Doldrums

A Retrospect Pt. 1

I thought about you again. In those perfect empty moments past midnight as I lay in bed waiting for sleep’s arms to cradle me, a figment of memory fluttering behind my closed lids. The auditory hallucination of your voice calling me from the other side of my bedroom wall. I checked my phone for the time, the orange glow cutting through the darkness. When will sleep take me? Why do these thoughts run laps through my mind? Why are you always at the center of each of them?

January

I watched the Insurrection unfold as my fever finally settled at a comfortable 100 degrees. COVID made a mess of my lungs while the current president wrecked democracy with his words, motivating his blindly-allegiant followers into storming the Capitol. Chants for the deaths of the leaders of this so-called free nation echoed through the hallways. Police officers were beaten and bruised by the very people who were “backing the blue” throughout 2020, as demonstrations of “defund the police” and “Black Lives Matter” took place. These patriots, as they referred to themselves, erected a makeshift gallow to hang the Democratic leaders and the Republican vice president. They’re motivated by misinformation, fed lie after lie even before election results were tallied. “[T]he only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.” For months after the November election, calls for recounts, shouts of voter fraud, phone calls to stop the count echoed through the media. A coup d’état was the final attempt to secure an unlawful win, to overthrow our election system. In the end, no matter their attempt, democracy continued. 14 days after the Insurrection, Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president. 

February

The lights went out as Texas froze. Ted Cruz hopped on a plane to Cancun. He left his poor dog to freeze. What sort of man does that? 

My depression increases. The city has implemented a new employee evaluation system. And the aftermath of COVID still wrecks my body. My kidneys feel like boulders perched in my gut. I can’t piss, but is that a blessing? When I do, my sides tense up and the pain crawls up. 

I meet M for the first time. And I am nervous around her. I’ve seen too many versions of her come in and out of this library. Talented, smart, funny and full of ambition only to be turned away. I don’t know it yet, but a change is coming. One volume has wrapping up, and a new story is on the horizon. 

March

I’ve been down this path before, why should it feel different? Still, I filled out the application and submitted it. 

The two of them sit across from me, though I no longer feel flanked. They slide the evaluation in front of me. Give me the goals that I am to achieve each month and what I’m to achieve by the mid-year. I have no plans on signing the form there. Unlike my compatriots, I will play the hand I’m dealt. Secure what little power over my own autonomy that I still cling to. It’s not if I’m willing to agree to these measures, it’s when. I eventually do. 

Afterward, I apply for other jobs. I have no intention of being around by the mid-year. 

April

I entered the meeting early, interrupting their conversation. I am still trying to navigate this new world of social norms. Before Zoom, the interviewee is expected to arrive early at the office. Is expected to wait in the lobby with no distractions. No cell phones in hand, scrolling through social media. Magazines are ok, but books might raise an eyebrow. In those days, I always carried a book or a notebook to keep my mind from reeling. Before the scheduled interview – which took place on Teams – I scribbled a list of possible questions to ask. I sign on to my work-provided Teams and click the link in my email. And there appeared four faces I’ll later come to recognize. 

My only thought is how am I supposed to make eye contact. To look at my camera means to not address the person I’m responding to; to look at my screen means to appear distracted. I fiddle with my loose earbud and do my best to respond. And I’ve come to learn that online interviews are more nerve-wracking than in person ones. 

May

I grit my teeth as she talks down at me. Maybe I’m just angry, maybe it’s my depression. Maybe I’m just sick and tired for having to deal with yes-people instead of freethinkers who stand up for the department. I had campaigned for her to take the role of supervisor of the department, but I finally delivered something the administration wanted. “Why didn’t you meet last month’s goal?” Because there is no communication between departments. Because things change on a dime. Because what is there to deliver? Because I don’t know who they expect me to network with. Because you have given me little to no guidance over this, being too busy trying to address the problem child. It takes every ounce of me not to just straight up and quit on the spot. Takes more effort to nod than it would to break the news that I won’t be here in September. 

I confess to M that there are times when reading the message doesn’t hit me. Tell her that I can read every word of a passage or text aloud and still not understand the sentence. I remember that earlier conversation when a new email reaches my inbox. I turn in my letter of resignation. My time at the public library has ended. 

June

There are days that I’m at home and days I’m in the office. I caught the first year of college bug. There is so much I want to do, so many things I want to learn. After an Ally training, I throw out the idea of building a LGBTQIA+ collection as a long term, ongoing goal. My ideas here aren’t cast aside. They’re not pocketed and kept for another day. While not all of them will pan out, they’re also not quickly reasoned away into oblivion. 

My mood is elevated. I finally feel like myself again.

