And that's just Thursday.
The president has covid; Has been given medicinal cocktails and care no average person would be able to receive; Is spouting that the corona virus is like the flu and no one should be afraid of it, we must dominate it; Has refused financial aid to people affected by the pandemic saying he would see if maybe after the election, then walked that back a few hours later; Called Kamala Harris a monster twice on FOX news along with a bunch of other shit about other shit. Mike Pence, who may or may not be positive for covid after a VP debate thankfully with plexiglass partitions, is on his way back to DC unexpectedly. Nancy Pelosi is writing a bill to remove the madman in the white house (fucking finally and way too fucking late). Mike Pence is a critical cog in the 25 Amendment wheel. Thirteen white male losers were arrested yesterday in an "alleged plot" to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer then try her for treason against the government for not opening up Michigan during the pandemic and speaking out against the president.
And that's just Thursday.
I listened to a new podcast today 'No Compromise' by NPR. It is about right wing gun groups who think the NRA is compromising their God-given (yes literally, apparently in the bible God approves of guns) 2nd Amendment right to bear arms with no government infringement. This group of people really do not like infringement - nor the amount of money Wayne LaPierre (head of NRA) spends on suits thus their radical split from the NRA - a group who already sucks.
President Super Spreader was discharged from Walter Reed Hospital (I'm sure they are happy to be rid of him but know they will see him again soon). He walked up the steps to the White House, took off his mask, labored to catch his breath during his photo op, then turned to go inside - still maskless - where several staffers were in close proximity to him and his germs. This fucking guy is going to kill someone (specifically this week at the White House - he's already responsible for 210,000 American deaths since March).
On the news (no it's not fake!) this morning was a story about food insecurity during the pandemic. People are lined up for miles to pick up their allotments from food banks around the country. The focus of the story was a woman who lost her $20/hr job at an airport, has interviewed for 50 jobs since, is behind on her rent and bills, has two girls using school issued computers to participate in their on-line high school classes, has a 5 year old who (thankfully) gets a meal at a day care every day, cannot get her unemployment due to a backlog in the system, and is Desperate. This woman and her family are typical of millions of Americans right now! The Greatest Country on Earth.
What the fuck is happening?
I got nuthin' Friends.
This is my COVID time-capsule.
It holds mother's and father's day cards. A birthday card for Dave. An invitation to visit Lisbon on an all-expenses paid May, 2020 "work trip" ala a distributor who likes to provide these opportunities. Thank you cards. Wedding invitations and subsequent notices of change of time and venue or cancellation. There are inspirational quotes tacked up, covered up and forgotten. There is a picture of Luke eating grass in the backyard and a sympathy card from the veterinarian. There is a note from the girls with words of encouragement and love left on the kitchen counter the morning after a depressing, panic-filled first venture to the grocery store. Their gesture buoyed me. I draw strength from it even now, 29 weeks later.
Everything has changed. The world will never return to normal as we knew it. I am afraid of what this pandemic is doing to people, for their mental, physical and financial well-being. I'm afraid of the political divide and the economic impact. I'm afraid for the people who face horrific circumstances not of their making and out of their control. I live with barely contained panic and innate, heart-felt hope. Both scream loudly, persistently and continuously in my head.
The election is less than a month away. I have volunteered to be a Poll Worker. Never ever in any of my imaginings did I see myself being one of the little old politically-involved people checking IDs at a voting location. This is what Donald Trump and his puppeteers have caused me to do! This is how far the mis-management and lack of leadership of the COVID pandemic, how far the extremely loud lies about a rigged voting system - a constitutional system that counts all the votes, mailed or in-person, state by state based on their rules and laws including votes postmarked the day of the election - a "lag" time in every legal election, all of this has pushed me to act far far outside of my comfort zone. I volunteered to be a Summit County Poll Worker because I can. I don't really want to - but I'm younger than the previous average poll worker, I'm able bodied and healthy, I have the time, and since this country is at a terrifying tipping point - I'm going to contribute to the solution on voting day instead of Google-searching how to become a Canadian citizen.
I'm also going to stock up on food and supplies, make sure both cars and the propane tanks are filled with gas, get cash, and generally be ready to shelter in place just in case all hell breaks loose and right wing militias decide to have a temper tantrum and march with their ignorance and open-carry assault weapons. One way or another the weeks after the election are going to be really rough for the good ol' US of A (not to mention good ol' Democracy)!
