There is No “They” – Just “I”

There is No “They” – Just “I”

Black Screen
Self-imposed Media Blackout

I spent all day yesterday working unsuccessfully on a new blog. I twisted words and tried to harness my wrath and disgust for willful ignorance into a cohesive under one thousand word essay. All my attempts failed, so I slept on it.

BK (Bad Kitten), howled down the hall around four this morning, wanting someone to play with. I made coffee in the dark and had a cigarette on the screened-in porch. The German left for work today intentionally dressed in all black. I found Matlock on TV (hopefully to hurt ratings) and turned off the volume. Searching our CD collection, I found a handful of indie artists. I gathered them up and fired up the player. I made banana bread and emptied the dishwasher. Only then, did I sit in front of a blank piece of paper.

Kitten playing with writing paper and pencil.
BK helping me write.

The problem with yesterday’s writing was my own cowardice. It’s easy to write “they” and subtly distance yourself with an air of superiority. The anthropology term is “othering”. You know, “We have to help the others.” It sounds all and good as long as I don’t turn around and look at the squalor I live in. (See, I did it again. Those “I’s” were “you” and “yours” originally.)

So in this day of mourning, it is only me, myself, and I. Last night, I vowed to take a three-day sabbatical from social media. Though there is great comfort in my like-minded friends, there’s also a tendency for me to lash out bitterly at those who disrupt my assembled Camelot. Today is not about them winning it is about my failure.

The day after the election, I limped into work, signed into my corner cash register, and cried as I rang up my working class customers. The hours wore on and I started commiserating with anyone in earshot. Then I started to discover most of my co-workers – these beautiful, hardworking (sometimes 2 or 3 jobs) women didn’t vote. The excuses were bona-fide. They didn’t have vehicles, some hadn’t changed their addresses with their last move, and some just weren’t interested in the latest trickle down politics. I’d been so caught up in my own cloud of informed privilege – I just didn’t know.

These were more than co-workers, they were people I was proud to call friends. We cleaned toilets together, bitched about money, picked up the trash, discussed our sex lives, were jointly berated by customers on a daily basis, complained and bragged about our children, and laughed at our employer’s expectations and the miniscule reward they dangled. Regardless of our age, background, education level, or ethnic makeup, we all wanted the same things. A comfortable home to go to, groceries to fix a decent meal with, reliable transportation to get to work, job security, extra money to go to the doctor or dentist, someone to share our lives with, and for our children to have a better life than we did. The American Dream in a nutshell, folks.

In my self-absorption, I forgot to pay forward all those opportunities given to me. In my advancing age, I’m not shy in bossing people – especially those younger than I. Never hesititaing, I lectured them on money, their love lives, and advancing their careers. How could I ignore this topic? I just assumed, like apparently the rest of the nation, people understood what was at stake.

Starting today, when I feel the urge to bitch – I will pause for a quick self-examination. Instead of Monday morning quarterbacking on what “they” should have done, I will ask what can I do? If we become a nation of “I’s”; it doesn’t matter the ineffectiveness of our governments. We can just give them a quick glance behind us as we move ahead, and say; “I’ve got this.”

Writing supplies, CD's, and Banana Bread.
“Not My President” Survival Kit

The artists show here are: Esperanza Spalding, To All My Dear Friends, Amelia White, The Wood Brothers, End Time Spasm Band, Anne Frank-Dux, The Sweetest Condition, Gabriel Harley, and Carrie Pietz.