It’s been a week since the surreal realization came to me that Donald Trump would become the 45th President of the United States, an outcome that seemed about as likely as Harlan County, Kentucky, being named by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top resort destinations in the world.
By the way, I don’t personally believe in the 5 stages of grief. Although Trump’s victory surprised me, there was no denying it (step 1). Not only did the headlines scream it, but the faces of my colleagues at work wore a degree of despondency I hadn’t seen since I walked the streets of Leningrad in ’89.
Nope, there was no denying it, nor, for that matter, any relief in getting pissed off (step 2). I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird. I can “crawl” into Trump supporters’ skin and see things from their perspective (fear of the Big Bad Other), even if I can’t figure out why lower middle class service employees want to end the estate tax or why rust belt denizens believe Trump has their backs when he’s admitted he’d grab their daughters’ “pussies” if he found them attractive. Bargaining (step 3)? With whom? Satan? No thanks. I’ve seen Faustus (Richard Burton) dragged off to hell in that ‘60s movie, and it’s not a pretty sight.
No, I’ve skipped those first three steps and have settled into the 4th stage, Depression with a capital D.
To combat the existential-horrorshow-country-going-to-be-run-by-an-incompetent- megalomaniac-too-slothful-to-even-bother-getting-a-transition-team-going blues, I’m boycotting political media, drowning my sorrows in high gravity IPAs, and assuming fetal position every night at 9:00 pm in hopes of attaining at least a fitful version of sleep.
Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care
The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.
Come to think of it, a vacation to Harlan County might not be such a bad idea after all. It suits my state of mind.