I’m Awesome

That’s what the skinny 19-year old with Rick Astley hair told me this morning at the airport Starbucks. He was drumming up business for breakfast sandwiches while I was in line for my coffee. He asked me if I wanted anything to eat and I said no. He said ‘You’re awesome man! Have a great day‘. So I’ve got that going for me.

In his defense he was obviously new and on a worker’s high. Slinging croissants, and bagels and scones like a madman. He didn’t’ yet have that defeated look of fear and desperation that will come when he realizes that SB’s paycheck doesn’t go far in the real world.

Biden is not killing it. But he is killing me.

His speeches are a disaster. I never actually liked Joe too much even before his brain started shutting down. I’ve always been a Bernie man in the post Obama era. But we are stuck with slow Joe. 

He really screwed the pooch with his handling of the nomination to replace Breyer.

Here is exactly what he said at the presser.

“The person I will nominate will have extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court. It’s long overdue, in my view.”

Absolutely no argument it’s long overdue and the right thing to do. But why stir up the right-wing nut jobs by announcing it that way. What was the political gain here? The political gain comes when he actually nominates a black female justice and shepherds her through the Senate confirmation. Antagonizing the idiots just makes the job harder by giving McConnell and his band of cretins sound bits for Fox and Friends.

Who are Joe’s handlers? He seems to have nothing but political hacks and interns advising him. When there is a press conference I half expect the entourage to show up in a little clown car with 20 or so geeks in slim fitting suits and big man-hair to get out and start tripping all over each other.

If Biden had a spark of manhood in him, he would realize he doesn’t have the physical or mental chops for another 7 years of this nonsense and step down after this term. If he made the decision now there would be plenty of time to find someone else. But his ego will prevent him from doing that so he will run again I’m sure. By the time we get to 2025, assuming he is able to get re-elected, they’ll be propping him up in the Oval Office window with a blanket on his lap and pumping him full of steroids and cocaine to keep him alive. He will have to approve policy by blinking his eyes. 

Such is politics in these United States. My poker group is mostly a bunch of optimists. They are convinced things in the US and the world are just fine. Things are getting better, they say, albeit a little slower than they would like. Racism is just a minor annoyance. Climate change will get under control. Police violence is over-stated. Income inequality–who cares? Voting rights rollbacks? It’s always been that way and always will. Never mind there is not a shred of evidence to support their assertion that things will be fine. The evidence in fact is heavily on my side on these issues. 

This is what happens when you live comfortably, as all of my friends do. They do not easily empathize with the very real difficulties of the other half of people humping out a living in our country.

Part of the problem I think is simply that we do not easily view the world through a macro lens. We tend to view through our experiences; day-by-day, month-by-month, year-by-year. So we must actively attempt to project forward 50 years and try to understand how a trajectory of massive income inequality and catastrophic climate degradation and the other issues that are undermining the health and well-being of so many will somehow miraculously get turned around and start getting better. Especially when so much of actual state policy and voting rights are controlled by people who are regressive and self-serving and our Congressional governance is hopelessly outdated and almost completely prevents progress on major issues. 

But if my poker boys are sleeping well, I am not. For some reason these things bother me more than most. I offend them I think with challenging their beliefs. I simply can’t let it pass when someone says intentionally nominating a black female to the Supreme Court is racists. Or that Black Lives Matter protests hurt their own cause because of the .1% of people who committed some act of violence or damage to a building–even while police target and kill their families. Even while the overwhelmingly white January 6 insurrectionists stormed the capital in hate and violence. And that Colin Kaepernick was right to be banned for taking a knee during the national anthem. 

I love my group but we are not all marching to the same fife and drum. 

But it’s not the first or last time I will be off wandering on my own. As the saying goes, slightly distorted through a Norwegian translator “I’m a lonely wolf“.

In other news, Boston was bone-chilling cold last week. The winter storm arrived just time to keep me hostage in Boston an extra night. My flight out was at 5:00 Friday morning. I got alerts from Delta to be at the airport at least 2 hours early because of the weather delays. I got there at 3:20. Delta and TSA turned up at 4:00. So, that was wild. We all stood around like idiots while they slept in.

Our departure was delayed by an hour and then the next leg was also delayed by a bit. I finally landed in Columbus at 10:30. We were able to deplane at 1:00. 2 1/2 hours we sat on the airplane while the gaggle of field crew tried to clear the snow away from the tracks of the jetway so they could drive it over to the plane. Time after time the jetway got stuck. Finally they towed us to another gate and the exact same fiasco repeated itself. They then towed us back to the original gate and we finally got the fuck off the plane. 

