Turn OFF the Radio!

The husband, poet and thus master of acerbic one-liners, finally has a Twitter page after I pestered him about it. His most recent tweet regarded his dismay that, even though we are homebodies anyway, sheltering-in-place being a lifestyle we embrace, the worst thing about it was that he had to listen to the President every morning.

I, on the other hand, rather enjoy hearing what our chief of staff has to say, because every time he opens his mouth he sinks deeper into the muck with which he has surrounded himself. While I am skeptical of polls, I do appreciate those that show his approval rating in the tank. What saddens me is when I see posts from acquaintances and family, pointing out that he is a great man doing a great job. All in one or two-syllable words, which are the only words he can say. Three-syllable words just confuse him.

These are intelligent people. They are conservative, religious, hardworking. We share many things: love of English Mastiffs, love for family, a high school class. I’m sure they are just as flummoxed by my left-leanings as I am by their right ones.

On my list of questions I have always wanted to ask people, like “Why don’t you use your turn signal?”, is “How can you be OK with his contemptuous incivility—especially to women?”

I really want to know. I would probably feel better about you if you told me.

I can envision the outcome of any such discussion as solving nothing. I am as rabid about my liberal beliefs as they are about their conservative ones. I will never change their minds and they will never change mine. Mostly I just “like” their photos of puppies, recipes, and grandchildren.

That is one world. In other worlds I laugh hysterically at derisive memes about the Senate Majority Leader, the Vice President and the entire Trump cabinet. Anthony Fauci has always been my hero, and when I saw the gif of him standing behind the President at a Task Force briefing trying not to laugh at some garbage the President was spitting out and covering his face, I knew there was still hope. I share more divisive stuff on Twitter mostly because I purposely do not “friend” or “follow” any conservatives. The twitterverse harbors really mean people with painful ray guns using cloaking devices. This is to protect me rather than shield my true thoughts from people on the other end of the political spectrum.

That is the world we live in. I’m not sure it’s worse now than forty years ago; we just have more shit thrown at us by media and the Internet. Before someone might get threatening letters, then threatening voice mails, and now threatening tweets. And your address might be published so that people can throw eggs at your dogs.

I don’t put decals about personal choices on my cars, either. Both cars have mastiff decals on them. Harmless. Inside as we drive around we listen to NPR and scream at the President and Mitch McConnell. We think Nancy Pelosi has bigger balls than Mitch. We want to give Adam Schiff sainthood. I wanted to vote Kamela Harris into the highest office in the land and I wanted her to make Stacey Abrams Vice President.

The only good thing, in my view, that will come out of our current health crisis, is that all the ammo will be sold and hoarded so that crazies can’t load up their AR-15s and kill concert-goers, worshippers or shoot up a gay nightclub. Do you really need a semi-automatic weapon to protect your toilet paper? Or do you think you can personally kill a virus the size of 400 nanometers with a .45 caliber bullet?

It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood. 62 degrees, sunny, post-vernal equinox hours, and as I took my hour-walk today, I saw more people outside in this small Oregon town than ever before, mowing lawns, playing with kids, walking dogs, running saws in open garages. We’re all home. There’s a lot of rubbish burning. Burning is allowed in this Valley town. My neighbors are trimming trees and burning the wood limbs. We hosed off our deck table. The kittens are out on the catio, imagining birds. We’re all doing our best social distancing. The funny thing is, liberals and conservatives, on very distant ends of political and religious belief, are actually closer together than ever before.

The President has gotten his act together finally, assembling brains like Tony Fauci’s around him so we won’t become Italy. Ok, good. I’ll go that far into the distance.



About Jill Zeller

Author of numerous novels and short stories, Jill Zeller is a Left Coast writer, 2nd generation Californian, retired registered nurse, and obsessed gardener. She lives in Oregon with her patient husband, 2 silly English mastiffs and 2 rescue cats—the silliest of all. Her works explore the boundaries of reality. Some may call it fantasy, but there are rarely swords and never elves. More to the point, she prefers to write as if myth, imagination and hallucination are as real as the chair she is sitting on as she writes this. Jill Zeller also writes under the pseudonym Hunter Morrison


Turn OFF the Radio! — 3 Comments

  1. I too am enjoying the growing sense of community as I take my walk and see a lot more people doing the same. We nod and smile. If we come upon someone we actually know, like the next door neighbor, we stand on opposite sides of the narrow road and talk. Until recently we were always in too much of a hurry to go somewhere to stop and take the time to communicate with the community.

    I hope we all learn something from this “interesting times” period of our lives.

  2. I walked down to the “village” (the two block long strip of shops in my San Francisco neighborhood) yesterday to go to the hardware store (hardware stores are essential businesses, and this little local joint has everything). As I passed people–parents with their kids in helmets on scooters, elders in decades-old pairs–we all gave each other a wide berth, but smiled. And I just got a notification from the neighborhood association that starting Wednesday there will be a noontime “front porch” sing: the whole neighborhood (actually, the whole region, as the idea was originated across the Bay in Berkeley) will go to their front doors and sing. I may join in; there’s a good deal of healing in song.

    Y’all stay well.

  3. Thanks, Jill! It’s heartening to see people out and about on the trails, including kids without their devices. Most people are of good will, and it’s good to remember that, too.