Someone Elses Atmosphere

We’ve sat on the porch and watched and listened to many summer thunderstorms roll our western horizon like a horde, like a million soldier army with only two feet, stepping heavy cannonade in between neighborhoods. Not last night. The cell was right over us. Shaking the house. Lighting up the bedroom like paparazzi peeking through our windows. Thunder seeming to ooze out from under us like worms out of the mud. Never would have believed it came from above. The house and farm was pounded by rain, and warned by lightning, we had our foundations tested for cracks of weakness. And we passed. We have too many, and they’ve all started working together to coincide like roots, and we held, broken as can be, more flexible for it. The baby that passes for a little boy didn’t lose a minute of sleep. Counted three corn stalks down. This calm, powder navy blue morning keeps last night’s weather like a secret. If you didn’t wake up from your dreams, watch daylight flash through sealed shut eyes, feel the monster knock up from under the bed hello, you would never know it had happened. That pleasant sounding, captured in a bottle, fun little Southern Summer thunder had stepped clean over our heads last night. Sparing us, but not before scaring us. We woke up this morning talking about last night like we both had the same nightmare.

And somewhere across the countryside, someone sat on their back deck grinning.
Our nightmare was their atmosphere for the evening.

North Carolina Conservatives and the Bathroom of Secrets

We have an economic system that has, since its inception, maintained a wavering level of poverty, unemployment and homelessness. It’s called capitalism, and accordingly, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We have a large movement within the scientific community that, with or without any validity or backing or proof, believes the industries of Mankind are changing the climate patterns of this planet in exceedingly detrimental ways. The bees who seed the pollen into every fruit or vegetable we eat are disappearing. The scientists we don’t believe about the impact we have on our environment are injecting bacterial DNA into our food so that it can eat poison and multiply.

Why are we tax-funding a conversation about bathroom policies?

I know this could easily be read as a rhetorical question, but in seriousness. Why? It is completely, one hundred percent, legal to report any suspicious persons or activity in or around a restroom. Essentially, these big strong proud fellows whose daughters would wither on the vine without them around are, in the most costly and publicized manner, expressing a distrust in their own progeny’s ability to detect a threat and act on it. Because seeing a man in a woman’s restroom, whether illegal or legal, is threatening, and therefore completely within the realm of reporting to the administrators of a facility, the local police department, or even eventually local, regional and state government officials. But this is not the case. These complaints and reports are not rolling in. They are hypothetical. Imagined up by vapid, sexist fathers who are not confident enough in their own masculinity to have any faith whatsoever in a woman’s ability to perceive a threat. And that is all good and well, but we should not pay for their anxiety.

And that is what we are doing. Every discussion in the state legislature, every salaried position taking calls, hired lawyers, political ads, public announcements, social media managers and image consultants. I don’t want that. I want what little money we have running through state government to go to the procurement and security of three things. Food, water, and shelter. Apart from that, I have just enough faith in Mankind and its many daughters, to entrust each facility, building, each location, every single person who uses a restroom wherever they are, to save us some money and keep determining for themselves what is safe or not.

And seriously, what does the word freedom mean to our government, if not that. It is not a matter of winning arguments or proving points. This is not an expectation we should have of any government. Help us propagate food. Secure our water and instill plans for promised drought. Preserve our land, our right to shelter, and to defend what is ours. Apart from that, freedom means leaving cosmetic social issues completely out of expensive, politicized, tax-funded conversations. Especially ones that hurt our image, diminish our tourism, and further socially ostracize people who already felt out of place in their own bodies.

I don’t support a call-center republic. I don’t support holding signs and standing outside office buildings and eating cold McDonald’s while googling the rates of single rooms at the Red Roof. I don’t support marches, lining up to increase police budgets and the gadgets they get awarded to keep our movements thwarted. I say ignore this law. This ban. Any woman or man or institution who expresses supporting it, ignore them also. Pay attention to government when and where it supports us in the things we all need in order to be free.

Food. Water. Shelter.

There was a bill we paid to create this bill. There is a bill we are paying to have it repealed. And there was no fire, no damage, no outcry for help against an active threat. Ignore any human being who claims to be a leader, yet wastes even a moment discussing funding such asinine, clearly social, partisan, political agendas. Ignore anyone who, this day and age, with the issues staring us in the face, thinks we have time to waste checking birth certificates outside every ladies room.

It is a harmful distraction. And worse, expensive.