Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Nurse the Hate: The Wake Up Call


I saw that an ABC Poll for the upcoming Presidential election shows Biden/Harris leading Trump 53% to 41% among registered voters.  This also indicates that 6% of the population is undecided, which makes makes my head explode.  What David Sedaris wrote about “undecided voters” in the 2008 election is even more on target for this election cycle.  Sedaris wrote "To put them in perspective, I think​ of being​ on an airplane.​ The flight attendant comes​ down the aisle​ with her food cart and, eventually,​ parks​ it beside my seat.​ “Can I interest you in the chicken?​” she asks.​ “Or would​ you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass​ in it?”  To be undecided in this elect​ion is to pause​ for a moment and then ask how the chick​en is cooked.”


The idea that 41% of the population is thinking, “What we need here is another four more years of RIGHT NOW.  Things can’t get much better than this!” is unbelievable.  The same guy that bungled the pandemic response, has had race riots erupt unlike anything since the 60s, abandoned ship as the economy collapsed, and then left the bridge for NO ONE is saying “You see how fucked up everything is?  Only I can fix it!”.  This was a great strategy in 2016 when he wasn’t the one that created all the problems in the first place, yet 2 out of every 5 Americans are thinking, “Yep, that is the guy we need in charge for another four years.  We are killing it right now.”.   


I don’t know about you but being cooped up all the time has allowed my brain time to wander.  I start to assume everyone is a logical thinker, operating under the same level of outrage that I am.  I am still not positive this isn’t some sort of simulation, that I haven’t been placed into a coma by a team of alien doctors that have plunged a probe into my ass to monitor how much stress a person can endure.  By the way, there haven’t been many stories about aliens shoving probes up poor country bumpkin’s asses lately. Why flying saucers seem to exclusively land in the Midwest/Deep South and never in Boston is never clear.  Maybe they need a good clearing to land, and that real estate market in Boston is brutal.  Who can afford a big enough area to do some night time probing in Cambridge?  I digress…


All this time in relative isolation has led me to forget what most people are really like.  Today I went to the BMV to get my license renewed.  That my friends is the wake up call you need if you think The General Population can figure anything out.  The BMV is proof that the line between “barnyard goat” and “man” is slim indeed.  There were about 20 people in front of me in line.  Half of these people could not follow the very simple and clear instructions on how to line up.  Each person called in front of me was not prepared with the correct forms or documents.  I watched one woman say to the clerk, “I have a different name on my passport.  I have been using a new name now, so can you change it on my license?”.  She did not appear to understand why this might be a problem.  There was a man that said, “I don’t have my old license or any utility bills or nuthin’, but I got a Netflix account of my phone.  Is that proof of where I live?”  No sir.  No sir, it is not.


An hour past.  I was next.  A large man coughed furiously.  He had an oxygen tank puffing ominously into tubes in his nostrils.  He was wearing discolored sweatpants that housed a terrifying swelling near where his genitalia should live.  He groaned over to a plastic chair with his grandson, also in sweat pants and sparkling white Euro trainers, where the two tried to get past the labyrinth of Ohio Driver’s License renewal.  It was a quest more than a simple task.  The man struggled to keep upright to pass the vision test.  Deep “productive” coughs racked his body every ten minutes.  I was sure he was giving all of us Covid, or at least tuberculosis.  The clerk asked him, “Do you have any medical or mental conditions that would prevent you from safely operating a motor vehicle?”.  I’m thinking I can see three from across the room.  “No.”, he answered.  He then spent the next 15 minutes trying to write his name in the rectangle for his signature.  “I can’t keep in in the box.”  At last, with his grandson guiding the pen, he accomplished his task.  I spent less time buying my last house.  “Here you go sir.  Your license is good for two years.”  I figure he’ll be dead by October.  Hopefully he doesn’t drive anywhere before then.  He can’t sign his name, much less drive a late model mini van safely.  It would have been safer giving him a flamethrower.


Yet, there is no denying it.  The people in this room are America.  We are not a nation of Eagle Scouts and good Samaritans.  That’s a lie we tell ourselves.  We are a nation of filthy sweatpants, faded tattoos, fake leather shoes, fear, bad techno pop, Five Dollar Footlongs, flabby bodies, hatred and enormous pickup trucks.  Most people are asleep at the wheel and they are willing to take whatever shit sandwich gets served up to them.  The life has been eroded out of them.  They aren’t going to muster up the natural curiosity to see what this election is all about.  Politics are boring and complicated.  Watching MMA and The Voice is fun. 


