913 miles, 5 days, 4 college campus tours, 3 hotel rooms, 13 meals away from home, 2 headaches, 1 stiff back, redwoods, vineyards, the ocean, and a 40 degree temperature differential. . .
Last week was a real whirlwind for me and my girl. We had a packed agenda, departing on Monday and heading North for our first stop in Santa Cruz to take a tour of UCSC. It had been at least fifteen years since I ventured that far North, and I forgot just how beautiful this great state is.
All in all, we had a great trip. There were the awesome parts: road trippin' with my girl, gorgeous scenery, cooler temperatures, and multiple college campuses. There were, of course, some inconveniences: hundreds and hundreds of miles listening to the “Pippen” soundtrack over and over again (most of which my girl slept through, right up until I’d reach for the radio button only to hear, “Don’t change it!”), a hotel room on the edge of the 101 (which I can now tell you categorically has traffic flowing 24 hours a day), and another hotel room without a functioning lamp, T.V., or toilet (needless to say, I was adamant with management about the toilet situation.)
This is a gratitude post because our road trip was a celebration, a celebration of how far we’ve come in the last four years, how much work we’ve done, and how bright the future looks. I’m grateful that my daughter will soon have the opportunity to launch into her future healthy and vibrant and in whatever way makes sense to her. I’m grateful that we could decide to make this journey, and then go ahead and do it without serious restrictions on our time, finances, or other obligations. I’m grateful that I got to share this time with my girl. At home she’s gone a lot, hanging out with her friends, which is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. I’m grateful that she seems to still enjoy my company (mostly.) I’m grateful that I got to see these campuses through her eyes, and all the hope that they entailed. I’m grateful that hubby made sure to send me with extra quarts of oil and coolant, just in case. And I’m grateful that I was able to lie down on a rickety bed with my cell phone—standing in for the malfunctioning T.V.—and watch Hillary’s acceptance speech. It was epic.
We were in San Francisco by last Thursday. That afternoon we toured University of San Francisco, and froze our butts off on the top of that hill. I hadn’t been to San Fran in twenty years. It was beautiful, but I’d forgotten the extent of the homeless population. Maybe it’s always been as bad as it is now, but I was shocked. Our hotel was near the Tenderloin district, and the side street directly below our window was home to a half dozen people wrapped up in filthy threadbare blankets, at least one without shoes. Everywhere we looked, every corner we rounded, there were more. From my bed, around 2am, I heard a mêlée break out. Apparently someone’s stuff had been stolen and he was screaming about it at the top of his lungs. This went on until about 5. There were sounds of broken glass, sirens, and more screaming. Threats and swear words. It was a long night during which I alternated between fury that they wouldn’t shut up and despair that they were out there on their own. This got me to thinking. . .
I never write about politics, until today, because I’m not interested in arguing with people whose views don’t match mine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I prefer to follow the directive of our Numero Uno: Don’t boo—vote. This election day I will head to the front of the line to vote for Hillary. Today I say, I’m most definitely with her. I was with her before a sleepless night, and I will be with her long after. I laid in that broken-ass bed and stared at that cracked ceiling and was filled with gratitude that my daughter was sleeping safe and sound in the bed beside mine, her tummy full after a delicious dinner of French soul food. I was grateful for the sketchy toilet and the sink that didn’t drain properly and even for the need to stop at the drug store to pick up a new toothbrush because I’d dropped mine on the floor. Yuk. Hillary is our brightest hope for the future we want, for ourselves and our kids.
I don’t know what Hillary will do to address the problem of homelessness in our country. All of our problems are serious, and everyone thinks the problem that they’re passionate about belongs at the top of the list. I know I'd like MORE, a lot more, mental healthcare reform at the top of the list. The point, however, is that she cares. Homelessness will be on her radar. All of our other problems, too.
If you have money and think Donald Trump cares about helping you keep it, he doesn’t. If you don’t have money and think Donald cares about helping you get some, he doesn’t. If you need a helping hand to get your small business started and think Donald has a plan to assist you, he doesn’t. If you think Donald cares about our children or their future or what kind of planet we’ll leave to them, he doesn’t. If you think he cares about affordable tuition or clean drinking water or human rights or healthcare advocacy, he doesn’t. He's incapable of giving a damn about us or our country. My guess is that his first act in office, should that unthinkable nightmare become reality, would be to create a new form of currency so he can plaster his face all over it. Or, maybe he'll blow something up just because he can. Please, don't be fooled by his rhetoric about making America great again. As has been said, America always was great. And it still is.
I’m filled with gratitude for the adventure that my daughter and I embarked on last week. It was emblematic of the abundance we enjoy. I’m well aware that not everyone has the luxuries we do, but I’m also aware that our–everyone's–quality of life is threatened right now in a dark and serious way. Don’t believe that a change from the so-called status quo will bring what you think our country needs. It won't. Don't boo–vote. And be grateful it's your right to do so. Our future depends on it.