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Catharsis

I woke up this morning feeling sick and exhausted and more hopeless than I’ve ever felt in my life. I was surprised by the waking up part, since I felt like I’d never slept. And when I did sleep, I was dreaming about Electoral College tallies. My head hurt, my heart was heavy, and the only reason I got out of bed was because I had a haircut appointment. I spent the better part of the day wandering around like a zombie.

I am a mild political junkie and I love Election Day and participating in the process. If you are Facebook friends with me, you might have noticed my ebullient posting yesterday, until things got grim in the evening. I was giddy when I went to vote, and felt optimistic all day that Hillary was going to win. I called my grandma to talk about whether she ever thought she’d get to see a woman president.  I was hearing from friends throughout the day, checking in to share excitement or see how I was holding up with the waiting, and I was feeling the happy glow of camaraderie. And then in the evening, I started hearing from friends filled with anxiety and confusion. What was happening? How was this happening? What are we going to do?

I have been emotionally invested in elections before. I was depressed when Gore lost to Bush, which seems ridiculous now. I was moved to tears when President Obama won both times. But nothing before has affected me like this election. I’ve never cried off and on all day because my candidate lost. And misery loves company, but it’s grueling to scan my Facebook feed and see how many of us are heartbroken and truly scared about our future.

My despair is very distinctly twofold.

I am ill that Trump was elected. I can barely bring myself to type his name. I hold the office of president in high regard. I respect the office even when I don’t like the individual. But I can’t bring myself to put his name next to that title. (I think I’m solidly in denial at the moment.)

I could rattle off a litany of people I’m scared for, but it’s easier to say just assume that if you’re not a straight white Christian man, I share your anxiety, and I will fight for you. I will fight for you.

But separate from my terror over the bigotry, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and on and on, is my heartbreak that Hillary lost.

When my sister and I were little, we had a book called “Girls Can Be Anything” by Norma Klein. It was about how girls can be, well, anything: doctors, pilots, judges, EVEN President of United States.

Except that book is a big fat lie. I had it when I was a child and I’m 45 and a woman has yet to serve in the highest leadership role. I knew I wanted it, but I didn’t know how badly I wanted it. I am self-employed and I live in a little bubble and I don’t have to deal with a lot of sexism in my everyday life, but I witness it horribly in my friends’ professional lives. And we have men controlling the majority of the governing and even though not all men are sexist, we need women representing us. If you think it doesn’t matter, you’re wrong. It matters. It matters. It matters so much. We need women representing us and we need women showing girls that women CAN be fucking anything, EVEN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. And when it started becoming clear last night that Hillary was going to lose, I cried. Because the most qualified candidate maybe ever lost to a narcissistic incompetent lying bigot. What do we have to do to get a woman elected??

And I feel so sad for my mom and my grandma. They are strong, badass women who have shown me that women CAN do anything and have done all sorts of hard things to make things better for me and women following along behind me. I was so excited for them to see a woman be elected president. I thought we were poised for a huge leap forward, and instead we took about 25 steps backwards.

I should be filled with rage. I’m so confused that I’m not. Instead I’m consumed with sadness, except when I’m completely numb. For weeks I’ve been clicking “angry” on most political posts, but today I can only click “sad”. And I kind of wish I was overwhelmingly angry, because it can be motivating.  You can channel anger into something positive. Sadness weighs you down and makes it hard to move forward.

This morning I cried and cried and cried. And pretty much anytime I talked to another human, I cried some more, and fortunately everyone I crossed paths with this morning knew where I was coming from.  I wanted to call my grandma, but I had to wait until I could hold it together, and when I did, she told me she hadn’t wanted to talk to me because she didn’t want to make me feel worse, because she knew. And then she told me stories I hadn’t heard before, like about when she got the Temple to recognize women as full-fledged voting members in their own right, not as wives of members.

