To the right, to the right

Even though I brought gym clothes with me to work out after work yesterday, I ended up taking a detour to Pike Place Market along the waterfront of Seattle last night. I felt a little like I was being extra brave, given the terrorist attack that happened just the night before at the Christmas markets in Berlin. I thought to myself as I walked, “Take that, terrorists.”

Of course, after the events in Berlin this week (so similar to those in Nice in July, it’s scary), I thought back to the same line of thinking I had when I wrote another recent post, Marked safe. Why should I get to go to Pike Place Market and be safe, when 12 other people went to the markets across the world and they weren’t? Sometimes, it’s just not fucking fair.

I thought of the fire in Oakland’s Ghost Ship, which happened the night I arrived in Berkeley, Oakland’s neighbor, earlier this month. How those 36 people went about a perfectly mundane night listening to music, making art, supporting other artists, and how that night ended. It felt realer and closer because I was in town over that weekend, and maybe partially because my mother knew I’d be there and was so worried I was in the fire, she made me call her to prove I was safe.

Monday night at the gym, watching the results of the electoral college (which, by the way, proved itself completely worthless and useless) voting that day, I started hate stationary-biking. I’m so fucking sick of seeing the name Trump, of seeing his chubby turkey neck and stupid schmuck look on his face all over the news/media. I’d hoped we’d have a Hillary win, and he could fade into obscurity via shame spiral, but that was not to be. Thanks, ‘Murica. Since my hate biking, I’ve tried to limit my exposure to news/media because the state of world, if it wasn’t getting to me before, is surely getting to me now.

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I know I shouldn’t hate. It brings me down to the level of everyone else rooted in hate – the KKK, anti-LGBTQ initiatives and  supporters, and so much more. But I fucking hate Trump and all that he stands for. I hate the team of people he’s selected for his cabinet. They might as well call his team the Bad News Bears. Cruella DeVil for animal protection. Bill Cosby for women’s rights. For real. I’m sickened to live in a country that voted for him. To be clear, I did not.

But in limiting my exposure to news, I still managed to read something which resonated with me. I usually try to cite my sources when I can, but unfortunately, I can’t remember where I read about this idea.

There is a global trend toward right wing ideologies inspired by the waves of terrorism increasing in frequency and amplitude everywhere. That’s how ISIS was supposedly inserting itself in nearly every country. By performing acts of terrorism in not only war-torn middle eastern countries, but also the US, Europe, etc., ISIS was effectively attacking democracy and the very foundational ideals on which the western world exists. Brexit was a British right-wing response; Trump winning the election was the US’s right-wing response to terrorism; as was the socialist president of France deciding not to seek re-election due to an unfavorable climate, stepping aside to make way for more conservative republicans who have broader favor with the French people. France had its fair share of horrible terrorist attacks recently, with the most recent attack in Nice on Bastille Day, November 2015 with shootings at multiple crowded locations before that, and shootings at Charlie Hebdo before that. And the French people are leaning more conservatively now, as a result.

Russia hacking and influencing the US’s election of Trump was the pinnacle of attack on democracy, and I did read an article that John McCain, of all people, is making a case for a special investigation into the cyberwarfare. McCain advocates that, “A committee is necessary to look at ‘the whole issue of cyber warfare, where we have no strategy or no policy’ because it is ‘perhaps the only area where our adversaries have an advantage over us.’” Cybersecurity is where America is weakest and potentially not #1, thus that is where we must build our defenses.

The global political climate leaning more and more to the right actually induces way more fear in me than I thought possible. I always felt safe in San Francisco, slightly less so in Sydney but to be fair, I was also outside the country and thus outside my comfort zone there. I feel pretty darn safe in Seattle. Having a president-elect who believes climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese also terrifies me, because this is a crucial point to continue and even ramp up environmental protections to save this planet from mass self-destruction. But, I digress.

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But it’s like countries who have been fucked with by conservative terrorists want a conservative no-more-chances response from government. So in a way, the terrorists ARE winning and everywhere is falling into the plans they had all along. They wanted us to react with hate, and fear, and conservative views on all kinds of topics from immigration to jobs to welfare. So good job everyone. *slow clap*

Being more conservative aligns more closely with terrorist views and how they want things. In my best Beyoncé voice, “to the right, to the right.” I’m not saying by any means that electing Trump was the right thing to do. Rather, in the game of chess, we’ve been played. Check-mate. We lost. Unless the sane part of the world comes up with a genius response to unwind all of this soon, where we’re heading is not good.

