Friday, November 11, 2016
Unofficial Post Election Post
Hey, you're here.
Listen, I'm gonna drop character here for a sec. The results of this election have stymied me, gobsmacked me, bewildered me, stunned me. I feel, well, roughed up a bit. I may have hit my head so hard with my own hand that I'm not sure who I am anymore.
Am I that boy who grew up in the country with grass-stained knees and yellow hair? Surrounded by good country folks whose opinions about others were questionable? Where there was a sameness as dull as milk but not nearly as refreshing?
Am I a teenage football player ogling cheerleaders and saying off-color things, bullshit things, things as untrue as the mustache I tried to sport?
Am I that same teenage boy playing Peter in a fall production of "The Diary of Ann Frank"? Crying real tears as the despair hit me at the end of the second act that cold opening night?
Perhaps I'm that same boy, a senior now, standing in a field, leaning against a beat-to-hell, piss yellow VW Beatle, Rolling Rock in hand screaming "It's only teenage wasteland" to The Who and any Gods that might have been listening?
Am I a college freshman leading a posse of man-boys out into the cold Athens streets into bars and trouble and legend? Or, wait, am I that same kid getting his mind blown by Sartre and Kafka, Ionesco, Williams and that Shakespeare guy?
Am I a lonesome waiter, a boozesome bartender, surrounded by a busyness I'd never known in a city I'd no business being in? Am I taking in every face, every gesture; feeling every emotion, weeping through them; listening to every story, remembering every sorrow?
Am I a fresh start, different place, different faces, the same stories - the only stories, essentials. Am I a thirty year lifer of tables and barstools, winekeys and tablecloths?
Am I suddenly a husband?
Am I improbably a father to twins, to boys?
Yes, yes I am.
But who am I right now, at this moment of confusion?
I'm all those dudes, and scores of others. When emotion and memory entwine, tense is suspended. I can taste that skunky Rolling Rock right now. Every table I've ever waited on, every person I ever laid a bev-nap in front of, are right here. A moment in a wedding, white and good. Two babies laughing. All in present tense.
But what of the real present.
Ah, that's the problem. I've not had time to understand who I am this time.
Should I spew my emotions out here? Get on board the vitriol train which runs both ways these days? It's tempting, but that yellow-haired boy doesn't understand why we have to be so mean.
Should I be more sympathetic to the locker room talk, try to understand the back room racism, be more understanding of the xenophobe because once - now, you see - I was like that? No, because the teenage boy and the college would-be Lothario and the wily bartender will all tell you it is bullshit and we know it.
Should I be the Pollyanna I play so often on my blog? You know, when I speak on love and honor and charity and capitalize them for affect? When I look forward for and with the boys with faith in humanity, with dignity, with hope. Do I mean it? The father looks back at me in the mirror and says "every damn word."
Should I put on my warrior hat, tarnished with years of disuse, and charge into the injustices so many tell me won't come, but will? No, because the me typing these words in not up for the fight, although "Teenage Wasteland" boy says he is.
Should I run towards my gay friends, arms outreaching, only to have them run away as I scream, "No, don't run, it's a happy, hippy, philosopher's beard not a redneck beard!"?
Should I wear a safety pin on my sweatshirt and point myself out as a "helper"? Will any one believe it? Do we need blue and red stars on out foreheads like some dystopian Sneetches so we know who to trust?
Do I stop drinking Yuengling because the owner's a dick? Is that the distribution team's fault, or the truck driver's, or the men and women who designed the logo, or the bartender that pulls the draft?
Does that place with the burgers I like so much not get my business anymore 'cause I heard the investors are Republicans? What of the servers there, the mom with two daughters, the college girl at X? What of their vote?
What if the fireman thinks I'm a Liberal, will he let my house burn down? Will the cop be leery of my old Ford truck.
Do I go back to church where most disagree with the choice I made?
What the actual fuck?!?
I'm scared, boys, because I am unsure of the path ahead.
But, this is the hard part to understand, all those others are. They've defined me so well, shown me who I am so thoroughly that their collective soul, here, alive in me right now is sure of the path.
I can't imagine this makes much sense.
Boys, it's hard to be an adult. Choices are never very clear and there is a lot, a lot, of improvisation and questioning along with every one we encounter.
You know what? I was willing to give myself a place to rant here tonight. I wanted to but my rant confused and contradicted me. I've typed twice as much tonight as you see here. But, I deleted it because it made me uncomfortable. Some of it was hateful, some was violent, some was laced with more expletives than even I am comfortable with. Most of it was a betrayal of myself, myselfs, all that I was and have come to be.
In the middle of one of my more rantier moments here tonight, I lifted my steaming head and looked out into the backyard and saw this.
There is not a one of me that wouldn't stop to look at that.
Yeah, maybe I'll just stick with the Pollyanna thing.
It's late, I've no time to really edit this, which it obviously needs, and the boys will be home from the Xavier basketball game they went to tonight.
Peace, we'll get back to our regular programming next week.