Things to Do in Baltimore When You’re Almost Dead
I don’t travel much. Or well. There’s plenty of reasons for this, a large one being traveling is expensive and I am not independently wealthy. Another reason is I am, especially as I’ve gotten older, a bit anxious. Okay, that’s a giant understatement. I am very anxious. I don’t really drive anymore because the last winter we had a car, I turned into everyone’s great Aunt Tillie and drove twelve miles an hour if there was an inch of snow on the ground. And yes, I know exactly how miserable and annoying that is, so I just took myself out of the equation. If someone doesn’t text me back within two minutes, I’m pretty convinced they’re either dead or hate me. Also, every time I see an airplane take off, all I can picture is the Challenger explosion. Yes, I know the Challenger was a rocket and not a plane, and yes, logically I understand I am safer in the air than I am on the ground – especially if I’m driving – and yet here we are.
So when I got the opportunity to go for a mini family reunion in North Carolina a few weeks ago, I had not been on a plane in nearly eight years. Which means I also had not been out of the TriState area in eight years. I had the money. I had the vacation. (Had being the operative word, stay tuned on that one.) It was time to get out of my bubble. So I booked the flight, much prouder of myself than I probably should have been as I am 39 years old and considered mostly fully functional. I was really excited, but I was also nervous as hell. I had to fly to North Carolina via Baltimore, I hate taking off and now had to do it twice, and I was going by myself, which I had never done. By the time it was time to go, I was a gigantic ball of extremely annoying nervousness.
The way there went smoothly. I set four alarms to make sure I didn’t miss my flight, I checked my pocket approximately 597 times to make sure my ID hadn’t jumped out of my zipped coat pocket, I was two hours early, I had a twenty two dollar bloody mary. I was ready. I was immediately stopped at security because my ass set the metal detector off. “Ma’am, do you have anything in your pockets?” “These are leggings. I don’t have pockets.” “Well, something in this area,” (gesturing at my not inconspicuous ass,) “that is setting it off. Please step to the side so we can pat you down.”
Now. There are few things I am 100% certain of. But one of them would be that at any point in time, I am not transporting anything, metal or otherwise, in my ass. Like, I know this. It’s not like someone could sneak it in there without me knowing. So why I broke into a panic sweat, I don’t know, yet here we are. It’s like when I’m downtown and the cops are walking through the Thompson Center with the drug sniffing dogs. I don’t do drugs. I am not carrying drugs. Ever. But every time, my heart starts racing until I get past them. Suffice it to say, they did not find anything wayward in my butt and I was set on my way, shoeless and sweating.
The rest of my arrival went smoothly. Whether it was the vodka sodas, the interesting teenagers on their way to a debate conference, or the smooth flight, I don’t know, but I was fine. I met my sister and niece at baggage claim, my parents picked us up, and off we went. We had a great few days with family, lots of laughs, lots of wine, a boat, and made some great memories. It was a great trip.
My flight home was scheduled for Sunday morning at six am, direct on Southwest from North Carolina to Midway. I would be home by nine thirty am. This was by design. I knew I would want some time to decompress after being outside my element for a few days.
The first wheels fell off Saturday night, when I got a text message saying that my flight was canceled. Apparently, there was no plane. I’m going to tell you right now that this on its own was enough to get the anxiety going. I don’t like when things change. I had that flight number memorized. I knew where I was supposed to go. I knew when I was coming home. I knew my gate. I was already checked in online. My cousin saw my panic and walked me through rebooking. Okay. I had to connect back in Baltimore, but I got a flight at 8:30AM, would have a two hour layover in Baltimore, and then home sweet home. I adjusted! Go me!
My parents dropped me off at the airport, I had a drink, and was on my way. We got to Baltimore, got off the plane, and went to McDonald’s and inhaled a breakfast sandwich. Cheerily talked to a man next to me who was on my next flight, scheduled to depart at 12:30. We went our separate ways, me happily saying, “Okay, maybe I’ll see you on the plane!” Ah, back when there was such sweet, sweet hope. I headed to the bar for a nice relaxing drink while I waited. Talked to a nice man who was delayed to Florida who was slamming Bud Light like it was his job. Look at me! Traveling! Making conversation! Not being awkward!!
EMERGENCY!!! THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!!! EMERGENCY!!!!
Out of nowhere, all of the emergency lights started blaring, all of the sirens in the airport started going off, and the automated voice was screaming that we were in an emergency. So much for not being awkward. I jumped off my stool in a panic, grabbed my purse, and was a solid five feet away before the bartender said, “Oh, honey, it’s just a drill. We’re safe.”
Now, I’m no expert, but I would still like someone to explain to me why they were blasting the words EMERGENCY instead of THIS IS A DRILL so the less savvy of us travelers could perhaps not piss our pants during the duration of said drill. I slammed my drink and immediately ordered another to to bring my heart out of my throat and back into my chest where it belongs.
Okay! Time to go! Go to the security line, and literally as I’m standing in the vestibule thing where they scan you, I feel my Garmin vibrate with a text message. I glance at it and all I see is the word, “Cancelled.” I pretend like this isn’t happening because obviously it can’t be and proceed to my gate, where there are about 150 people lined up at the gate. I just stood there, in line, like I had any idea what I was doing. I called my sister – who is not a spaz and travels frequently – and plaintively said, “What do I do?” She tells me to see what they say, then immediately calls back to say all Southwest flights are grounded until Monday and I need to go right now to an American or United counter to get a ticket out of there before everyone else realizes it.
Except I don’t know where those gates are. I knew where Southwest was. I had not planned on going to another gate. I do not do well when the script is flipped completely upside down on me. Also, the flight she found on United was 375 dollars. I did not have 375 dollars. I mean, I did, but that was going to throw a wrench into paying my electric bill and eating food for the next week. I planned money for vacation. I did not plan for a four hundred dollar emergency. She said she’d call her husband – who travels all the time for work – and see what he thought I should do. He can get me a flight to O’Hare at 3:30 with his airline miles. (Side note? I love my sister and brother in law. A whole lot. They are good people. I still have a sneaking suspicion said flight was not exactly free but they were concerned I was going to have an absolute breakdown in the airport.) At this point, Southwest is saying they can book me on a flight at four pm, but it might not go. Call my brother in law and just said, tearily, “What do you think I should do?” He says he’s just going to book it and send me the confirmation, to go to American Airlines and pick up my boarding pass. It is 1:30PM.
I heroically find the AA counter all by myself and wait in line for an increasingly maddening 42 minutes while the agents help the only two people in front of me. Apparently they are missing connecting flights to Europe. I do not care. I need a ticket, something tangible to tell me that I am, in fact, leaving Baltimore. Finally get said boarding pass and head back to my girl Melissa at the bar, who lets me charge my phone and brings me quesadillas. I’m actually still in decent spirits. I can go with the flow! Especially if I have the help of six people!
Text – flight is delayed to four pm.
Text – flight is delayed to four thirty pm.
Text – flight is delayed to five pm.
Text – flight is delayed to five thirty pm.