I’ve been pretty lost today, and the only thing that has made sense has been connecting with people. So you might’ve gotten a message from me just telling you that you matter to me, much like I got messages from several of you asking how I’m doing. I’m profoundly grateful for that, especially for those of you saying it’s ok to lick our wounds for a day or so, but then we need to pick ourselves up and get back to it. And for those of you saying you don’t know what the answer is, but we need to do something, so let’s talk about what that might be.  She is right, we are definitely stronger together.

I hope we’re wrong. I hope things aren’t as grim as they feel. I hope I get actual sleep tonight and I hope I feel better tomorrow than I did today.  So somehow in the face of my own crushing hopelessness, I still hope.

And because I know this makes everything a little less bleak, here’s a picture of my dog. Goodnight, friends. Get some rest. I love you.

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Impotent

Oh man. I haven’t blogged in a while. Excuse me while I unload my brain for a few minutes.

I’m having such a hard time articulating how I feel, but I FEEL like I need to get it out. Like I need to say something. Like silence isn’t an option. But I’m so overwhelmed and exhausted by the world that not only don’t I know what to say, I don’t even know what to focus on. Just a few days ago my dad commented about how there are so many terrorist attacks by ISIS happening around the world that you can’t give them their due attention and shock and dismay. That it’s becoming literally a daily occurrence. And then Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police and I determinedly avoided watching the graphic video of it actually happening. I’m horrified enough, I don’t need to see it, can’t see it. And then Thursday morning, after successfully avoiding the video the day before, I turned on the Today Show when I woke up, and before I even had my glasses on or was really paying attention, I heard them talking about it, about a black man being shot and killed by police, and I thought, “Please don’t let them play the video,” but they did, and I still didn’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t see, but the audio wasn’t making sense and then they said something about Minneapolis and that didn’t make sense either because Alton Sterling was in Baton Rouge, but of course they weren’t talking about that, they were talking about Philando Castile. And all I could think was, “Now this is a daily occurrence too?” And I can’t take it, I can’t take it anymore, and I’m not even the person who should most be at a breaking point. I’m a white woman, the opposite of a black man if humans have opposites, which of course we don’t. But really we should all be at a breaking point. From everything. We should still be mourning for Orlando and fighting for a commonsense conversation about guns and gun violence and instead that is old news because so many other terrible things have already happened and who can even remember. I’m angry and I’m tired and my heart hurts and a crazy, terrifying person is running for president and there are too many problems and no solutions. I’ve said this in conversation to people kind of as a joke, but I’m not really joking anymore. You know how in a slightly futuristic, post-apocalyptic movie they start with some voiceover about how civilization as we know it ended? Right before the machines took over or the aliens arrived or the government fell and everything was chaos and bad? That’s what I feel like we’re living in. And everything is so broken that I don’t know how it can ever be righted. And it’s terrifying. And I’m glad I don’t have kids, because I wouldn’t want them to live in a world where a sexist egotistical lying hypocritical bigot is a viable candidate for president. Yep. I thought Trump was the next Hitler, but apparently he’s Mr. Hart from Nine to Five. AND WHILE I’VE BEEN WRITING THIS, THERE WAS A MOTHERFUCKING SHOOTING AT A BLACK LIVES MATTER EVENT IN DALLAS. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW? Guns are not the answer. Violence is not the answer. Trying to eliminate someone with whom you disagree is not the answer. Reports say two police officers were shot. Make that three. Four. MSNBC can’t keep up. One of them has died.

I don’t know what to do. I literally don’t know what, as a human who wants the world to be a better place, who wants this madness and violence to end, to do. What can I do? What can any of us do? I’m legitimately asking – I would love to hear suggestions. I’m pretty sure posting on Facebook isn’t the answer (although I feel that silence is becoming complicity and I don’t know what to do about that feeling either). Black lives matter. I am a straight ally for the LGBT community. I believe in gun control. I support a woman’s right to reproductive choice and freedom. I want to see an end to rape culture. All of these movements and causes are under constant assault and have endless need. They are all very important to me. But I’m only one person. I only have so much to give, and I feel splintered and impotent. I just looked up “impotent” in the dictionary, as I often do when I’m writing and I want to make sure I have the correct nuance I’m going for. The second definition is “utterly unable.” Yep, nailed it.

