I stand in the shower at the Quality Inn, fluorescent light whirring and hot water pounding my skin, carefully plucking out tiny shards of glass. My arms are coated in red freckles from where the razorsharp particles rained down on me, but it doesn’t really hurt and the steamy air is soothing.
The moment the hood unlatched and came flying up to meet my windshield as I flew down the highway wasn’t the worst part of the day anyway. The Highway Patrol pulled over and made the nice family who had been helping me leave, insisting I wait in the back of the patrol car until the tow truck arrived. Brain curled up and fell asleep but my nails were digging into my palms as I smiled and pretended to be grateful for his “help”.
I told the tow truck driver it would be fine, I’d drive it back to Oakland like this, and he looked at me like I was crazy but that was okay. I didn’t want to wait, I wanted to get home. But when I started the car the glass started raining again so I gave up and checked into the hotel room.
The worst part of the day was when I finally made it to the hotel room and turned on CNN and the video of that fucking Nazi plowing his car into comrades on another coast was on again and again and all anyone could say was that Donald Trump hadn’t condemned the killers and all I could think was WHO GIVES ANY KIND OF FUCK WHAT DONALD TRUMP HAS TO SAY ABOUT ANY OF THIS because he has been supporting White Supremacy with every fucking breath and so has every fucking president and because all of this will continue tomorrow no matter what he has to say about it, but even more so because none of these anchors hangs on every word of Black folks who have screamed a million times that they are being slaughtered and NO ONE WHO HAS BEEN PAYING ANY KIND OF ATTENTION CAN BE SURPRISED RIGHT NOW.
I tuned it out all weekend because I was on call for my sister who is having a really rough time, because patriarchy and capitalism are so many kinds of violent to all of us, and because even though she followed all the rules and got a nice job and a nice boyfriend and a nice dog and cat and a savings account she still isn’t shielded from that violence, because no one is, really. We spent the weekend eating our favourite snacks, watching horror movies, and playing with our dogs, and I wished so much to just stay in the cocoon of coffee and Mario Kart and family. But driving back up North felt like emerging for breath to find that the oxygen has been polluted so heavily I can’t even inhale.
After my shower I shook the glass out of my clothing and walked across the street to Denny’s, and the cute waitress was flirting with me so I flirted back. She winked when she put down a plate loaded with pancakes and bacon and hashbrowns and said she hoped I enjoyed it because she made it herself. It was fucking awful but I left a large tip with a heart drawn on it because duh.
I got a $2 bottle of wine at the corner store which I spent an hour trying to open but couldn’t because my wrist hasn’t actually healed enough for twist tops, so instead I ate pretzels and fell asleep watching Star Trek and pretending Earth no longer existed.
I lived like a King in King City.
But I woke up this morning still on Earth so now I’m trying to figure out how to keep moving forward. The day to day work supporting my homeless friend who has been attacked by police and forced to move from her place, supporting my sister through a rough time, supporting my friend who was sexually assaulted, supporting my friend locked up in a prison camp, and fighting to stay in my home demands so much of my heart, and so much of my time. I know this is part of longterm vision to create a world without prisons, without rapists, without exploitative jobs, in which everyone has a home. I know its strategic to stay focused, to keep working. But then again my body is screaming to go and fight because oh my god Nazis are just killing people at protests and my friends are there and they are there fighting for all of us and damn I want to stand behind them right now. I will do both of these things, but I don’t think I will ever find this ever-evasive “balance” I’m seeking.
Today is not a day to go about your normal business and pretend everything is okay.
Yesterday wasn’t either and I’m pretty damn sure tomorrow won’t be. These days call on white people to step into hard conversations with family members, to show up to a solidarity demo, to redistribute accumulated resources to black/brown folks, to form ranks and fight back against Nazis literally killing people in the streets and call out the liberals defending their rights to do so (I’m looking directly at all of y’all giving money to the ACLU).
Give everyone under attack right now a second to breath, to grieve, to regroup. They’ve been in this fight a lot longer.
My heart is aching, racing, raging.
Fuck white supremacy, time to uproot that shit. I’m going to start back up trying to as soon as I get my ass back to Oakland. Wish me luck.
my time in SLO