The day the coup came, we woke up to a creative destruction. My neighbors, it seems, are planning to sell their house, so they have embarked on extensive rennovations. Atenea, my wife, was delighted, as she always is, to hear the familiar strains of Spanish from the crew working next door, and she went outside to chat with them and gossip about what the neighbors are up to.
I spent the morning too caffeinated to eat, watching the run off elections in Georgia. Around noon, I expressed my contrarian opinion on the ascendant Democratic party on a variety of social media websites. It will do us no good, I warned. I choked down a cliff bar and found myself in an improved mood. Made some pasta and felt even better.
In the afternoon, when white supremacists took over the capitol of the United States (“how can you tell?”) I watched transfixed, then angry, then bored, then transfixed again, this time fearfully so. The national guard was called, the police were bolstered, the FBI showed up, none of whom have much experience in stopping white supremacists from doing things they want to do. The day’s skepticism surged, this time on a full stomach.
There is a moment in the Wizard of Oz (1939), when the Wicked Witch has interposed a field of poppies on the Yellow Brick Road, so that Dorothy and her animal companions, Toto and the Cowardly Lion, all fall asleep from the dangerous fumes of the intoxicating flowers. As the Scarecrow dithers, and the Tin Woodman rusts from his own ineffectual tears, they are saved by the magical intervention of Glinda, the Good Witch, who sends a snowstorm in the middle of the clear blue day to dull the poppies effect. As the chilly snow dissipates the sleepy fog, the Cowardly Lion, played by the comedian Bert Lahr, wakes up and yawns. He looks around at a snow-covered field of poppies, a world completely altered by the fierce competition of forces well beyond him, and says, “Funny weather we’re having!”
The night is young and curfew has been called for an hour from now. I sit at my desk and listen to the sounds of creative destruction, or construction, and think about the brown men in the house next to me, who have been working all day in what is most likely their second country. Do they know that the Nazi flag is flying in Washington tonight? It’s been a long hard day of work. I should go see if they need anything.