Utterly unable.

And the crawl at the bottom of the screen beneath the horrible story unfolding in Dallas is filled with deaths and injuries in various bombings around the world.

And the number of deaths in Dallas keeps going up.

I need to go to bed. I woke up to horrific, heartbreaking, soul-wearying news. And I’m going to bed to completely different horrific, heartbreaking, soul-wearying news. Who can take this anymore?

Wonka’s Rules for Trick-or-Treating

I am a big fan of Halloween. In fact, it is my favorite holiday. Why my favorite, you ask? Because it’s all about playing dress up and eating candy, and you don’t have to go to church/synagogue/etc., and there are no family obligations. (No offense, family.) And its accent color is purple, which coincidentally is my accent color as well. I decorate my house with sparkly-creepy things. I have a costume closet. Some years I throw parties. I am completely envious of my friends with Halloween birthdays – I would rock that shit. And I am always home for trick-or-treaters.

As part of the trick-or-treating social contract let me assure you that I more than hold up my end of the deal. I dress up. Some years it’s just my glow-in-the-dark “COSTUME” t-shirt and my sparkly horns, but that totally counts. My porch light is always on. I never run out of treats. I never give out shitty candy. (True, I don’t always give out candy, but when I do it’s the good stuff. Fun size, but brand-name. None of those foul orange & black wrapped peanut butter things in Wonkaland!) Some years (like this one) I do give out pencils instead of candy, but that is not lame. They are FUN pencils, and as we will discuss later, they are legit treats.

In exchange I have a few rules that I propose we implement. I think most people are abiding by these already, but every year there are some blatant offenders, so clearly we need to spell things out. I do give treats to everyone, even the lame-os, but I would like to have the option to banish someone from my porch, treatless, for not living up to the agreed upon expectations.

Let’s start with a fundamental reminder: I do not owe you anything. I choose to participate, but this should be fun for both of us. If you abuse the situation too much, it might take the fun out of it for me. I noticed there weren’t very many porch lights on along my street; maybe too many people have lost the fun already. Here’s your chance to save Halloween!

Rule one: You. Must. Say “trick-or-treat”. You may not just stand there and stare at me until I put treats in your bag. It’s ok if someone needs to prompt you, or if your big brother says it for the both of you. If you do not, I will stand there and stare back at you.

Rule two: Say thank you. Tons and tons and tons of kids do, which is awesome. Even if you think my pencils are stupid (which they are not), say thank you. It could be worse, I could be giving out those little two-packs of Sweetarts. Also, chaperoning parents, I think it’s awesome when you say thanks too. It’s not mandatory, but it’s a lovely touch to acknowledge that we’ve shelled out some bucks and set aside some time to do something nice for your kid.

Rule three: You have to wear something that could be considered a costume. Or even just elements of a costume. Put on a funny hat and a weird jacket – I don’t have to be able to identify what you’re dressed up as, just that you tried. Hint: I’ll probably give you extra treats if you have an awesome costume. If your costume is covered up with a coat and other weather-appropriate garb, I am totally understanding of that – no worries. But if you have made zero effort and you’re just wearing a hoodie and jeans, you aren’t trick-or-treating, you’re going door to door begging. If you can’t be bothered to put on SOMETHING resembling a costume, you shouldn’t be out there. Have some pride, some creativity, don’t be lame. I don’t care if teenagers who are kind of too old to trick-or-treat come around as long as they put in good faith effort. Also, side note, because this rule really is for the older kids, make eye contact. I don’t care if you’re an awkward teen. Look me in the eye when you say thank you. It won’t kill you, I promise!

