We’re almost there, people. The election is just over the hump of the weekend, and the end is actually in sight. I tend to like a salacious and horrifying story, the inner-workings of human drama. But there’s no thrill in this election. It just feels prickly and uncomfortable, like the angora sweater my grandmother bought me in 1982. I could only wear it for so long.
Try as I might, I’ve found that it’s almost impossible to disengage from this topic. I take my child out trick-or-treating only to find the streets filled with children dressed in Donald Trump costumes. These costumes serve as natural conversation starters, and I slowly back away, drowning out the voices by noisily crunching my peanut M&Ms.
I return home to neutral ground, but the television is on. The news channels are obviously running the loop of sound bites, slurs and commentary so I switch to the innocuous Cartoon Network. Tom and Jerry are battling it out, each setting up rakes on the lawn for the other to trip over. It starts to remind me of something.
I head out into the world with great caution because even small talk seems to be littered with conversational land mines. I tell someone that I’ve recently started going to a step aerobics class at the YMCA. There’s something comical and nostalgic about step aerobics. Unless you’re actually doing it, it makes you smile. The conversation is going pretty well, and I decide to talk about nothing but step aerobics for the next five days. But soon we start talking about the 1980’s and exercise crazes and leg warmers and, finally, Jane Fonda. Red alert, this just got political.
I quickly change the subject to the weather. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and there’s nothing more desperate than talking about the weather. It’s like the last, weak weapon in your arsenal against awkward silence. So I dive in with bland commentary on what a beautiful fall we’re having. The person agrees, and we seem to have reached some sort of accord until, like an idiot, I add that it’s warmer than it was last year at this time. Before the words “global warming” form on her lips, I dash into a coffee shop and take cover in the bathroom.
So yesterday when I was skulking down the street with my head down, I ran into a man I know who’s a scientist. I immediately tried to cross the street to safety. I mean scientists are the worst. They’re all over the big topics and are always coming up with bad news about nice things like the environment and coffee. But I like this man, so I stopped. To my horror, he started telling me about a new study on sleep. The familiar election month panic set in again, my ears closing up against more terrible news. I like sleep more than the environment and coffee combined.
He went on to say that this study is about the myriad ways sleep is good for you. Not only is it great that I like to sleep, he tells me, but it’s also perfectly natural that I wake up in the middle of the night every night. There was really nothing to argue about, no position to take. Who doesn’t like a good night’s sleep? I’d finally arrived at neutral ground, and this conversation was probably the most relaxing ten minutes I’ve had in months. So I’m going to get under the covers until this thing’s over. I recommend you do the same.