I gotta tell ya - projecting that the worst is yet to come is really saying something! Every. Fucking. Day. there is some new national bullshit lie or accusation or killing or controversial verdict or fire/flood or protest or shady congressional announcement. I honestly cannot even remember the shit I was shocked and terrified about two weeks ago because each day is something newly awful. You think, "Oh, it can't get worse!" And then it does! And that's not even taking into account the 210,000 Americans who have died from COVID - which is absolutely THE most awful! And yet it is overshadowed. This is not normal. The world will never return to the normal as we knew it. But I have HOPE that sane, credible, reasonable voices rise up and are heard. I have HOPE that people see their alikeness vs their difference, share their kindness vs vitrol, join together vs divide. Pollyanna? I don't care. The flip side is angry panic.
I choose HOPE.
Stay Well Friends!
I was at the airport the other day. Me and my fellow passengers waited together at our assigned gate. Families with small children, people needing extra time, and service men and women were allowed to board first. Then Zones 1 thru 3 were called. We all shuffled aboard, stowed our carry on luggage in the overhead compartment and our purses/backpacks under the seats in front of us. We buckled our seat belts, stared at our phones or ipads and tried to ignore everything and everyone around us as best we could.
And then ...
We were told to gather all our personal belongings and de-board. That's right! After all that, without going anywhere, we all got off the plane.
Let me tell ya: If there is anything mechanically or electronically malfunctioning on "my" airplane then by all means, invite me to de-board and I will absolutely wait while you fix the problem. Being an aeronautical statistic is not on my list of shit to do.
I will also tell ya: Not everyone is so quick to share my sentiment. The huge-ass, good looking ex-marine sitting next to me (thank you for your service) shared several unhappy "F*cks" and paced around for a good five minutes looking for a place to throw a punch before he finally simmered down.
A lady receiving wheelchair assistance was parked near my seat by the window and, as people who want to talk to someone but don't actually know anyone will do, said loudly "well there's nuthin' we can do about it" as she swiveled her head looking for some poor sap (me) to make the slightest eye contact or nod of assent so she can start sharing her life story.
The dark haired, younger-than-she-looked lady across from me was a nervous wreck. She hadn't wanted to get off the plane and now she wasn't sure she wanted to get back on. Nervous Nellie was traveling with a friend. That friend, possibly to get away from the repetitive ramblings of her crazy pal or perhaps because she really did want to stand in a line 50 people deep to book other passage home, left Nervous Nellie to find camaraderie in strangers. Nellie and Wheelchair Lady were the perfect pair for a bit - both spoke, neither listened - until they realized the incompatibility of their situation and moved on to another stranger who had been trying her damnedest to inconspicuously observe the chaos at the gate by pretending to play a game on her Ipad (again me).
Holy shit, people working for the airline do NOT get paid enough to put up with the crap that is slung at them when people are inconvenienced. As far as I'm concerned, the airline took into consideration my comfort (they let me off the plane didn't they?) and safety (I mean if not all systems are go for take off, then let's not take off!). I didn't get too close to the gate agent desk, I had a really good seat in the sun by the window and my backpack was crazy heavy to carry, but a third of the passengers were standing in line to ... I dunno what ... rebook? complain? chat? Whatever they were trying to do took each person in line 10 to 15 minutes to accomplish with their gate agent. If I was the 45th guy in line I would have cut my losses and sat the fuck back down. It must have been getting heated over there because a big burley fellow passenger standing near the desk like a guard dog announced (quite clearly considering he didn't even use the static-ey microphone the gate agents use to confuse us) that if you re-book your ticket you will not be able to get on this airplane when it takes off. (That's assuming of course that it is actually fixed, able to take off, fly and land in Cleveland sometime today.) It was entertaining to observe a coiffed regular-size business man have a conversation with Burley Fellow what with Burley Fellow standing his ground, looking down at Sir Coif just shaking his head and all.
Voyeurism is underrated!
So I got to thinking while I sat in my almost-too-hot chair by the window looking around at the other people waiting to get back on the airplane: (Well, the first thing I think is, "If the plane crashes these are the people I'm going to die with." But I always think that about my fellow passengers/victims. Dark? Yes but I like to think of it as pragmatic.) what I was thinking was: Each of these people MATTER to someone. It MATTERS that each of these people make it home to their children, spouses, nieces, nephews, parents, and pets. Someone loves her, him, them. It makes a difference whether they return home safely.
Stop and think about that: YOU MATTER! (Now never forget it.) Everyone MATTERS to someone ... or they should.
