I think most activists have a list of phrases they hate to read on social media. And it’s rarely something obvious like “Heil Hitler” or “feminazi cunts must die.” Those are easy, and obvious, and when one of them happens to you, you can pretty much count on both friends and strangers jumping in to deal with the problem. Continue reading
There are a lot of things that I should like, but don’t. Things that seem to fit into my wheelhouse, fall in the center of the Venn diagram of my interests, but when I try to engage with them I just… meh. Steven Universe. Literally any podcast. Political memoir. Whatever Wil Wheaton is up to. Buffy (Whedonverse edition). But there’s one that I don’t talk about much. Something that I, as a 40-something white woman who has sometimes moved in lockstep with financial precarity and who likes wine, dogs, and clothes should be all over. And I just…. I can’t.
Need a hint?
The pens showed up on my doorstep three days after I started work, and a month before my contract was signed. “These are my favorites,” the note from my new boss said. There was a red pen, a black pen, and a notepad that said SHIT I GOTTA FUCKING GET DONE on it.
A couple weeks ago, we wrapped up six months of work on the single hardest project I’ve ever completed. Sorry. Make that six months, one package of sheet masks, two “dorm food” care packages, some bath bombs, and I honestly can’t remember what else because there was a 96-day work week in there.
It’s caretaking in the age of the internet, when our friends can touch our hearts but not our hands.
I didn’t meet anyone even remotely like me, growing up, and where would I? Our entire town had 800 people, a cop who sold Avon, and a heavy metal school bus driver. The mayor quit mayoring because he had a better get rich quick scheme. But here? On the internet? My people abound. But we’re not more statistically prevalent than we ever were, just because we can find each other now. That means they’re in Seattle. Chicago. Philadelphia. Perth – yes the one in Australia – and Toronto. A small town in Wyoming that you’ve never heard of. Houston and Austin and heckifiknowitsnotontheirprofile and Halifax and New York.
And it’s good to have community. It’s crucial to have people who really get you. Who you can talk to and trust. But a day will come when you’re sick, and you can’t get to the store, and the difference between emotional and physical community is sharp enough to cut you.
Or your friend in Oakbrook can Instacart you some soup.
Last month, my friend hurt herself. I set a calendar reminder for her to ice the injury. Another friend got a tube of burn ointment.
I can’t cook you dinner, I said. No, I typed it. Because she’s three thousand miles away. But can I PayPal you the cash for a pizza?
A pillow showed up on my doorstep: one of the cool ones with the back-and-forth sequins. In one aspect it’s a glittery pillow. In the other, it’s cheerfully obscene. I have a handful of “pills” stuffed with notes of support. A couple (also obscene) embroideries. A woodblock print. I mailed off a hand-illustrated book about a chicken last year.
We find ways to take care of each other, via this wacky little internet where we found each other. Whether it’s a Facebook event set to post thousands of Pusheen stickers to someone, or a grocery order. Whether it’s a first-aid kit that means “I love you and I want you to be safe” or a bunch of rubber stamps from the thrift store, we reach out. When someone’s hurt, or a kid needs medicine we find something. Even if it’s just a couple dollars. We help.*
“Kids don’t send letters anymore,” someone mourned. I don’t know. Maybe millennials are killing the post office. But somehow? I doubt it.
*But we shouldn’t have to, oh my god, can we get some healthcare up in here pls. Do you have any idea how much CHEAPER it would be to pay an extra hundred bucks in tax every month for free healthcare than to pay what you’re paying for insurance that doesn’t even cover you? What the fuck?
Pony was a chicken. I’m about 99% sure she was a Barred Rock, because we had those and Rhode Island Reds and she definitely was not a Rhode Island Red. Continue reading
There are three stages to growing your hair out: oh fuck, what the fuck, and why the fuck. Depending on the length of your hair, you may be lucky enough to start at what the fuck, but most people start at oh fuck. Continue reading
Last year, I planted food for the first time. I mean, beyond my scrubby blueberry bushes and the blackberry I’ve given up and embraced. It seemed like the thing to do, in 2018, to spend the days following former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement of a “zero tolerance” border policy, the days in which children were officially, rather than surreptitiously, taken from their parents and caged in makeshift shelters, in Walmarts and tent cities, to spend those days buried to my wrists in the soil, giving something, at least, a chance to grow. Continue reading
“Is your mom going to be mad at you?”
I honestly don’t remember if the cop was a man or woman – I think a man – but I remember those words. Continue reading
So, I grew up with parents who wanted me to call them by their first names, I didn’t have a lot of refined sugar until I was like ten, and I still think carob is kind of a treat. WHATEVER. I also developed a healthy love of the outdoors and a healthy respect for how much geese and chickens hate us. But there were a few times my hippie upbringing and the real world collided, hard, and one of those times was in the matter of, well, cookies. Continue reading
So my writing partner (do we say bookwife now?) is obsessive about her metrics. She knows exactly how many views she gets per day. She knows if someone’s been through her whole blog. She knows what posts are performing how. She doesn’t do anything with this information, or change anything about how her posts are structured based on it, but she knows it. Continue reading