Here in Winston-Salem the sky sneezed, and some flurries of snow caught in the corners of rooftops and along the edges of rarely used roads. So naturally, society grinded to a halt. Parking lots are empty, as are grocery store aisles—ghost towns with a few sorry bags of bread left behind to go stale and toilet paper tumbleweeds blowing through. Although I have considered buying out Food Lion’s stock of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting and real Cinnabon cinnamon, that is a separate and unrelated issue.
Last night as we lay on the couch wishing that the Epic North Carolina Snowstorm of 2009 that was predicted would actually happen, Noah and I decided we needed to work on our soul mateyness. Ahoy.
Noah accused me of being like the boss who forces his staff to bond in protracted, unnatural parties, only I hadn’t even planned any funtivities. So in an effort not to disappoint, I decided we’d ask each other five things that we never had before, but we really couldn’t come up with anything besides What Is Your BIGGEST Fear and What Is Your Favorite Harry Potter Book. The latter should have been an easy question to answer, especially since I once strung along a friend by telling him I was writing a novel about a young girl named Helen Porter who discovered she had magical abilities. It wasn't until I made mention of Helen's school, Pigspots, that he caught on to the ruse.
Ultimately neither of those questions were answered, though, and only in part because for an English Major I have a surprising lack of ability to remember the plot points of what I consider guilty pleasure books. I just consume them, and then toss them aside, broken and alone. But I enjoyed the Harry Potter series—if I recall, it has something to do with wizards.
2009 has started as a good year, which is ironic, because it’s been jam packed with rollercoastering emotions. Noah and I, once again renewing our relationship in light of all that we’ve gone through—learning how to parent, how to define our values, how to stay afloat in these uncertain times. The real beeyotch of renewal is that it raises questions in all manner of epistemological, ontological, theological, and sociological ilk.
My dad was here all last week, babysitting for us. It’s the longest he and mom had been apart since they lived thousands of miles distant on opposite sides of the world during their engagement.
Dad was able to do this for us because he lost his job. A job that he worked at diligently and faithfully for 20 years, that he followed from Los Angeles to Chicago bringing the family along and changing the course of all our lives. Dad—who worked for an OIL COMPANY, if that says anything about how bad things actually are—packed up his things, turned in his ID badge, and quietly walked away from two decades of work without so much as a heartfelt pat on the back or an official saying of goodbye with a side of thank you. This is what this country has become.
So. Today is a day among days.
A group of us took a few moments out of our workday to gather around a television in a hotel room on the floor below our office, graciously provided by the staff, so we could witness the inauguration of a new president. I voted for this president, and did so with great conviction and a swell of hope—not necessarily just at the good he might do, but hope for this country as witnessed in the long lines of people who had never before felt compelled to make their voices heard by casting a ballot; as witnessed by the election of a man whose skin color and name still signifies so much, and the raising of his family to a position of honor; as witnessed by the thousands upon thousands of citizens giddy with excited, pure patriotism, waving flags in the clear, cold wind.
Which brings us to now, a place where we are in the midst of people losing their jobs, losing their homes, losing their lives, losing their very minds ... yet Hope springs eternal. My mantra for this year.