Intermission

It’s been some time, hasn’t it? I’m always lurking in your history, though my time may have been limited. But I never went away. Never truly. There I dwelled until you remembered me. Until you picked up a picture from your high school days and smirked at the boy you once were. The boy who wore lipstick. Who borrowed his girl friend’s clothing. The skinny, life-like doll looking for some sort of validation. A chronic 15 minutes of adoration. How easily you forget an old friend. How easily my persona toss aside when it never fit your narrative. But I notice. I recognize that need in your eye. That longing for that feminine feel. I know the thoughts you push back, deep inside your mind. The ones that are aching to push through. And that’s how I slipped out after you killed your god. That’s how I remember. 

Photo by charan sai from Pexels
Doldrums

Dispatches from Covid-19

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

It’s as if 2020 needed to get in one last fuck-you before being vanquished by 2021.

On Christmas morning, I woke up with a fever of 102.6°F – possibly the highest I’ve had it for a while. (It’s hard to get sick when you don’t leave the house for anything but work and the occasional grocery store visit.) It didn’t surprise me because my mom had been sick earlier in the week. Her started with fatigue before descending to being feverish and finally overcoming it. It was only a matter of time before I got sick and sure enough, I did. I thought nothing of it as my sense of taste and smell seemed unaffected (as was hers).

However, on the following Monday, we drove to an urgent care facility for a rapid test. After a twenty minute wait, we received our results and they were positive for Covid-19. We could spend time tracing back where and who we got it from, but there are too many variables. I called into work and told them the news and have been out ever since.

Seven days into the new year, I’ve been watching a lot of TV. National news, mostly, as the historic day of affirming Joe Biden’s presidential win was under attack by domestic terrorists. Days upon days of warning piled up to nothing but a small force of officers to protect the Capitol building. It was disgusting display of anti-American rhetoric fueled and fed by the President of the United States. Rather than condemning the actions of his followers, Donald J. Trump took to social media and praised them, calling them special and that they are loved.

It’s a terrifying thought that the most dangerous man in the country is also its president. Invoking the 25th Amendment is a far-too-late scenario for the stain he has left upon his administration and the modern history of this country. He will go down as the worst president of this country and we need to find a way to prevent others like him from gaining any sort of power within our country.

That said, his goons Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and all others who echoed and parroted his insane conspiracy theories need to be removed from their respective offices. They need to be expelled from congress and replaced properly by their governors or citizens of their states. It should not be allowed to continue on. To say that we’re the greatest country in the world is a bald face lie so long as they are allowed to continue to push conspiracy theories in order to remain in power.

As if a small light at the end of the tunnel, Georgia has elected two Democratic senators into office, giving Biden a strong Congress. The Democrats are majority leaders in the Senate and the House of Representatives. I look forward to the next two years and see what a positive change can do for this country. However, I am under no illusions that Joe Biden is our savior, nor his Vice President Kamala Harris. Unlike the Trumpian camp, we do not idolized our politicians. We know they are flawed humans. We know they lie and they lie often. The Democrats – for the first time in a long while – are in full power in our national government. If they cannot get things done, we’d know it was never Mitch McConnell and company keeping them down.

The balls in your court now, Democrats. Do your job and don’t let us down.

Doldrums

Revolting

I don’t usually mind calling someone out when he serves no purpose to me or my life or my job—this is why I call my friends by pseudonyms whenever they say something I don’t agree with (and that’s only the Lizard King). However, the main subject of this post is kin to a friend (and not just a friend of a friend because I see no importance in my friend’s friends unless they’re my friends, as well) so I decided that it is in my best interest to remain “diplomatic” and address the subject by only his initials, TM.

English: Washington, D.C. - Photo of Tea Party...
English: Washington, D.C. – Photo of Tea Party Protests at the Capitol Building September 12, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The government decided to shut down earlier this week and the onslaught of tweets and status updates dared anyone to ignore it. And, of course, no one did. Both sides blamed the other, even though it’s blatant that this is the fault of the Lord and Savior, Ted Cruz (by the way the Tea Party hoists this guy, you’d think Jesus came back). My Facebook timeline has become a clusterfuck of news articles that are misguided, slanted, or just fabricated (with the exception of The Onion posts, because if you can’t trust The Onion, who can you trust?).

Among my left-wing friends, X stated how the Republican shutdown is hurting the American people. His cousin, TM, made the snide remark, “[I’]m not hurt.” (Note: For own sanity, I have corrected his spelling and capitalization—housed in brackets—but not his grammar or syntax or his backward ideology.)

“I guess [it’s] always the [R]epublican[‘s] fault to you, [X],” he added.

X goes on to explain, “Not always…but there’s no denying that they bear the brunt of the blame for the last eight years. This is not the same Republican Party from the days of Reagan.”

But TM is having none of it, and his speech goes from Republican to downright bigotry:

“I have to tell you, and [I] hear that from every one person that is a [D]emocrat, because they attach them[selves] to that party bec[au]se they are homosexuals, lesbians, abort[ionists], or lazy people that think the gover[n]ment owes them something bec[au]se their grandpa was a slave and [I] have more to say but [I’]m working right now and can[‘t] be on [F]acebook. Lol.”