This gives me pause. I was thinking about the workplace of my 'Social Worker'. She works with kids who have had trauma caused by the people who are supposed to love and care for them first and foremost. (Abuse and mistreatment just pisses me off to no end I'll tell ya!) The responsibility of showing these kids they MATTER is on the psychologists, teachers, counselors and caregivers. They are not permanent people in these kids' lives but they can leave a permanent impression. These vulnerable kids MATTER. Kudos to all who make a difference in their lives.
Or in anyone's life for that matter!
YOU matter to me Friends!
I'm in the process of learning new definitions for Thick and Thin. Until recently I've associated these terms with waistlines & pieces of cake.
This first entered my conscientiousness a couple years ago when I listened to a podcast about a highly intelligent woman who is a specialized sociologist of some sort. She introduced the term, "Thin Slicing". Thin Slicing is a way of quickly processing information then making a decision. I am a Thin Slicer. I often make decisions based on a gut feeling or a first impression.
A Thick Slicer, on the other hand needs a lot of time. They run numbers, research, think, process information and come to a conclusion in about a year.
From experience as a Thin Slicer, I can tell you being married to a Thick Slicer is maddening yet useful.
Twitter is a Thin Slice. You get information in 240 characters. A tiny bit of information. A thin slice can be a tiny piece of a person too. Like if they are bald, blonde, grey or dark haired. Democrat or Republican; Liberal or Conservative; Gay or Straight or anything in between; black, white, green or gold skinned - it is merely a Thin Slice / a part of who that person is.
Thick Slicing requires time and careful thought. Research and investigating facts and data. The Thick Slice of a person is the sum of experiences shared, bonds, strife, humor, depth and substance. A person can be a great cook, fantastic conversationalist, tells a great story, funny, smart, kind, caring, would give you the shirt off their back, donates time to charities, uncle, aunt, old friend, new friend, co-worker. People fill out. They 'thicken' into someone we care about, even love - like that crazy uncle at Thanksgiving.
But in today's Twitter America we are quick to label, distrust, dismiss, fear, insult. It is easy, quick, faceless, and often without substance nor fact. "They" are liars, dumb, and fake. "We" are right, perfect, and smart. Was it always like this and I just never noticed? Us vs Them on every channel, every news story, every comment on Facebook or Twitter. I gotta tell ya: the rampant and constant vitrol scares the shit out of me.
Yet I refuse to let the national divide cause civil "war" amongst me and my friends. I may not like the channel you watch nor the person you vote for and, I'll be honest, for me these alignments are no small choice but I will not let the shit storm in the white house tear apart my friendships. The thin slice of political affiliation may be getting thicker but it is not the whole slice of My Friend.
The sum of us is More! Recognize it in others. Recognize it in Yourself!
Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds
I've never tried to lose 5000 Pounds before. Oh sure, over the course of my life time I may have gained and lost that much (insert eye roll & wink here) but I'm not talking about pounds of fat and water weight today.
I'm talking about reducing my Carbon Footprint. The program is designed to be done with a group - family, neighborhood, friends, community. But I, of course, need to give it a try first to see how I do before inviting others to join me. This should be interesting because I am a suffer-er of White Middle Class Privilege. This malady is insidious. It's taken a while for me to recognize it in myself; to understand the impact of my blind oblivion.
But it's an evolution. It's time to wake up and make a change.
Here are the 8 things I'm going to be aware of, track, reduce and improve in the next 30 days:
Reduce Solid Waste
Reduce Hot Water in Showers
Reduce Water Used for Washing Dishes
Wash & Dry Clothes More Efficiently
Heat & Cool the House More Efficiently
Turn Off Appliances - Plug Appliance Leaks
Reduce Miles Traveled
Eat Less Meat
Took an approx. 7 minute shower including water warm up, double shampoo/conditioner & shaving. I say approx because it's slippery to stop the clock right when the water goes off.
Dried the rugs outdoors on the chairs instead of using the dryer for two hours.
Drove out two separate times - should have consolidated those trips. Wanted to go for a drive thru the Valley but decided to keep the trip short and save fossil fuels.
Cooled the house while we slept (70) and raised the temp during the day (73)
It's a start. Lots of room for improvement.
I used the Carbon Footprint calculator on the LWV Climate Change site to calculate the footprint for my 3 person household. It is currently 169% over the local average. Ugh! I'm sure it's the number of flights I added but that's just justification. I may find another calculator to compare and get more specific info but you can check your Carbon Footprint using: Carbon Footprint Calculator Powered by Make an Impact.