December 2015


I really do hope everyone is having a great holiday season, actually.  But as we get ready for 2016, another terror warning has gone out, with ISIS expected to strike again somewhere in Europe before New Year’s Eve.

We are being advised–by security experts, naturally–that it will not be safe to join any large gatherings.  But really, who knows?  It might not be safe to join any small gatherings, either.  In fact, it might be safest not to go out at all.

So don’t mind me.  I’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve in the blanket fort in my bedroom.  I’ll barricade myself in and will play Donald Trump speeches on a loop, the ones in which he assures us that when he becomes President, he will ban anyone who looks different and scary.  That should solve the problem.  What’s that…what if I end up being too different and have to go?  Who said I was thinking that far ahead?

Or…that’s what I would be doing if I wanted to live in fear.  But I can’t give up celebrating my favorite holiday, even if the world is about to end.  In case Daesh cares, my friends and I are going to be at some Portland bar tomorrow night, doing decadent, impure things.  As one does on New Year’s Eve.  Have an amazing 2016, everyone!

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When I was younger, I used to daydream about Prince.  I would imagine what it would be like to be at one of the legendary parties at his mansion.  These were your typical lame-ass young girl fantasies.  Prince would come trotting out in his stilettos like the sexy little satyr that he was and he would play guitar for us.  Perhaps our eyes would meet for one magical moment.

But then I grew up, and I got a newsflash courtesy of Cold Hard Reality:  I would never actually go to one of Prince’s parties.  It just wouldn’t happen, in the same way that I would never date that old school crush or become a good dancer.  It wasn’t a painful realization, as by then my life had turned out to be far more unpredictable and meaningful than any celebrity fantasy could be.

The problem is, I live in a nation which still believes it’s going to get invited to the party.  Too many of my fellow Americans suffer from the mansion party syndrome.  They genuinely believe that one day they will be friends with Donald Trump.  One day, they too will be winners.  They will find a way to get rich.  Maybe they will make some brilliant investment, or their singing talents will be discovered on Youtube.  Or maybe they will win a million dollars on a reality show.

Here’s the thing–you won’t.  Your chances of joining that club are tiny to slim.  And that’s fine.  But please, don’t vote based on the delusion that your membership in that club is possible.  Stop voting against your own best interests.  You keep thinking that the oligarchs would love to be BFFs with you.  You’re waiting on the curb with that sad little bouquet, but your prom date isn’t coming to pick you up.  Wealthy and powerful America isn’t going to make out with you in the back of the limo.  They don’t care about you.

So don’t vote for the mansion.  Vote for who you are, for your little house or apartment, if you still have it, because even that is slipping through your fingers already.  There’s no shame in being a regular working person–you’re the one building this country, not Trump.  You deserve to have a glamorous party thrown in your honor for all the blood and sweat you put in every day.  Since that will never happen, at least stand up for yourself, and when Donald or Ted ask you out to the dance, turn them down.

Fading in and out, I wait for the bird of sleep to come and take me away with it.  I twist my head on the pillow and turn the radio up slightly, a murmur in the dark.

 

Finally, the bird swoops in and I glide away on its back.  Into the fog at first, then we circle over a lush green valley.  It’s beautiful.  In this valley, the woman found her husband and baby, their bellies carved open.  I look around, is that why this place is so empty?  Yes, the kidnapped girls were never found…there’s not a trace of them….

 

Oh, no!  I say.  What can we do about this?  The bird’s eyes are big and sad.  We have to understand, it says, that we cannot bomb our way out of this situation.  So in that case…?  The bird bows its head and weeps as it says, perhaps, economic sanctions….

 

The clouds are purple and red underneath us.  Once again, we swoop in for a landing, this time on a gleaming beach.  I find a giant shell and kneel down next to it in the sand.  The sapphire waves roll in.  What a perfect day!  There’s a history of discrimination here, whispers a voice inside the shell.  What’s that?  I want to look for treasure!  Years of oppression cannot be reversed in five minutes, you know.  Whoever’s living inside that shell is ruining my dream.

 

Take me somewhere else, bird of dreams.  But it’s too late.  The bird’s wings are drooping.  It’s tired.  I tried to pull my family out of the rubble, but I wasn’t able to.  Everything was on fire their bodies were bloodied charred my eyes fly open.

 

And that is why I stopped listening to the BBC World Service at night.