by Catherine Breese
*What is the opposite of Alta Blue Skies? Low Yellow Dirt.
I have officially, I guess, decided to resurface. On November 8, 2016, I found it necessary to go deep undercover. Operation: It Didn’t Happen involved staying entirely away from all TV news, Internet news, Twitter, Facebook, podcasts, newspapers, and all fellow humans conducting any conversation that didn’t involve banalities such as tire tread wear, weather prediction (avoiding any reference to climate change), recipes that are made with beer, just beer, and the Netflix series Stranger Things. These I could handle. The bulk of my human willpower was busy burying down deep a mélange of depression and anxiety for which written language is entirely inadequate. I was all Sound Garden and Alice in Chains. The color chartreuse. The smell of fermenting garbage at the landfill. Globs of wet sand in the bottom of my bathing suit.
And finally there was the wholly horrible lifting of the veil.
Don’t misunderstand…I was completely willing to pretend for the next 1459 days that Donald J. Trump was not elected as President of the United States. I would take up ceramics, do yoga, write a fan fiction novel set in Yoknapatawpha County, join a committee at church, refurbish furniture, train for a half marathon, get my guitar out of the closet, and make scented soy candles. I would do anything other than think about America and Americans.
Lee Camp straightened me out. I was listening to Redacted Tonight podcast that was a couple of months old (before Trumpocalypse). Camp was telling a story about going through TSA security screening. He refused to go through the full body scanner used in this particular airport. Full body scanners are those giant silly machines that travelers stand inside of creating a rather naked-ish picture of their body and objects on it. This picture is viewed by an underpaid TSA agent and recorded by the government, thus clearing the traveler of suspicion of terrorism and relieving him also of the human dignity he brought with him to the airport. Lee Camp simply refused the machine, which you are allowed to do. If you refuse, you submit to a personal full body physical pat-down and wanding. Anyway he refused. And when asked why, he said “…well, because…fuck them!”
Just because I have taken an ice-water bath and opened my eyes after to admit, out loud, that those whom I previously believed to be of good will were instead vindictive; that white nationalism is still a thing; that some people will vote off their nose to spite their face (West Virginia, please, I’m not defending you anymore); that some people really DON’T CARE about integrity, honesty, or the planet earth; that America is comprised of an actual voting majority[i] of idolizing lemmings, calling themselves proud Christians while worshiping not Christ but a fascist, narcissistic, sexist, racist, wrinkly orange television reality-show star who will show his followers not the love of Jesus but the sharp sword of Wall Street-humping plutocracy…and just because I have recognized the veil as lifted does not mean I have to be okay with who I see. I can say, well, fuck them.
So, I shall.
I’m not transformed or anything. I still believe that we can all get together and agree on a bunch of stuff and maybe save the world from nuclear destruction. That’d be nice. Amen and Kumbaya and Hare Krishna and gesundheit. But I’m saying now that Alta Blue Skies is going to the left, to the left, everything you own in a box to the left.
[i] I’m well aware that the popular vote went the other way by roughly 3 million. But that’s not how you win elections in America. The Electoral College is a problem, but probably of less significance than the absurd primary systems of both parties, questionable security of the voting system itself in various states including mine, gerrymandering of voting districts, and the omnipotent corruptive power of money in our elections.