On Sunday last week, in the early evening we heard a knock at the door. Tandy barked. Then she barked again. I said to Grace, “Would you take her in the other room so I can open the door?” “She’s fine,” Grace said. I grunted. “What?” She said. “Would you take her in the other room? I don’t want her to bark when I open the door.” “She can bark,” Grace said. I stared at her. “I can’t - come on Tandy, come here,” she said as she led the dog through the hall to our bedroom and closed the door.
“Hi, I’m from the Republican Party of Florida. I have a few questions if you don’t mind…” His inflection and expression reflected a question, respectfully. But he didn’t really ask. He was telling me.
“Sure,” I said.
I was quietly irritated and losing that battle as I walked outside. My heart beat faster. I gave him a suspicious side-eye, sizing him up while withholding any direct attention. He was wearing a navy blue polo shirt with one-button done, khaki cargo shorts, and high tops. He wore Normal Guy glasses and his hair flat-pressed across his forehead. He looked like Jared-the-child-molester, the one who used to sell Cold Cut Trios at a popular slim-food chain back in the early 2000s, when the manifested-healthiness of airy bread was a hit with fast food dieters. Shareholders misattributed this success to Jared’s soulless smile and were thus happy with him and his face until it was revealed they were sponsoring a pimp, (sponsoring a pimp is one thing, a controversial revelation is another). Share prices fell, fortunes were lost. Jared was fired and eventually thrown in prison where he was beaten regularly by the other inmates and likely molested himself. He gained back all the sexless weight he’d lost to become famous as he had no choice but to lean into this fate, to learn to call it “bad luck.” This fellow on my doorstep, he wasn’t that guy, but he looked like that guy and he seemed to be proud of something, and all I could think was, “Fuck this dude.”
I peeled the door open and shut it quickly behind me. I tried to move at a lax pace. I am unsure how that came across. My understanding is that this is cool, that I am cool, the way that I move, but thats just blind faith on my part and that’s probably why it works. As I glided I allowed my arms to swing like a stoned primate. When I reached the railing, I twisted while gripping it, hopped up and turned to sit facing my home. This was a Ferris Bueler move, I was being a hot shot. But who was this shithead to come up to my porch and proclaim a political party? Let alone the one who recently endorsed the candidacy of the worst, single-most-vile president imaginable — a literal nightmare.
“Would you say the country is headed in a worse direction or a better direction?”
“Direction? The country is headed in a single direction?”
He nodded and tried to look as blank as possible, (at least I hope he was trying).
“Better, I guess.”
Then, I really start to think about what he’s doing here and why would l try to make it easier for him? This is bullshit. I don’t believe in two-dimensional progress, a better-or-worse, binary understanding of phenomenal development. If the country is moving, or changing, or whatever, does it travel on one line?
Do we measure growth by height alone? Don’t you know you’re getting wider too?
I look at my country and I see myself, a millennial coming of age, a witness to the slow death of feudalist privilege.
Am I moving in a single direction? What the fuck are you talking about?
Every way you can imagine it, I am moving. I am beating and breathing and flexing and pushing and walking and talking and trying, but trying not to try-so-hard-today-I’ve-got-nothing-left-tomorrow. I’m a bell-curve over a parabola, an endless succession of acute and contradictory feelings. I am growing, outward and inward and upward and downward, roots in the ground and fists to the sky, I am…
“If the election were today, would you vote for Donald Trump or-”
“I would never vote for Donald Trump, under any circ-”
“So, you’d vote for Hilary Clinton?”
“If those are the choices, yea, I guess so.”
“Who will you vote for Senator in your district? The republican or the democrat?”
“I don’t know, I don’t vote on a party line.”
“Okay, thank you, that was all.”
I slinked off the porch railing and walked back inside, wondering what the hell got me so upset.