I Am Like an Ostrich.
Public schools are closed today for Inauguration Day. So when I woke up this morning, I did so leisurely. The kids were still sleeping, and I rolled over half-heartedly remembering my dream of owning a pet ostrich.
Then I heard a noise. It was a rumbling, maybe a roaring noise, that I couldn’t identify.
It’s a bomb, I thought, without filtering my panic. It’s Inauguration Day and someone is already bombing us.
My eyes popped open. It’s Inauguration Day. The noise was just an abnormally loud plane. But that didn’t quell the fear.
Living just outside of Washington, D.C. is suddenly unnerving. Like most Americans, September 11, 2001 was an eye-opening, terrifying experience. Like anyone who remembers that day, we went from free to permanently terrified in minutes.
In this area, 9/11 was followed in 2002 by a sniper attack that ravaged the area for more than a month. With my toddler, I hunkered down in my house, afraid to walk out of my own front door.
Today feels like that. I am, once again, afraid to walk out of my own front door. I’m afraid that something will happen during the inauguration. I’m afraid that something will happen during the protests and marches that are scheduled all over the country. I’m afraid that China will believe this moronic character has actual power, and the bombs will be flying before summer. I’m afraid that the Russians will get angry at something he says and disperse nuclear weapons everywhere. I’m afraid that, no matter which country gets angry, my boys will end up either dead from an attack on Washington, D.C. or dead in a military uniform after a reinstated draft.
I am not simply scared. I am terrified.
The root of the word “terrify” is the Latin term, “terrificus.” “Terrificus” is also the root word for the word “terrific.” And terrific, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t mean “good.” It means “of great size, amount or intensity” – in which case, having this particular person in office is certainly something “of great intensity.”
So I try to skew my thinking to something “terrific” – something that, somehow, will be survivable for the next four years.
I’ve imagined that we could somehow get through these four years unscathed. I’ve put faith in our incredibly slow government, in all its bureaucracy, in things that take forever to get done. I’ve put faith in the idiocy I’ve seen for my entire adult life – and prayed that our country won’t be completely demolished in these next four years. I’ve imagined that, in two years, we’ll have a more even-keeled government, since there is another vote for Senators and Congressmen in 2018.
I’ve tried not to depend on an insane person assassinating our President. But it does repeatedly cross my mind.
Mostly, I have tried to ignore everything going on around me, so that I can stop the waves of nausea from settling in my stomach permanently, so that I can keep my little corner of the world happy, so that I can hang on with a death grip to the belief that people are good … people are good … people are good. I want to believe that this will not be the end of the world.
I stick my head in the sand. I am like an ostrich.
Like the pet I adopted last night, in my dream.
But … ostriches don’t stick their heads in the sand to hide. They bury their eggs, then turn them regularly. While they’re turning the eggs, their heads appear to be buried.
They’re just caring for their babies – which is, quite honestly, all I want to do.