Begin to get irrationally angry at both my phone and Garmin watch with their cheery vibrating with all of this garbage ass news. My Bud Light swigging friend from the morning is also still stranded. He leaves for his gate and says, very seriously, “You’re a very nice girl. But I hope to to hell I never see you again.” Same goes, buddy. I am all alone. Blatantly plead for sympathy on Facebook with posts like, “I live in Baltimore now. My new address is Gate 4C, Baltimore, Maryland.” People respond with the laughing emoji and I swear at them a little bit. I have no idea where my bags are. Baltimore? North Carolina? Texas?
It’s now a quarter to five. Head back through security, vowing not to explode if my watch vibrates so as not to get arrested in the Baltimore airport. Get to the gate. My plane is here! All of us weary travelers nod knowingly at each other. We’re getting out of here!
“Folks, your plane is here! We just have a slight maintenance delay and then we’ll get you out of here.”
Despite overwhelming reasons not to be, I am still an extreme optimist. Just a slight delay and I’m going home.
“Uh, folks, really sorry to say this, but this plane isn’t going anywhere tonight.”
I had been halfway out of my seat, expecting them to say we were boarding. I sat back down, literally stunned. Who has three flights cancel in one day? Do I really live here now? The girl next to me swears and immediately gets on her phone to rebook. I do nothing. I’m just sitting there, staring at the plane. I can’t even move. My sister texts me right then saying, “Boarding yet?” and I just respond, “Just canceled.” She immediately calls, swearing a blue streak that would have otherwise made me quite proud, and says, “You tell them you booked this flight on points, you’re a priority flier, tell them they have to get you out of there tonight!!!”
At this point, I’m literally standing in line, tears rolling down my face and desperately needing to blow my nose, and just wail, “I don’t think they’re going to believe me!!!!!” Because clearly I am not a priority traveler. Clearly I need to stay in my apartment forever. Clearly I am never leaving Baltimore. My mind is racing. Do I take a voucher for a hotel? Do I have to pay for a hotel? Is Baltimore safe? Do they have Uber? Keep in mind, I am running on three hours of sleep, vodka, and a quesadilla. I am in no shape to make any decisions. She tells me to see what they say, if they offer a flight tonight to take it, if not, the rest of my family is working on a hotel and transportation. (Have I mentioned my family is amazing? The group text from this day is GOLD.) I get to the agent, who says there is a flight to O’Hare at nine pm.
Pathetically, still fighting tears, I ask, “Is it actually going to Chicago tonight?”
“I sure hope so, honey.”
I trudge back to my new family at the bar. Melissa takes one look at me – keep in mind I have been there for her ENTIRE shift – and just says, “Oh, honey. Again?” I nod mutely at her. She hands me a drink on the house and plugs my phone back in. (Two things to note here – I for sure posted a glowing review of the bar on their Facebook. Also, while it seems as though I drank a heroic amount of vodka this day, I was not drunk. I assure you, nothing will sober you up faster than having three flights cancel on you while you’re by yourself in a city you’ve never been in with zero concept of time and the outside world.)
Flight is delayed to nine thirty.
Flight is delayed to nine fifty.
Melissa reminds me the kitchen is closing and I order french fries.
Flight is delayed to ten fifteen.
Melissa brings me another drink and apologetically tells me they’re closing soon.
I head back to the gate. Am now a pro at security, wordlessly taking off my shoes and coat, secretly calling all of the happy travelers who are just arriving at this godforsaken airport who are clearly going on vacation assholes.
“Folks, your plane has landed from New York!!! We’re going to do a very fast turnaround and get you to Chicago.”
Entire gate goes up in cheers, me excluded. I do not believe them. Until this damn plane is in the air, I have no hope.
People are plastered against the window, looking for our escape. One man says, “Oh fuck. It’s one of those super small planes.”
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???
We finally get to board the American Eagle, otherwise known as “My First Airplane.” They ask if I am willing to help in an emergency as I’m in the exit row. My eyes were literally glowing by this point because I’ve been inside circulated air for sixteen hours and my contacts are dried to my eyeballs, and I’m pretty sure I was delirious. I couldn’t have helped someone cross the street, let alone operate machinery. I have no shame in saying I looked her right in the eye and said, “Absolutely.”
I have to DUCK to get onto the plane. I’m 5’4. This is the smallest plane I have ever been on. I try and breathe deeply. I am going home. I decide I’m going to sleep because I was too afraid to in the terminal, (because you know my ass would have missed the plane or gotten robbed,) and immediately abandon that plan as we’re ascending because it felt like the plane was doing somersaults. Looks like we’re back to my old friend vodka.
The flight attendant comes down the tiny aisle offering drinks. I politely ask for a vodka soda and she comes back with a cup of soda and a mini-bottle of Titos. Score! This will make me two drinks and get me home! Then she says, “That will be eight dollars, and we only take cash.”
I had spent my last cash tipping Melissa. All of the other airlines said they only take credit cards. I researched it!
“But…but. I don’t have any cash. I spent it all because I’ve been in the airport for fourteen hours.”
She looks at me closely and says, “Oh, honey. You just take it.” God bless you, air service person. I love you almost as much as Melissa.
We start to descend and I have my face pressed against the window, all fear of flying gone. I see the familiar grid lights of Chicago and legit start to cry. I am home!
I am the second person off of the plane, despite being in the middle. I walk, unseeing, through O’Hare, following the signs that say “Ground Transport.” The first vehicle I see, I vow to get in. I walk out to the beautiful, freezing, Chicago air, call a Lyft, fall into it and thank Santa that my driver doesn’t want to talk. Finally get home, pour the the giantest, bestest glass of wine ever, and sit on my couch in dead silence for forty minutes.
And then I got the flu from sitting in an airport for fourteen hours and being on four different airplanes and couldn’t leave my bed for a week, leaving me with a grand total of five vacation days for the next ten months.
Stop, Sir. No, sir.
This might be a little bit late and behind the game, but it took me a couple of weeks to properly digest the utter madness that was the first “State of the Union” address from this admistration, and my reaction to it. (Quotations because it wasn’t techinically a state of the union, but his first speech to Congress.) Below are my reactions while watching. There may have been wine involved.
1. Trump: “A new chapter of America greatness is now beginning. A new national pride is sweeping across our nation. And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp. What we are witnessing today is a renewal of the American spirit.”
— Me: That surge of optimism? Is from racists that have been just looking for an outlet and validation, and congratulations, sir, you have given it to them. We are not witnessing a renewal of the American spirit, we are witnessing a resurgence of latent racism. Well done, you, for bringing it to the forefront.
2. “The rebellion started as a quiet focus spoken by families of all colors and creeds … who just wanted a fair shot for their children. For them, the quiet voices became a loud chorus as thousands of citizens now spoke out together… Finally the chorus became an earthquake and the people turned out by tens of millions and they were all united by one very simple and crucial demand: that America must put its own citizens first. Because only then can we truly make America great again.”
— Me: That wasn’t for you, you maggot. That earthquake? Those were the people the day AFTER your inauguration. That’s who showed up. Remember? The inauguration that you said was the biggest and most watched ever? But wasn’t at all? And in actuality over two million people marched against you, as opposed to the 250K that showed up for your big inauguration?
3. “We will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border. As we speak tonight, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our community and prey on our very innocent citizens. bad ones are going out as I speak. To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you … what would you say to the American family that loses their jobs … or loved ones because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders.”
