Category Archives: politics are awful

“What Did You Do?”

 

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In the distant future — if there is one — I see our perfect fictional grandbaby looking up from her crib and saying, “Bestefar and Tinamatua (I assume this is what she will call us), what did you do in response to America’s swan song into fascist mediocrity and gun violence?” (I assume this is how she will talk.) And it gives me some anxiety, wondering if future me will tell that baby genius the truth. I wonder how many of my friends and family think about this inevitable conversation, and if they will tell future loved ones the whole story. Because I’m guessing the answer for most Americans will be some version of “Well… we didn’t do much.” Turns out agonizing over the world on a public forum is not the same as addressing the agony itself. 

What did you do? 

Like everyone else, I posted a diverse set of curated memes to multiple social media channels, sometimes up to three consecutive days after each shooting or racial incident. I used a 60/40 split of shaming memes (I called these “shmemes”) plus funny political memes that made you kind of think without having to do much beyond choosing the proper emoji response on Facebook. I was personally responsible for thousands of posts over the years that really united people who already 100% agreed with me. And I did this for free, alongside my fellow Americans, because we couldn’t stand by and do nothing.

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Proof of Evolution

globeonfire

Current mood

We are 286 days into a world on actual fire, and I’m eating pho like it’s the secret antidote. Pho is the steaming security blanket to my current dystopian nightmares; the carbohydrate cure-all for my wintry blues; the delicious, healing constant in a world ravaged by political fuckboys and predatory weather. Eating pho is an aggressive act of self care for me; a chance to administer much-needed soup CPR. Over Vietnamese iced coffee and spicy noodle soup, I talk, brood, listen, heal, think, breathe, and just get right. No matter what state of mind I go in, I always come out better, and ready for whatever comes next.

Given our current political climate and the built-in anxiety, it’s no surprise I’ve eaten approximately 96,000 bowls of pho in the past 10 months (give or take a few bowls). Watching the world burn down around you can have that effect. Pho is the place I remember there are good things in the world while also bracing myself for it.

My first bowl of pho was not a transcendent experience. One of my best friends, Auticia, took me to a Than Brothers in Ballard, where I eyed the plate of garnishes meanly and the plate of cream puffs with confusion. Who ate these things together? There was sriracha on the table, and a giant squeeze bottle of dark mystery goo — all of which would be dumped into a bowl of broth with rice noodles, then paired with basil, bean sprouts, lime, and jalapeno. If the sriracha and jalapeno weren’t enough, there was an ominous jar of what looked like the jam equivalent of a fire alarm on the table. Why not pour gasoline directly into your mouth and then toss in a lit match? At the time, I didn’t even use black pepper because it was kinda spicy, you guys. The whole flavor mash-up was a bridge too far for this zero-star, plain-eating Queen of Mayonnaise.

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