Rule four: Parents, we are moving on to you now. This is something I’ve noticed more and more of the last few years, and it bothers me more than anything else in this list. Quit taking your baby trick-or-treating. I’m not a parent, but I’m guessing that if the kid can’t walk and the kid can’t talk, the kid shouldn’t be eating candy either. You’re not fooling anyone, you’re using your baby to get free candy for yourself. I’m sure you’re excited for Baby’s First Halloween. Go ahead, buy an overpriced costume. Take a billion pictures. Go “trick-or-treating” at the grandparents’ houses. Get some candy to have at home. But don’t drag your baby all over the neighborhood under the guise that this experience is somehow for her.

Rule five: Don’t carry a bag for a baby in a stroller (see rule four), or the sick kid at home, or anyone not present. Trick-or-treating is definitely a “you must be present to win” situation. Being sick on Halloween is the worst. Parents should definitely do something to make up for it. But that’s your job, not mine. Share the candy collected. Buy candy. But the second bag smacks of fake.

Rule six: And parents, you again. Don’t carry your own bag. I give you props for being honest about your intentions, and if someone offers you something, awesome, take it. But trick-or-treating alongside your kids? Seriously?

Geez…reviewing this, it kind of seems like parents are the ones fucking it up the most, doesn’t it? The kids actually do pretty awesome for the most part. Don’t freak out and get all defensive now, I’m not talking about all parents.

The pencil treats were actually a pretty good gauge of who should and shouldn’t be trick-or-treating. The really little kids totally didn’t get it, and mostly seemed to be eyeballing me to see where the actual candy was. The big kids gave mumbled thank yous. But the kids in the middle, six to twelvish, were full of “cool, pencils!” True story. Glad they liked them, too, because I have enough for probably three more Halloweens. 😀

So what do you think about the rules? Can we all get on board with this? Did I miss anything? I’m happy to add to the list before the implementation phase.

And because it IS my favorite holiday and I don’t want to sound like a big grump, let’s end on a high note, with one of my Halloween traditions: the sharing of the Muppets!

The Muppets: Cårven Der Pümpkîn

Share the road, motherfuckers!

Of all the kinds of asshole there are in the world, I have decided that the worst kind are the fucking crazy kind.

Tonight my dad and I had just set off for a bike ride, enjoying the unseasonably cool July weather. The local trail system goes right past his neighborhood, so we jumped on and headed off, riding through a nearby park ready to cruise toward downtown. We had to cross a major road, but they have done a pretty decent job trying to make the crossing as safe as possible. The light was red when we got there. We waited for the walk signal, and then set off in the crosswalk. Unfortunately, the jackwagon in the monster truck also waiting at the light decided not to yield the right of way, and came alarmingly close to running me down in his impatience to turn the corner. I shouted and stopped; he stopped. When I realized it was safe to cross, I started up again. As he turned behind us, he yelled at us. The car behind him yelled at us also. When the driver of the truck yelled “fuck you” at us, my dad yelled it back. We had the right of way, asshole.

What happened next was truly frightening. Mr. Crazy Asshole drove across a four-lane road, off the road, across the grass, to cut us off on the trail, where he got out of his truck and approached my dad (who was ahead of me) yelling profanities. Are you fucking kidding me? I don’t remember what he called my dad…an old fucker, maybe? So, yeah, nice job respecting your elders (or just other humans). He definitely called me a fucking cunt. That’s an unspeakable word in my world, so to casually toss that off at a stranger, I’m thinking you have some issues. And perhaps the most insane part was one of the things he screamed at us was that it had been a mistake and what did we want him to do about it now? Um…how about not go completely insane and threaten us? At some point he decided he’d accomplished whatever he set out to do and got back in his truck and drove off.