Despite raging against the dying of the light by going to the Seattle markets last night, most of the stalls were closing up as I got there. I didn’t get what I went there for – gifts for family and friends. I felt better for going, though. I felt I had to, despite the cold, despite my limping on a sore knee and foot that won’t go away from a gym injury a few weeks ago. Because some people who went Monday night in Berlin couldn’t finish their time there. So, that one was for you, you 12 souls lost, who have yet to be named. Trying to patronize stalls of local artisans instead of ordering everything through Amazon Prime was for you, lost souls of Ghost Ship in Oakland. I know it’s not much, but it’s the best I can do. I am not perfect, and even I am susceptible to hate. But my gift is my actions, and that one was for you.

Ironic, not having an iron

I tend to be more a lover of people than a lover of things. I don’t usually fall for material goods. But I found out today that I really love my living room rug.

First of all, I use the words “living room” loosely. What I mean is that corner of my 419 square foot apartment where the sofa resides, coincidentally facing the television.

Flash back to 2 years ago, in my bedroom in Sydney one Friday, when a lit candle somehow splattered against the wall as I moved pillows to pull down the bed, and the orange scented tealight fell behind the headboard dripping all down the wall and into the carpet.

Luckily, my flatmate in Sydney and I had had just enough Chandon to google how to remove candle wax (and not try our own brilliant intoxicated way first). We learned that if you lay a paper towel or two against the waxed surface, and apply a hot iron, the wax melted, and was absorbed by the paper towels. Problem solved. I tried it that day, and I’m sure he still has a photo on his phone of his crazy American flatmate drunk ironing the wall again. Oh look at that, he did happen to have it, and just sent it my way, approving its use.

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Flash forward to tonight, when I broke out my Christmas present to myself this year, a new Dyson Animal canister vacuum. $300 was well worth no more ginger tabby hair on my navy blue paisley “living room” rug.

After the addition of Cheddar to my one-woman wolf pack, the blonde hair in my apartment has skyrocketed to shocking new levels. Despite his short fur, while the winter months should be thickening his coat, his hair gets everywhere. I bought myself the vacuum just 1 week ago, because I practically couldn’t see the rug underneath all the tumbleweed ginger furballs. My prior vacuum was one you might find in a restaurant to pick up crumbs – upright, 2-in-1 dustbuster and rechargeable cordless sleek design. It sucked at sucking up fur.

I vacuumed my rug tonight with my allergen-removing new toy. I’ve been on a cleaning binge the last few days, because work has been so busy, my apartment has gone neglected all week. When I don’t vacuum after the Cheddar on the regular, shit gets real. It’s looks like Miley Cyrus invited the village of the damned over for a head-shaving party while simultaneously grooming golden retrievers in between buzzcuts.

The unthinkable happened tonight – another candle, this time a glorious balsam & juniper scented holiday candle got tangled in the vacuum cord, and crashed onto the floor. Dark green wax flung everywhere – across the crown molding framing the closet door, the trim, the wall, the hardwood, across the vacuum itself, and across my rug.

Tears. Like the night Cheddar got poop all over my apartment tears. It was Sydney all over again. Here I was, up candle creek, with no iron.

That is right – I never purchased an iron upon my repatriation back to the US from Australia. I looked at it as a flagrant boycott of all things corporate and starched and evil. Wrinkled was pure and real, dammit.

Since I didn’t have an iron tonight, I got on my hands and knees with a butterknife, fervently scraping the wax and probably the top layer of varnish off the floor and wall and rug, probably just making everything worse. I went to vacuum up the last of the loose wax I’d scraped, and knocked the lit candle over a second time, in almost the exact same place, getting fresh wax all over the area I just cleaned. More wax on the hardwood I just scraped with a butterknife, and more wax on my rug. More tears. More scraping. They say there’s no use crying over spilled milk, but spilled candle is a perfectly good occasion to cry. Best break out the wine on an occasion like this. And the chocolate.

