometimes when I’m frustrated, for having a woman’s name and being a woman? Because I honestly don’t know if I’m up to that level of witchcraft. (It is worse for women who aren’t white like I am.)

When I was an ecology student 20 years ago, our professor’s wife—also an ecologist—told a group of us women students that the field was changing, turning female. We beamed—sounds great! She scowled. “Oh no, don’t get excited,” she said. “All that means is that ecology will be devalued, trashed, dismissed… and the pay will go down.”

At work, I’m on the outer administrative edges of a prolonged bureaucratic snafu involving a woman my boss is trying to bring onto our team from another team. I don’t know the details myself, but there’s been some thorniness that’s above my paygrade.

Today I wrote up a statement announcing that she would be joining us, and then I took it to her. I asked her if she thought it represented her well, if she was happy with the tone and the details provided. My boss was a little surprised that I’d done that since he’d signed off on it already. I said, without thinking, “I want her to feel a sense of control over her situation, and I want her to know we respect her.”

This has something to do with us being women. And something to do with Trump.

Everything is related and it’s exhausting.  

 

12:00 pm: One of the lucky ones 

At the White House Press Briefing today, the reporters returned again and again to just two themes: Are undocumented immigrants in Houston really going to be ok? Can their safety from ICE at shelters really be ensured? And what about the 800,000 young people in this country who are protected by DACA to study, live, and work in this country despite their immigration status? What is happening with DACA?

Fox News reported earlier in the day that Trump had already decided to kill DACA—something he’s been teasing and flirting with all week. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s stonewalling took on a new cruelty as she refused to confirm or deny or give any real answers. The repetition of the reporters’ questions was like bells tolling, in my mind. These were the humane questions. These were the urgent questions. These were the questions of conscience. This wasn’t grandstanding for TV. Don’t jerk people around about this. There’s no such thing as other people’s kids.

Tom Bossert from Homeland Security was at the briefing too. Tom often seems like a decent person in these situations, but he works for Trump so he’s made his bed. He took two Skype questions from Houston. These Skype questions—new with the Trump administration—have been a handy way to run down the clock on the reporters in the room. The Skype calls often feature cheesy, over-eager personalities from right-leaning outlets who praise Trump and then ask a pompous-sounding question that comes across as either extremely ideological or extremely pork barrel-ish.

Today it was two white guys from Houston, at separate outlets. They were both unshaven, haggard. The first guy was from Fox and he kind of leaned in and barked a question at the camera about the reservoir infrastructure and the army corps of engineers. His craggy head took up most of the screen when he leaned in, and he didn’t care. The second journalist seemed a bit shell-shocked that he had put himself on national television in bad greasy hat hair and a short-sleeved Under Armour shirt. His question was also about the immediate safety and survival for the people of Houston. Both those guys looked like they were sleeping at the station.

After the older guy’s question, Tom Bossert signed off with him by saying, “—and I hope your house hasn’t been affected.” It sounded so inadequate. That was the end of that call, the guy was effectively hung up on right at that point, so who knows about his house. But the guy’s life is probably scrambled. And he’s one of the lucky ones.

TOWOIT #221

August 29, 2017… Day 222

I love Twitter. I follow so many interesting people, especially reporters. But it’s all getting to be too much. The constant scanning and refreshing. The threads, the dipping in and out of bombshell reports, think pieces, and explainers. I have to put myself a little farther behind the flow of Twitter, start absorbing more things by listening to the radio and podcasts while I’m cooking or cleaning or walking or updating spreadsheets. Start consuming news in digest form. Miss some headlines. Miss some hot takes. Be a few hours or even a few days late on new developments.

After the election, I was like “throw all long-term personal goals out the window, hunker down, shelter in place, and shovel all discretionary funds and some of the savings toward non-profits full of professionals who can try to do something somehow to alleviate the sufferings and indignities of marginalized people in this administration. Bear witness, pay attention, watch, wait, look for opportunities to do something. But most of all, DO NOT LOOK AWAY.”

A few months of our national shit show seems to have hastened whatever mid-life crisis was already coming down the pike. Suddenly I’m taking classes, making big decisions, taking risks, starting projects, trying to change myself into a better version of myself, trying to expand.

