Dystopian imaginings

I can’t avoid the news forever, so I’m occasionally reading some of the summaries and articles about the president-elect and the cabinet appointments he’s making. These are truly dark times (and I’m not just talking about the return to Standard Time and shortening day length).

As bad as it may seem to have Trump as president-elect, I’m actually more worried that the only option would be to replace him with Pence. Unless these seemingly cockamamie claims that the Russians hacked the election are true and audited results change the election outcome, if Trump is found unfit to serve as president we’ll get Pence as our POTUS. Trump may be a buffoon and a profiteer, but Pence is a scary, scary guy.

The litany of strong social conservative positions he’s championed or made law in Indiana is long. He believes in conversion therapy for LGBTQ people, and is vehemently anti-choice. This is the guy who inspired the Periods for Pence (now Periods for Pols) social media group and inspired Indiana women to call his office and report on their menstrual periods.

I have high school friends in Indiana who have first hand experience with living in a state run by this guy. One friend is the mother of a transgender young adult. She’s angry and scared that her child will suffer under a Trump/Pence administration.

Trump is already showing signs of being unlikely to rise to the demands of being POTUS. The crazy conspiracy theory part of my brain is thinking that maybe this was always the plan of the Republicans: use Trump to win the election since he’s able to appeal to the masses, then replace him with Pence as the real president. We truly have a situation of bad to worse here even if there are no grand schemes in play.

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Is the bloom off the rose?

It’s been just over a month since I packed up and moved over 2,000 miles to live in Northern California. One month is a really short period of time to form a valid opinion about such a life-changing decision, but I’m starting to feel some discomfort and doubts. This post is essentially just a dump of my stream of consciousness/thoughts.

  • Will I ever make friends locally?
  • I enjoy going to weekly knitting group and have met some nice people, but I’d like to do more than just a once a week thing socially.
  • I need to figure out a stable to go to. Getting back into riding will connect me with some friendly people.
  • But if I spend time riding, that’s more time away from Hannah dog.
  • Poor Hannah dog. She looks so bored a lot of the time. I’m her only companion now.
  • Is it fair to leave my dog alone so much? Am I giving her a good life?
  • Stop the guilt trip about the dog! She has a comfortable home, she gets regular attention/exercise/meals, and when you adopted her you saved her from almost certain death!
  • Still, I need to make more “special time” with my dog. Maybe I can take her to the big park today for a walk.
  • How is walking my dog by myself helping me make more local friends?
  • Too bad Hannah isn’t tolerant of other dogs; if she was I could socialize with other people walking their dogs, or take her to the dog park.

———————

  • I can’t believe how much public transportation costs around here!
  • I can’t believe how much housing costs around here!
  • Damn, the new state payroll taxes are more than twice as much as my old state taxes!
  • Can I really afford to live here?
  • Of course I can, I just need to make some adjustments to my budget.
  • Hmm…will I be able to afford to ride regularly here?
  • Too bad I don’t have someone to share expenses with, like a roommate.
  • Getting a roommate here would mean sharing a bathroom; I’m not so keen on sharing a bathroom.
  • Too bad I can’t get back into Airbnb to earn some side cash (because of that whole “share the single bathroom” thing that I want to avoid).
  • Maybe there are some more things I could sell, just to downsize a bit more and to free up a little cash.
  • OK, I’m not really poor. I earn a really good salary compared to most of the people in this country. Although, most of the people in this country don’t live in an area with such a high cost of living.
  • I wonder how people with lower incomes in this area manage to live here.
  • It very likely involves sharing their bathroom.

:-/

Think like a dog

As I sit here…in the dining room…in front of my laptop…trying to wrap up a bit of work while also doing my “fun” computer stuff like catching up on blogs…I see my dog Sadie staring at me while she lays on an armchair in the adjoining living room. I’m guessing that the thoughts running through her head are something like this:

“What is she doing over there with that silly thing? I have this great red ball that we can play with, why isn’t she over here playing with me? Why isn’t she over here rubbing me? You know you love to do that, why not come here and run your hands over me, petting and rubbing and scratching?”

Now her eyes are slowly closing, and I know she knows it’s nearly time to go to bed. That’s what she’s trying to tell me in this minute, “Let’s go to bed and forget about that other stuff.”

