Thursday, August 24, 2017

Connecting at the Bar Top

I had one of those conversations this week that just hit you at such a human level that I've been reflecting on it for a few days now.

This is a guy I work with and besides being employed by the same company, we have almost nothing in common.

He's from super rural southwestern Wisconsin, I'm in South City St. Louis.

He goes trap shooting on the weekends, I play video games or board games.

Fishing pole, hockey stick.

Basketball, hockey.

He drinks margaritas, I drink beer.

Proud Trump support with 2 daughters, almost anyone else and 3 cats.

Hot weather, cold weather.

Last time we had some beers together, things got heated. He even admits he came looking for a fight after being surrounded by citizens of one of the most liberal cities in the midwest for a week. It was 3 weeks after Trump took office and just about everyone he encountered in Madison was talking shit. He saw Sal, Rob, and I at a table and introduced himself as, "Hey, I'm Dan, just a dumb ole Republican."

From there it devolved into arguing over the travel ban that never went far and how to stop terrorism.

This time, we found ourselves both belly up to the bar and just talked about life.

I knew his wife had died several years ago (6 from what I found out) because he got a gun range named in her honor.

He made mention of her and I decided to engage.

He told me about how she constantly joked about everything and was always telling him how he took things too seriously.

She loved shooting guns and drinking margaritas.

They loved to travel together.

Then on a trip she started feeling a little sick. They initially thought maybe it was Montezuma's Revenge, but when it didn't go away when they got home, she went to the hospital.

Even while there all day getting blood drawn and various tests ran, she was calling her husband throughout the day telling him jokes.

Then they found out she had colon cancer and from there you know the rest of the story. It all happened quickly, she was the positive force the entire time, and my peer... friend... is mourning her everyday going on six years.

It's one of the things I like most about the bar table. You can go belly up against it with almost anyone, have a drink, and leave all of your outside fears outside the door and just connect on a human level.

Granted it can and does go the other way sometimes, but that's also a great thing about a bar, you can call each other idiots all you want as long as there's still liquid in your glass.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Anger Burns Hot

I've been angry since January.

I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about the direction of the country and how to fight it.

I have a tightness I keep in my chest 24 hours a day where I'm trying to find a balance between discussing issues poignantly with right, left, center and projecting how things should be.

I've been trying to engage people with opposition views to my own, not only to grow my own opinions, but hopefully give them something to think about.

I was exhausted trying to track down what was inflammatory tactics to get me to chase the wrong ball when the real insidious thing was happening in the next yard.

Things were dangerously close to being normalized to me.

Yesterday, we had Nazi's proudly walking in our streets. This is no hyperbole, these polo wearing, torch carrying racists carried Swastika covered flags and chanted "blood and soil" in between for "n***** to go back to Africa" and blaming the Jews for the world's problems.

They did this without masks like the KKK in the past. They were not worried about losing their jobs or have people track down where they live. They felt like there were no repercussions to marching through the streets. They felt like they had nothing to worry about.

I was feeling exhausted. But after seeing the events happen yesterday, after watching that tinted windowed car plow through 20 people, and the comments blaming Black Lives Matter for the Nazis getting violent, I am re-energized  and uncompromising.

I won't quietly listen to your points on why we should block Pakistanis from coming to the US. I won't listen to you say, "well give Trump a chance, he's only been president for 6 months."

We had Nazis in our streets, loud and proud, in America 2017. There shouldn't be a gap here. There should be no left and right. There should only be right and wrong.