I went to the gym today, seeking relief from the relentless Orwellian nightmare that is life under Trump. I like to swim, and the place has a pool. I go despite the fact that I seem to have developed a peculiar allergy to the water there. I always leave with watery eyes and a runny nose, and I can’t seem to stop sneezing afterwards. But that’s a small price to pay for the hour of peace I get to enjoy while gliding through the water. I zone out. I think of nothing. This seemed like an especially enticing prospect on a morning when Psychotic National Security Advisor Mike Flynn had started bellowing threats at Iran, reminding them that an orange-complected maniac is now in control of our nuclear codes.
If I arrive to the pool at the right time, I usually get a lane to myself. Today I had to share one with an elderly woman whose spastic backstroke posed a clear and present danger each time she swam past. Avoiding her flying feet required intense concentration on my part, but I enjoyed my swim anyway, all 5,280 feet of it. I had expected the woman to vacate the pool at some point before I was through, allowing me to enjoy a few laps in peace. But the old lady was relentless. She was there when I arrived, splaying her legs everywhere, and she continued to do so after I left.
I headed to the sauna, hoping for a few more minutes of peace. It’s usually empty, and if anyone’s around, they usually sit in silence. I meditate in the sauna. I repeat my mantra. I breathe in. I breathe out. It helps keep the Trumpian monsters at bay. The place is usually empty, and if anyone’s around, they usually sit in silence, genteelly covering their private parts with the corner of a towel, lest anyone conclude they are not sufficiently well endowed.
Today, however, the place felt as crowded as a city bus at rush hour. Six of us sat there, pressed side by side, sweat dripping off our noses. And then some avuncular old man started talking about Trump.
“So my daughter, she’s thinking of leaving Seattle, maybe moving to the Tri-Cities or someplace else back east,” he started, innocently enough. “She’s always loved Seattle, but she’s kind of in a minority here. All of her friends agree on everything, and she’s sort of the odd woman out.”
He didn’t directly mention the fact that his daughter had voted for America’s first fascist president. He didn’t have to.
“I stay in Seattle because of my friends. We come here to play basketball. Some are liberal, some are conservative. We play, we’re friends. Politics doesn’t matter.”
He mentioned the fact that he had one close liberal friend.
“Hey,” I volunteered, knowing it would be much better to keep my mouth shut. “You’ve got one more liberal friend than I have Republican friends. I don’t have any. Not a single one.”
He smiled, and returned to the subject of his daughter.
“She’s in a book club. She’s always enjoyed it. But now her book club friends want to change the focus of the group. They want to make it about women’s issues. A Women’s Issues Book Club. She doesn’t want to talk about women’s issues all the time. Geez.”
In my mind, I framed a simple question for the friendly geezer: “Why would a woman who endorsed a serial pussy grabber for president want to discuss women’s issues? That should come as no surprise.”
Uncharacteristically, I bit my tongue, keeping my penetrating, insightful question to myself.
But then the old guy kept blathering, whining about how Seattle liberals don’t have tolerance and respect for people of dissenting views.
Proving him right, I blew my top and let it rip.
You elected an unqualified, racist, misogynist for president! Why would expect anyone to treat you with tolerance and respect? You haven’t earned tolerance and respect! Your vote has transformed the terms and the stakes of America’s political conversation forever! This isn’t Reagan or Bush we’re talking about here! This is America’s first fascist president! You can’t expect people to respond to you rationally after you elect a fucking fascist president!
And with that, I left the sauna.
I think I need another swim.