The news of Trump's election took me almost entirely by surprise. Just in the last few days I had begun to wonder faintly if the polls had been that far off all along, or if perhaps things were shifting. Caught flat-footed, I barely knew how I felt about the result. I know the man will drive me crazy, and yet he's already won my heart by proposing a climate skeptic for EPA chief. I always said I'd like some small fraction of what he did, which put him head and shoulders above Hillary F'in' Clinton. Maybe this week I'm like the guy passing the 22nd-floor window on his way down: "So far, so good!"
Something else that surprised me, but may have been evident to everyone else, is that the anger I thought had faded a bit, or at least been tamped down, is in fact still roaring. I was refusing to make myself miserable concentrating on it all the time, but it was unabated. All it took was 50 or so funereal Facebook posts by friends and family members who weren't sure they were ever again going to be able to get out of bed in face the day, to awaken a fearsomely vengeful spirit in me. After several startlingly un-self-aware messages from my sister, I broke down and replied with the question whether she was actually aware that she was communicating with someone for whom the last couple of presidential terms had been sickening, maddening, embittering calamities. (About which response in me, I didn't add, she had given not a single rat's patootie, not even when the lying little thief's law confiscated my health insurance.)
OK, that last line brings me to the point: until recently, I could be irritable about bad government and economic policy, but I never let it knock me very far off balance. I certainly couldn't sustain rage for years at a stretch, or much personal animosity. I have to acknowledge that these people had never before made me feel afraid and vulnerable. They'd never figured out a way to take away something that was deeply important to me and that I was afraid of not being able to replace. Since then, my reaction has been more personal and more ugly. I can work every day on not gloating openly, but the truth is that every weepy text message makes me incandescently angry. I want to text back that I'm exactly as sympathetic as they were when the tables were turned, and I'm completely uninterested in any more theories about how I feel this way because I'm a racist. Just bite me, that's all. I have completely had it. For the most part I restrain this impulse and answer noncommittally or not at all. To my sister, I've taken to answering that I know how she feels.
On a happier note, we just got back from a reunion in Houston with our old commune buddies. I see some of these folks from time to time, but there were some I hadn't seen for decades, and it was rare to see more than one or two at a time. Eschewing politics, we did my favorite thing in the world, which was make music and sing along in 2 or even 3 parts, including many of the old songs we used to do nearly every night after communal dinner. I'm terribly fond of the two guys who were playing guitar--then suddenly it came to me that these two guys had mocked up a big cardboard wedding cake for my bachelorette party in 1983, then jumped out of it in their underwear. Who knows how either of them voted? I love them both anyway. In that moment I reached some kind of transcendent state of happy nostalgia and harmony with the world. It was a lost moment of youth I never thought I'd feel again.