It’s partly just the impostors everywhere. If Donald Trump can be President, I can accomplish A FEW of my fairly modest and sadly neglected life goals. I MEAN COME ON.

Also, there’s the sensation of impending doom. Authoritarianism. Climate change. Blah blah blah.

Also, there’s the hope that a bigger version of myself will have better ideas, more energy —  in some as-yet unknown way. This is probably bullshit in the same way that couples think maybe that extra baby they’re having will be the brilliant scientist that makes a crucial breakthrough, so it’s ok to people the earth further. Probably won’t even be a scientist. Your special scientist dream baby will probably just be average and befuddled like the rest of us, maybe even afraid of math! But you never know.

Also, there’s the feeling that other people who were already living their artistic dreams when Trump showed up have societal approval to make their art as if they are living the resistance through their craft or whatever BS you want to say about it — but for some reason I have to be a stooge in my cubicle tithing until it hurts? I’m going to make stuff too. I have things to say too, damnit.

So anyway, I’m too hooked on Twitter. I love it but I hate it. The time just slips away and disappears. I’m going to try to listen to national news and podcasts and just keep my eyes open for what I can see in my own city. Like what’s happening HERE. Not just have my head buried in the phone for every second of every bus ride, watching left-wingers battle each other to death via tweet.

(P.S. follow me @lilwould, obviously)

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TOWOIT #220

August 28, 2017… Day 221

I’ve mostly just been watching Harvey and Houston stuff. I picked away at my day job and then my personal writing project afterward, and I listened to some grisly podcasts that focused on Arpaio’s deeds. But mostly I just watched what was happening in Texas.

A woman is rescuing bats that are stuck under bridges and starting to drown as the water reaches them. Other people are rescuing dogs. Most people are rescuing humans. I’m really worried about all the people in their houses.

Over the weekend, I exchanged a few words with a man in Houston I don’t know at all–I found his tweet by scrolling through the Twitter hashtag, #HoustonFlood. He’s stuck in an apartment building in downtown Houston. He tweeted a video of cars beneath his window, stuck in the rising water, lights still on, people still inside. “People are dumb,” he says matter of factly, and then pans over to a big dog beside him, who is also watching out the window. He seems to have been addressing the dog, not his human Twitter audience.

I replied to the tweet to ask if he and the dog were still doing all right. He responded yesterday with information. And then tonight, out of the blue, he gave me another update. Still doing all right, and they were the lucky ones.

Here’s a thing that a U.S. president said:

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I’m tired of living inside a quirky comic book about a troublingly daft future.

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TOWOIT #218

August 26, 2017… Day 219

Black Lives Matter rally and march in Seattle.

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A lot of people came out. The BLM events I’ve been to since the election have been really diverse. A lot of different communities were represented — LGBT of all races, Asians, Latinx, black people, people of all races with mobility devices and service dogs, rafts of preppily dressed 13 year old girls of all races, walking arm in arm with their hair in long plaits and ponytails down their backs, old mom & pop white people (not just of the hippie variety), black-clad young scrappers of all races with kerchiefs over their faces.

Waiting for the event to start, I sat next to a middle-aged Japanese man who was making an origami x-wing fighter out of tracing paper, and an older white trans woman in a motorized wheelchair. They seemed to be friends who came there together. I thought they might be a couple at first, but she had a wedding ring and he didn’t. We talked about past BLM events we’d been to, and who we follow on Twitter who is trustworthy and not too “out there.”

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As we sat there, a Native man walked into the middle of the crowd and stood near us. He started yelling at no one in particular about how Black Lives Matter was stupid because it was a black man, Barack Obama, who tried to put a pipeline across tribal lands. The man seemed emotional and possibly mentally unstable. I thought he might have been one of the people who hang out near Westlake Center all day whether there is an event there or not.

He made eye contact with an ethnically ambiguous man with long black hair and started talking to him specifically about historical and present-day crimes against Native people, all the while disparaging black people and their concerns as secondary. The second man listened. When asked, he said he was Chinese and Scandinavian. The angry man said he wasn’t about to blame anything on the Chinese. The Chinese-Scandinavian man kept listening to his rant while keeping his body language firmly neutral.

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Then the Chinese-Scandinavian man shook the Native man’s hand and introduced himself. Without talking down to the guy, he gently explained his own point of view, that marginalized groups need to stick together and that the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t contrary to Native rights.