–Me: Do you have any idea what you’re even talking about?? Seriously? You are literally crumbling industries that have workers too afraid to go to work. Are there flaws in the system? Yes. Absolutely. Are hard working Mexicans the reason America sucks right now? NO. Psst – there is already a wall. It’s not working.
4. “We have seen the attacks at home from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and yes, the World Trade Center… It is not compassion but reckless to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting can not occur.”
–Me: You. Fucking. Idiot. So Dylann Roof, Timothy McViegh, Adam Lanza, Omar Mateen, James Holmes, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold – all American-born, all white save for Mateen – who have killed considerably more people than San Bernardino, which, by the by, was carried out by an American-born man and a completely legal citizen – we’re not going to worry about them? We’re going to make it harder for these guys to have access to mental health care because Muslims are the problem??? How. Stupid. Is. This. Country. Also, the Pentagon and the World Trade Center? As horrific as it was and continues to be – same attack. Same motive. Don’t try and make it two different things to make it play for you. Work on intelligence, not banning innocents.
5. “Education is the civil rights issue of our time.”
–Me: IS IT??? IS IT, you asshole?? I want to never stop vomiting. Because Betsy DeVos seems like a solid choice for to help this. You know, if you want to set back public education, LGBTQ rights in public schools, etc., about fifty years. You know who should be in charge of public schools? Someone who has went to or depended on public schools. Somehow I don’t believe that someone who “can’t remember” if they contributed a fucking quarter of a million dollars to a campaign has their finger on the pulse of inner city public school teachers who need to bring their own toilet paper to work.
*****Said wine break involved a entire bottle *****
6. “And we must support the victims of crime. VOICE: Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. … We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media.”
Me — I hate you so fucking much, you blowhard nightmare.
7. “We want harmony and stability not war and conflict. America is friends today with former enemies. … This history should give us all faith in the possibilities for a better world. Hopefully the 250th year for America will see a world that is more peaceful, more just, and more free.”
Me – Please speak with North Korea. Because I’m pretty sure they’re mad at you and I don’t want to die in an explosion because you’re an idiot and can’t control your Twitter account.
Bottom line? If he is really going to make things better, I need less bluster and more action. Because all I have seen thus far is a lot of grand statements and the only action has been, in my opinion, to the detriment of the American dream.
State of Chaos
I realize that my Facebook feed is a bit of an echo chamber at the moment. I haven’t deleted anyone, but I suspect I’ve been blocked by plenty who are tired of my posts and memes and anger. So the majority of my posts, and by extension this blog, are seen by those that agree with me and are sick with what’s going on in our country. But that doesn’t mean I should be quiet. Because for the first time in my life, I can’t stand down because it might not align with someone. I can’t stay quiet because some don’t agree with me. I just can’t.
Mitch McConnell unwittingly gave a great phrase to the “movement” the other day. “She was warned, she was given an explanation, and nevertheless, she persisted.” That certainly wasn’t his intent. But it’s a great catchphrase. We can put it on shirts, and change our profile pictures, and it’s an amazing exclamation in the resistance against an administration that doesn’t stand for us, an administration we don’t believe in. And here’s the thing. It’s an awesome rallying cry. How many women, throughout history, didn’t want to rock the boat? Didn’t want to put their beliefs out there for fear of being too much, too over the top, too feminist, too everything? The fact that we are, even if its in a small way, mobilizing, is amazing. This is how shit gets changed. It doesn’t happen when we say nothing.
But we don’t want to think. We don’t want to think too hard about what’s actually happening. That this adminisration is slowly and quietly dismantling society as we know it. I know. You think I’m being extremist. That I’m exaggerating. Give him a chance, is the rallying cry. Let’s see what he does. You know what? He lost his chance.
He lost his chance with his whole, “Grab them by the pussy,” comment. He lost his chance when he was tweeting about Nordstrom dropping his daughter’s clothing line in the aftermath of the raid in Yemen. He lost his chance when he continously made it about him, and his hurt feelings, and not everyone else. When he signed orders that put men, women, and children at risk – and regardless of your thoughts on immigration, when he threw the entire country into fucking chaos, he lost his chance.
Donald Trump has made a portion – a large portion – of America believe that media, actual, vetted media, which has been around for decades, isn’t real. There is no underestimating how dangerous this is. When we stop believing the media, the legit media, and start believing the words of a man on a power trip, we’ve lost. This. Is. How. It. Starts. Do not tell me I’m overreacting. To me, this is the biggest loss we’ve faced. His supporters no longer believe true media sources, because he has told them not to. Our media has never been perfect, nor is it without fault. But find me an example where CNN has falsely reported anything – aside from what this admistration has said – before this. Have there been mistakes? Yes. Is the entire source – and I’m using CNN as an example here – therefore not credible? Because by that logic Sean Spicer is literally the SNL joke that he’s become.
Here’s a quote regarding the inauguration.
“the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.”
People? This just flat out isn’t true . It’s not a question, it’s not a media thing, it’s not a joke. It. Isn’t. True. It is quite literally unfathomable to me that the White House, the United States government, felt the need to issue a (completely, utterly, false) statement regarding how many people witnessed the inauguration because the President of the United States of America got his panties in a bunch when the disparity of his inauguration crowd in comparison to the previous one.
This is not okay.
His statement that his reversal of the DAPL decision “wasn’t controversial,” and “he hadn’t received one phone call about it.”
There were literally thousands of protests.
His administration’s willingness to stand behind a woman who, A) invented a massacre that didn’t happen and B) provided a mini-infomercial for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line from the White House.
His refusal to disclose his business interests and taxes after leading the charge for transparency against Obama in the completely unfounded demand for his birth certificate.
The President cannot benefit from business interests in other countries. This is also illegal, if he has them. If he does not, in the interest of that transparent government, there is no reason this isn’t public information.
His absolutely embarassing display at the time-honored prayer breakfast, during which he pimped out his television show.
Here’s a tip – saying “What the hell!” to a priest at a prayer breakfast anywhere is tacky. At the White House, it’s downright shameful.
His appointment of an Education Secretary with literally zero experience, either publicly or as a civilian, with public schools, which, you know, should be a cornerstone of this country.
Betsy DeVos and her family donated money to literally every single person that voted her in. Do not tell me she didn’t buy that job. This is not coincidence. Also, and this may be personal opinion, but anyone who “can’t remember” if they donated 200 million fucking dollars to something probably doesn’t have a super solid grip on what parents in Chicago who are sending their kids to public schools deal with.
Speaking of Chicago, what exactly is he doing here? Because I seem to remember this city being a big part of the whole “tough on crime” portion of his campaign. He could fix Chicago in a week, he talked to “top people” in CPD, he would send in the Feds if the “carnage” isn’t stopped.
Spoiler alert: he hasn’t fixed Chicago, nor made any attempt to do so. The “top people” he talked to don’t exist, according to CPD, and when our mayor responded, “Send them,” to the Feds statement, there was a deafening silence that I can still hear. Also, side note? Defunding our public schools and Planned Parenthood? Probably isn’t going to help. (But that’s another rant.)
His horribly disjointed Black History Month speech.
