Friday, February 12, 2021

What's it all about, Alfie?


   Life is pretty straight-forward here in the boonies of Maine.  People are pre-occupied with just taking care of the necessities of daily living, and when it's winter those can be pretty demanding.  For about 25 years I heated with only woodstoves.  I landed in upstate NY from the Bay Area and although I grew up in fairly rural circumstances, I didn't have a clue about things like wood heat and chainsaws.  So, I bought a decent Stihl saw and got busy.  

  When snow flies, snow management becomes a demanding task.  Trudging along behind a snow-blower is actually not terrible as work goes.  There is some skill to getting the snow off of areas where it is in the way and onto areas where it will pile-up until spring.  Snow-banks can get so high that they become navigational hazards....because you can't see over them and who knows what is coming down the street, eh.

   We have two wonderful Golden retrievers who are not the kind of pups to simply hunker down and wait for spring.  Piper and Fiona both love winter and are as cold hardy as Huskies...well, almost.  But, they need to get outside and have playtime and walks.  So, it's necessary to render myself as cold proof as necessary and be out there too.  Years ago I saw an arctic parka on sale at Cabelas and sprang for it.  It's so big and heavy that I take it off when I am driving and put it back on when I get out of the car.  But, it's also so incredibly warm and weather proof that I can stand on a winter hill-side and just grin at the fact that the wind-chill is approaching exotic minus numbers.  I tell people who ask if it's really warm that it's the equivalent of wearing a nice little log-cabin.

  So, life is pretty much a day in day out process of maintaining one's homestead and one's health and of staying connected with friends and family.  It's not 'fancy' or 'luxuriant' but it is the life I would choose all over again if I had to.

  Then comes yesterday.  I was driving on Main Street in town.  A man in a compact SUV came up behind me and started tail-gating.  Most often, I have found that tail-gaters don't even know their doing it.  They are yakking on their goddamned phone, or they are simply oblivious.  This fellow was neither. He appeared to be having some kind of a temper-tantrum, and he'd apparently identified me as the cause of his problem.  He was gesticulating, weaving back and forth (his body, not his car) bobbing up and down and I could see that he was crackers.  So, after a quarter-mile of this insane display I pulled off to the curb and expected him to go by.  He pulled along-side me with his window down and was screaming at the top of his lungs.  His first sentence--if you could call it that--was: "You should stop looking in your mirror all the time and fucking drive."  

  At that point, I came to the full and un-nerving realization that this man was out of touch with any kind of reasonable reality.  I started to examine my options if he decided to take this further and I knew I was trapped against the curb if he didn't move.  I carry a collapsible police baton and a USMC Ka-Bar trench-knife on the floor between the driver's seat and the door.  I was asking myself how to react if this kept going in the direction it was.  I have had a concealment permit for over 45 years, but I don't bother to carry anymore.  I am also very aware that Maine--under the 'guidance' of Paul LePage, our idiot governor in the not too distant past--decided that a concealment permit is an infringement on a person's freedom to bear arms.  So, now we do not screen people before turning them loose in the public arena with whatever weaponry they decide to arm themselves.  Now, you don't know if you are dealing with a sane person who has no criminal or mental history....or someone like this individual who was screaming at me for looking in my rear-view mirror.

  Fun stuff, huh?

  Luckily, this time, the situation self-resolved and I was off the hook for needing to make some tough decisions on very short notice.

  But, as I told my wife, this was both a warning and a lesson.  The energy of insanity and anger is out there on the land in much the same way that Covid-19 is.  It is infectious and you saw what happens when it is encouraged and fostered by someone like the Idiot formerly known as president.  It is explosive and can erupt without warning or probable cause; it just lurks until it explodes.  This is precisely the same energy that the psychiatrists and psychologists are referring to when they analyze the Idiot and his followers.  

You are looking at scenes from the day democracy
in America very nearly DIED.

What would the Founding Fathers have to say
about the scenes we witnessed?

   To not realize or accept that this is very dangerous is the pathway to accepting that our democracy may be destroyed and that there is nothing we can do about it. On January 6th, we living color and from hundreds of sources....what the future holds if nobody is held accountable for such a devastating assault on our nation's capital and our democracy itself. 

  This is a time of reckoning.  America will either rise to it and take the difficult measures necessary to re-create our society along more humane and fair lines.....or we will wimp-out and the autocratic nightmare we have so dreaded will descend on us and an AGE OF DARKNESS will prevail.

  It's our choice. We cannot sleep-walk our way through this one.