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The angry guy listened a lot more quietly and respectfully than I expected him to.

When the rally started, the sound system wasn’t sufficient and the crowd struggled to hear what the speakers were saying. What filtered through made it seem like the organizers did not have their most-experienced orators on hand. (This has felt true at almost every rally of every kind I’ve been to since the election, not just BLM — maybe it’s a lost art.) Still, the whole crowd sat quietly and strained to hear all of what was being said. The allyship (if you want to call it that) on display wasn’t “I’ll do this thing for you even though I’m not black, because I’m against racism.” It was far more like, “We all need each other and need to stick together, so thank you for organizing this worthwhile thing and for standing with me against Trumpism.”

As we started to march out of Westlake Center, two black men with loudspeakers seemed to be counter-protesting the rally. They seemed to be talking about black-on-black crime. A young black woman and I looked at each other quizzically. We were on the move and I didn’t get a picture but I saw that their t-shirts read “It Starts With One.” A block later, a scrawny red-faced white man ran alongside the marchers shrieking “ALL LIVES MATTER!!” And then in a crosswalk, two young men of unknown ethnicity and gelled-back hair scoffed at the marchers. “Get out of the street!” one yelled. Mostly people stood and watched. The white people had especially hard-to-read facial expressions. One black man grinned and threw a fist in the air as we went by. When we moved into a more residential area, a houseful of young Asians in cocktail attire whooped and hollered off the front porch of a sedate old wood-framed house.

I was talking to a trans woman as we passed that house and she said, “Most people are for this stuff, they just don’t come out and participate.” She showed me pictures on her phone that someone had sent her — photographs of herself at another BLM march. Someone sent her the photos to say “We know who you are.” A little later, we both noticed a tattoo running the length of a bicycle cop’s forearm. We tried to make out what it was, but could only conclude that it was Latin.

Later, on Facebook, someone posted a photo and the translation:IMG_5683

 

 

TOWOIT #217

August 25, 2017… Day 218

My angry fascination is verging into plain weariness this week. But today was especially a doozy. It’s pretty simple, really.

  • It’s a Friday night near the end of August
  • A giant, especially destructive hurricane is pounding the Texas coast as we speak. But there are still immigration checkpoints on the evacuation paths away from the coast.

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  • Also, Trump actually pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of a contempt of court charge for defying a judge’s ruling that he not impinge the civil rights of Latinos.
  • And Trump actually issued an official order banning transgender people in the military.
  • And he made very ominous noises about doing away with DACA altogether, which would put 800,000 young people at risk.
  • Trump is off to Camp David. As he walked to the helicopter, reporters asked him if he had any words for the people in Texas. He gave a thumb’s up and said “Good luck!”
  • Also, Seb Gorka was fired/resigned (??) which was below the radar in the headlines, even for me
  • And MANY things happened on the Russia front… you really can’t keep up with this stuff. But Rachel Maddow seems on top of it. Not to mention Robert Mueller.
  • Every few days there’s a think piece about how liberals have wishful thinking that something is going to happen to cause Trump to resign.
  • The alternative to Trump resigning looks like a backslide into dictatorship. I think this is true and a possibility. We are already backsliding away from democracy. Things get more ridiculous everyday. If he can get away with being this ridiculous, then he can dismantle our democratic institutions completely. It gets harder to believe that he can get away with it. But it also gets harder to believe that he’s gotten away with it all so far.
  • Oh yes, and North Korea fired more missiles
  • And Trump wants to diminish or do away with national monument designation for some public lands.
  • If you ever feel a lack of confidence, just remember that almost every week, the Pod Save America guys emphatically mispronounce the word percolate as though it’s perk-yoo-late. Jon Favreau also says ca-shay for the word cache (like storage cache). On the other hand, Jon Favreau is handsomer than you and I will ever be.

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Here are the questions that reporters asked at the press briefing today:

Continue reading TOWOIT #217

TOWOIT #215

August 23, 2017… Day 216

  • Post-eclipse let-down
  • Post-Phoenix horror daze
  • Talk about baseball and stuff
  • $700 million powerball happened
  • Taylor Swift released an album
  • Endless war in Afghanistan
  • In Clinton book excerpt, she calls Trump a creep, talks about dilemma of his physicality at the debate where he lurked around behind her
  • New Harvard study–only 77% of Bernie primary voters went on to vote for Hillary in the general. 12% of them voted for Trump.