I can’t even. I can’t. Aside from the Frederick Douglass comment, which I know was the big takeaway, reading the entire transcript literally made my brain hurt. This is the President. If he’s unable to draft a coherent speech that properly addresses the weight of what he’s talking about, he needs to at least surround himself with people smart enough to do so.
THIS. IS. NOT. OKAY. Say it with me.
And that isn’t to mention countless other instances – Sessions and Bannon with their blatant, obvious, and clear racist backgrounds, the national security questions he dealt with in front of his public at Mar-A-Lago, the civilians killed in his raid that was without proper intelligence, his complete dismissal of the 2 million people that marched against him the day after his inauguration, the complete and utter disregard for the terror, fear, and inconvenience the Muslims – or anyone that happens to “look Muslim” – in this country now face. The LGBTQ couples worried about their marriage status and the incoming legal discrimination against them. Oh, and Russia. Everything about Russia, from the election to the dossier to Flynn – everything. It literally could go on and on, and keep in mind that I am only touching on the most publicly known instances of discordance.
But my question (and point) is this. I need to know why the Republican party is party over country right now. I want an explanation as to why they’re willing to let these absolute insanities roll off. I truly cannot fathom that this entire Senate is behind this; that there is no one that’s willing to go against the madness. I believe it’s just going to take one. Once one stands up and says, “Wait a second, this is a fucking crazy person,” others will follow.
Until then, we keep resisting in whatever way we can. Keep calling and keep emailing and keep showing up and most importanly – keep voting. Pay attention to your local elections. To your senators and your representatives.
Is it making a difference? I certainly hope so. It doesn’t always feel like it to me. But staying quiet is not an option. Not anymore.
Merry Christmas From the Family
Well, what a dumpster fire of a year, huh, friends? We lost some of the most creative people ever to exist – and seriously, if I was an iconic celebrity right about now, I’d stay in my house drinking orange juice and pumping the vitamin C for the next eleven days and yes, I’m looking right at you Betty White, because my heart simply cannot handle anymore – the US lost its damn mind and elected a cross between Bif Tannen and President Snow as the leader of the free world, our neighbors over the pond lost its damn mind with Brexit, families aren’t speaking to each other, Facebook has lost its original purpose of showing videos of sneezing pandas and whimsy cat pictures and is instead filled with memes being flung back and forth between family members and friends like small, passive-aggressive missiles. People are shooting up churches and clubs and schools and shopping malls and all of Chicago. It was seventy degrees all of November, and yesterday it was colder in Chicago than on Mars. Babies are being slaughtered in Syria, Flint still doesn’t have clean water, and the U.S. government reprised its role of trying to prove that Native Americans matter less than the rest of the country. People. The Cubs won the World Series. We have indeed opened the seventh seal and ushered in the apocalypse.
All of that being said, it’s almost over. And it’s Christmas, and if you’re reading this you’re alive and have access to the internet, so you’re doing fucking fantastic by this year’s standards. I’ve been getting a lot of Christmas cards of smiling, happy children and this makes me happy. But happier still are the Christmas letters. I love the Christmas letters. I’m not being sarcastic – I enjoy them. It’s fun to see people’s lives in a snapshot and I genuinely enjoy reading about the accomplishments of friends and family members throughout this stressball of a year.
So I thought I’d share my own. I didn’t send it out, obviously, because anyone who knows me knows I am way too unorganized to have something like an address book, but that’s okay, right? You probably didn’t want to hang a picture of my cats on your fridge anyhow. Here it is!!
Happy Christmas, friends!
Hope this letter finds you well. What a year, huh? Where to start?
The cats are thriving. Ramon, in just her 15th year on this planet, has managed to find new ways to show her exuberance at life and we’re so happy. Now she hisses and swipes at everyone who walks by her and not just my family. She only drew blood a couple of times this year, but that was totally my fault for sitting quietly next to her when she obviously wanted to be alone. But she still loves sleeping on your face and purrs happily while trying to rip you limb from limb, and if she’s happy, we’re happy. Potato, in his 12th year, continues to improve from his traumatic escape attempt seven years ago. He continues to be terrified of his own shadow, me, our neighbor’s dog, wind, light, his water dish, movement, my shoes, and all coats and sweatshirts not properly folded and put away. The last part unfortunately manifests in him peeing on anything left out, but bonus? Once we figured out that he prefers an orderly environment, accidents went down and organization went up, so really, we should be thanking him for keeping the place spotless! Unfortunately, in their older age, sometimes they miss the litterbox in the bathroom – because omg they are 12 and 15 years old how is this even possible we don’t even feed them wet food – and that’s obviously a bit of a bummer. But again bonus? It only took a year and a half and three adults to consider putting puppy pads under the litterbox instead of changing the litter and mopping the bathroom floor every fucking day. Double bonus? Now that the puppy pads are down, they never miss. Ever. They might be a little diabolical, but they’re ours and we love them. I’d include a picture, but I can’t get them to get near each other or me.
We hosted our first ever holiday on Easter and it was a great success! My mom brought chairs, a ham, a roasting pan, fried chicken, and Easter baskets for the kids, and my in-laws brought a kitchen table and chairs, paper plates and napkins, a tablecloth, serving utensils (those were from my sister in law, how she found the time four days before giving birth while studying for her nursing finals, I’ll never know!) and more Easter baskets. But we did the really heavy lifting, which was cleaning the fish tank and heat vents and swearing at each other for three days running over whose great idea it was to host Easter. We did a great job!
Our collection of random miniature police, firefighter, and superhero figurines continues to grow. There was a really fun couple of months where they would be hidden all over the apartment. It’s a really good time! Tony and Tony are great at games. They have another fun one where they draw faces on every egg in the carton and hide canned goods where they’re not supposed to go. It’s a great motivator when you’re really hungry! I tell you, we just laugh and laugh.
Of course, we had some tough moments. We had a broken bone (Tony Marzilli,) a broken toilet (me) (twice) (the second one was really all of us,) (but I fixed it!) several arguments that nearly got physical with crackheads (Tony,) an unfortunate “getting pooped on by a bird” incident (also Tony) (wait, and me, what the hell?) a Natalie Merchant concert that wasn’t actually Natalie Merchant (all of us, but I blame them because they’re the 10,000 Maniacs fans and should have known better,) a bike accident (Tony Marzilli) (separate from the broken bone,) everyone loved “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, (more upsetting for Tony and Tony than myself,) and Ramon ate and then vomited the last piece of a 1000 piece puzzle that took eight hours to put together(no one won here) (and I challenge you to find something more frustrating than having 999 pieces of a puzzle.)
We had a great year. We have jobs we like. We didn’t have to move this year (and for those of you playing at home, that’s the first time in five years it didn’t have to happen,) and love our apartment, we kept the cats and a fish alive, we got to ride a camel AND hold an alligator, we went to every festival we could find in Chicago, I rode my bike in a triathlon, we got to be in Wrigleyville when the Cubs advanced to the World Series and were at Wrigley Field on a day that a World Series game was being played there. We caught a lot of fish, played some Pokemon, spent a lot of time at the beach, watched Purple Rain at Milennium Park, learned a whole hell of a lot about politics, and like always, had a hell of a good time.
Here’s to an even better 2017! (Assuming the world doesn’t explode on itself.)
Tony, Courtney, and Tony
At this time last week, I was standing in my living room, tears in my eyes, watching the Cubs win the World Series.