I’ve had people yell at me on my bike before, but never anything like this. I just don’t understand why people get so angry at the mere presence of bicycles. We weren’t even riding IN the road, just wanted to cross it to ride on the goddamn trail. And unbelievably, when we were riding home and crossing at that same intersection, the oncoming turning car did yield the right of way (thank you, person!) and the car behind her leaned on the horn. What. The. Actual. Fuck. Fortunately everything in between was uneventful and fun.

I told some friends about it when I got home and one shared that she carries pepper spray when she rides. That’s really not my style, but neither is getting verbally assaulted by nutbags.

And I will say this: adrenaline makes me pedal fast.

Share-Road-Sign-K-4296

I like winter, and I’m not sorry

If you think this post is about you, it’s not. And it is. It’s not directed at any one person or interaction, it’s based on weeks of everybody.

I am a Midwestern girl. I have lived here my entire life, and I like it. I understand the appeal of living someplace with perfect weather all year long, but I sincerely mean it when I say I wouldn’t want to live someplace where we didn’t have all four seasons.

And I really do love winter. I love snow. LOVE. And in case you live under a rock or are from a different country, it has been quite the winter this year. We’ve had a lot of snow. We’ve had some periods of extremely cold temperatures. And we’ve had A LOT of snow. Yes, so much that it merits being mentioned twice. And as far as I’m concerned, this is the best winter we’ve had in years! Usually we don’t get much snow, or it doesn’t last very long. Not this year. I was out yesterday morning shoveling the almost one foot of new snow and I was struggling to figure out where to put it. The mounds lining my sidewalks are already so tall that it was quite an effort to launch more snow onto or over them. I’m thinking of putting in a ski lift on the biggest one. I was exhausted when I was finished. And I felt great. A few hours later Ruby Dogwonkafonka and I went for a walk around the neighborhood.  Sidewalks weren’t clear and we traipsed through some stretches with snow almost to the top of my boots. We slipped and slid walking in the middle of the street, where ice was the layer beneath the snow. I almost wiped out multiple times. We had a blast.

Winter is a big adventure.  That’s my outlook.

And even though I don’t think I should have to defend my affection for the season, I will acknowledge that I have a good gig working from home, and that it makes it easier to love the snow when I’m not required to drive in it every day. I’m not opposed to driving in it though – I sometimes have a weather-be-damned attitude that causes me to venture out when perhaps it isn’t the smartest move. (I do this much less often now that I don’t have AWD or 4WD.) Getting the car out of my alley is usually the biggest challenge; if I can do that, I’m good to go.

Here’s what I don’t understand.

Why are people so angry with me for liking winter? Because they sure seem to be.  At the very least, they act like I’m crazy and that there’s something wrong with it.

I don’t understand people who like heat and humidity, but that doesn’t mean I think they’re wrong. We’re just different. It’s kind of like being a morning person versus a night owl. One isn’t better than the other. We’re just different. And as with many things in life, you don’t choose which you are, you just are what you are.

So let’s make a deal. You don’t have to like winter, but please stop trying to squelch my fun. If I get excited when more snow is in the forecast, remember that my glee doesn’t actually cause the snow.  I’m sorry you are cold and miserable. Get better socks.

And now, a list! Things I love about snow and winter!

