So What?

 

She stood in front of her apartment door with her coat over her arm, purse over her shoulder, briefcase in her right hand and her keys in her left. It had been a very long day.

Finally, she lifted her keys to the lock, twisted the key slowly and pushed. The door groaned open and she stepped inside.

It seemed even darker than usual. She breathed in the shadows and let her shoulders sag. She wasn’t on stage now. She could relax. But her shoulders didn’t want to cooperate.

Finally, she walked inside and switched on a lamp. She dropped her purse, briefcase, and coat, and missed the nearby chair. They fell to the floor, seeming to mimic her own sagging body. Then she turned and went into the tiny kitchen and opened the fridge. She had an open bottle of wine—how did she not finish it off last night?—and set it on the counter. Opening the cabinet, she studied her mismatched set of glasses and selected one in front. Pouring herself a glass of wine, she walked slowly to her favorite chair. It was looking more worn than usual, stains on it from when her father drank his beer. She dropped into the chair, taking care not to spill her wine—not that it was a good wine, but it was her last bottle.

As she leaned back in the chair, she used her empty hand to pull her hair back from her face, and thought about the day. It had been grueling. She’d gotten up at 5 am and not being a morning person, she stumbled around her bedroom getting ready. After drinking her second cup of coffee, standing at her kitchen counter, she picked up her purse, coat and a worn leather briefcase. Her script was inside, and she wasn’t sure she’d remember the whole thing; lately it had stopped coming naturally. Then she went on to the Capitol, where she spent time berating government officials, particularly where she could find idle cameramen. She scolded her protestors for not being angrier and more passionate. And she did end up having to refer to the script so that her people could repeat the entire “liturgy” after her. You’d think she’d have it memorized by now, but she seemed to have a mental block that separated her passion from the words. After drifting through the hallways, shouting comments at Republicans and their staffers, she decided to call it a day and headed home.

And here she was.

She pressed her fingers against her closed eyes, hoping they would soothe her restlessness, and took another sip out of her wine glass. The only sound was the ticking of the grandfather clock that her grandparents had left her. It was the only item she had to remember them by, and was easily the most valuable piece in her apartment. She’d pawned off everything else before she’d stumbled onto the organization that was willing to hire her as staff, to lead protests, orient new participants and show up on schedule.

She opened her eyes. The apartment that she had so treasured when she began this resistance began to feel like a prison. She was beginning to wonder if anything she did was making a difference. She was even wondering what it meant to make a difference. Socialism? Healthcare for all? Taxing the rich? Was any of it possible? Did it make sense? Her brother, brainwashed by Republicans, had recently given her the details of Venezuela, the starving people and the government zealotry; she’d half-heartedly argued with him. Could we really do socialism differently than they did and be successful?

As she pondered these questions, she noticed the phone next to her was blinking with a voicemail. It was probably her mother with her endless requests for her to go to church with her on Sunday. A part of her wanted to go, just to see her mother. Otherwise, what was the point?

She shook her head slowly. Secretly, she wanted to believe there was a greater purpose, a higher authority. But she just couldn’t quite get there. So she was stuck in this place of doubt, loneliness, her own purgatory.

She closed her eyes again and took one last sip of wine.

As she fell asleep, the wine glass fell silently out of her hand onto the carpet.

She dreamt of emptiness and shadows.

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  1. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Stunning.  This is not fiction…the details, maybe. The sentiment? Well, one can hope.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Stunning. This is not fiction…the details, maybe. The sentiment? Well, one can hope.

    Thank you, @9thdistrictneighbor. I think the signs are already showing . . .

    • #2
  3. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    Isn’t this the plight of mankind apart from God ? I would say so, though some would protest otherwise. 

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Indeed, @kevinschulte. But there is much more here to contemplate, too. Whose “so what” are we talking about? How do Rico members respond to the story? What happens when anyone’s world starts to crumble? And lots more. Thanks, Kevin.

    • #4
  5. Thejokewasonme Member
    Thejokewasonme
    @

    More to come?

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Thejokewasonme (View Comment):

    More to come?

    I hope so, @thejokewasonme–in terms of the watching the fracture of the Dems! From me, hadn’t thought about it . . . I’ll think about it . . .

    • #6
  7. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Suzy,

    In the sixties, it was the quiet desperation of the man in the grey flannel suit stuck on the hopeless wheel of the business world rat race. Well, with all that gender role switching we now have the women in the white pantsuit. She’s giving up anything like a normal life, stuck on the hopeless wheel of the government world rat race. She can claim that it is all about caring for the disadvantaged except for the fact that the programs don’t work. She can claim that it is all about compassion except for the image of a newborn baby being murdered that creeps into her consciousness.

    Just another day in the neighborhood.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Suzanne,

    In the sixties, it was the quiet desperation of the man in the grey flannel suit stuck on the hopeless wheel of the business world rat race. Well, with all that gender role switching we now have the women in the white pantsuit. She’s giving up anything like a normal life, stuck on the hopeless wheel of the government world rat race. She can claim that it is all about caring for the disadvantaged except for the fact that the programs don’t work. She can claim that it is all about compassion except for the image of a newborn baby being murdered that creeps into her consciousness.

    Just another day in the neighborhood.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Thanks for commenting, @jamesgawron. You are so right. I think the Left is only beginning to feel its own desperation, as it creeps in and drifts around their feet. They think that if they don’t look down, it will simply go away. Not this time. I don’t enjoy thinking about the misery that will ensue for them, but am resolute that it happen.

