October FuriesOctober 9th, 2008 © by Susan Swartz
Are you suffering from the October furies? Do you find yourself unable to eat, work, walk the dog without obsessing over the latest nasty thing you heard uttered about your candidate? Do you find yourself muttering epithets you never before permitted in your living room?
A newspaper headline asked “How Low Can They Go” and I was strangely relieved to realize it was referring to our economic nightmare. Because had it been about the latest viciousness on the campaign trail I would have been compelled to read every spiteful remark and then gotten more agitated than I did the night before when the only way I could block out the news was to read a bloody murder mystery, just to calm my nerves.
I have friends who blame a sudden scary boost in their blood pressure on the campaign’s low road. I’ve had a rotten cough for a week that is not helped by screaming at the television.
Of course, it helps when you do something positive, like write a letter, mail a check or knock on doors but then comes a contemptuous remark from a familiar curled lip and you know that what ails you is probably going to last until the first Tuesday in November.
If we truly are such a shining city on the hill, so great, proud and strong, resilient and hopeful, wink, wink, blah, blah.. how can we be so small-minded and hateful?
Okay, I don’t mean WE. I’ve been polite up to this point. I mean HER. Gossip Girl. McCain’s knee-capper. The one who’s gone from curious to embarrassing to vacuous and now is sounding downright dangerous. The new Queen of Mean.
You try to ignore her but she creeps in.
In my Feldenkrais class the instructor was talking about human skeletal development and then suddenly paused to make sure we were all on the same side, evolution-wise.
In an email to my friend Sara, I accidentally added an “H” to her name and had to apologize. She is and has always been a Sara without an H. That other person, the one with an H, insists on intruding. We’re all infected. My friend Miriam had to return her new glass frames to the optician because they gave her a definite SP look.
Rachel, up in Mendocino, said she gets so mad she eats. Because she’s a creative cook she hasn’t had to leave her TV to go to the store for supplies. When she can’t stand watching or eating anymore, she retreats to her art studio and tears up tiny pieces of paper for a new collage. Her latest is one of Alaska melting into the sea.
Barack Obama said he can endure four more weeks of insults. Michelle Obama said when people say things that aren’t true about you, you keep rolling.
I guess the rest of us will have to do the same and put up with a few more weeks of gerund-mauling ugly talk and hope the media gets tired of re-running the same lying sound bites.
I’ll tell you one thing that helps. Reading about smart people, like the Nobel Prize winners. Brilliant people, smarter than anyone you know. They’re a good reminder of how much the world, even regular Americans, appreciates the finer minds among us.
Listen to the October Furies Podcast at Another Voice on KRCB-FM