Written on July 17, 2016 when I was newly unemployed and the bleeding of normalcy into something entirely different was not yet complete.
It is 9am and I am still wearing the men’s boxers I bought yesterday for four dollars. I keep seeing their polka dotted pattern and the weird way they bulge, and myself, in the sleek floor-to-ceiling mirror my new roommate has placed opposite the apartment door entrance.
I have already burned the toast I tried to broil in the oven, like I have the last few mornings. I finished the last 6 percent of W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz, the book I’ve been reading that makes me think equally of British gardens and Parisian architecture and the holes Germany left everywhere. I’ve read about Milo Yiannopolous from someone who went to his gay neo-fascist party and seems genuinely frightened by the soullessness of the super trolls and “weaponized insincerity” and the fact that after the party a less hardened liberal journalist broke down crying and said, “Why is there so much hate?”
I’ve considered the threat of what would happen if Trump lost for the first time. Until now I thought his losing would make this all go away but suddenly I need to at least consider the possibility that that’s not the case. What would happen to all the hate?
It is hot in New York and it will be hot for the week to come and I’m scared of the heat. I want to ignore the RNC and November and the fact that my brother said he wants Trump to win because his ego will make him try to prove himself. And I don’t know what to make of the fact that someone painted a swastika on my (same) brother’s driveway. I refuse to believe the hate everyone keeps talking about.
In Austerlitz there are just a few pages that describe what the character’s parents thought, living in Prague in the 1930s, how his mother wanted to be a singer and his father witnessed a rally for Hitler and he felt the hell that was coming.
What I wonder is, is there a way that the individuals are not bad, but their accumulation is? I don’t believe in American exceptionalism, I think it’s another word for nationalism from which there is a quick hop to the evils of last century, but are the people who do (believe in it) evil? are they more selfish and needy than everyone else? what makes their sum so dangerous?
I don’t want to think about this. I want to think about what to wear. But my headache is sinking from between my eyes down to my cheeks and jawbones and the single siren outside my window which is white with sunlight is reminding me of the todo list I’ve neatly written in a small spiral notebook I have taken to carrying around with me. There is no floor I fear. No dark, cool corner free of the fear of next month’s rent and the chaos of the RNC and the city’s sun and sweat.