Sunday, January 1, 2017

On 2016. . .

2016 taught me, a little bit more, that it's not about everyone always liking you.
This election cycle and politics of the moment have been weird, and I have found myself at odds with many of my liberal friends. I've always considered myself liberal, and these are people who I care about. I respect your opinions.
And yet, my lack of support for one presidential candidate found me, for the first time in my life, more closely allied with some of my conservative friends and family members. I use the terms liberal and conservative in this post but I'm getting to why I'm pretty much done with labels.
I also have, as ever, gone down the rabbit hole and read up on a certain conspiracy theory. There is nothing wrong with determining that something is false, "fake news," as its called, but I also see why some people are looking for answers.
It's not because people are overly credulous and looking for sin and to smear. It's because of really startling things like the art collection of Tony Podesta. I'm advising you don't look at it if you like pretty things and if images of stricken children bug you.
I've seen the terms "fake news" and "alt-right" emerge recently, but they seem simplistic. If you were willing to be TOLD what is fake news in one situation, I guarantee you will hear it applied to a number of other stories.
And there have always been phony stories out there. Sometimes, you see through the BS and sometimes you get had. I cried over a story I read earlier this season about a 5-year-old who died in the arms of a man who is a professional Santa, whose heart is as big as his beard is white. It turned out the ersatz St. Nick may have made it up. Touché! I am not immune to falsehoods.
I think most of my friends still like me (yes, I am still neurotically validation-seeking), but believe I have a bit of an Exene Cervenka side developing. It may be true. In fact, I had the very interesting opportunity to hear her speak at Pitzer a couple of years ago. She connects a LOT of dots.
But I still have had a couple friendships damaged. It may be that relations won't return to normalcy until we have had sushi together or traded books.
My point, and I'm getting there, is that I have realized how few labels I want to apply to me. I'm done saying I'm liberal. I'm sure as hell not conservative. And I may well like you if you are a liberal, if you are a conservative or if you feel like you don't have a camp.
I feel closer to many of my relatives and a few of my Facebook acquaintances because of my temporary coinciding with what is being called the alt-right.
I didn't vote for Trump, by the way. That wasn't necessary for me to say, but as I said, even as I declare that I'm learning not to care as much whether people like me, progress not perfection.
That's what we in the recovery community say, by the way. I'm not even in the recovery community but that is part of one other thing I have realized this year, and that is, I haven't changed as much as you would think since I was a kid.
I've always done voices and characters, when I am alone or when I am comfortable—sorry, Courier staffers.
When I was young and used to be home alone and cleaning up or washing dishes, I would pretend I was this maid. And she would go on and on, in this monologue or diatribe—call it what you will—about how filthy the Torribio family is, particularly that horrible youngest daughter.
Anyhow, last night I was making what has become my famous vegetable soup—okay, I've made it twice. I suddenly caught myself pronouncing some culinary wisdom in a heavy Slavic accent:
"You can't expect too much from potato. It's simply a wessel for flavor."
On that note, happy 2017.