Ugh, I forgot what street this is. I should use my GPS. Wait, there's a red light, I'll turn it on now. Ok, so turn right coming up on -- wait, what does that say? Damnit this loaner phone screen is so much smaller than my other droid. Stupid phone company, how long is my good phone going to be on back order? -- Why is there traffic on this street? Bumper to bumper, COOL. -- Ok blinker on, check your mirrors, there's no one on my right behind me? Ok she's going forward, the light must be green up there I can't really see around her -- check behind me one more time, pulling to the right getting around this -- BOOM!!
INAUDIBLE SCREAMING. IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?! AM I THE ONE WHO JUST SCREAMED? THIS FEELS LIKE A DREAM. NOPE, THAT'S MELTING PLASTIC AND MY AIRBAG JUST WENT OFF. OW MY SEATBELT -- OH NO MY WINDSHIELD -- OW MY KNEES --
(Latino accent) "Miss? Miss, you ok?"
Me: "I CAN'T SEE!"
Him: "oh no..."
Me: (aw crap he thinks I was somehow blinded) "No I'm sorry I mean -- (hysterically crying) -- I can't find my glasses, WHERE ARE MY GLASSES?!"
Wednesday morning, along with about half of America, I woke up (maybe just slightly) hungover and wrought with sadness and disbelief. I somehow on 3 hours of sleep rolled out of bed and managed to drive to work through morning tears and a lack of caffeine that would ever be sufficient enough to wake me up from what I believed to be an inescapable nightmare. I kept the radio on silent during my commute because normally I listen to NPR every day to find out what's going on in the world. But I already knew what was going on in the world, and knew that I could find no comfort from an unbiased news source right after the defeat of who I thought -- NO, KNEW -- was going to be our first female president.
I trudged along through the day, barely communicating with my boss and using 2 word answers because I was afraid I would burst into tears and I didn't want to make everyone uncomfortable. Maybe he was feeling it too. He left me be to feed my newfound addiction to despair as I scrolled through the screaming outrage and 3am articles posted and shared by my liberal friends on Facebook:
I'm scared to leave my house, I'm a Jewish and Latina Woman. I don't walk to my car alone as it is, and now there's a swastika in my neighborhood.
"Day 1 in Trump's America"
I feel like I just got grabbed by the p****...my best friend from high school voted for Trump. She went to Harvard. She said she's a feminist. Wait. What?!
"Dow Jones Plummets Overnight"
My child just asked me if her classmates are going to be deported.
"Gay Man Bashed to Death After Trump Takes the Election"
.....and on and on and on it went.
I got home from work. I saw my neighbor standing outside of his apartment. I couldn't make eye contact. "What if he voted for Trump? Does he also think sexual assault is ok?" I passed someone else while we both walked our dogs. The dark cloud returned. "Can I trust that whoever I pass by on the street isn't...bigoted somehow?" A black woman with her two children came into my building to look at an apartment. "According to polls, black women are basically the only demographic that if they voted, I could be *sure* to some degree that they voted for Hillary. Is she also sad today? I wish I could hug her...but strangers still have boundaries, that would be weird if I did that."
My trust in the world and those around me was shattered. I couldn't look people in the eye, or feel the same way about strangers without suspicion or sadness. In just one night, my perception of the direction we were going in as Americans and human beings, was completely turned upside down.
A girlfriend of mine said to me, "I look at every white person on the street with distrust. (Keep in mind we are both white women) I feel so stupid, I feel like black people have been trying to tell us this shit for years and we never really heard them."
and. we. never. really. heard. them. I can't stop replaying that in my mind as my chest is pounding, wondering if my next door neighbor is part of the other. My heart hurts.
My heart hurts as I scroll through my feeds and realize that I had friends, fellow comedians even, people in the arts who are usually as liberal as they come, who voted for Trump. Did they just not see it? Do they really not believe that even if he was kind of an ok guy, the people and policies he stands for and is supported by are a gateway to over half of our country being legitimately oppressed? Sure! Hillary covered her butt with some missing emails, but maybe do your research and figure out how and why her "private server" shenanigan happened in the first place (check out the article on Politico or last week's "This American Life" you'll probably laugh and maybe want to cry a little.) ONE OF MY FRIENDS VOTED FOR A CHIPOTLE BURRITO AS PRESIDENT BECAUSE SHE WAS PRO SANDERS AND I RESPECT HER MORE THAN TRUMP PEOPLE.
So as that dark cloud sat above my head, and as I kept ruminating over our country being so awfully fated, thinking I can't trust anyone I see because who knows who they *really* are, thinking I might have actually woken up in an alternate reality where we were in the beginnings of a modern-day Nazi Germany, or that I better keep my mouth shut for fear of a body snatcher sounding an alarm on me for not being "turned yet" --
Him: "Miss, your door is stuck, I'll find your glasses, let's get you out of the car."
His wife: "unlock it honey, can you climb out of this side?"
Me: "yes, *sob* I can climb over."
We go over to the curb, their 4 year old daughter is looking at me with wonder and concern as the tears are streaming down my face. A redheaded woman with big blue eyes grabs me by the shoulders --
Redhead: OH MY GOD ARE YOU OK?! (she hugs me and rubs my back)
They sat me down. This lovely and kind Mexican family -- yes that's not an umbrella term, they were actually Mexican -- helped me out of the car and sat me on a stoop, their neighbor brought me a bottle of water.
Him: Miss, we moved your car to the side of the road.
His wife: I called 9-1-1 they are on their way. We'll stay until they get here.
Him: Do you need an ambulance?
Me: I'm sorry -- No, (still sobbing) I think I'm ok. My face didn't hit the airbag.
Him: You have a burn on your chest.
Redhead: It was probably her seatbelt.
Him: Are you sure you're ok? Do you need your phone? Here, we got your purse and your phone and your glasses from the car.
Me: I'm -- so -- sorryyyyyyy (leave it to a woman to apologize multiple times for crying because eff
Him: Do you need to take pictures Miss? The other car is up there.
Me: (in between sobs) Yes, but I don't know where the other driver is, I didn't see them come over.
Redhead: Oh! It's me! I'm so sorry you hit my Volvo, there's hardly any damage, really. I feel sorry for anyone that hits it, that's like hitting a brick wall!
A few minutes later, police came, we deny a need for a police report, Redhead named "Anna" (because why wouldn't I hit a princess when I have a princess party company?) is holding my hand and we're sitting/waiting for the tow truck to come get me.
Me: THIS IS THE WORST. DAY. EVER!!
Her: I know, this sucks. I'm going through a divorce and I just had to call my almost-ex-husband to get the insurance information.
Me and Her: *laughing/crying*
Her: We were all hungover at work today. I work on (x TV show) and they gave us a half day. All of Hollywood is so sad right now.
Me: *sniff* I love that show.
Her: The important thing is that accidents happen, so many people were helping us just now, and everything is going to be ok. We are going to be ok.
We hugged more.
Through the tears and the sobbing and the dark clouds over all of our heads on November 9th, I felt a ray of hope that night. I looked around at all the people who were kind and concerned, grateful that they barely asked me my name before running to my aide. I share this story with all of you so that you can know there are still good people in this world. There are still people you can trust in this world. There are still people who are going to help you when you are in need, and stuck in a crashed car, crying in the street disrupting traffic. There are still people who care about women, and minorities, and those who are "different". So no matter what happens with the next presidency, no matter who you see on TV or in the administration or even in your everyday life that may make you feel unsafe, just know that there are people out there who are still safe and good.
Try not to lose your faith. I almost did.