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Touring the facility, picking up slack
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
As I write this, the world has been shittier than usual this past week: people protesting the NFL protesters, riot police beating people in Spain, dragging them out of polling stations (Catalan voted to become independent; Spain responded by saying you can't do that) photos of ballot boxes chained to tables, and the table legs sunk in concrete, voters being thrown down stairs, Florida and Texas hit with hurricanes, Puerto Rico obliterated, another mass shooting (depending on how you look at it, we either beat our top score, or fell short of the 150 or so we need to top Wounded Knee) and Tom Petty. I don't think 2017 has been as bad as 2016, but I am not sure what is worse: one celebrity/artist death after another, or a disaster dump within a three-week time period.
There's fake news to worry about too — either the Trump administration is doing a great job with Puerto Rico, or it isn't, Tom Petty was reported dead, then he wasn't, then taken off life support. All I know is I tried to call one of the numbers to check on relatives on the island, and I got a busy signal.
I'm not sure how to feel about all of this. I look around and it seems like we're all on some sort of austerity plan that no one filled us in on. I went through a drive-thru the other night and asked for salt. They didn't have any to give out. At my various workplaces, paper and training seem in short supply. There's never enough help at a department store. Everything seems complicated and less efficient. One of my students didn't know how to format a document in Word, so I introduced her to Google Docs. Was it my job? Probably not. She didn't get computer training in school, because back then, all schools had were IBM Selectrics. I learned on one. So, since no one else stepped up, I did.
But despite worse than usual activity, I'm actually feeling pretty good. I never seem to be in sync with the rest of the world. Free speech appears to be at risk. People aren't being allowed to vote. And an island that was already in trouble had a Wrath of God hurricane descend upon them. But I'm trying to look at the good side. Either that, or I'm in serious denial. But somehow, I feel separate from all this. I've got plenty of work and I'm kicking ass at it. I think it's either self-confidence, or I'm so over everything that I don't have energy to worry about stuff anymore.
So, the good stuff. More people are learning about Puerto Rico now than they probably have since, oh, 1898 or so. They're U.S. citizens? Yes, and if they come here, it's perfectly legal for them to do so. And if they take up residency here, THEN they will be able to vote! (But probably not for the GOP, I'm guessing.) The same with Spain. Those are WHITE people? Speaking Spanish? Uh yeah—Spain IS in Europe you know. The First Amendment allows people I don't like to say things I don't like? Yes! The First Amendment is available to everyone. Even people you don't like. And it doesn't cost anything! Well, I take that back. It doesn't cost YOU anything, but people put their lives in danger so we have the freedoms we do have. As Team America World Police Pointed out, “Freedom isn't free—it cost a hefty CENSORED Fee.”
Like protesting injustice. And if you protest the protesters, you're a protester too! That last line sounded like it came out of Dr. Suess. I feel like I have to write a poem now. Anyway, we live in a country were we don't have to chain our polling boxes down. We can go in and vote, and riot police aren't going to beat us.
So right now, life is pretty good for me. I still work multiple jobs despite four percent unemployment, but that's par for the course. When everything is going great (for everyone else) people tell me to cheer up. When we've got police beating or killing people, hurricanes descend like giant wet locusts, and ballot boxes draped in chains, I'm busy as hell, and loving it.
It would be nice though, to have a bit of time when the world and I are in sync—things get better for both of us. Because I'm enjoying the now, but so many aren't. And of course I feel guilty about it.