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Every day, my husband and I go for a walk around our neighborhood. We’ve been walking arm and arm since I fell and sprained my ankle a couple of years ago. I imagine the people we pass think of us as a nice old couple taking their daily constitutional.
But maybe they overhear us talking about what he’s watched on Fox or what I’ve read on Ricochet and narrow their eyes and think, ENEMIES OF THE STATE!
We walk in the morning sometimes, sometimes in the evening, usually passing the same people, petting the same dogs, giving a nod or a “good morning” or a “good evening” as we pass, chatting with the elderly lady who sits on her porch eager for a little human contact. We feel like we know these folks and they know us, though we’ve never formally met.
And though we don’t know their politics, and they don’t know ours. When it’s time for the forced roundup of deplorables, will these folks we greet with a smile be grinning about our horrible fate? Telling themselves, “I always knew there was something off about them”? Thinking, “Geez, I hope nobody knows I let that lady pet my dog”?
On our constitutionals, we see children playing and people working in their yards. We see squirrels and birds enjoying the many leafy trees. A couple of times, we’ve seen a deer on our strolls. Howdy, wild neighbor! Please don’t try to jump that fence and cross the highway, baby! Maybe animal control can help you find your way home.
You know why that deer is there? Capitalists, plowing down mountains and building condos. That’s what the lefties in town would say, the ones that rolled their eyes at people expressing anger about gender education at the school board meeting, the ones who probably got the statue of Columbus taken down from in front of the high school (and granted, it was a weird-looking statue, but I don’t think that’s why it went away).
Of course, we have been attacked a couple of times on our constitutional. Once a lady sprayed us with a hose, but I’m pretty sure that was an accident. Another time, a very enthusiastic puppy bolted across the street and jumped all over me. I got a few scratches, but puppies gonna puppy, what can you do? There’s a dog that barks at us if we come near, and another that barks if I stop with the petting. But mostly, it’s peace and quiet and birdsong and jumping over puddles made by someone draining their pool.
Sometimes as we walk, I think this is all a sign that the anger and malice and despair and hopelessness that drains out of the internet is just an illusion, and people are still kind to one another, still enjoy waving at neighbors walking, still deserve the love of dogs. Then, other times, I tell my husband to lower his voice when he’s railing against Biden, worried someone might come around the corner and hear, or we’ll get picked up on a Ring doorbell and become TikTok infamous. That kind of paranoia may be wise these days, but I don’t know. Maybe we should just enjoy the heck out of the little things while we can.Published in