Thirty-eight years ago tonight: my first airshift on @ was heard by maybe six people, starting as it did after a baseball game that ran way overtime. HIghlights included “Mesopotamia” by the B-52s, “From the Air” by Laurie Anderson, and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by the Beatles.
I was all of 17 years old.
The number one record in the county that week was “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. I sometimes feel like my whole adult life has been a reaction to that unfortunate fact.
Eight or nine years ago I had the opportunity to leave this country and emigrate to Canada. For a variety of reasons, I didn’t do it. In recent weeks, I’ve questioned that decision more than I ever really thought I would.
I don’t really think America is “more” racist or divided than we were a few years ago. We were always in pretty bad shape on that front. The current culture, fronted by a “leader” whose primary goal seems to be in to inflame these divisions, has just made them more apparent to more people, because it’s now more socially acceptable to openly display that bigotry, ignorance, disregard for democracy, and disdain for verifiable facts than it was before. It’s really scary and it’s really sad.
Call me an eternal optimist, but I still believe that it will eventually get better. I just think it’s going to take a lot longer for that to happen after the past few years. I’m less sure that I’m going to see it happen before my time on the planet is done. And I really don’t have any idea what to do about it in a world where reasonable discourse no longer seems an option, where scientific fact is ignored, where peaceful protesters are “unpatriotic traitors,” and where any reporting that questions the ruling regime is “fake news.”
I just have a feeling a lot more people are going to be speaking the language of the unheard in the near future, because a lot of people see it as the only way to make other people listen in this environment. They may be right. I’m not going to presume to make that call myself.
And yeah, I know these words are not really helpful either, but I had to get it off my chest anyway.
Things insomnia made me count. In my life I have:
- Owned 3 houses and rented 5 apartments.
- Lived in 3 states (4 if you count a vacation home).
- Had 2 roommates (not counting a few temporary situations of less than a month).
- Had 1 (common law) husband.
- Owned 9 cars.
- Had 6 traffic accidents, 2 of which were ruled my fault.
- Spent time in 3 countries, including 45 U.S. states and 6 Canadian provinces.
- Had sex in at least 24 states.
- Had phone numbers with 5 area codes.
- No brothers or sisters, but 14 first cousins (approximately 12 of whom are still alive).
- Spent 2 nights in a hospital (not counting when I was born).
- Been to 0 high school class reunions (with plans to attend 0 more).
- Had 5 primary home computers (all Macs, which is why I had each one for so long).
- Had 3 full-time employers (though I had multiple positions in multiple locations for the first two, plus a ton of part-time and freelance employers).
- Had 4 medical procedures for which I was put completely under.
This is my dad, probably age 10 or so. Until tonight, I’d never seen a picture of him as a little boy. I have a baby picture and then just a big gap until he was in the navy, twenty years later.
Interestingly, I have tons of pictures of my mom as a little girl, but none of really anyone from my dad’s side of the family during the same era. Literally none. used to think it was because they were really poor (Great Depression, etc.) but I see now that there actually were pictures. They just all seem to have ended up with his sisters. I guess keeping up with photos was more of a “girl thing” in those days.
I’m glad that’s maybe less true now…