Different, and good
Reader, I have a confession.
See, I have this vice left over from the Old World where I sometimes engage in what is known as “hate-reading” and “hate-read” the social media sites of public and not-so-public Americans who are pro-Trump and/or anti-vax.
I do this, still, as a way of sort of pinching myself awake: these fuckers actually exist, and also I do it for baser reasons that I’ll not detail here as the purpose of this post is not to enumerate the reasons behind “doom scrolling” and “hate reading,” but rather to share that I saw, on a Trump supporter’s page, an hilariously absurd statement. The person was complaining about artificial intelligence and Saudi Arabia and wrote that the matter had
“too much scary potential for bad.”
As opposed to, what?
Too much “scary potential” for “good”?
And I’m really not someone who goes around Grammar Trolling on the internet (despise this behavior, frankly — like “Whoa! Way to flex you paid good attention in elementary school!”), but sometimes, if you know about language, you can learn a great deal about the “American Conservative” by studying their rhetorical habits.
A pattern I have noticed among the Trumper/American Right Wing crew is that different almost always = worse. And the fact is, different isn’t always worse. Change is neutral (and constant) and all difference is change, and not all difference begets neutral forms of change.
Basically, it’s a difference (a woman or man, a dog, a global pandemic, a bad oyster) that brings about a change . . and sometimes the change is good, and sometimes it ain’t, and so far this holiday season, the differences (and things are most certainly different) have mostly beget positive changes for me, inside of me. It’s not something you can see on a PET scan.
I had no expectations of Thanksgiving this year. I knew I would get up and write (I actually started an essay that is so good — too good, I am sorry to report, for Medium usage), that I would drink coffee, listen to some Spotify, walk the dog . . . And I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I played with Abe at my in-laws’ place in the beautiful Catalina Foothills, lost a game of Trivial Pursuit, ate three pieces of pie, and rushed from my in-laws’ front door back to our car because it was “so fucking cold” (it was 62 degrees — how quickly one forgets what “cold” feels like), and I slept like a baby for the first time in weeks.
Today, Sarah and I went out to run errands, including a stop off for me to finally choose a pair of frames for my — sigh — progressive lenses. I keep calling them “transitional lenses” and then get super embarrassed because I think there’s something a little embarrassing about transitional lenses, and I would never wear them. Just get a damn pair of sunglasses. And no hate to readers who use transitional lenses. I get it. Convenience. I know there are people who find wearing pajamas to the grocery store embarrassing, and I do that shit all the time. No hate.
And during our errands, Sarah and I found ourselves inside a store that was selling half priced robes. I have never owned a robe. Frankly, I never used to fancy myself the robe wearing sort, and now? Well, now this bitch has got herself a robe. Like I get robes now. Housecoats, robes, slippers . . . all the same: comfort and convenience, and who doesn’t need more of those two things in their life?
And this year Thanksgiving was different. For one, I did not have a single sip of alcohol. Nothing stronger than Ibrance in my body. And I did none of the cooking, yet still there was food. The control freak in me, the center-of-the-universe in me, holds the following belief: “I don’t, then no one will.” And sometimes I have to remind her, gently as I can, that she is wrong. She is not alone. And she is not God. Superheroes are best left to our wild imaginations, and the myths that we build.
And Thanksgiving happened even though I didn’t do a damn thing except show up. There was stuffing (cooked in the turkey), there were cranberries, there were two pieces of pecan pie that I practically snorted off the ancestral fancy-dinners-only China.
On “Black Friday,” Sarah and I remained indoors, as is our tradition, and I played Skyrim (which I tried to Google as “Skrillex”) in the hammock.
There was a time, after twenty, when I was embarrassed to admit I played video games because 1) those are “for kids” and 2) “cultured” people do not “partake” of “Zelda.” And now, really, I realize how dumb that snobbery was (as most snobberies are). Video games are really fun, and in many cases, now, fantastically beautiful to look at, and sometimes storytelling that is okayish.
For me, with video games, it’s all about 1) escapism and 2) graphics. I do not care for video games with long stories because the stories are usually super derivative, toxically masculine, and/or desperately boring to me.
I do not care for video games that force me to interact on the internet with human souls I do not know. I just want to gobble pellets, hop on clouds, and hit monsters with magic swords. If I did this all day every day, it would be objectively “bad.” If I do this for a couple hours over “the Holidays” (I feel flip today, and that’s “what’s up with the quotes”), I guess it’s infinitely better than all my futile attempts to escape into a bottle, or than my attempts to escape into other stories of my own invention that were far, far worse than anything Skyrim/Skrillex could concoct.
Recently, Sarah gave me the nickname “Ham Nugget” (I like ham and this fact cannot be helped — once a year, I eat some ham. Deal.), and I told one of our principals that if we ever hold a school dance I would dj under the pseudonym MC Ham Nugget. In my fluffy robe. By the looks of my life these days, I could honestly see this coming to fruition. I will not be playing any Skrillex. Never could get into “dub step.” When I think “dub step,” I think Skrillex. Just don’t care for the man’s music, but it takes all sorts.
Be good, hooligans.