The Day America Died: January 20, 2017

I dreaded this day. And, unfortunately, the dreaded day did not disappoint.
The dread began to intensify yesterday evening, as I watched the one snippet of news I allowed myself: a reporter from msnbc was standing in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. His dark suit stood out in stark contrast to the eerie purples and grays of the sky behind the Capitol dome. I focused less on what he was saying and more on the visual aspect of my television screen. Pushing away my uneasy feeling, I turned off the set and went out to run some errands, before going to my mother’s house for our daily visit.

Watching my Thursday night comedies with Mom further allayed my dread, as did more mindless television shows when I returned home. Playing with my delightful dog also helped me to relax. Finally, I drifted off to sleep. I was planning to spend today occupying myself with household chores and anything else I could think of, to avoid seeing the real-life nightmare of the transition of power in Washington: I did not want to witness this day that I fear will live in Infamy.

I was awakened from the bliss of sleep by the jarring ring of my telephone at 6:30 this morning. My mother was calling me for help with what I hope was only a minor medical emergency. [Time, and keeping a watchful eye on her over the next day or so, will tell.…] I do not mean to make light of my mother’s condition; in fact, her occasional calls for help at odd hours scare me to death! But my job as a dutiful daughter is to be the voice of calm and reassurance, as we determine whether she needs to call her doctor, as opposed to heading for an emergency room. But what strikes me most at such times is that her symptoms are like stigmata: whatever may be troubling her mentally or spiritually manifests as a physical symptom, whether it be an ache or pain, or a bout of eczema, or what have you. Yet, she exudes an infernal attitude of optimism and positivity, while her body says otherwise!

After we agreed to keep an eye on today’s symptoms, I decided to stay with her rather than go back home. [We live very close to each other—only a half-block apart.] While she settled back in bed, with the television tuned in to the lead-up to the real-life nightmare, I retreated to the couch in her living room, with her afghan pulled over my head, so I wouldn’t have to listen.

I woke up just before the “main event,” wolfed down the leftover breakfast and coffee she had so lovingly prepared for us (she had already eaten hers), and rushed home, making sure she was really okay as I closed the door to her house.

As I drove around the corner, a murder of crows slowed me down: some were walking in the street, others were feeding on worms in our neighbors’ yards, and still others were cawing and flying from tree to tree. (Mom later told me that this was a sign of Spring.)

Late in the afternoon, I wrote the following post on Facebook:

I spent the afternoon watching my favorite disaster movie, “The Day After Tomorrow.” Made in 2004, and starring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gillyenhall, it tells how climate change freezes the northern hemisphere due to a giant icy hurricane. Americans below the Mason-Dixon line are forced to flee to Mexico to avoid the deep freeze that destroys everything in its path. The giant crack in the Arctic shelf at the start of the movie predates the real cracks recently reported in the news. This film is more believable than the nightmare we now face.

God help us all.

To which an old high school friend responded:

“The movie is based on fact. Just as they depict a piece of Antarctica the size of Rhode Island broke away in 2001 because of global warming. Google it and see the pictures, it’s amazing and the top of Kilimanjaro in Africa used to be a snow covered mountain top. Not now and the snow won’t return in our lifetime. This is what Trump’s doesn’t feel is important enough to prevent happening further.”

I returned to Mom’s house this evening for dinner. Not only was she still watching “highlights” of The Day America Died, she was telling me about other low-lights of the day. My heart sank as I saw the replay of President and Mrs. Obama walking toward Air Force One, and then the heartbreaking photo of Mr. Obama looking back at the White House from the window of the helicopter.

Again, I hurriedly took leave of my mother’s house, thanking her for the meals—but not her choice of television watching (her words, not mine!), and spent the last 3 hours writing—with the last 2 hours using Real Time with Bill Maher as my “soundtrack.”

God help us all.


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