  • A fire in the fireplace. Nothing is cozier or homier. And it might include s’mores.
  • Fuzzy socks.
  • The way fresh snow sparkles in the sun.
  • Watching dogs romp in the snow. Sylvia freaking loved snow. She would run like a maniac around the yard and dip her head to lap some into her mouth without breaking stride. She would stick her entire head into a snowbank. Dogs and snow make me happy.
  • Warm blankies, some of which I might’ve actually made myself.
  • The really beautiful socks and scarf I bought in Ireland. The socks are super warm and I would never be able to wear those without cold weather. My feet would explode otherwise.
  • My new purple coat.
  • Hot chocolate. Maybe with booze.
  • The way my dog sleeps smashed up against me when she’s cold.
  • My amazing red mittens that keep your hands warm and dry EVEN IF YOU DUNK THEM IN A BUCKET OF WATER.
  • Deciding to spend the day sitting inside wrapped in a blanket reading a good book. Or watching a favorite movie. Or napping.
  • Homemade chili.
  • Shoveling. Yes, I enjoy shoveling. I find it satisfying.
  • Karma points earned by shoveling for a neighbor.
  • The camaraderie and neighborliness of people helping each other get cars dug out, unstuck, etc. This happens a lot in neighborhoods where you have lots of on-street parkers.
  • Turning the heat up one degree higher on a really cold day.
  • The way the world looks after a wet snow when everything is coated and beautiful.
  • Snowmen, snow angels, snow forts.
  • Going for a walk while it’s snowing, and everything seems extra quiet and still.
  • Snow days! (I get it, we’ve had a lot of them this year.)
  • The fact that snow isn’t rain. 38 degrees and rainy is probably the most miserable weather I can imagine.

And as usual, Frazz gets me. 🙂

Frazz

 

ps….I wrote this yesterday; today I got my car stuck trying to pull into the alley to get to my garage. Really stuck. Four strangers with shovels dug and pushed and dug some more and pushed and finally got me dislodged. And this does not change any of the above. All part of the adventure! Thank you, strangers!! 🙂

You can’t handle the truth!

A lot of you are friends with me on Facebook and are likely well aware that I am caught up at the moment in the fight against HJR-3, a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would define marriage as solely between one man and one woman.  I’m going to write more about that one of these days – I keep trying to get my thoughts into a cohesive lump instead of the ranty outbursts I post on Facebook. But today is not that day; today I have a little comic relief for you. But first, a little background.

Here’s the wording of the proposed amendment:

“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

The first sentence is bad enough, but the second is wildly troubling even for some who are opposed to marriage equality. It has opened up all kinds of questions and even led to a supporting bill theoretically defining the intent of the amendment.  

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to listen to several area representatives speak, and one of them suggested that even though he found the second sentence troubling, he still supports the amendment. I was (naturally) pissed. Today, however, he (with some others) filed an amendment to remove the second sentence.  I emailed the encouraging news to a friend with whom I’d been discussing it over the weekend, and got this back in response. It’s freakin’ awesome.  

But first, before we get to that, this is a wildly important issue, and if you are looking for more information or want to know how to get involved in the fight for equality for ALL Hoosiers, please visit Freedom Indiana (or ask me questions – I am happy to talk about it).

HOLY CRAP, while I was getting this together the amendment to remove the second sentence was passed! But this is still awesome and funny and timely so you’re getting it anyway. 🙂

I did not write anything below this line – all from my clever friend. (Sorry about the somewhat wonky formatting.)

__________________________________________________________

Good for him. Now maybe he – or anybody in the media – could start asking folks what the heck the second sentence does or means. We supposedly have an entire bill, HB 1153, that describes what the second sentence doesn’t do. Namely, that it’s not there to take away benefits, rights, etc. So why is it there?

If the institution of marriage between man and woman is so fundamental – a truism – that itself connotes only one meaning, then why would you need a second sentence? Its removal does nothing…unless of course it does exactly what it sounds like it does.

I’d like the exchange to go a little something like A Few Good Men

 

                                      WENDY

                              (continuing; beat)

                         Speaker, I have just one more question

                         before I call the Indy Chamber and

                         Indiana University: If you gave an order

                         that Marriage wasn’t to be touched,

                         and your orders are always followed,

                         then why would marriage be in danger, why

                         would it be necessary to have

                         the second sentence?

 

               And SPEAKER has no answer.

 

               Nothing.

 

               He sits there, and for the first time, seems to be lost.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Gay marriage is a sub-standard form of

                         union. The second sentence is offered

                         because —

 

                                     WENDY

                         But that’s not what you said. You

                         said the amendment was to protect “marriage.”