Almost all of our nation walks around with a smart phone, able to access all the information on the planet.  That power is harnessed watching pornography, teenage girls lip syncing to songs on Tik Tok, and cat videos.  Whenever you think, “there is no way 40% of America thinks things are going well now and will vote Trump back in”, walk into a place where EVERYONE goes.  Pick any ten people and ask, “How many of them will vote Trump?”.  You’ll get to 4 quickly, and depending where you are, you’ll hit 7 or 8 just as fast.  America is a packed discount airline flight and about half the plane is taking the plate of shit with broken glass.  I hope it stays at less than half or I’ll need to use my frequent flier miles and get on a new flight.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Nurse the Hate: The Girls In The Jeep

There is no greater sense of self-confidence, no matter how misplaced, than a Jeep Wrangler filled with upper class 18-19-year-old girls.  Matching Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses, perfect teeth, outfits from the same retailer, soft hair blowing in the breeze.  They have the world by the balls, at least as far as they know.  The excitement of knowing anything can happen in their three-mile radius planet with one text message fuels manic chatter and consistent phone scrolling in their mighty suburban chariot.  I idle next to them in sharp contrast.


I am next to them in the turning lane.  I am an otherwise invisible middle-aged man.  I am an extra provided for background to the riveting drama of the girls lives next to me, no different than a tree or a cyclist.  I am not filled with excitement.  I am filled with anxiety and the constant stress of the unknown from the endless pandemic.  The heavy gray cloud of doom looms above.  I sit in front of a computer all day hoping to find someone that wants to buy something.  Most people don’t.  They are like me, not going anywhere or doing anything.  The traffic light changes.  The girls drive off smiling and laughing, leaving a bad pop song and the slight smell of expensive boutique shampoo. 


I drive on, merging onto the highway.  A massive pickup truck speeds up to prevent me from seamlessly joining traffic.  He has three lanes open but decides to jam me up for no apparent reason.  I accelerate and zip in front of him easily.  He flips me off and flashes his lights despite suffering no visible injury.  I drive a fast car.  In the last two months I have noticed aggressive driving directed towards me as if people are taking out their aggression on one of the only things available, drivers they feel need to be knocked down a peg.  I keep my head on a swivel and accelerate.  The enormous pickup takes this escape badly.  I receive more angry light flashes and middle fingers.  Shit.  I didn’t even do anything.  Fuses are very short.  Each week seems to get worse.  Things feel like they could blow at any moment.


In Ohio we are 28 weeks into relative quarantine.  I haven’t played music since March.  I haven’t been able to travel for my wine endeavors.  I can’t make money as the economy is on life support.  Each day seems like the last.  The complete failure of America to respond in a responsible way to the pandemic has stolen a year from us and counting.  I blame Trump directly, no matter how much blame can be spread around.  Trump is an incompetent fool.  He is a sociopathic con man that is capable of anything but is too stupid to have an agenda other than self-promotion.  As we huddle in the ashes, Trump seems like a sad clown, the man you goad at the bar to say something stupid so you can laugh at him.    


Social media documents a society that is fractured and angry.  The Trump True Believers have abandoned all decorum and now openly embrace racism and authoritarianism.  All people want to lash out.  Sunday I saw a guy with a long beard and a “Don’t Tread On Me” t-shirt walk maskless in a grocery store, practically begging for confrontation.  His eyes search for contact.  He prays for someone to call him out.  He looks unhinged, on his last rope.  I head home.  A local candidate stops by to tell me he’s for “law and order” with a wink, wildly misjudging my support of “keeping those troublemakers in line”.  He pauses, hoping I will give him a dog whistle so we can talk about “The Blacks” without that “PC crap” getting in the way.  I close the door on him.  Monsters now walk in the sunlight, no longer needing to hide their true nature.  This is 1968.  This is 1934.  This is 2020.


I sit in front of the computer.  I read the news.  It’s all bad.  There is no getting out of this.  There is no light at the end of the tunnel.  The band is going to write some new songs.  At least we will try.  It’s hard without meaningful stimulus.  The sun goes down.  The summer is starting to have that scent in the air of Fall, of wet leaves and earth.  This is Walden Pond with a 24-hour cable news cycle.  Winter had become Spring.  Spring became Summer.  Summer is turning into Fall.  A Jeep full of girls zips down the street.  They’re laughing and smiling.  They have it all.  I’m jealous.  I try to write a song.