Another beautiful day here and I decided to stay close to home for my walk, just take the sidewalk and see what was happening on Old Lloyd Road but as soon as I walked out of my driveway I saw my Trump-signs neighbor standing across the road and thought, "Oh, shit."
As neighbors in the purely neighborly sense, she and her husband are fine. I know they'd help us if we needed them and they know the same about us.
Knowing that someone has voted for Trump twice, knowing that they have kept his signs in their yard for five years, and knowing exactly what that means as to their beliefs and world-view is different than just knowing that someone is probably a Republican and doesn't have the same outlook or philosophy as I do. I mean, it's just different. Not to put too fine a point on it but Trump signs scream ignorance and racism to me and that's where we are in history.
I turned off the book I was listening to and took an ear pod out to say hello because I'm not a complete asshole and she said, "Hey! I'll let you pass before I cross. T and I have covid."
This is the woman who told my husband last year that the virus was basically a hoax and just you watch- it would disappear right after the election. And damn, I'm not a saint and there is that part of me which enjoys a bit of shadenfreude but I felt guilty for the quick thought I had about that because these people are not in good health and they have a rough life. The husband has leukemia, their daughter has a brain cancer. Their resources are quite limited.
"I'm so sorry," I said. "Are you all right?"
"We're okay," she said. "But it's hard to get rid of. T especially is having a bad time with it. I can hardly get him to eat. There's really nothing they can do. They gave him a nasal spray but that doesn't seem to be doing much."
"How long have you had it?" I asked.
We talked a little more. She had heard a kitten and was investigating in the yard across the street from us. She loves animals. She's taken in everything from donkeys to a llama to goats to dogs since I've lived here. I don't know how many dogs they have. Jack used to eat over there when he was still half-wild until he decided that he wanted to make his home here with us. The dogs probably had something to do with that decision. She told me that she had no idea how they got the virus because they wore masks in Publix and Walmart (which are required so...) and then she said, "Biden's going to order a mask mandate which is stupid because we wore masks and got it anyway. They don't do any good."
Oh boy, I thought. Here I go.
And I did. All of this conversation was basically being yelled as we were at least twenty feet apart and cars kept passing between us. That did not help the tone of the conversation. But I'll admit, I wanted to yell. I wanted to scream at her. I took my walking stick and pointed it to one of the Trump signs in her yard and said, "Masks DO work and if Trump had encouraged people to wear them we wouldn't be in the mess we're in right now." She didn't flat-out deny that but she said, "Thank God he did Operation Warp Speed. At least we have a vaccine now."
"Trump didn't have a damn thing to do with that," I said. "Scientists from all over the world worked on that vaccine but he's taking credit for it. After he got bored with the pandemic, he completely ignored it."
More things were said. Everything that came out of her mouth was like a Fox News blip. I finally said, "Look, you and I are just going to have to disagree on this," and she said, "Well, at least we live in a country where everyone can believe what they want to."
I paused for a moment. I knew, I KNEW I need to just walk on. But it's like all of the anger I've stored up since November 2016 was screaming to be let out. And I said, "Believe it or not, there are countries all over this world where you can believe whatever you want."
"Well, it's not like China where they kill people."
I mean...holy fuck.
"Yeah, but you have places like Sweden and Norway too," I said. "Have you ever been to another country?"
"No," she said, "And I don't want to."
Well. There you go.
"I went to Europe when I was eighteen," I said. "And what I learned is that although I'd been told that America is the greatest country in the world my entire life, I found out that isn't even close to the truth."
It was about this time that she pulled the god card and said that if god wanted her and her husband to have covid then so be it and I told her that I did not believe that god pointed down at them and said, "I want C and T to have covid!"
"It doesn't work that way," I said. "It's just living on earth. We get sick."
And then she said that when we're born our days are numbered and I told her that was the most obvious thing on earth and she claimed that she hasn't died from the MS that she's had for years because it's not her time and so forth. She went on to the election and how all of the networks except for Fox News just kept going on and on about finding things wrong with Trump and I told her that you didn't have to look to find things wrong with Trump and I finally asked her, "What is it about him that you like?"
Another pause and then she said, "Well, under him it's the lowest unemployment ever, especially for Black people so they have jobs now so they're not just taking, taking, taking." As she said this, she extended her arms out, palms down and made raking motions with her hands.
Well. That did it for me.
"We're not having this conversation," I said. "If y'all need anything, let us know." And I walked/stalked off down the sidewalk not feeling great about any of that and of course still angry and then I got sad and felt more despair than ever because it had been a very clear example of how so many people think and what they believe and it's just depressing as hell.
When I got home and told Mr. Moon all about it he said, "So are they going to come over and kill us?" I think he was joking.
"They don't have the energy to kill us," I said.
And all day I've felt sort of dead inside like the human race is doomed and also that when she went low, I did not go high, but it would take a better human than I am to not have gone where I went. I simply should not have engaged her to begin with. I should have offered her help if she needed it and then gone on my way.
I am not proud of myself.
One more day until that evil cancer is out of the White House. He's infected more lives with his lies and his normalization of racism and every other sort of selfish and horrid behavior than anyone could ever have imagined. Even those who knew that it was going to be horrible when he got elected could not have foreseen all of this. I suppose I had a little more belief in humanity than humanity deserved. And I don't like knowing that my own humanity is not what I would wish it was.