Campaigns and Comfort Food
Captain Jack would have something to say about that, mate!
Election Day 2020 dawned crisp and clear. With hopes of temps breaking 60 degrees and the other guy winning, we were all in festive spirits.
Well, most of us. I woke up with a swollen eye. Not pink eye, I don’t think, although I’m not an MD. But it appeared that a varmint — mosquito, perhaps? — had bitten me near my right eye. So I spent the day squinting, and hoping that no one thought I had a case of the highly contagious conjunctivitis.
I’d planned to eat out for lunch — consuming my go-to comfort food (if you must know, it’s not meatloaf, but rather Metro Diner’s Chicken Salad on a Toasted Croissant (with slaw and a pickle spear on the side) at a local diner with outdoor seating. After washing my face and treating my itchy condition, I did just that. I had no problem driving down the street to dine — even though with a squinty right eye I did feel a bit like a pirate.
Following my primo meal (beyond delish!), checking my eye (not too bad!) and hosing down my hands with the off-brand cousin of Purell (works just as well!), it was on to the local Teeter (as we recently transplanted North Carolinians refer to our local grocery emporium) to pick up a few things. In the Age of Covid, my weekly shopping excursion serves three very important roles: It gets me out; I stretch my legs cruising back and forth in confusion (I’m getting better, but as a newby, still can’t find the bread and the olive oil on the first pass through), and, of course I pick up our weekly allotment of necessities (I must add here that since April 3, due to empty store shelves and a need to feel somewhat in control, I’ve planned our meals — OK, dinners only — by listing them in the notes section of my phone, and dutifully checking them off after we consume each said meal. Pretty sure I was never known to have an OCD condition until 2020).
Driving back down the main drag in my community, I was feeling good. Satisfied with my chicken salad — in fact, I do believe that will be my annual Election Day tradition from now on. Looking forward to finding everything on my shopping list during this particular trip without having to ask the overly helpful staff. And I was able to open my right eye a tad more, and it had stopped itching.
OK, those of you shouting “but pink eye is highly contagious!” — I promise I was not being negligent. I’m almost pretty sort of sure it wasn’t pink eye. I scrub my hands with sanitizer approximately once every 15.2 minutes. Trust me; I’m a very responsible person.
And for y’all who are curious about the outcome of my grocery store getaway: I still have to ask where the bread is. And I couldn’t find a certain kind of shredded cheese to save my life. That is, until a helpful clerk pointed out it was right in front of me — and my slightly half-cocked right eye. Ahoy, Matey!
Mission — or missions, in this case — accomplished. I ate some great grub, went to the store, and had successfully avoided cable news and Twitter for all of the morning and part of the afternoon. Feeling bullet-proof, I decided it was OK to take a brief squint at the headlines (yeah, I spent most of the day depending on my trusty left eye).
I was greeted with some good news. No, considering the climate we exist in these days, it was fairly fantastic news.
The guy I didn’t vote for — yeah, the one with the alarming orange glow — held a meeting at his D.C.-area campaign headquarters on Election Day. Something about bucking up the troops. Whatever. The video I watched showed Mr. I Take No Responsibility At All spouting something about crowds — what is it with this guy and large gatherings? — while a group of rather dispirited looking staffers looked on. Believe me — I’ve worked on political campaigns, and this low-energy group appeared to be planning an excursion to face down a firing squad. Not an upbeat look for a presidential campaign, if you ask me. Either they were losing or they were afraid of their candidate, and neither is good news.
Then I clicked on over to Facebook, my go-to to find out how friends and family are doing. A former student, now a college senior, had updated her status. Yup, she voted for my guy — I know that because a recent profile pic features that candidate’s name underneath. The photo of said student also featured her left pointer finger (what’s the official name of that digit, anyway?) extended in a “We’re Number One!” fashion. And her image also contained artfully placed script on the other side, enumerating her feelings, I suppose, about her electoral selection. “My Body, My Choice,” the colorful words hollered off the page. All from the heart of a conservative college campus in central Virginia.
Gosh. “Knock me over with a buzzard feather,” as my Nana used to say.
I was afraid to delve much farther into the digital universe, fearing I would be drastically disappointed. Best to save that possible sadness for the evening cable news confabulation. Of course, we could be facing a Big Blue Wave. But I, like 65,844,953 of my fellow Americans, went to bed with a nugget of dread in the pit of my stomach on Election Night 2016, and woke up the next day with a permanent case of the awfuls. It didn’t matter that our gal had garnered 2.9 million more votes than Mr. Tangerine Man (I vowed not to besmirch anyone in the construction of this Election Day essay — so much for empty promises). The Electoral College chose to smite our dreams of a free and fair country and instead replace them with greed, grift and a generally unpleasant (understatement isn’t my forte) quadrennial.
But this is 2020 and we have reason to hope, yes? Nope, sorry about that. This is the year that keeps on giving — bad news. If 2020 were a theme song, it would be “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” (thanks to reddit user drexl147). With any luck, we’ll all get coal in our Christmas stockings and be thankful for that much.
But I feel fine. Thanks to R.E.M. and that reddit prognosticator. Except for my itchy right eye. You?
Back to the matter at hand. I arrived home, with approximately 2.5 hours til television’s talking heads were scheduled to start yammering about models, and must-win states, and returns, and regrets. I don’t know about you, but I live for Steve Kornacki and his “Big Board”. That’s probably a metaphor for something.
But all I can think about now is Mango Mussolini (I know, I know) and promises made, promises dashed. Or something like that.
To recap, he is the man who:
>Bragged about grabbing women in their nether-regions, and still became Commander-in-Chief.
>Tried, then failed and then tried, and then failed again and then finally succeeded in mostly banning practicing Muslim travelers from our shores. At least he says he did. Sorta like preventing the Chinese from arriving here a few months back. Don’t believe him. I don’t.
>Paid off a porn star, whom he apparently was humping while his wife was caring for his newborn son; then paid off a Playboy Bunny for similar transgressions. All, perhaps, with our tax dollars, and before the voters knew about these sleazy situations. And thereby receiving a mere slap on the wrist (I’d slap something else), because he’s, well, the “president”.
>Locked immigrant kids in cages on our southwestern border. Separated them from their parents. Two years later, his henchmen still can’t find the parents of 545 of these children.
>Killed hundreds of thousands of my fellow Americans because of an abysmal failure to control a once-in-100-years pandemic. I’m not sure a more insane, ignorant, insipid person exists anywhere.
I could go on. This wasn’t supposed to be a political essay, anyway. Remember my eye? It started to itch again, just as the returns started rolling in. And I went to bed relatively early, because, you know, it takes a long, long time to process and count record numbers of write-in ballots.
I squinted through the next day’s headlines. That’s what I get for trying to act like all is well in the Age of Covid.
We’re still debating who won the presidential election. Well, one candidate is, in his own mind. But my right eye has healed, and I’m no longer squinting like Blackjack. As Captain Jack Sparrow once said, “ Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.” Ahoy!