I live on the top floor of a 106-year-old building. To put things in perspective, when my place was built, Russia still had a czar. So whenever the place starts to shake, I have to wonder, “is that an earthquake or is someone in the apartment doing the horizontal mambo?” The building even shudders sometimes if people on one of the floors below are really going at it. So when we had an actual temblor on Monday I had to use the internet to find out what was going on. Not gonna lie, I do worry about the shakiness of my building sometimes. I fear that, if there’s a big earthquake, the whole thing might come tumbling down. With my luck it will be when I’m on the toilet.
But really, there are so many other things to worry about besides being suddenly flattened while doomscrolling Twitter and spritzing my tush with a bidet. This week, the entirety of the Pacific Northwest completely melted off the face of the planet. Portland’s temperature got so hot that all my friends moved back to San Francisco. Just kidding. But they really wanted to … or rather I really wanted them to … or what I’m trying to say is, a handful of evil people are quite literally destroying the world just to make their shareholders even richer. And also, I miss my friends.
The bright side is that at least it’s not Fire Season …yet. It’s pretty impressive that in the past few years we’ve added two new seasons to the Bay Area. It used to be that we only had spring-ish and fall-ish, but now we also have Fire Season and Shen Yun season. And I’m not sure which one is worse. Sure, Fire Season destroys thousands of homes and lives each year, but at least you can walk down the street without being assaulted with eleventy-hundred posters about it. Those Shen Yun advertisements haunt me in my dreams.
As if earthquakes, deadly heatwaves and fires weren’t enough, there’s also the very troubling situation concerning our democracy. And by that, I mean, will we have one going forward? The malevolent cowards in the GOP know that they can’t win elections fairly, so they are doing everything in their power to make it harder for poor people and people of color to vote.
In fact, it’s getting almost as hard to vote in GOP-led states as it is to get an abortion … which is also getting really hard. Why is it that men who literally believe that you can’t get pregnant by rape are allowed to make laws that govern women’s bodies? It’s more like cutting an onion than reading The Onion, because this stuff is true and it makes you cry.
On top of all that, we have one of the two major political parties in the United States tacitly endorsing the attempted coup that happened on Jan. 6. You gotta give the Republicans credit; it takes a really beautiful kind of opportunistic gutlessness to have an angry mob storm the Capitol trying to kill you and pass it off as good old-fashioned tourism. It’s gotta be hard for Mike Pence to speak in public considering how calloused his tongue must be from licking Trump’s boots.
Oooh! I almost forgot to mention the fentanyl epidemic! You know things are bad when we’re living through a pandemic that’s killed 600,000 Americans and your city has almost three times as many accidental overdoses than COVID deaths. At least this one is far more manageable than the rest of the things I worry about. It’s real simple: If you or your friends do drugs, get some free Narcan from CBHS Pharmacy at 10th and Howard streets or from our friends at Lost Soul Courier Collective. Narcan is literally a magical nasal spray you administer to someone ODing and it saves their life. Fentanyl has made it into the cocaine and MDMA supply, so these overdoses aren’t just happening to opiate users.
But despite this existential doom and gloom, I’m actually optimistic. Well, maybe not optimistic. I think the word I was looking for was drunk. That’s a joke, for all you “I don’t understand sarcasm in the written word” folks.
For real, though, seeing the Bay Area come back to life is what’s getting my mind off all the rest of the insanity. Dancing my face off at Pride parties. Running into old acquaintances and hugging them. Eating indoors. Sitting at a bar. The Bay Area is re-blooming and it’s glorious.
And while everything going on in the world is quite honestly terrifying, we will get through it all by taking care of each other, donating our time and money to beating the right-wing fascists and spending fewer hours on Twitter.
Now who wants to argue about the fakakta Ferris wheel?
Stuart Schuffman is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com and join his mailing list at http://bit.ly/BrokeAssList. He is a guest columnist and his point of view is not necessarily that of The Examiner.