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (pause)

                         Yes. That’s correct, but —

 

                                     WENDY

                         You said, “Marriage was in danger”. I said,

                         “Grave danger”. You said —

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Yes, I recall what —

 

                                     WENDY

                         I can have the Court Reporter read

                         back your —

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         I know what I said. I don’t need it

                         read back to me like I’m a damn —

 

                                     WENDY

                         Then why the two sentences?

                              (beat)

                         Speaker?

                              (beat)

                         Why did you —

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Sometimes legislators take matters into their

                         own hands.

 

                                     WENDY

                         No sir. You made it clear just a

                         moment ago that legislators

                         could not take matters into their own hands.

                         Marriage is between man and woman. So

                         Marriage shouldn’t have been in any

                         danger at all, should it have,

                         Speaker?

 

               Everyone’s sweating now. Everyone but WENDY.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You little bastard.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Your Honor, I have to ask for a recess

                         to —

 

                                     WENDY

                         I’d like an answer to the question,

                         Counselor.

 

                                     JUDGE

                         The Court’ll wait for answer.

 

                                     WENDY

                         If Turner told his men that Marriage

                         wasn’t to be touched, then why did

                         it have to have a second sentence?

 

               SPEAKER is looking at Long and Morris.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (continuing)

                         Speaker?

 

               SPEAKER says nothing.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (continuing)

                         Turner ordered the second sentence, didn’t

                         he? Because that’s what you told

                         him to do.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Object!

 

                                    JUDGE

                         Legislators…

 

               WENDY will plow through the objections of LEHMAN and the

               admonishments of the Judge.

 

                                     WENDY

                         And when it went bad, you cut these

                         guys loose.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Your Honor —

 

                                    JUDGE

                         That’ll be all, counsel.

 

                                     WENDY

                         You had Judiciary hold a phony

                         Committee hearing —

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Counselor —

 

                                     WENDY

                         You doctored the committee meetings.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Damnit WENDY!!

 

                                     WENDY

                         I’ll ask for the fourth time. You

                         ordered —

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You want answers?

 

                                     WENDY

                         I think I’m entitled to them.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You want answers?!

 

                                     WENDY

                         I want the truth.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You can’t handle the truth!

 

               And nobody moves.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (continuing)

                         Son, we live in a world that has

                         walls. And those walls have to be

                         guarded by old white men. Who’s gonna

                         do it? You? You, Rep. Heuer? I

                         have a greater responsibility than

                         you can possibly fathom. You weep

                         for gays and you curse our

                         marriage. You have that luxury. You

                         have the luxury of not knowing what

                         I know: That squashing gay rights, while

                         tragic, probably saved lives. And my

                         existence, while grotesque and

                         incomprehensible to you, saves lives.

                              (beat)

                         You don’t want the truth. Because

                         deep down, in places you don’t talk

                         about at parties, you want me on

                         that wall. You need me on that wall.

                              (boasting)

                         We use words like honor, code,

                         freedom… we use these words as the

                         backbone to a life spent defending

                         bigotry. You use ’em as a punchline.

                              (beat)

                         I have neither the time nor the

                         inclination to explain myself to a

                         man who rises and sleeps under the

                         blanket of the very freedom I provide,

                         then questions the manner in which I

                         provide it. I’d prefer you just said

                         thank you and went on your way.

                         Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a

                         weapon and stand a post. Either way,

                         I don’t give a damn what you think

                         you’re entitled to.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (quietly)

                         Did you order the second sentence?

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (beat)

                         I did the job you sent me to do.

 

                                     WENDY

                         Did you order the second sentence?

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (pause)

                         You’re goddamn right I did.

 

Let there be light! Or…color. Or…contrast. Or…something!

Guess what I did today?

I changed the light bulb in my TV!

Yes, I did. All by myself.

I used tools and everything.

Well…a screwdriver. Which is a tool. One tool. Ooh, and I used a box cutter to open the box, so we’ll stick with tools, plural.

