Go to the ocean
- Get a room with a view
- Eat fish and chips, mac and cheese, or whatever your favourite comfort food is for breakfast.
- Drink vodka, whiskey, red wine.
- Wear “too much” or “too little” make-up.
- Read Big Magic; choose to abide by it (or at least try really hard).
- Start a bucket list.
- Write a letter.
- Take a long bath in the afternoon with a coffee-grind mask that stains the white bathmat and will make the housekeepers wonder.
- When you are tired, pass out to the dulcet tones of British TV shows about antiques.
- Remember your Old Life—then let it go.
- But check in with the people you love back there, in your Old Life. Don’t let them go.
- Know you absolutely can do it in a new way. Then cry, because half the time you don’t believe this, really.
- Do yoga despite the heartburn, with a focus on the hips.
- Watch TV—but not for more than an hour at a time.
- Smile at the old people playing bridge in the lobby of the antiquated hotel, and at the mob of red-faced, navy-blazered Old Boys’ club that gathered around the bar one evening, all bald-headed and jovial.
- Smile at the kids playing in the sand, chasing the seagulls…until the mother pulls out bread bits to feed to the seagulls (please don’t feed the birds).
- Smile at the arthritic and slightly wet black lab trying to nose into your medoicre-at-best breakfast fish and chips.
- Re-do your website.
- Share a story in the secret women’s-only Facebook group.
- Decide to pug sit in Hollywood over Christmas.
- Wonder how one person could possibly be so content.
- Wonder how one person could possibly feel so distant from those that she loves.
- Go to the aquarium and simultaneously marvel while dipping into a concrete sort of sadness; you want to be with these creatures, but (mostly) not like this.
- Take the French lessons you’ve been meaning to take for 2 years.
- Practice finishing what you started.
- Take a social media/job-search break for 12 hours to read Beautiful Losers and write.
- Tell stories about the time you saw a giant tortoise eat it’s own…well, maybe not. It was more the reaction of the other observers that was priceless.
- Forget about how the much-younger-but-still-cold-and-overly-formal bartender kept calling you “Ma’am.”
- Enjoy the shit out of the complementary tea, custard creams, gingerbread and shortbread that sits waiting in every hotel room there, ’cause they just don’t do that at home.
- Don’t worry that you were 2 hours away from Stonehenge with a completely open schedule but still didn’t go and see it. You will be back soon enough.
- Turn everything off and just read.
- Colour with the window open, sitting on the floor, watching the sunset, with the sea breeze cooling your wine-warmed face.
- Wonder (stop wondering) why you can’t seem to be in love with the right person, ever.
- Find a new rhythm.
- Eat fruit slowly.
- Devote yourself to living by the sea in a more permanent way.
- Don’t let the cheapness of the combed sand or the too-small aquarium tanks or pier toll sway you from just visiting places like kitchy, old-timey beach towns. Those are really the best, anyhow.
“Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work together for the benefit of all.” ~ John Maynard Keynes
Capitalism is based on this premise: selling ideas for personal profit.
When you need to convince someone of an idea, you need to find the target market — -that is, you find the people that will buy your idea. This idea can be a good or a service that legitimately improves the buyer’s life; if it doesn’t, we can offer a money back guarantee.
When we sell things with a guarantee, we are choosing an option to work with some honesty and transparency within the relatively unforgiving confines of the self-obsessed capitalist regime. This is one small way of using the system to the benefit of all parties, though there are plenty of other working models that present a more egalitarian scenario.
Clearly, Trump has a lot of practice working this system. For the past 19 months, he’s just been doing what he always does: finding his target market — -the people that were the most easily convincible — and selling his idea of “change.”
He’s got the balls and money (clout) to get up in people’s faces and sell. And he’s good at it.
Only Trump doesn’t come with a money back guarantee. The way that he operates will never benefit of the majority. He has repeatedly demonstrated that he does not understand or care to operate in such a way that — well, cares about people.
The fact that so many people (supposedly) swung right in the US election sends a huge message to the world: that there are too many people willing to turn a blind eye to the terrible behaviour of a person in the hopes that the person will help them “get ahead.”
They think that Trump is going to help them “get in the game” — -but in the very act of believing this, they’ve already lost.
He’s already beat them in the game, so why would he help them now?
The people that he “got” to —that he switched, if that was the case, or even that voted for him in protest — many of these people, the vulnerable populations, are going to be the most effected by this government. They’ll wait for “change” and then at the end of the day, claim it never came. Then they’ll vote again, a few years later, because they need that person to changethem. That’s the scary part, that people think they have to depend on this one person to change things, because the last person didn’t do “enough.”
And they may never see it, because they never learned how to ask the questions that need to be asked.
Trump just handed them the exact thing that they shouldn’t want: a ruler that clearly doesn’t care about the good of the whole.
I’m sure there were many factors playing into these disastrous election results, including racism, sexism, and a whole host of other maddening factors. But the thing that saddens me the most about this decision is that it is an indication of a perceived lack of choice in their own lives, be it through a protest vote or a push for change. The very fact that they believe one person/government will forever have a hold on their lives is the limiting factor.
It’s now official: It looks like Trump can buy/bully/rig/manipulate/coerce his way into anything — if the people on the other side of the deal fall for it. And no one on the bottom (the 99%) will be better off.
He has just completed a whole new level of manipulating the system and other people for personal gain.
So goes the capitalist game — and he just won again.
Snippets from the first month or so:
Walking along the highway-ish road the first day, a black man with bright purple hair (and shoes) speaking French to his young daughter who clutched a stuffed animal.
That was the second child that I’d seen walking along the street holding a stuffie. For some reason it struck me as different. That and the purple hair. I can still see them walking in front of me.
When I bothered to order a sandwich in my clumsy french, and the man at the restaurant spoke with me, slowly. A small and encouraging breakthrough.
There was this loud buzzing sound sometimes. I heard it when the patio doors were open. I asked my niece what it was, thinking of some power line type of issue.
Cicadas, she said.
Little moments of different.
The kids playing on the fenced-in, cement playground at the school on the (busy) corner, French-accent shouts bouncing off brick walls.
The brick seems to sharpen already bold soundscapes.
The way that the neighbors fighting sounds more like a play than a real thing. Maybe it’s the thicker walls, the fact that I don’t know them, the fact that it sounds more like drama than real problems…but I feel more removed, as if it is some sort of performance. My last neighbors were too close to home.
I couldn’t stand the fighting anymore.
The cab drivers are animated, chatty. Most people seem simultaneously more and less friendly…at least, less forced happiness. There’s flairs of charisma but it’s not vacant charm. It’s authentic and vibrant. No sugarcoats.
I feel like I’m in a movie—not acting in it, just watching characters.
The night I flew out was the night the man burned. I went to a party that I wasn’t invited to and watched that on a TV. Surreal, fitting…especially the way the screen separated us and the man, but also ourselves.
I had felt disconnect for a while and this was symbolic of a real distance that I’d been feeling for so long anyhow.
It was fitting of the shit that I’d shed, the new horizons that I couldn’t wait one more minute to miss. I didn’t idealize the other side at all; I knew it would come with it’s own set of imperfections and trials.
But first would come some semblance of clarity that I’d been craving for so long.