    • #8
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Isn’t this the plight of mankind apart from God ? I would say so, though some would protest otherwise.

    OK better than my comments. Man.

    We are all apart from God, and only find meaning when we seek Him in what we do. 

     

    Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

    • #9
  10. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    Excellent writing! Funny that I should fantasize AOC playing the role when it comes to TV, or maybe Kamala.

    • #10
  11. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu
    @YehoshuaBenEliyahu

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I think the signs are already showing . . .

    G-d willing!  Beautifully done, Susan, mazel tov!

    • #11
  12. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu
    @YehoshuaBenEliyahu

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    Isn’t this the plight of mankind apart from God ?

    YES!!!

    • #12
  13. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Good post.  Reminds me of an observation by Sebastian Haffner, who grew up in Germany between the wars.  Speaking of a period (under the Stresemann chancellorship) when the political and economic situation stabilized and improved, he said:

    The last ten years were forgotten like a bad dream. The Day of Judgment was remote again, and there was no demand for saviors or revolutionaries…There was an ample measure of freedom, peace, and order, everywhere the most well-meaning liberal-mindedness, good wages, good food and a little political boredom. everyone was cordially invited to concentrate on their personal lives, to arrange their affairs according to their own taste and to find their own paths to happiness.

    But…and I think this is a particuarly important point…a return to private life was not to everyone’s taste:

    A generation of young Germans had become accustomed to having the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere, all the raw material for their deeper emotions…Now that these deliveries suddently ceased, people were left helpless, impoverished, robbed, and disappointed. They had never learned how to live from within themselves, how to make an ordinary private life great, beautiful and worth while, how to enjoy it and make it interesting. So they regarded the end of political tension and the return of private liberty not as a gift, but as a deprivation. They were bored, their minds strayed to silly thoughts, and they began to sulk.

    and

    To be precise (the occasion demands precision, because in my opinion it provides the key to the contemporary period of history): it was not the entire generation of young Germans. Not every single individual reacted in this fashion. There were some who learned during this period, belatedly and a little clumsily, as it were, how to live. they began to enjoy their own lives, weaned themselves from the cheap intoxication of the sports of war and revolution, and started to develop their own personalities. It was at this time that, invisibly and unnoticed, the Germans divided into those who later became Nazis and those who would remain non-Nazis.

    I think that in America today, we also see a considerable number of people–mostly though not exclusively on the Left–who are finding all the raw material for their deeper emotions exclusively in the public sphere.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    David Foster (View Comment):
    I think that in America today, we also see a considerable number of people–mostly though not exclusively on the Left–who are finding all the raw material for their deeper emotions exclusively in the public sphere.

    You point out fascinating parallels, @davidfoster. Although they are frightening as well. It seems that in the absence of mission and purpose, and when people don’t get their stuff, they have to “make things happen.” They look outside themselves for gratification, not inside. Thank you.

    • #14
  15. Shauna Hunt Coolidge
    Shauna Hunt
    @ShaunaHunt

    Wow! That is a beautiful piece. 

    • #15
  16. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Susan Quinn:

    As she pondered these questions, she noticed the phone next to her was blinking with a voicemail. It was probably her mother with her endless requests for her to go to church with her on Sunday. A part of her wanted to go, just to see her mother. Otherwise, what was the point?

    She shook her head slowly. Secretly, she wanted to believe there was a greater purpose, a higher authority. But she just couldn’t quite get there. So she was stuck in this place of doubt, loneliness, her own purgatory.

    Susan, let me add my kudos to the others you have received on this beautiful piece of writing which could only have come from an author who was reaching deep into her heart for the poignancy it expressed. It put me in mind of the, for want of a better word, “screechers” one sees on TV and also specifically brought to mind the Professor, of Journalism I believe, at the U. of Missouri a while back, who screamed at the crowd of those who were protesting against her cause, whatever it might have been, that she “needed some muscle over here”! Thank you for this excellent post.

    David Foster (View Comment):
    Good post. Reminds me of an observation by Sebastian Haffner, who grew up in Germany between the wars. Speaking of a period (under the Stresemann chancellorship) when the political and economic situation stabilized and improved, he said:

    David, thank you for this information; I was not aware of the writings of Mr. Haffner now was I aware of the blog Chicago Boyz — guess I need to get out more! But, that was a very moving extract from your longer post on his book,  which I will finish reading shortly. I couldn’t help but get a smile from the first comment under your review, with which, as a “recovering lawyer”, I am inclined to at least partially agree: “We may have the opportunity to see up close and personal how a state becomes totalitarian. Hitler was elected as were most dictators in this century. Socialism is a common denominator. Other common denominators are hyper-inflation and too many lawyers.”

    Sincerely, Jim

    • #16
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jim George (View Comment):
    Susan, let me add my kudos to the others you have received on this beautiful piece of writing which could only have come from an author who was reaching deep into her heart for the poignancy it expressed. It put me in mind of the, for want of a better word, “screechers” one sees on TV and also specifically brought to mind the Professor, of Journalism I believe, at the U. of Missouri a while back, who screamed at the crowd of those who were protesting against her cause, whatever it might have been, that she “needed some muscle over here”! Thank you for this excellent post.

    Thanks for your kind words, @jimgeorge. I remember that professor; she was horrible, nasty and out of control. At some point, I’m hoping that those like her will come to their senses. But who knows?

    • #17
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