And it was quite difficult, you should be very impressed.

Actually, it was super easy, but you should still be impressed, because you didn’t even know TVs had light bulbs, did you?

Well, they do. Ok, some do. Including mine.

Many years ago (let’s say 8 or 9 but probably not 10), my then husband and I bought a BIG, HUGE, SHINY NEW TV. And we got a DLP (which stands for Digital Light Processing, which is interesting, because I thought it was Digital Light Projector so we see how much I know, which is almost nothing) TV. One of the reasons we chose DLP instead of a flat screen is because they told us the TV could last forever, theoretically, and would just need to have the bulb inside replaced from time to time.

And apparently “from time to time” is a really long time, because this is the first time I’ve replaced the bulb since we separated five and a half years ago. The ex & I. The TV and I have a solid relationship. Together forever. (I wish I could draw a heart around that.)

And I was pretty sure I would be able to change it by myself because Mike (my ex) did it at one point back when he still lived with the TV, which is not a knock on him at all, just that I remember him saying it was ridiculously easy.

Recently it seemed that the TV was getting dim. Nothing drastic, but I’ve been binge watching The West Wing again (omigod it’s. so. good.) and I realized that all of the episodes looked like they were full of secret meetings in the middle of the night in dark locations. And I sort of remembered that was a warning sign before the bulb went out the first time, many years ago.

Almost six years seemed like a good long time, and that it was time to be proactive and replace it. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to find one easily, and I expected any store I went into to try to sell me a new TV. The bulb is not inexpensive. TVs have come way down in price.  Mine is no longer huge by today’s standards. However, my living room is cozy (we don’t want to offend it by calling it small) and frankly a bigger TV would look ridiculous in here. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with it. I like it. It’s HD, widescreen, I know how it works, and it works just fine. I don’t like that the world is disposable and that when what I really need is a new battery for my phone the system is designed just to replace the phone. So I was prepared to dig in my heels and insist on just a new bulb. Imagine my delight when I walked into the store where I bought the TV lo those many years ago and the guy in the TV department said nothing at all about “upgrading” but just walked me over to the service department so they could get the replacement bulb for me.

The store, in fact, is adorably charming. (Stucky Brothers, for you locals.) They still had me in the computer system from when I bought the TV and they took the time to update my address and phone number. They printed the receipt on a dot matrix printer. Apparently they’re like me: why replace it when it still works? The bulb cost almost double what I could’ve gotten it online for, but I like them, and their service, and that they’re a local, family-owned business. (My clients can buy the same things they get from me for less money online as well, and I try to practice what I preach.  Buy local when you can, people. Also, service matters.)

So I got the bulb, I sat down with the manual (perhaps the most astonishing part of this episode was that I found the manual so easily, although unbeknownst to me the bulb included instructions), and I changed that bulb. My favorite part was that it instructed me to wear clean, lint-free, soft gloves. Which led to a discovery of a pair of really cute purple gloves that I think might have been a present from someone, possibly my grandmother, possibly someone else.  They were soft and clean and lint-free, so I put them on when I put the bulb in the TV. Well done, gloves! And now I will start wearing you for real, too, sorry I forgot about you!

I almost forgot an important step in the bulb-changing process: plug the TV back in when finished. That would have been crushing, for the TV not to come back on. But I remembered, and it DID, and good gravy, it’s bright and colorful and beautiful! And I can see the faces of the people on The West Wing again – woo hoo!

Speaking of The West Wing (again), it is so much better than anything on TV right now, including The Newsroom which is Aaron Sorkin’s current show on HBO. But we can talk about it more when I’m finished. Don’t hold your breath for that. Staycation will be over soon and I won’t be able to watch TV all day long. But I will be done with season three by Monday, because that’s when the DVD needs to be back at the library.

And now, I will go back to enjoying my glorious, vibrant picture.

Oh, and see, aren’t these gloves pretty?

gloves