If I really listened to my dogs, here’s what I think they’d tell me:

  • Live in the moment. Forget the concepts of “future” and “past.” There is just NOW. Enjoy it. Endure it. Get through it, but take it all in, good and bad. Live it.
  • I deserve every bit of attention I can garner. Don’t doubt that at all. If you can grab attention through some antic — vocalization, movement, crowding — grab it and enjoy it.
  • Take naps.
  • After laying down for a period of time, always stretch when you get up.
  • Although we don’t speak the same “language,” we can still communicate — not just basic needs, but also what’s important to each of us : in other words, our “values.” Which leads to my final lesson…
  • Listen and intuit with your entire being. That’s the way to connect to others, to life, and to find enjoyment in the now.

Just another day

This afternoon, I’m running late for an appointment about a mile away, just north of the river. I catch a cab outside my office building. The cab driver greets me enthusiastically, asking if I’m in a hurry. “Not too much of a hurry,” I say, not wanting to goad him into warp speed. Sometimes cabbies are a bit too “enthusiastic” for me. But he doesn’t go crazy and start accelerating like mad. Instead he launches into a rant about how Americans are ruining the Middle East, complete with plenty of four-letter words. He rages about being called a “camel jockey” when he first came to the U.S. from Iran several years ago. I’m sympathetic, but happy to leave the cab when we reach my destination. I walk back to the office from my appointment.

I leave Stitch n’ Bitch tonight and enter the nearby Blue Line el station. I just miss a train and prepare to wait for several minutes. Moments later, a band of rowdy folks descend to the platform. (Will I sound like a crotchety old person if I say they are rowdy young folks?) I’m not really paying them any attention as I concentrate on my book. A train pulls into the station, but it’s a short train so it doesn’ t pull up to the front of the platform. We rush down the platform to enter the first car. All the seats are already full so we stand. Two stations later as the I grab a recently vacated seat I hear one of the rowdies standing near the doors say very loudly “Oh, man that cool wind feels so good on my balls. My balls are HOT!” Everyone in the car has heard this (unless they are completely isolated by whatever is coming through their headphones), but no one reacts in any way. Just before I reach my station, I move to the doors and wait. A young man moves to the doors next to me. He reeks of marijuana. I feel like I’m getting stoned just standing next to him.

At the bus platform, I stand awaiting the bus with a handful of others. The night is not terribly cold, but it still seems unnecessarily cruel to be standing here with the bus parked and running about 50 feet away, just short of the platform. The driver has taken a break and left the bus. Some gasps of discomfort lead to words of commiseration exchanged between the expectant passengers. Bus drivers certainly deserve breaks, but it just seems like they taunt us when they do this. The bus is here, but we cannot board it. It is warm and well-lit, but we stand shivering in the night until the driver comes back, enters the bus, pulls up to the platform, and opens the doors.

I reach home — finally — and unload: off comes the backpack loaded with laptop and files, the knitting bag, my purse, and my outer layers of hat/scarf/parka. I change into some comfy lounging clothes. I pour myself two fingers of single malt scotch, sit down in front of the TV, and pull out some knitting.

As Scarlett O’Hara said, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Close call

While coming home from Stitch n’ Bitch tonight, I was nearly assaulted.

I narrowly managed to elude harm, and am now sitting here trying to cut through the lingering effects with a cold beer. As for the other party, it’s probably still hanging out in a yard, digging for juicy grubs. Yes, my potential assailant was…a skunk.

Riding the bus home from the el station was an option, but the weather is nice tonight and I really need the exercise. So, I walked. I was strolling along enjoying the new Mosh Knit podcast, when I smelled it: the thick, musky stench of a skunk. About five steps later, I saw it. And it was close. Too close. Maybe about 10 feet away from me.

I paused. It paused. It started to raise it’s tail, and I quickly back pedaled, then side stepped into the street and across to the other side. I sighed with relief, and continued to cautiously make my way home.

A half block later, I smelled another one. I was getting really nervous, looking around for it. (Apologies to the two young women sucking each other’s faces off in a car. I wasn’t gaping at you. Yes, I did a double take, since that isn’t something I see very often in my neighborhood. But the reason my walk had slowed so much was so I could take extra care in looking for the next skunk, not so I could check out the action more closely.)

Finally, I decided that the safest course of action was to walk down the middle of street. Yes, I had to keep track of approaching cars, but at least I wasn’t skunked.

And you thought living in the city meant that the only wildlife we see is in the zoo? Hah!