Five days ago, I was standing in the middle of Michigan Avenue, tears in my eyes, watching the five million fans celebrate a victory.
At this time about eighteen hours ago, I was sitting in my living room and burst into tears, watching the results of the 2016 Presidential election.
At this time three hours ago, I was standing in the middle of Dearborn St., outside Trump Tower, tears rolling down my face as I watched protestors storm by.
It’s been one hell of a week.
I have seen things this week that America has never seen before. I’ve cried more this week than I have than I can ever remember in my adult life. For me, it’s been a series of highs and lows unprecedented in my life. I have a really happy Cubs post that I was planning on writing this week, but that has to be put on hold right now. Because Donald Trump is going to be my President. And I can’t handle it yet.
It’s not that my candidate lost. My candidate lost back in the primaries, when Bernie Sanders lost to a political machine. A machine, I must add, that I wasn’t a fan of. As a woman, it hurts to say that. These past few months should have been a celebration of the possibility of the first female president. I will not lie; love, hate, or indifference, we had a chance to make history yesterday, and part of me really wanted it solely for that reason. Watching the debates, and seeing little girls watch this woman, this strong woman, this politician, make history in so many ways – it made me want it for her, and for me, and for those girls. But my optimism, my idealism which I will not apologize for, wanted Mr. Sanders to be up there. Call it what you want, but I believed in him and his ability to beat this Republican monstrosity we found ourselves with. That being said, that Republican monstrosity, in my opinion, needed to be defeated no matter what. And if Secretary Clinton was the other option, to me, she was the only option.
I’m hearing a lot today that we’re being overdramatic. This isn’t the end of the world. Get over it. He won, you lost, it happens every election. But I don’t think we’re being overdramatic. This is unprecedented. Never, in the history of the process that we are bound to uphold, has there been a candidate this divisive. I don’t need to go through it again. His racism. His mocking of the disabled. His misogyny. His careless talk of sexual assault. His platform based on division, and hate, and fear. Do not tell me that these things aren’t true. Don’t. If you think that this man has not made his platform based on fear and hate, you’re kidding yourself. It surely worked for him, don’t misunderstand. But he has found our weakness, America, and it is fear, plain and simple. He just exploited it, and did it spectacularly.
Fear of the unknown. Fear of the different. Fear of the loss of the fragile security we are desperately trying to hold onto. Fear that our piece of the pie, which wasn’t big enough to begin with, is going to be snatched away by that political machine. So no, I don’t need to go through it again, but to lend it no credence is doing a disservice to everyone. The fact that there are children asking their teachers if they’re going to lose their families; the fact that gay couples wonder if the progress they’ve made is gone; the fact that Muslim families that have lived here their whole lives are now terrified and being taunted at schools. The fact that an acquaintance of mine, who is deaf, was accosted by someone today that came up to them and actually said, “Get out of here, retard, Trump’s President now.” The fact that this is the rhetoric that’s acceptable right now.
So no, this isn’t because we lost the battle, America. It’s because right now, we’re losing the war.
So we need to take it back. The war that women have fought, for their own rights, to their own bodies. The war that minorities have fought, for their life, for their own rights. The war that the LGBT community has fought for years. The war against the rape culture that is so acceptable that even this little bleeding heart liberal has questioned it. The war that the disabled community has railed against. The war that that shouldn’t be an issue in 2016. Black people shouldn’t have to fight in 2016. Women shouldn’t have to fight in 2016. The disabled shouldn’t have to fight in 2016. Gay people, trans people – they shouldn’t have to fear for their status in 2016. Muslims shouldn’t have to declare themselves in 2016. Mexicans should not have to defend themselves in 2016. We. Are. Better. Than. This. America.
Not all Trump supporters believe this pared down version of his rhetoric. I know that. And I have to believe, in my heart, that Mr. Trump himself doesn’t believe this. I have to believe this, because I cannot believe otherwise. As I stood today, watching the protestors, tears rolling,
that’s what I thought. It sounds trite, but love needs to trump hate. It has to.
This is who we have. This is who our process has elected, and as an American, I can be embarrassed, and I can be sad. I’m allowed that. But. (Deep breaths) This is our President. We cannot divide any further. We need to rail against the divisiveness. We need to be stronger than this rhetoric, because we are better than this.
For better or worse, we have elected Donald Trump as President of the United States. It might be for worse, but we have to hope that it will be for better. We have to keep fighting for it to be better. We got our change, America. Let’s make it worth it.
Here We Are
I’m purposefully writing this tonight. Before Game Six, before we go back to Cleveland. Before it’s all over in a few days. Because win or lose, it is all going to be over in a few days. And I want to soak up every last second of this. I want to remember, no, to preserve, this feeling that I and so many others have right now. This excitement, this joy, this happiness that seems to be surrounding the city of Chicago right now.
Our buildings are lit up with Go Cubs in blue. Our office buildings have Fly the W spelled out in high rise windows and W flags flying in our lobbies. Our fountains are dyed Cubbie Blue and you can’t walk more than five feet without seeing someone in a Cubs jersey or hat. Our iconic ferris wheel is decked out with a W and shining red white and blue. Clark Street Sports must have popped up about a hundred stores and people are clamoring for their World Series gear. Because we’re finally here. The Chicago Cubs. In the World Series. Last night, I watched, from my couch, drink gripped in hand, standing up for nearly three hours, a World Series win at Wrigley Field. And while I’m not saying anything new here, I feel the need to point out that there are people who, quite literally, waited their entire lives to see this happen, and plenty more who never got to.
For the most part, all I’ve heard is excitement and positivity. Whether this is because most of the people I”m talking to are Cubs fans or because I’m so violently optimistic and happy that they’re afraid to disagree with me, I’m not sure. But people are HAPPY. And you know what? This city, and this country, needs some damn happy. (This is where you assume I’m going to go on a Trump rant, but I promise I won’t here.) But I think people just need something to hold onto. Some hope for a change. Articles that make us smile when we share them on social media, “Hey, did you see Bill Murray start crying when they won? Did you see that interview with Ross? How about that catch?” instead of the constant back and forth I’m right-you’re wrong-let-me-tell-you-why-in-all-caps-and-illustrate-my-point-with-a-meme posts that 2016 has been rife with. (Not excluding myself from this faction.)
Some people say it’s a good distraction, that it’s like sticking our heads in the sand for a couple of weeks; ignoring the real issues to focus on a game. And maybe that’s true. But you know what? Right now, I need to stick my head in the sand. Because this year? Has sucked. A lot. It took Bowie, and Glenn Frey, and Snape, and Prince. It’s taken a lot of our hope in our government and political process, it’s divided friends and families. We’ve lost a lot of good people, both famous and not, and most importantly, it’s robbed even the strongest optimists of their hope. This team? Has given us hope. This team? Has given us happiness. Above all, this team has given us something to rally around, together. And we need that. Desperately.
