Trumped

This has been a difficult period in my American life. As a NorCal progressive, I grew up in a bubble of like-minded progressives and found it strange and difficult to understand how people voted Republican.

During the last election, I remember texting with my friend in CA. There was a 3 hour time difference and I was tired and about to go to bed. I knew Trump would win. His signs were practically everywhere. I overheard numerous people at work voicing how they would vote for him. It felt very Trumpy in my corner of PA. But she was flabbergasted that that could be a possibility.

So I was not surprised at all.

The day after his inauguration,  mass protests broke out all over the US.

Here is what gets me: I believe in democracy and I believe that change starts at home. Many people I feel put their energy and anger into the wrong things and thus, nothing gets done properly.

I am for the display of peaceful protest. I see nothing wrong with showing  solidarity against a common cause. BUT. Protest will achieve nothing without action at the local level.

The President does a lot. But the Senators and House Reps also do a lot. Checks and balances. The President can’t push legislation without the backing of congress. But if people don’t vote for their representatives, they can’t complain if policy gets voted through that they don’t believe in.

People complain about the status of their cities, local crime, schools, etc. etc. But how many Americans actually vote at the local level? Do they know who their mayor is? Who sits on their state senate? Who represents them in the House of Reps? Who the DAs are? Who is on their local school board? Do they vote in any other election besides the presidential?

I remember when I lived in Florida and we had a local election for school board, DA, environmental controller and some others. I never got a pamphlet detailing who these people were, so I turned to google. Turns out, one of the people running had been arrested for drugs, and the other was a land developer with massive conflicts of interest.  BUT THESE ARE THE PEOPLE MAKING DECISIONS ON OUR BEHALF!

Get angry at that! Protest that shit! Demand competent people at the local level so you don’t see your neighbourhood park turned into a parking lot. Vote for local judges who have a strong, fair, accountable history. Protesting the president is fine, but are you enabling him by not voting for your local representative or senator?  That judge who let the college rapist Brock Turner off with just a wrist slap? He was ELECTED  in 2016 for another 6 years! Who elected him? Probably all the people who didn’t deem that election worthy enough to vote in. And how he’s letting rapists go free (something he has done before because he has a history of victim blaming in rape cases.)

Trump is our president. That isn’t a surprise because I can’t really think of a time (aside from Roosevelt-Truman, but I think taking up the mantel after a presidential death doesn’t count) when we had more than 2 terms of one political party at a time.  But we also have a Republican House and Senate. Who voted for them since their terms are staggered? I think if you opt NOT to vote at the local level, or for the judges who preside cases in your area, or for the school board directors who shape your child’s education, your protest is nothing but a hollow actions to make you feel better.  I am so grateful to all the suffragettes who fought to give me the chance to vote, and it really pisses me off to see their hard work squandered.

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Perspective

I just read an article written by a young millennial about job satisfaction. The article was fine . It was about a girl who graduated from NYU in 2014 as an academic superstar and then fell into the vortex of “FML, no one will hire me. I’m a failure.”

This part I related to. It’s hard to think, “wow, I have X many degrees/honors/accolades and still can’t get hired anywhere.” As someone who just moved for the millionth time, I am quite used to the peaks and troughs of flagellating myself over job applications, only to get some crap temp job that kills my soul.

So far, this chick and I were on the same page, although she wrote with a lot of hashtags.

Then the direction shifted. She went on to explain that the job she did score made her sad and depressed. She quit and worked at Trader Joe’s because it was fun, and suddenly she loved her job.  Her take on that experience was that sometimes you need to take a break to reassess your life, discover your passions, and pursue that which made her happy.

Awwww. So positive! So optimistic! But….so not my take. Is it age that has made me cynical? I read that article and thought “this should be about overcoming your own hubris.”  Or at least, that is how I would have viewed the situation. perspective-boat-land

I think many young college students are graduating with this idea exceptionalism. They are special snowflakes who have always succeeded and now expect to succeed in whatever they went to university for.  But I never had that illusion. As an Art History major who hated galleries and any art produced after 1850, I knew I really wasn’t going to be using my degree to get any jobs no matter what my GPA or academic accolades said.

The fact is, the world needs people willing and happy to do the jobs that millennials today feel are “beneath” them. The problem is, the people willing to do them need to be millennials. With so many people going to college, having a college degree is like having brown hair. No one really cares. Maybe you don’t have a job that required you to think or use that degree you worked so hard to get–but your colleagues are fun and you enjoy what you do. Who cares?

From the author’s perspective, she discovered some groundbreaking life lesson about following ambitions and seeking out that which ignites passions. I read it and thought “not everyone makes it, be happy with what you got.”  Finding happiness with the status quo and not complaining about it. Is that the difference of 8 years?

Moving to greener grass

What? Yes. The DH got a job in Pennsylvania, so we loaded up the ol’ moving truck and hit the road.

We managed to get Stu’s company to put us up in a swank suite for 2 weeks while we slowly moved into our new flat.

