November 8, 2020

Shift

After the election results were announced yesterday, a burst of spontaneous cheers gathered steam until people were dancing in the streets, celebrating in a way that felt like the end of wartime. New York. Atlanta. Detroit. After so much time spent fixating on the psychological needs of rural and suburban voters, the cities finally got to have their say, and they said it loud: Donald Trump is just a bad memory. Philadelphia. Washington DC. Los Angeles. The heat of the crowd wrote history last night, rendering Trump’s tantrums into background noise, barely audible through the music and cheers.

Yes, I wept as Kamala Harris and Joe Biden delivered their acceptance speeches from a parking lot in Delaware. Politics aside, I wept with the relief of seeing people who were recognizably human, with faces capable of joy, humility, and concern. Only then did I fully recognize just how much mental armor I’d required to deal with the White House’s alien garble of orange make-up, baffling slurs, Christian viciousness, and crazy-making reminders to “be best.”

Misty-eyed for Joe Biden. 2020 has been filled with disorienting moments. The president-elect spoke to us from a parking lot with a Planet Fitness in the background. Instead of applause, cars honked. “It sounds like he’s talking to the world’s worst traffic jam,” said C. And the optics did look apocalyptic, a reminder that America is not okay as the pandemic claims more citizens each day. If I’d tuned into this scene a year ago, I would have thought we were building a provisional government after a terrible explosion or zombie invasion.

And there’s a heatwave in November. Record-breaking temperatures here in New York City, and the summertime weather is heightening the sensation of suddenly stepping into a new and unfamiliar season.


Ela Orleans – Something Higher

Lost | La Station Radar, 2009 | Bandcamp
Each night in 2020 I'm writing a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I want to etch these days into my memory before I forget them. Before the world changes completely.
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