On America’s 2016 Election Results

Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere Massachusetts, America…

November 9th 5:00am

It is not yet light. I lay awake. Fully and undeniably awake. An hour before my alarm goes off. I will not get up. Not yet.

November 9th 6:00am

Light filters in through the gaps in the curtains. Laying in bed willing myself to sleep is no longer an option. The red hound dog dancing around the covers assures me of this as much as the clock does.

November 9th 6:15am

The air is cold. The grass, green from recent rain, crackles frozen beneath my feet as I dance for warmth in  my slippers waiting for that red hound to stop chasing mysterious and invisible to me nothings and do her business. I am not particularly impatient, not necessarily rushing to turn the television on and confirm my premonition. I am neither awake enough nor caffeinated enough to face that reality.

November 9th 6:25am

It is a red day. Though surely it must be blue? Or even gray? Red simply does not suit the gravity of this occasion. 

Somewhere in a not so small college town Massachusetts, America…

November 9th 9:00am

I can park anywhere. Miles of parking slots open for my choosing. I should be delighted. But it’s like that episode of the Twighlight Zone where that poor man just wants to read in silence and when all the people in the world around him disappear and he is surrounded by wonderful beautiful books… he accidentally crunches the thick lenses of his reading glasses beneath his shoe.

I wait for the light at the crosswalk.

The air is different today.

Like the world has lost it’s charge. The energy drained out of it. A bus passes me. The faces of the passengers dull and expressionless behind the large glass windows. I see a young girl with plug me in spikes of hair, moving as though every step takes tremendous effort. I can hear everything. The sharp paper crunch of furled brown leaves buffeting against concrete sidewalks as the wind blows them spent from their branches. Squirrels chattering at each other as they run across the manicured paths of lush green grass as I step onto the grounds proper. I hear traffic in the distance. Machinery. I hear birds. The wheels of bicycles on pavement. The rustle of backpacks against jackets. The click of heels, the slap of shoes.

There are no voices.

No conversations. Neither loud nor soft. No groups of students. Neither staff nor faculty. No voices. Not a one. 

November 9th 9:15am

The silence follows me into the building, up the flights of stairs, through the halls and continues into the office where my equally silent colleague attempts to “adult” her way through what is becoming the strangest of days. I respect her silence and hold my own.

November 9th sometimes after 10:00am but before 5:00pm

Fissures open up in the surreal solitude. Voices begin to be heard. Conversations are hushed murmurs. Apologetic. The discourse begins and steadily becomes a fluid thing. I can hear voices within the other offices, the halls, outside the window that overlooks the grounds below. These conversations typically allotted to academic discourse have reserved this day for something else. Some need to connect. To understand. It is to this that I turn my thoughts. My own voice dipping periodically into these conversations but largely I listen. I am curious. I want to take it all in and reflect on it. There is much to contemplate.

Somewhere between a not so small college town and the middle of nowhere Massachusetts, America…

November 9th sometime after 5:00pm

I drive. The many miles between where I work and where I live, my vehicle seemingly suspended in a sea of red tail lights. My head swimming with thoughts that burst in like photograph flashes and leave like fading polaroids. I try to hang on to the best of them. To memorize them before they go so that I can sit down and write about it later. 

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere Massachusetts, America…

November 9th sometime after 10:00pm

I write. The red hound curled up next to me. Sleepy from the long day of a dog’s life. I envy the ease of her sleep. I fear my own will not be so forthcoming. Because what I see is this. A large contingency of American’s have made a choice. A contingency clearly larger than my own. I am left with their outcome but not without my own choices. 

Their choice does not fit me well. But then really there was never going to be a good fit. Not this time. Rather like shoes a size too small. And the only way to solve that problem when one cannot afford to by a new pair is to walk in them. To keep walking in them. To mold them to your feet and stretch them until your toes have room to move. I cannot exchange this election for something that provides a better fit. Trump is America’s new brand. My only option is to keep walking. It is the only viable choice we all have. We cannot change the outcome. We cannot wallow in what is or what could have been. We can only change how we react to it and what we will do with it. I choose to be me. I chose to keep living. Vibrantly and tenaciously. I choose to keep my values and my beliefs. I choose to work for and towards my dreams and goals. A Trump presidency will not change this in me. And it is my hope that a Trump presidency will not change this in you.

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