TOWOIT #213

August 21, 2017… Day 214

The most charming part of the eclipse in Seattle today:

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The eclipse was good for us today. I made a pinhole projector out of a cereal box. My friend at work made eclipse sandwich cookies–a round flat chocolate cookie and a larger yellow butter cookie, pasted together with marzipan. A bunch of us stood in a parking lot near the office and watched the eclipse with other downtown people. I had a head full of bees, and cracked more jokes than usual. A surprising number of them landed, but then everyone was a little giddy. It’s hard to separate the celebration giggles from the true humor responses sometimes.

Trump is going to talk about Afghanistan soon.

Catching up on yesterday’s Twitter.

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This is brilliant to me:

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I’m sure there’s a way to work in the solar eclipse to that illustration (hood as eclipse viewer?).

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TOWOIT #212: Don’t @ Me, Bro

August 20, 2017… Day 213

So who is really the Tweeter-in-Chief? I looked at each day in the last few months that Obama tweeted. I added up his total number of likes for that day, and then divided it by the number of tweets. Most days he just tweeted once, but a couple days he tweeted two or three times. Then I did the same for Trump — just on the days Obama tweeted (to make it manageable to do this quickly and cleanly).

Trump sent a lot more tweets on those days, but look at his average like-per-tweet compared to Obama:

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I added trend lines to show that Obama’s tweets seem to be getting more popular, while Trump’s stay about the same.

Now, if you think that’s not really fair because Trump sent SO many more tweets on each of those days… let’s look at the TOTAL number of likes Obama and Trump got each day, regardless of whether it came from one tweet (Obama usually) or 4-16 tweets (Trump).

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Again, Obama in blue smokes Trump much of the time. Most notably, with the three tweets he sent just last week after Charlottesville — that outlier dot in the upper right.

I harvested these numbers early in the morning on Saturday, August 19 when I couldn’t sleep after the football game (so they could have changed a little since then). I don’t know about you, but a little data-entry and Excel graphing is often just what the doctor ordered.

 

 

TOWOIT #211

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August 19, 2017… Day 212

On Friday I was invited to a Seahawks pre-season game, last minute, with some women from work. I have worked with them for years but haven’t been too tight with them. They’re 10-15 years older than me and really funny. They are put-together, caustic, fun, a little drinky. So I was honored and I said yes.

I told my mom and she said, “I thought we were boycotting the NFL because of head injuries and they won’t give Colin Kaepernick a job.” My mom loves watching football and I think yelling “Run, you son of a bitch!” at the TV is an important form of therapy for her. I said, “I know, I feel like a hypocrite.” But I’d only ever watched the game on TV, never in the stadium, so it was an adventure and an opportunity.

“I thought we were boycotting the NFL because of head injuries and they won’t give Colin Kaepernick a job.”

When I got to the pub where we’d be pre-funcing, the women (who are all white, like me) were chatting at a round table with two black men. “Oh,” I thought, “We have gentleman friends along!” Actually my co-workers were just cleverly poaching the table as the men seemed to be leaving soon. It was a bit of a “we’re all suddenly best friends” situation though, super jocular between the men and women. Everyone teased me for having no Seahawks gear on.

We were in the hallway on our way to the stands when the anthem played. I couldn’t see anything. A clump of people were just standing with hands over their hearts, waiting to proceed to their seats. I wondered if anyone sat down with Michael Bennett. I wanted to ask someone when I sat down. I didn’t want to ask the group of black men seated directly behind us, because I didn’t want to seem like a nosey parker white lady about it. I didn’t want to ask the white guy sitting to my left, because I didn’t want him to think–even for a second–that I was inviting white disapproval of black protest.

A cop who had been shot raised the 12th Man flag. I knew about him from the news. The stadium swelled with heroic orchestral music and the crowd was rapturous. The camera swung around behind him and displayed the crowd below him — thousands of people at his feet, roaring applause. There were fireworks. It was thrilling on a visceral level, but then again–team spirit is a close cousin to tribalism, nationalism, and mob mentality. I thought, “I guess we’ll still all have a nice time doing this when the bill of rights is gone.”