Here are my thoughts so far on the last fortnight in my new home state:

  1. What the frack is up with the drivers? I was so excited to leave Florida and the crazy-ass drivers that spent each day trying to kill you.  Pennsylvania has insane drivers too, but in a different way to Florida.  In Florida, drivers would go out of their way to create death–like stopping at a red light, only to then randomly just drive through it with no warning or reason.  I witnessed this twice  and was almost hit by one such driver who apparently mistook red for green and failed to see ALL THE CARS that were still traversing the intersection.  What I’ve had the joy of experiencing in PA is speeding.  EVERYONE SPEEDS.  Not like “oh, I’ll go a wee bit over the speed limit,” I mean “Let’s go 75 in a 45 mph construction zone.” Where most places people might go 10 over, so far everyone in PA likes to go at least 20.
  2. Yields.  Carrying on with the driving theme, there are blooming YIELD signs EVERYWHERE.  And I don’t think people know what they mean.  Yield in PA apparently means “keep driving straight and someone will let you in.” And I to give credit, about half they time they do. The other half, expect a blaring horn and car roulette.
  3. Insane lane changes. In CA, zipping back and forth between lanes would get you a ticket.  Here it’s expected, and if you’re a slower driver who gets caught in the “fast” inner lane, be prepared for the speed demons at your back to flash their lights because they think that will make you change lanes faster.  Apparently they forget that the outer lane actually needs to be clear in order for you to change into it.
  4. The weather thus far has been heavenly! I know that we arrived just at the tail end of Summer, but boy can you feel a difference.  Tampa this summer has been so disgustingly humid and hot.  Here, the temperature says it is just as hot as it is in Tampa, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.  I can tell that there is humidity in the air, and that it certainly isn’t the dry heat of inland CA, but compared to Tampa, it’s what summer should feel like.
  5. The outdoors! So far, DH and I have gone on nice long walks every weekend.

    Mt. Joy in Valley Forge

    The temperature under the trees has been delightful, and it feels so good to be outside again.

  6. Everyone is fit.  Because people can actually exist outside without melting or passing out, people actually do  stuff outside! Over the Labor Day weekend, everyone and their mom was out  riding bikes, jogging, hiking, picnicking, and just enjoying being outside.  There is this bike trail in Malvern that I would love to explore, as well a biking around Valley Forge.
  7. Some of the towns are just super cute.
    Gelato! West Chester, PA #ArbonnePureSummer:

    West Chester

    Stu and I got a flat in West Chester, and the other night we enjoyed chowing down on seafood outside of a super darling pub, on the sidewalk, taking in the night air.  I was over the moon happy.

    Doc Madgrogan’s Oyster House on Gay Street.          

  8. Everyone in PA (or at least Chester/Delaware/Montgomery county) is from NJ or NY. Maybe what is why everyone drives like they’re on cocaine.
  9. People sound very rude, but I think that is just their accent/voice.
  10. There are secret ninja police.  These secret police drive around in regular cars and catch the aforementioned arsewipes who speed/do mental things in cars. But what’s scary is that they drive undercover cars.  I got pretty good at recognizing the ol’ Crown Vics, and then again when Tampa traded them in for Chevy Chargers. But here, cops could be driving a ford, an SUV, a volkswagen. NO ONE KNOWS until the lights hit.  I only wish there were more of them catching all the dicks who speed around me at the speed of light.

So thus far, my initial impressions are good. I love that the leaves are JUST about to change colour, and I will be trying to document that as much as I can.  I also love that the State parks are FREE, you can actually move about in summer, and that everyone seems to have a happy lifestyle here.

Thought on walkies pt.2

Now that we’ve rolled the clocks back an hour, I find myself waking up a wee bit earlier in the morning, and that has inevitably lead to me spending too much time getting dressed.  In what some might consider borders on costume. For some reason, I am in love with 1940s style- the cut of the dresses and the silhouettes they created; how elegant the ladies were with their hats and gloves, and how self-sufficient everyone was.  So somehow, at 8:30 am, I found myself channeling an updated 40s look, complete with high waist maroon pencil skirt, flowy chiffon button down, and….a vintage tilt hat I had picked up from an antique store somewhere in Illinois. Plus an iconic bold red lip that I’ve been so enamoured with of late.

Yes, it was a bit theatrical, but I work at a theatrical community college campus.  However, I did feel a bit odd walking my dog at that hour.  But being dressed in something that so obviously gave homage to a bygone era made me think more about that terrifically trying decade and the people it produced.

I feel that when people ask “what is your favourite decade,” most (of my friends at least) reply “the 50s.”  Because who doesn’t love circle skirts, sock hops, Big Daddy, and malt shakes?   I love it too.  But in the twentieth century, I can’t help but give praise and respect to the 1930s and 40s.

When people hear this, it’s typically met with “wasn’t that the depression?” “What about WWII?”  And yes, those sucked.  But for those who lived through them, they came out so amazing and strong.  They are the greatest generation for a reason.  Some say the internalised self-loathing and repressed emotional sewage that many suffered from in the 50s was directly related to how bad-ass everyone had to be in the 30s and 40s, and I say who wouldn’t be after making it through all the toils of the 30s and 40s, only to emerge out the other end as a white collar wage slave in a job you hated but had to feel grateful for?