It’s a near verbatim comment that all Republican candidates give when speaking in front of the elitist or the stupid (who’s to say they’re a different bunch?). It was Mitt Romney’s downfall, anyway. And the incompetent Tea Party members slurp it up like Sasha Grey slurps up frappuccinos—what?! What were you thinking I’d say?

Judging by his profile picture, TM is a red-blooded, gun-toting, deer-slaying American man. He’s a man’s man who likes to hang out and knock back a few beers, making the occasional racist joke or two with his buddies who are also red-blooded, gun-toting, deer-slaying American men (no homo!).

X is disheartened, and so am I—but not for the same reason. We live in a world filled with information at our disposal, but if it’s not pressed between the covers a King James or a Rush Limbaugh, it’s not true or worth acknowledging.

“…you really believe that [TM]?” asked X.

“Yeah [they’re] (meaning homosexuals) humans like everyone but you don[‘t] tell me that you were born that way,” TM goes on. “Or think that because the color of your skin or bec[au]se [you’re] a homsexual need special right[s] to be protected from new law hate crime. There is a constitution for everyone in this nation and it covers every [A]merican. I have children and they are having their minds fill with garbage every day and night telling them or even us that it[‘s] okay. It[‘s] not ok.”

I weep for his children, but question what garbage he’s talking about. As a parent, he can control what information his children hear. He can’t complain about school because teachers aren’t supposed to discuss politics outside of class lessons (or religion, for that matter, but that doesn’t stop several Valley teachers from abusing their power). So what I’m trying to convey here is that the only garbage his kids may hear on a day and night basis is the hate-filled sort that spews from his mouth and fingertips. And he speaks of a constitution as if he understands it—which he doesn’t, otherwise he would know that rights that it’s supposed to protect are being violated in several states when it comes to homosexuals.

In his eyes, hate crimes are a special privilege bestowed upon the lazy (are I use the ‘n’ and ‘f’ words?) Democrats. They apparently choose to feel persecuted and demand the government solve all their problems. I felt I had to weigh in on this:

“I’m pretty sure lesbians are homosexuals, but that’s just me. And I’m neither. Nor am I an “abortionist.” When it comes to abortions, you can say that I would never have one (if I could, anyway). But I don’t believe that if something offends me, makes me cringe or cry at night (it does neither) then no one should be allowed to get one. My grandfather wasn’t a slave. He was a self-made man, granted that he was never rich. He taught me the best things in life are made by your own two hands (which is why I write, I suppose). I vote Republican when I feel the candidate can do a better job than “my party,” but level headed Republicans have been drinking the tea lately and they’re not so level headed. Which is funny that you say we feel the government owes us something because isn’t that the ideological beliefs of the Tea Party?”

His response? “You are not a rep and you probably never will be.”

He makes it sound like it’s a bad thing that I’m a considerate person and that’s the only reason I will never be a Republican. But he goes on, “And if you would see the [truth] you would think [differently].”

What truth, though? Because it seems that TM lives in a world of fantasy where no one judges a person by the color of their skin or who they fall in love with. A world where hate crimes are unnecessary because they only give special rights to minorities instead of protecting them from being mistreated by assholes with a similar mindset as his. He’s a part of an ever growing league of morons who believe a person willing chooses a life of hardship and persecution because it gets them special treatment. I tried to reason with him:

“So you’re saying “hate crimes” are a gift from the government? So it should be okay if we, say, beat someone to death because [they’re]* gay and we’re not? [Or] lynch a black guy for being, say, black. Or maybe something not that extreme. How about we just don’t give them housing. I mean we have a place to rent (hypothetically), but only for white, straight Americans. Because anything else is sub-par.”

“You didn’t see what I wrote or you just see what you want,” talk about the pot and kettle, hu? “We have a constitution and that’s all you need to see.”

Republicans don’t do irony, apparently. The Constitution is the central argument in his farce of knowing much about anything. A historical document that gave birth to our country (well, sort of) written by a bunch of slave-owning white guys is all we need to protect our rights—so fuck new laws, right? Only no one imagined the freedom of slaves and how these former slaves may want equal rights. Or how women may want the same opportunities, control over their own bodies, and equal pay. Those wig-toting bastards should have predicted the future when they signed it, goddamnit!

“I’m afraid that just saying we have a constitution doesn’t mean you understand the Constitution. Or the times it was written in,” I replied. “I probably missed the lecture in government when our founding fathers discussed the possibility that two guys may want to get married.”

Of course, the irony of the last sentence soared over his head as he read it that I believe homosexuality is a choice, and we shouldn’t grant them any equality—or rather, continue to exist in a fog of delusion believing that the Constitution will do its job. But it doesn’t, because the Constitution is just a document (an important document, granted, but a non-breathing, non-living document that doesn’t pass laws or shouts out when discrimination happens). I wonder if he knows that Texas still allows to employers to fire someone for being gay. Or how this state also doesn’t allow an Atheist to hold office. I’m going to sit here and wait until the Constitution wakes up and does it’s bloody job. I may be here awhile. Better call into work.