We headed down to Wrigley Field last Saturday to stand outside the stadium in the hopes of just hearing the crowd and our team clinch the National League. We couldn’t afford tickets, hell, we couldn’t even afford to get into a bar in Wrigleyville. So we stood outside barricades on Addison and tried to catch glimpses of the game on the bar screens. We talked to people that had flown in from Washington DC just for this privilege. To people that had driven in from the burbs, by themselves, just to be near their team. When the police eventually pushed us so far back that we couldn’t see the TV screens anymore, we stood in an alley and when we heard the crowd cheer frantically checked our phones or asked the people that had pulled their TV outside what happened. When the police pulled up the barrricades in the ninth inning we all ran, cheering and yelling, toward the marquee to hear that last out. And when Chapman threw that final batter out, we cheered and yelled and sang Go Cubs Go and, I’m not ashamed to admit, a lot of us cried.
And there were over 300 THOUSAND of us. Those are the Cubs fans I know. The fans who cried real tears when we lost in 2003. The ones who saved up all year to buy tickets for nosebleed tickets just for the regular season. The fans who have listened to the games on the radio when they couldn’t watch on TV. The ones who went to see the hearse carry Ron Santo around the field for the last time. Who cried when Schwarber went down. Who sat outside and watched on an app on a blurry screen when the playoffs weren’t on cable. Who can say exactly where they were when poor Bartman grabbed at that ball. Who traveled to Milwaukee to see them because it was easier and cheaper than getting tickets to Wrigley. The little girl who loved Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandburg. That same little girl who can clearly remember crying in 1984 in her aunt’s basement. Who waited 45 minutes on a stinky El platform just to go soak up the energy and take a picture in front of a marquee that said “Chicago Cubs World Series Game 4.” That reluctantly left after carefully selecting a ten dollar souvenir pin instead of a hundred dollar sweatshirt or three hundred dollar bar package or a two thousand dollar ticket to go watch at home. The ones who said “It isn’t over,” in the ninth against the Giants. Who rejoiced at Zambrano’s no-hitter and Kerry Wood’s 20 strikeouts. The ones that weren’t surprised by the Montero grand slam. That still well up when they see Harry Caray on the big screen singing the seventh inning stretch. The ones like me.
So forgive me if I get a little crazy when I hear that Cubs fans are bandwagonners, or just want to be there for the party. Of course we want to be there for the party. We’ve waited patiently for this party. Year after year and season after season, we’ve wanted this party.
A quick note here – this is in no way to take away from those fans that have paid thousands in season tickets year after year, or the ones that were able to pay the astounding ticket prices for the series. Because – to borrow a quote – sure as God made green apples, if I had the option, I would do the same thing. And they sure as hell deserve it as much as everyone.
I hope we win it all. And I truly believe we will. I really do. Because this team? Is magic. It’s brought a city together. It’s brought fans hugging and taking selfies with the cops trying to keep order. It’s brought unbelievable catches and unlikely heroes and renewed our love of the game because it’s also the most likeable team I can ever recall watching. It’s brought strangers smiling and talking to each other on the street. I just hope they have enough magic left in them to go all the way.
But if – just if – they don’t? It’s okay. Because we’ll be back next year, no matter what happens.
Maybe, Just Maybe
In the last ten years there have been seven deadly mass shootings across the United States of America. These horrific days in the past decade included the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the babies of Newtown, the theater goers in Aurora, as well as victims in Blacksburg, Virginia, San Bernardino, California, Fort Hood Texas, and Binghamton, N.Y. In ten years, there were 161 people killed and 186 injured by gun violence at the hands of madmen. Innocent people, lives cut short, and for what? As Americans that’s what we wanted to know. We fought bitterly regarding gun laws and safety and police and more recently, about immigration. How do we stop this? What can we do? This is an outrage. This is tragic. We are supposed to be the greatest country in the world and we’re letting homegrown terrorists attack our citizens.
We held vigils. We set up donations and GoFundMe pages. We marched in parades and had moments of silence on the most public of stages. We published People magazine articles giving all of these victims a face, showing their story, and deservedly so. We demanded our politicians give us answers and plans. We wanted change and needed answers; This must be stopped!!
Meanwhile, in my city, in my beautiful Chicago that I call home, let me tell you what’s happening. We’re going to the beach. To the air show. To a fireworks show on the 4th of July. To baseball games and picnics in Humboldt Park. To Puerto Rican fest and pretty much every other festival this city has to offer, and there are many. To concerts and to Millennium Park. To the zoo. We’re having block parties and talking with our neighbors. This summer especially, if you look at my Facebook, we’re living a beautiful life here in Chicago. And don’t get me wrong, we are. We’re taking full advantage of everything this great city has to offer.
But let me tell you what else happens here. Yesterday, my husband didn’t go fishing because at noon, on a Tuesday, there were 20 shots fired less than a mile from us, near the fishing spot at the park. A few weeks ago, my roommate lamented that he’d love to get red Nikes, but he can’t wear them in our neighborhood so what’s the point? It’s not wearing certain football jerseys because of the colors. It’s me asking the question, with hope every time, “Those were fireworks, not gunshots, right?” and being told I’m wrong, to call 911 again. It’s staying home and in the backyard on the actual 4th of July instead of going downtown like we wanted to because we didn’t want to be on the street at night. It’s no one leaves the house alone after dark. It’s crossing the street when coming home late because of the twenty people standing on the corner throwing gang signs. It’s having one of them swing a gun in your direction and walking head down and quickly, trying to get the gate open as fast as possible. It’s calling the police nine times this year because of gunshots and seeing a response twice. It’s learning gang tags and who lives where. It’s not walking north on our street. It’s avoiding the gang member memorial at the end of the block when there are too many people standing there. It’s finding a 9MM shell casing on North Ave. Oh, and it’s paying $1300 a month in rent because our neighborhood is one of the most up-and-coming in the country.
On average, every two minutes someone is shot in Chicago. On average, every eleven hours someone is killed in Chicago. In 2016 alone, 474 people have been killed by gunshots in Chicago. In 2016 alone, 2,589 people have been wounded by gunshots in Chicago. In 2016 alone, 3,063 people have been shot in Chicago. I want you to go back and reread that. Then do it again. Then, for a little perspective, go back to the first paragraph and compare. Ten years mass shootings across the country, 161 killed. One year in Chicago, 474. Ten years mass shootings across the country, 186 injured. One year in Chicago, 2,569 injured. For a little more perspective, 2,996 people were killed on September 11th, 2001. Think about it. More people have been shot in Chicago in a single year than were killed on the deadliest day in US history.
And what do we do? Do we hold vigils or parades? Are all of these murdered ever even recognized by name in our local paper? Do we demand of our politicans answers and strategies? No, we do none of that. We make up names like Chiraq and print it on T-shirts. We profit off of documentaries detailing what a war zone Chicago is. We develop disgusting memes that say, “Chicago, come for the entertainment, stay because you got shot.” We’ve made ourselves a joke, a cartoon. A revoltingly accurate one at that. We don’t do anything. We argue about who’s at fault – is it the BLM movement? Is it the police? Surely it has to be one of those things. We try and argue and pinpoint one specific thing to blame. Because if we have something to blame, we don’t have to really think about it.
