First The Virus
It was a just-like-that kind of thing; one minute we were running our own lives, like competent adults, and next minute we’re sent to our rooms, like kids on a school night.
When it was “only” the virus, we were angry at nature; if you’re out to get us, at least fight fair, and let us see you coming.
2020 Is An Angry Year
The virus made us feel vulnerable, not just here and there, felt like everywhere. We were angry about jobs and money, about security, angry about feeling small. We were lonely and angry about that.
We were angry at the news, but we kept watching the news. We were angry at being talked down to, like we were kids who had to be reminded to brush our teeth.
We were angry waiting for press conferences and updates, and then we were angry because they said the same things as the day before.
Our leaders made us angry. We grew tired of the way they talked, their mannerisms, saying the same thing day after day, new clothes, but same words, same favorite verbs and adjectives.
We were angry at toilet paper hoarders. And we were angry that THAT was even a thing.
We were angry at people who took it too seriously. Or people who didn’t take it serious enough.
We were angry at journalism, like it was the doctor you went to when you were sick, who made you sicker.
We were angry about being angry, a little more simmer every day.
And Then George Floyd
On first seeing the video, we were sick. And then we got angry.
That cop, Chauvin, with the knee on the neck, with his hand in his pocket, and that look on his face, ah, I wonder, how many times was this man killed in the fantasy world between people’s ears. (And I wonder, I wonder, how many police officers, all over America, daydreamed about getting one minute alone with him…)
Nothing made sense, at no level. Multiple police versus one, the minute his hands are bound, he’s no threat. Even if he was an Olympic sprinter, he couldn’t run away, because upper body and arms, that’s part of the recipe of speed. You’ve got him, there’s your car, if you’re going to arrest him, then do it, take him, what book is this the by-the-book of? And of the other officers, not one, in 8 minutes and 46 seconds thinks, Hey, maybe we oughta…
If you were black, I’m not gonna touch that –
If you were white, you were ashamed. If you were a cop, you were ashamed. If you were an American you were ashamed.
And guess what; shame and ashamed, both lead to anger.
Then It Got Mob-by
Something about how it played out, it didn’t feel proportional, like all the virus anger rolled into this reaction. One minute we were unified, outraged over what one of our own had done to one of own. But the minute the mob crossed the line, doing wrong unto others, they lost their angel wings, became another version of Chauvin, and that made us angry.
Those of us with some age, this whole racial thing in America, it doesn’t seem to ever end. Youngsters are screaming, like they’re the cavalry, not seeming to realize all the prior cavalry, and all the improvements from the really bad ole days to the present imperfect days.
The media didn’t mind working us up. We split in our ten or thousand ways, each way led to anger.
The Picture That Seems So 2020
There was something about this picture. It seemed so 2020 to me.
My first thought, ‘How did we get here?’
This isn’t just anger, its rage. And because she’s white, and female, I have a different reaction. I know my culture. This, whatever this is, this isn’t what we raise. How did we come to this? What good comes from this? Does she represent her generation? If so, what will her descendants be like? Is this America on the ascent, or descent?
I was conclusion jumping like it was an Olympic event –
– and then, I checked. Turns out…
Turns Out The Picture Is From 2014
It’s a real picture. And its also about police killing a citizen, but it’s from 2014, it got walked forward, into my life, a form of lie.
First glance, it looks like she is in the face of the cop, junkyard dog aggressive, but that’s not true. She’s close, and she’s in contact, but she’s yelling over his shoulder, at someone behind him… and that changes everything…
That’s 2020 for you. We don’t know who to trust, or where to get our facts. We don’t know what to feel, when to feel, if to feel. Which makes us angry. Or angrier.
With me, I can’t stand anger. It feels evil. I don’t want it near, I don’t want it within. I have never once prayed, out of anger. It separates me from Good.
So, I pause. I retreat. I seek neutral. And I feel the temperature of my gauges. Down, down, less, less, get that needle back in the green…
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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is dedicated to self-management. Inside each of us is this little original us, that needs us to be good grownups, protect it from harm.
Uncle P can be reached at email@example.com.