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And now, it looks like I’ll be getting myself another Christmas gift. A new iron to clean up my double candle homicide. That’s right – I won’t use it to iron my dress shirts or crease my slacks. I need to buy an iron so I can iron my crown molding. Nothing to see here; move along. I’m just getting the wrinkles out of my wall.

And as for the rug I seem to discovered a new affection for, I’ve already decided I’m getting a replacement if the iron can’t get double the wax off of it. Luckily, IKEA still has it in stock and it’s still below $100.

Sometimes it takes a lot of work to keep something you love from being damaged. Sometimes, shit gets through and spills on it, no matter how careful you are. The forces that be conspire to part the clouds and look down on you long enough to say, “there is a God and He hates you,”and try to hide the beauty of that which you love.

Don’t let it get you down. You gotta do what you can to not let the world ruin your rug.

Said the lesbian. Bwahahahaha.

EPILOGUE

Said flatmate from Sydney called me just after the double candle homicide, and talked me out of my tears by reminding me of some of the laughs we had together. That time we perfected a mac & cheese recipe in Kensington Palace. My giant stuffed panda, Miranda. That time he photoshopped my head onto a baby wearing a Stay Puft Marshmellow Man outfit.

Sometimes friends make everything better, simply by being.

A merry little Christmas

It is Christmas Day, and again San Francisco is nearly eerily silent. It sounds like the quiet suburbs, not a bustling city. This is one of my favorite feelings in my city – when it’s just about emptied out of all the noise, and well, people cancer. That is when I fell in love with San Francisco, and it will forever be one of my happy places.

My aunt arrives at SFO in T-2 hours, and the apartment is nearly spotless. I spent a good portion of yesterday cleaning because 1) I’d put off any cleaning until just before a guest arrived out of sheer laziness and 2) I love when my apartment is clean. After procrastinating on my cleaning duties for a few days too long, I was decidedly living in “filth” (yes, first world problems). I didn’t realize how dirty it was until I made it clean. So it is with many things.

I’ve a cup of coffee, in a San Jose Starbucks mug next to me at my laptop while I write. Perhaps that is something you did not know about me, dear reader. I collect Starbucks mugs from cities or countries to which I’ve travelled. I never thought a mug from my hometown would all of a sudden be a “travel destination.” Since my mother sold my childhood home after my father passed, I can no longer say I have a home base in San Jose. It is now simply a memory spanning 17 years of my life where I grew up.

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On past Christmases, my flatmate and I decorated a fake tree in Sydney with purple, turquoise, and gold ornaments, and white lights. This year, I went back to basics and purchased mostly gold and red decorations, with spots of green. I’m reusing our Sydney tree, to bring a bit of that home into San Francisco. But next year, I think I will have to get a fresh cut tree because the smell of pine is absolutely devine. After I’d already put my tree up this year, a Christmas tree lot appeared a block away, and every time I’d walk to the gym, or the grocery store, I would inhale deeply as I passed by to drink in the lovely smell of the pine. Yes, the smell is a panic/adrenaline response for a tree which has been cut, so the smell is basically the equivalent of the tree screaming in agony. But I love that smell. I’m a sick-o.

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I’ve my best sheets and duvet cover on my bed for my aunt’s sleeping comfort. I’ll be sleeping on the couch. I have some stains on my couch from merely 6 months of use – nothing gross though. Turns out a pen found its way in between the cushions and to the underside of the middle bum cushion. I had hoped to turn over the middle cushion to hide the stains and make my couch look newer, but the ink from the pen got on what I hoped would still be the clean side. So, the stains are actually on the better side of the cushion. D’oh. But can’t I say that about life too? When I want to turn the good side out for showing, sometimes it’s worse than what you thought was the bad side. So I must leave those flaws out for all to see why I can’t have nice things. Even though I try to take care of them, inevitably, I get messy without intent.

No major plans are on the agenda today, besides staying sober until I pick up my aunt from the airport. After that, it will likely be food, drink, TV and a little bit of gift exchange. My aunt and I are quite independent and financially self-sufficient, and can each provide for ourselves should we want for anything. But it’s Christmas and gifts are what you do, dammit.

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So have yourself a merry little Christmas, as I am doing. Enjoy the simplicity of not having to work (hopefully you are lucky enough to be able to take the day off) and time with those whom you may not see frequently throughout the year. Treat yourself, and try not to be a total asshole if you must go out in public today.

Happy holidays, dear reader.