But maybe, just maybe, it’s not just one of those things. Maybe it’s the systemic racism and wildly corrupt politics that has held this city captive for years. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the absolute and utter crumbling of the Chicago Public School system, where upper middle class schools have fundraisers and the teachers in the “bad” neighborhoods have to bring their own toilet paper and supplies. Maybe, just maybe, it’s that the opportunities in these bad neighborhoods are few and far between and the kids that are born and raised there don’t know any different than guns and gangs. Maybe, just maybe, when little kids aren’t allowed to ride bikes at night for fear of being shot, they learn that they better be able to shoot. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because it’s pretty clear that no one cares if they live or die.
Likely it’s a combination of all of those things. The BLM and police issues can’t be discounted. They’re part of the rhetoric, problem, and solution, all in their own way. But to point the blame directly at either of them is sticking our heads in the sand.
Because the other thing that can’t be discounted? That can no longer be ignored? Are the 3,063 people that got shot here in less than ten months. The 474 of them whose families will never hug them again. The ones who won’t see their own kids grow up. The ones whose mothers won’t see them graduate high school. Because I think the main thing we have lost sight of here is that all of these gunshots? There are actual people on the other side of them, no matter the decisions they’ve made or the paths they’ve taken. They are PEOPLE, just like the 161 innocents that got the respect and mourning they deserved. We are all humans. We are all living in the land of the free, home of the brave. And yes, we should all matter.
And Again and Again….
Fifty lives lost. Fifty more injured. Countless family members and friends and loved ones breaking in half, never to see their loved ones again. Hundreds of people who said goodbye, have fun, call me later, see you tomorrow without a thought in their head that was the last time they’d ever hear their person speak. That they’d never hear their laugh again, or see their smile. Hundreds of people who walked into a bar Saturday night, happy, laughing, dancing, looking forward to the night, with no way of knowing that walking through that door would irreversibly change their life, if they were lucky enough to make it out. Plans for Sunday barbecues that turned into horrific planning of funerals.
How is this still happening again? When the massacre at Sandy Hook happened a few years ago, when those poor babies lost their lives at the hands and mind of a madman, as a country we were up in arms. We were demanding answers. How could this happen? We were resolved in our fight against this monster – This cannot happen again. We need changes! We need reform! These lives cannot be taken for granted!!
So what happened, exactly? What were those answers? Because from where I’m sitting, it sure doesn’t look like a hell of a lot has changed. But this time, the aftermath is even worse. Because where we stood together before, we have splintered apart now. We want to blame someone. It’s left vs. right, Republicans vs. Democrats, liberal vs. conservatives and we’re all so desperate to place blame, so frantically pointing fingers that we’ve lost sight of what’s important. That fifty people are dead. Fifty. That around fifty more are fighting for their lives.
Make no mistake – this was a crime of hate. Religion didn’t do this. Gun control didn’t do this. Obama didn’t do this. Hillary didn’t do this. Even Trump didn’t do this, although I’m sure plenty of people assume I would lay the blame at his feet. Hate did this. Hate, and fear, and confusion, and a crazy person did this. And instead of banding together, instead of Congress standing on the steps of Capitol Hill in solidarity, pledging to work together to start implementing some real changes, ones that might actually make a difference, our country’s leaders are getting into fucking TWITTER wars, slinging mud at each other and the other side. Using this tragedy to further their own agenda and boast that their platform is the correct one to be standing on – election year, after all – and it’s revolting, and childish, and downright embarrassing for this country.
Here’s what we should have seen on social media today. Picture after picture of the victims; stories about their lives. Links to the stories of the hundreds of people who waited in line to donate blood. Articles about the doctors and first responders and medical personnel and police who did their jobs under horrific circumstances, likely saving hundreds more lives. Interviews with friends and family, remembering these people, these innocent people who are now dead because of who they were, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead it was full of memes – fucking MEMES – from both sides of the spectrum, boasting and explaining why they’re correct and why the blame lies on the other party. Articles depicting tweets from ignorant people who still believe that because this happened at a gay bar, the victims got what they deserved. (Do yourself a favor and don’t look that up if you haven’t seen it yet. It about turned my stomach inside out.) There’s no hand holding or unity or pledge to fight this, just a nasty stampede to prove that someone else’s agenda is or isn’t to blame.
I don’t know a lot about guns. I’ve never been a fan, one, because they scare the hell out of me and two, because I’m way too uncoordinated and like vodka too much to responsible enough to have one. But I do believe that law-abiding citizens should have the right to have them. However, I do not understand the reason that any civilian should ever have access to an assault rifle. Actually, I was corrected several times today that the weapon used wasn’t an assault rifle; that the media made that term up. I didn’t know that. To me, a non-gun owner, a weapon that is made and used for the sole purpose of mass destruction and loss of life, is an assault weapon. But terminology aside, what I do know is that 100 people were shot in a very short amount of time Saturday night. I also know that another 42 were shot right here in my city over the weekend, and that wasn’t even a blip on the news because it happens every weekend here. So in just two cities, in the United States of America, which should be the best country in the world, in the span of less than 72 hours, nearly 150 people were shot with guns, and three quarters of those people were shot with the same gun. That’s not right. You can call it whatever you want, but I’m calling it a problem. A very big, complex, and scary problem that NEEDS to be dealt with. For real – what else needs to happen? How many more people have to die before we address this giant elephant in the room, so to speak? How many more lives have to be shattered before we wake up?
We are in a very scary time in this country. A tragedy like this, the worst attack on our soil in fifteen years, should unite us, not splinter us further into more hate and fear. Our leaders need to get the fuck off of Twitter and start talking to each other, because one party – either party – on its own cannot fix this. This is America; home of the free, land of the brave. And we have to be better. From where I’m sitting, we’re just spiraling further and further out of control and it needs to stop. This has to be the catalyst to make. this. stop. Before it happens yet again.
Stay strong, Orlando. My heart and thoughts are with the victims of this senseless violence. May you all rest in peace.
You Don’t Have to Understand
I don’t understand transgender people. There, I said it. I am a straight, white, privileged female, and I cannot understand how someone is born a female but identifies as a male, or vice versa. I can’t wrap my brain around it. Never, in my life, have I questioned myself in that regard. I had my first crush in kindergarten, (Bobby Rossi, thank you very much,) and my first real crush in the fifth grade. (Oh, Danny Andreeff, how you broke my permed hair with an overbite awkward heart.) It was always boys. There wasn’t a question, never a real curiosity. I didn’t have to think about it. I was a girl, girls like boys, that was pretty much it.
But bear with me here. Because there are a lot of things I don’t understand. They include, but are not limited to, the following:
* Being a cat.
* Having a penis.
* Being African-American.
* How gravity really works.
* Being really rich.
* Being truly poor.
* Not having family that loves me.
* Why Kim Kardashian is famous.
* Why my cats are assholes.
* How a man walked on the moon.
* Why children get cancer.
* How ten minutes when I’m in a spin class can feel like eternity, but ten minutes before my alarm goes off is a nanosecond.
* Why McDonald’s diet coke is far superior to any other diet coke.
* That people actually believe Donald Trump could lead a country. (Sorry. Had to throw it in there.)
* How a parent can harm their own child.
* Where the extra socks go to live after they’re put into the washer, never to be seen again.
* How the internet works.
* How the telephone works.
* Really, how anything electronic works.
* Being disabled.
The list could go on and on and on and on. But here’s the thing. All of those things? Happen. They are real. They are true. Some people understand them. Some people make them their life’s work. They EXIST. They are reality. Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t make it untrue. It doesn’t make things not happen.