Yada yada. Delta. Airline travel. Amazing and essential to be sure. But still we demand perfection always.

I’m intrigued about mother talk. Two women sat next to me at dinner my last night in Worcester. Their love/hate relationship with being a mother (and to some degree wife in shared parenting arrangement) was on full display. Crazy shit. Because I know a lot of mothers, including my own, I am aware of the difficulties, or at least as much as a non-parent can be.

One of the ladies constantly referred to her kids as ‘those little motherfuckers‘, but somehow it sounded endearing when she said it. And it was obvious from her conversation that she just liked salty language. Clearly her kids set the agenda for her entire life.

They picked on other mothers who were not present, the ‘Karens’. They seemed to be sort of Fierce tiger moms. They plowed through their first martini like construction workers and then kept them coming. They punctuated their conversation about lunches and play dates and birthdays with animated emphasis. 

At times I could not hear clearly, but certain words would come through. ‘Asshole’, ‘prick’, ‘fuck- that’, ‘give me a break’, ‘wicked‘ (it’s New England). At least 1 ‘what am I Wonder Fucking Woman‘. ‘He’s a Dick‘ came through a few times. ‘I couldn’t fucking believe it’. ‘I wanted to fucking punch him in the throat’. ‘Mom underwear’. ‘Metabolism’. ‘ADD meds’. ‘Fucking COVID’. ‘Fucking husband’. ‘Fucking boss’

When they first sat down, there were subtle digs at their husbands. By the time I left, it was as if their husbands were lazy, drunken, psychopaths completely unaware they had spousal and parental responsibilities. Maybe they are. Who knows.

These women constantly checked their phones and smart watches and their eyes shot around the room like spies making sure they had a clear exit strategy.

It was sweet in a way. Endearing. I felt happy they were able to get out to drink and bitch and share war stories from the front lines of parenthood.

We all know mothers rule the world. Otherwise humans would have long ago disappeared from the planet. And it’s a good reminder of the difficulty of being a working parent in the modern environment. By the way, the use of the word parent here is intentional. Mothers are at the top, but fathers contribute to varying degrees. They also make sacrifices. Just usually, statistically, if I am informed correctly, not as much.

They were still carrying on when I left. Really letting it out and it felt needed. Deeply deeply needed.  I put a martini for each of them on my tab and slipped away, with them completely unaware of the entertainment value they had provided.

And I need a new cigar bar. After dinner I headed to Michael’s and made the unfortunate choice of sitting next to a psychopath. This fucking big strung out looking heroin addict kept trying to chat with me and he was so fucked up, or perhaps just dumb, that he made no sense. It got deeply uncomfortable to the point where I was keeping the big chunky cigar ashtray close by in case I had to push it into service as a weapon. And he was getting closer and saying more and more nonsensical things. Finally he left and me and the bartender relaxed a little. Apparently he is a known asshole. 

Very few things matter and nothing matters very much.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

FSF was 24 when he wrote ‘This Side of Paradise‘. Wise words from such a young man. At some level we are all intellectually aware that in the end; In the final accounting; On our deathbed, we will not look back and lament over the small things. And yet, we are all obsessing over the small things most of the time. Perspective is really a different way of saying we need to step back and view life through a larger lens than what our daily interactions suggest.

Perhaps it’s best to accept with grace the small pleasures that come along each day, but let the small annoyances and hurtful things slip past. Don’t give them awareness or attention.

So what are the big things? Not really as easy as it might seem. Family and relationships I suppose. Career? Fun? Adventure? What is our role here? Our responsibilities and obligations?

I’ve come down on the view that we are here mostly to have fun. But also to learn. To be insatiably intellectually curious because that is fun and fuels our intellectual, emotional, and spiritual self-improvement. And we also must help others along on their journey because we don’t all start from the same place. And that also makes us feel useful and improves us in small ways.

And the point of all of this? To equip ourselves to die with grace and in relative peace as we shove off into the great unknown.

Time passes. Brit and I continue to find time each week for fun with family and friends and each other. Amsterdam is on the horizon and perhaps Jazzfest in early May. Coffeeshop and gelato business planning continues.

Work is busy now. Full on. But all good. I’m not proud of my work addiction, but I own it. It’s my monkey and I don’t seem to mind carrying it around as I’ve done it all my life. It seems to energize me rather than drain me–as seems to be the case with many people.

No other news of note.

Humbly submitted.

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