“I guess we’ll still have a nice time doing this when the Bill of Rights is gone”

We watched the game and had fun. The seats were wonderful. My companions joked a lot with the row of black men behind them and then an older white woman in front of us turned around and said, “Could you quiet down? All I can hear is your talking!!” She scowled at us. We were collectively a little too drunk to take criticism well. I whispered to the woman next to me, “I’m such a people-pleaser that this is killing me” and she guffawed. The woman on the other side of her said too loudly, “Well fuck you, lady, it’s not the symphony.”

A beer vendor in a silly hat passed by in the aisle. He looked really familiar. We smiled at each other. I saw him again when the women and I were making a herd-like run to the ladies room. He said, “Hey, we know each other!” But we still couldn’t figure it out. He asked me if I was part of the glass-blowing world. I wasn’t. I asked him if he’d lived in Alaska. He hadn’t.

After the game, the women and I went to another bar to get something to eat. The bartender and the waiters, the clientele, the decor — it all reminded me of working at a steak and seafood place in Juneau in a windowless cave inside an old art deco hotel. The conversations between us four women turned deeper and more serious. There were workplace rifts, hurts, slights, and burdens that I never knew about. We were eating these delicious teriyaki steak skewers and slowing down and drinking water. We were almost speaking baldly about real gender issues.

But a man to the left of me at the bar inserted himself into the conversation. A couple of the women were still feeling mischievous enough that they bantered back with him. This was a guy who bragged about the size of the diamond in his wife’s engagement ring, as he was flirting with my co-worker. He bragged about knowing a lot about whiskey. He bragged about knowing at least three different well-placed merchants who could get you a very high quality this or a very premium that. He bragged about the steak he was eating. The TV was right above us, and the Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll came on. The sound was off. “Look at that broken nose,” said one woman. “It looks good,” said another. One of them looked at the guy next to me and said “You have a broken nose. Like Daniel Craig!” There was then some friendly one-upsmanship about James Bond trivia. I said something casually about how a woman Bond would be fun, and the man said, “NO. James Bond is a man. That’s the way that it is. People are trying too hard to change society. Everything is fine the way it is!” I already thought he was a serious blowhard up to that point, but the vehemence with which he turned a lighthearted conversation on Bond trivia to an indictment of meddling feminists — well, I had his number.

“No. James Bond is a man. That’s the way it is.”

So then Michael Bennett came on the TV screen. He was wearing a camouflage shirt and his beard and hair were a little longer and less-kempt than I remembered seeing them. The reporters were probably asking him about why he sat down, but I couldn’t read his lips. I still didn’t know if anyone had joined him. The man next to me said, “So what do you guys think about–” (Don’t say it! I thought) “–Michael Bennett sitting down during the anthem?” One of my companions said, “You know what? It is what it is.” She said it a bit curtly, like she didn’t want to talk about it. In that moment I was a little  disappointed in that reply, but it turned out to be the least disappointing thing in the conversation.

The man went on to say that HE was in the military, HE had been around the world twice, HE had been in Afghanistan, HE was a firefighter now. And the flag was sacred cloth, and America paid those football players’ salaries. And the women I was with seemed to be just nodding along and letting him run with it. “My grandfather was a marine, so I get it,” said one. And the man said, “I’ve had to deal with some unsavory characters and I just want to tell them to go fuck themselves.” At this point I looked at my watch, stood up, turned to the man and said, “I support Michael Bennett 100% and I’d like to tell you to go fuck yourself.” I turned to the women and said, “I’ll see you all on Monday!” waved cheerily, and left.

“My grandfather was a Marine, so I get it”

This crap, this crap one week after Charlottesville. I was livid. I was vibrating on an unholy frequency. This is White America.

At the bus stop, a young black man approached me, saying he needed $20 for something. He interrupted his pitch to say, “Oh, you have the prettiest smile.” He had a lisp and was smaller than I was. He was really young. He had a southern accent and said he came to Seattle from Lynchburg, Tennessee. The Confederacy, I thought. I readily handed over a $20. This looks like white guilt, but I’m sorry you had to put up with so much crap, kid. I didn’t care if I was being scammed, right then. I just wanted to feel slightly less gross by doing a good turn for someone.