We used to think the world was flat. We used to think women weren’t capable of voting. We used to think it was okay to enslave an entire race based on skin color. We used to believe that we were untouchable, that no one could ever use our own planes and training against us. We used to think only gay people got AIDS. Guess what? We were very, very, wrong.
To denounce something because we don’t understand it – is that not the absolute height of all arrogance? “Well, that doesn’t make sense to me, therefore, it’s impossible. Case closed.” That’s like insisting two plus two equals five, or that Mars isn’t a planet.
So no, I don’t understand being transgender, any more than I understand standing up to pee. And I’m not going to lie, I’m glad for it. I’ve never had to defend being who I am, defend who I love and have to explain why. I can’t imagine having to do so.
But that doesn’t mean that population doesn’t exist. It doesn’t make them less real, or less than anyone else. People are people. And most people? Are good. Even the ones you don’t understand.
And they all deserve to go to the damn bathroom in peace.
Well, This Could Be Fun
In the back of my head, I had a whole post planned about the GOP and the orange man with the small hands for today. But then today was super irritating and then Kasich dropped out and the orange man is likely going to be an actual Presidential candidate and I’m too scared and angry and plus, I just saw a GIF of Cruz’s face morphing into Grandpa Munster and I’m still too disturbed by the whole thing to write anything productive. (Seriously, look it up. It will haunt you.)
I was recently talking to some co-workers about online dating and it got me thinking about how much more difficult dating has to be now than it was back in the days when I was single and there was (thank you baby Jesus) no internet or Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat. I wouldn’t have been a good internet dater. For one, I am an anxious person. If you don’t immediately respond to my text, please know that my brain has decided you have finally remembered some minor transgression from two years ago that in reality, wasn’t a transgression at all but just something I’ve obsessed over for twenty four months like an offhand comment about a dress. For two, I would have been a stalker. There’s no sugar-coating it. Oh, you wanted to stay home and watch your favorite movie, “The Godfather,” did you? I would have been the asshole combing through your social media, trying to find any reference to said movie, looking for any proof that you had ever referenced said movie. I would have been “that girl.” I’m not proud of this, mind you, just telling it like it is. (Also, the fact that the first movie that came to mind was Godfather should tell you that I’m also old and have only been to a movie theater five times in the past ten years.)
Anyhow, I did some Googling – I love that this has become a verb in our lexicon – and came up with a list of questions that might be on dating sites, a getting to know you type quiz, if you will. Which brought me back to my favorite MySpace pastime, (I told you I was old) which was answering a bunch of questions about myself. Let’s have some fun and forget about the fact that a sexist megalomaniac is about to be a formidable nomination for the PRESIDENT, shall we?
Do you have any pets?
Yes. I have two cats. Ramon recently scratched a hole out of my face and Potato peed on my shoulder while I was on the phone. They’re super cute, if you’re a masochist.
Name three things that are physically close to you?
My phone, because it is physically attached to my right hand, a vodka seltzer because I saw a meme that said it has less calories than a banana and I’m nothing if not health conscious, and a solid bronze statue of a monkey holding a bucket that I put a votive candle in.
What’s the weather like right now ?
Well, it’s Chicago and it’s May, so it’s forty degrees and stupid.
Do you drive ? If so, have you crashed?
No. The last couple of years we had a car, I turned into everyone’s great aunt Sylvia whenever it snowed, there was traffic, it was wet, or it was too sunny. It’s better for everyone that I’m no longer in charge of anything on wheels other than my bike. Which, incidentally, I almost got killed on yesterday when an aggressive John Hancock Shuttle Bus driver broke many laws on Wacker Dr.
What time did you wake up this morning ?
Well, I woke up perfectly rested at 7:30. But because I am bad at being an adult, I forced myself back to sleep until my alarm went off at 8:30 so I could rush around like a crazy person and have to run to the bus.
When was the last time you showered ?
8:42 – 8:44 AM.
What was the last movie that you saw ?
I think we rented the Minions a couple of months ago after many drinks. It took us WAY too long to be sure that they weren’t actually speaking English.
What does you last text message say?
“A pop if it’s not too late! My RC is nothing but ice water…” From Tony, in response to me asking if he needed anything from the store. He had left a two liter of RC in the freezer overnight because he is also awesome at adulting.
What is your ringtone ?
I have no idea. My Fitbit vibrates when I get a call and I am incapable of not answering immediately.
Have you ever been to a different country?
I went to Canada once on a choir trip? My friend Steve fell in Niagara Falls and lost his bandanna. (Yes, that’s my main memory of Canada. Other than that they have black squirrels.)
Do you like sushi?
I wouldn’t know. I hate fish cooked and the idea of it raw makes me want to never stop vomiting.
Where do you buy your groceries?
Well, I finally discovered Aldi and was enthralled, but – as things tend to go in my life – it immediately closed for renovations for eight months. So I’m back at good old Cermak produce, where I have to frantically count in Spanish while at the deli counter trying to figure out my number because no one speaks English there. As I can only count to ten and the numbers are usually in the seventies, I spend a lot of time smiling and holding my ticket up.
Have you ever taken any medication to help you fall asleep faster?
Does whiskey count? If so, then yes. If I have a cold, whiskey and Theraflu is my jam.
How many siblings do you have ?
One younger sister who did me the massive favor of being awesome and having a gorgeous child so I don’t have to.
Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop?
A tablet. (See? This wouldn’t have even BEEN a question in the nineties.)
How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
38. Apparently my 20 year high school reunion is this year, but that’s impossible because only old people have 20 year high school reunions.
Do you wear contacts or glasses ?
I have both. But I’m lazy and like to tempt fate, so I wear my contacts 24/7 until I get an eye infection.
Do you colour your hair ?
Oh yes. I’m pretty sure the phrase, “Dirty/dishwater blond,” was invented to describe my natural color.
Tell me something you are planning to do today:
Well, I’m going to finish this vodka seltzer and eat an entire head of cauliflower for dinner. Because I like to party.
When was the last time you cried?
A couple of weeks ago when I saw a picture of a German shepard puppy on his first day on the job as a police dog with the caption, “It’s my first day! I hope I do great!” Seriously – he looked so excited and proud! (Side note, I may have been pre-menstrual.) (Side side note, apparently that doesn’t matter because I just teared up again thinking about it. If this were a dating site, I would for sure be gone by now.)
What is your perfect pizza topping?
Doesn’t really matter. Pizza is just a vehicle to get bread into my mouth hole.
Which do you prefer, hamburger or cheeseburger ?
Cheeseburger. Because there’s when there is an option for cheese, you should always take it.
Have you ever had an all-nighter ?
This is where one would assume that I’d have some crazy college story – or not, because I probably come off as pretty fucking boring, but I did have some all-nighters in college, being a professional procrastinator and all – but my most recent all-nighter was at my niece’s second birthday party. Because that’s what one does at a toddler party.
What is your eye colour ?
Green? Hazel? I never really thought about it. That’s something I should know, right?
Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke?
What kind of terrorist can’t tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi? That’s madness.
So yeah, I think we can all safely assume it’s a good thing I stopped dating in 1999, because otherwise it would for sure be just me and these stupid cats until one of them killed me.