Yesterday, we drove from NC to Chicago. Somewhere in Ohio, just outside of Dayton, we stopped for gas and to pee.
With the heat, we don’t leave our dog Josie alone in the car so we take turns using the facilities. On my way into the gas station, I spotted two people at their Harley Davidson filling it with gas. They are pictured above. But this is after their tank is filled.
When I came out, this is how I saw them. It took little time for me to notice a lit cigarette in the man’s hands between two fingers.
It stopped me in my tracks. I stared at him and wondered, should I run to my car, yell for Tina and Jo to get in, and peel off before that place went up in an explosive blaze of moronic derpy derp derp …
I whipped out my phone, snapped this pic before speeding my walk, getting in our car and shooting off, pointing out to Tina & Josie that the nutbag on the Harley was at the pump with a cigarette dangling from his mouth.
This guy is a metaphor for America. While the majority are reasonable people, engines off, filling their tanks without lighted cigarettes, cigars, or other open flames in hand, this dumbass thinks he’s smarter, above the law, and the welfare of the otherwise decent people are now in his mercy. His selfish, anti-life, anti-rules behavior is loud and clear.
It’s a stretch to blame this on former President Trump, but it is entirely his fault.
We were listening to podcasts all day, as we usually do. One go-to is Smartless, Sean Hayes, Jason Bateman and Will Arnett’s interview show that was born out the pandemic. One episode we listened to was with the author of Moneyball Michael Lewis. They talk about his body of work that has been turned into movies, including Moneyball and the Blindside.
A newer book called Premonition talks about how bizarre it is that America, under George W Bush developed the standard response that the entire world took to Covid-19, except … Americans. While we led the death count by hundreds of thousands, places like Australia barely made it above 11,000 deaths. Why? Because the science of mitigating the disaster was available to us, but Americans are Harley drivers at gas stations with lighted cigarettes dangling from their goddamn mouths.
And they’re proud of it.
I repeatedly said at the beginning of the pandemic that I hoped it would invigorate America’s respect for scientific achievement and leadership. But all we ended up doing was demonizing/scapegoating the professionals and experts and allowed dipshits on social media to steal spotlight and convince people that unrelated drugs helped stop Covid.
The whole masking thing became a political division. How? Only in America is doing a little act of kindness considered too much of an inconvenience. It’s like seatbelts. Do they prevent accidents? No. Do they prevent death? No. Do they mitigate the chances of death and injury? Yes. If two people are in an accident and both are wearing a seatbelt, it’s like an act of kindness. What if you were wearing yours and the other person was not. Inadvertently, the death of the other person will cause great suffering for the survivor.
Selt belts save lives and minds.
I mean, we had a president who suggested consuming bleach and sticking UV lights up our collective asses could help stop covid. People promoted horse de-wormer. Medicines for fighting malaria. Why? Because education, whether public, private or homeschool in this country is dumbing down the population to idiots.
I diverted down a rant trail. Back to Smartless. Toward the end of the episode with Michael Lewis, Jason Bateman talks about how he heard Lewis on another podcast talk about dealing with the grief/loss of his 19-year-old daughter and her 20-year-old boyfriend to a car accident.
In a nutshell, he talks about his good friend and author Dave Eggers and how when he learned about the accident, he showed up on Lewis’s front porch with a bag of food he picked up and he said something like, “I”m going to be here, even if it’s outside in my car, for as long as it takes.”
Lewis talks about how amazing that love offering was. How “being there” almost forcibly felt. He did not come to offer unsolicited advice or telling Lewis that he knows what he’s going through, because no one can know what an individual is going through with their pain. Anyone who butts in to anyone while they’re talking is an asshole. But anyone who butts in while someone is talking about grief or loss is Jupiter-level planetary assholery that I will never understand.
Non-listeners. Not-waiting to talk steamrollers. They’re children. Petulant spoiled brats. And I don’t know how anyone can be so developmentally arrested as to have absolutely no social understanding on how to let others complete their sentences. Or being in a room where people are talking over others, I have no patience for that.
But the way Lewis dissects Eggers’s gesture was mind blowing. He something like, “When a person is grieving, what they are missing or lacking is love, the love that they lost in the loved one now gone. When a person acts selflessly with love, they are providing a little of what is now lost. And that makes all the difference.”
I took losing our dog Lu hard. I cried just this morning while listening to some song and then later reading a poem. I don’t remember many days I haven’t cried.
And anyone who says I shouldn’t morn the loss of our dog like this can shove it up their boneheaded flaccid lack of a brain mass.
I didn’t ask anyone for anything during that time, but watching/observing reactions showed me deeply who is strong enough to show love, who wasn’t ready yet to show it, and those who are incapable of it.
Not everyone is ready to show love to the person going through loss. And that’s fine. And not everyone is capable. But it sure is amazing when those who step up step up.
I’ve had conversations recently about what’s wrong with America, but I can’t get a word in edgewise, because everyone is too busy blathering and not enough people listen.
And that becomes the metaphor again. Selfish self aggrandized feelings of “I want my important voice to be heard over everyone else’s” is the theory behind social media.
There is no one answer to the question(s) we have. A willingness to work together is part of the answer. Not using one’s religion to impose “right answers” is another.
Being open to being wrong. Being open to respect friends and country over religion and politics. That’s the answer. Part of it anyway.