Let them be repressed. They earned it. The 30s in the USA reminded people that life can be lived with very little.  Especially if you were an Okie- sorry, Ma Joad, but once again, you poor people get to be overlooked.  I’m talking specifically about the already middlish class.  The ones who had to tighten their homemade belts and make do with wearing last year’s coat for five years. It threw people back in actually creating that which they needed. Everyone baked their carbs.  They grew their vitamins.  They saved red protein for special occasions. They got creative in making and engineering furniture, tools, and clothes.  One could argue it was one of the most creative decades, not in art or literature, but in home fulfillment. Because people learned, adapted, and made do.

Everyone was suffering, so everyone was more aware of the need for humanity, kindness, and selflessness. And just when we were emerging from the financial and agricultural ruins of the 30s, we had the pleasure of joining a war.

My (chic velvet vintage) hat’s off to the Brits in this. They got the joy of having bombs drop on them, all the while going about their own business like printing newspapers, riding trains, and sewing blackout curtains.  Again, the reality of how shite everything was forced people to accept it and find a way to continue living.  That took serious fortitude.  And the women did it in fucking heels with charcoal lines drawn up the backs of their legs to imitate the look of wearing stockings.

So my favourite decade/s?  Definitely the ones that taught people how to live simpler, strong, and more self-sufficient lives.  Where creativity was a necessity, not a luxury, and where people appreciated and cherished what they had.  Where we looked upon our neighbours with kindness, closeness, and where community truly flourished. The greatest generation? Definitely.

Wrath of hate strikes- attack!

If you live in Florida, you know that our summers are prone to heavy rain storms of death and dump gallons and gallons of water down in three seconds before moving on. So yeah, the storms aren’t long, but they are intense, and what they lack in brevity they more than make up for in deluge. 

The skys becomes almost black, rain shits down so hard you can’t see more than 4 feet in front of your face, and driving a car is akin to Russian Roulette. Am I in a lane? Am I hydroplaning? Oh good, here comes a semi to obliterate my screen with a wave of dirty road water- how will this affect my ability to drive straight? 

Which is why asshats who DON’T turn on their headlights in such perilous conditions go straight to the top of my “God I hope you suffer” list.  In situations like that, YOU CAN’T SEE THE CAR! So beside it BEING THE FECKING LAW to turn on your headlights, do you seriously have a death wish?  If that’s the case, go jump off a cliff, NOT risk my safety by being that asshole who drives around thinking that the point of using headlights and being visible is a waste of time. 

 

White people first world problems

The DH and I had just returned from a 10-day trek to Scotland, where we got to celebrate the joy of his Brother’s wedding, and the sadness of his Grandpa’s funeral, and were  acutely aware of our lack of groceries.  Luckily for us, a new Trader Joe’s had opened up in downtown Tampa during our absence.

Now, as a Cali girl raised on TJs, the news of one opening an hour closer to home made my NorCal heart dance with sunbeam fueled rainbows.  Finally! A shop that sold proper cheeses, bread, wine, and FOOD!  Hence, when the hubby pointed out we had a bare fridge, I was more than eager to suggest a trip into downtown.

TJs had been opened for a week and it was still before noon on a Sunday (thanks reverse jetlag!) so I figured it wouldn’t be too busy.  But obviously I had forgotten that I was a white, almost 30somthing living in one of the most la de dah cities in Florida with a similar mindset of EVERYONE ELSE IN TAMPA, because damn.

We turned onto Swann and came to a stop. The parking lot was heaving, and THEY HAD POLICE out facilitating the parking with a one in-one out policy.  POLICE! To help white suburbanites get into the Trader Joe’s parking lot.

This shit was real.  Hubby and I queued for about 10 minutes before our little compact Hyundi was allowed to zip in and park in the hallowed grounds of TJs.

The Hubby asked if that kind of thing was normal, and I had no idea what to tell him.  Do normal people sit in their cars for over 10 minutes to get into a parking lot just to shop for food?  Is it normal for the city’s POLICE forced to guide people into a shop parking lot as though it were for some large event?

Only if it’s a runner up for a First World Problem award.

Why would you ever move here?

Florida is apparently experiencing one of the largest and fastest population growths out of all the US states.   People are leaving their homes in places like New England, Canada, Michigan, Illinois, and whathaveyou to buy themselves a slice of the Sunshine State. 

As someone who was forced to move here (for DH’s employment) I really don’t understand why. Because EVERYTHING IN FLORIDA IS ATTEMPTING TO KILL YOU

1) The ground wants to kill you by spontaneously opening up and swallowing you whole. 

2) The weather wants to kill you

3) The water wants to kill you

4) The sky wants to kill you

5) The insects want to kill you

Because yellow fever won’t catch itself!

6) The local wildlife wants to kill you

 

7)The tourist attractions want to kill you

8) And other Floridians want to kill you

 

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