Michael Bennett is from a military family. Michael Bennett gets all of that the-flag-is-sacred-cloth stuff. He gets it. How hard is it — how hard is it really — to just imagine that you, as a white person, do not understand what black people go through in this country. That you just don’t get it. That there are things worth sitting down during the anthem for. That it is ok to see that. I wished I’d had the presence of mind to say some of that, any of that.

I was halfway home on the bus when I realized I was still clutching the big white linen napkin from the restaurant. It was smeared with teriyaki sauce from the skewers, which I had not eaten in a ladylike manner. I looked ridiculous.

The next day, Saturday, I was rattled and jangled still. I mentioned what happened to a white friend and she said I seemed awfully angry lately — that maybe I should consider getting help with my anger issues and how I react to people. Maybe I was too dialed in to politics, she gently suggested.

I don’t want to get less angry. Another friend of mine is a woman of color, is married to an immigrant from Mexico, has a little girl, and has spent her whole professional life as a community organizer among low-income people of color — SHE can look away from the news if it helps her. SHE can avoid the added hurt and anger that the headlines and Donald Trump’s face give her. SHE can be unaware of what’s happening in Washington, D.C. and cite self-care as the reason. But I’m a white woman who works in the financial industry. I damn well better pay attention to what’s happening. And if that means crackling with bad feelings, then that’s just what it means.

“I’m a white woman who works in the financial industry. I damn well better pay attention to what’s happening.”

On Saturday, the Boston counter-protest marches dwarfed the white supremacist rally. My white neighbor, sitting on her stoop, told me frankly that she would spend the rest of her life rooting out hidden racist tendencies in her brain, and dismantling institutional racism however she could. A (normally) annoyingly zen white yoga teacher friend put our entire Trump-voting hometown on blast in an uncharacteristically angry Facebook post. “This post seems shaming,” commented one person. “Yeah. That’s because it is shaming,” he replied.

On Saturday, I learned that no one sat down with Michael Bennett. But a white team-mate, Justin Britt, had hung back and stood right next to Bennett, with his hand on Bennett’s shoulder. It was a show of support. A frustrating display in some ways — why not just also sit down, Justin? — but it was something, it was not nothing. I hope.

On Saturday, I finally remembered where I knew that white guy who was selling beers at the game. It was at a day-long anti-racism workshop in the spring. He was called out for something by a young Latina and an older white woman sprang to his defense. No, no, he calmly said, gesturing that the white woman stand down. He didn’t come there to not be called out. He came there to learn.

 

Update: When I saw the women on Monday, they didn’t seem bothered at all by my abrupt style of exiting, and said that the guy was a creep and they hoped not to run into him again.

TOWOIT #209: Juggalos vs. Proud Boys

August 17, 2017… Day 210

**Promotional Nepotism Break**

My dearly beloved, who is a good person, a booster, a staid friend, a man who works quietly behind the scenes, an all-around unsung hero and the person who always shows up with a big car to help people move… THAT guy has a modest little Kickstarter going for a nifty illustrated fan-zine that brings together several of the coolest independent comics artists on the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver,BC corridor. I would like for him to have big success. In return for how he handled (handles) my voluble and recurring post-election storms with kindness and true emotional support, I now must do all I can to put eyes on his Kickstarter so that his quirky, arty, toilet-themed, sumptuously illustrated movie review book will see the light of day. Here’s the link.

HERE’s one of the rewards (designed by Brandon Graham aka @royalboiler):

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*** And we now return to our regularly scheduled program, Nightmare World with Lil ***

 

This August 16, 1973 would also make a great enamel pin:

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All across the media and the Internet, people are talking like this is a real turning point for the Trump Administration. Not the kind they used to talk about, the pivot, but a kind from which there’s no turning back for Trump. His ghostwriter for Art of the Deal thinks Trump will resign by the end of the year.

But I’ll believe it when it happens. Too many unbelievable things already happened to get us here. Plus, last night Rachel Maddow made vague intimations of the first signs of something maybe going awry with the Mueller investigation. And there’s always the threat of a big distracting war. So I’m not holding my breath.

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I’m just waiting to see what happens when the Juggalos march on Washington and come across the Proud Boys next month.

Speaking of which, a warning just came into my Facebook timeline, all the way from Japan:

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Thank you and goodnight.