I spent this past weekend in New York City. It seems when I’ve reached a certain point in dealing with things, when I just can’t clear my head, I book a flight to NYC. It’s a bit like the ultimate comfort food. Now, I’m sure New York has its share or problems—the place scared me to no end the first couple of times I visited—but I’ve been pretty sheltered by them. And when I need her, she welcomes me with open arms.
There’s no point in lying. I, like so many others, have been deeply depressed about the current political climate, and the person in charge of the country. And as if the campaign wasn’t divisive enough, now comes the Presidency. Plus, you know things have gone from bad to worse when the main news arm of that particular political party starts to go on air and say “This isn’t right.”
It got so bad last week that my stomach was tied in knots for two days. My digestive system was a mess, I was eating a meal and a half a day if I was lucky, and I didn’t want to see or be around anybody. Generally, travel for me during times like these is a bad idea. My nest and safe ground is at home. I have specific places I go to eat when I want, to gas up the vehicle when I want, to shop for food when I need to, neighbors to talk to because they’re wonderful, and dogs next door to vent to because they listen. And that’s it.
If I’m equally honest, it doesn’t help that the project I’m currently working on is depressing as fuck too. It’s still too early to talk about yet, but it is on the way, and it’s messed with my head a bit.
I saw Little Brother Friday afternoon after flying in, had dinner with him and his husband that evening, caught up with my friend Jerry from Hong Kong—you’ve read about him in a couple stories I’ve written, or you haven’t if you’ve never read Spacehunters or Gaylias—took him to Bon Chon for Korean Fried Chicken, had Korean Shaved Ice for dessert, sipped Honeydew Bubble Tea, and nibbled on some garlic Popcorn Chicken for a snack later.
Sunday, I decided to take a walk down 10th from my hotel in the nice 61 degree weather. I’d forgotten that it was near the gay area, mostly because I just never think to go there for anything. There were some gay couples walking down the street, and holding hands. In the past, when I’ve been there, I always see them smiling and laughing. They weren’t doing that today. And they eyed me and others cautiously when they walked by.
That’s not a good sign, but it is a sign of the current times. And it’s not just us. You don’t hear much laughter on the street these days, or see comradery like it existed in the past. Nobody knows what to say or what not to say. Nobody knows how they’ll be labeled if they do speak up.
I was heading back to the hotel when I remembered squirt gun battles from my youth. Maybe it was the warm weather that reminded me, I don’t know. But I recalled a gold colored squirt gun, possibly one of my first, and I remembered then it was a Flash Gordon squirt gun because the name was printed on the side. I thought perhaps the memory was incorrect since I’d never been able to find them again, but then I saw this on Google. It’s the one on the right, with no holster.
The date listed is from 1975. I was 5 years old and remember my father and I playing outside with these.
5 years old. Isn’t that something?
I’m recharged a little bit now, and home. But it’s Monday, and a new week for political upheaval to begin anew.
I’m curious to ask those of you also experiencing this; how do you cope or keep your sanity?