I enjoy thoughtful political commentary and a dignified exchange of ideas, so it’s understandable that this last year of media coverage contrived to incite, and the insubstantial and childish yammering of the candidates, has left me disappointed. I need to get away from the television for a while. So David and I decide to rent jet skis and bounce around on Lake LBJ for a couple of hours.
“I don’t like to be splashed,” I remind him as we swing our legs over and settle into the saddles. A while back he did a dig-in hard turn and sent spray all over me; then he laughed like it was funny, but I didn’t think so. “I like to stay close to the shore and contemplate the houses.”
“When I want to have real fun,” he tells me agreeably, “I’ll go to the middle and not disturb you at all.” I’m dubious.
As I'm inching through the No Wake Zone, isolated with my thoughts, my mind goes exactly where I don’t want it to go—politics. The closer the election gets, the more despondent and bewildered I become. In a country rich with visionaries, philosophers, scientists, and elocutionists, it’s nonsensical that we must choose between an ambitious woman so dedicated to her legacy that she’ll say whatever it takes to get elected, and a divisive sociopath who has no clear plans and mouths his hyperbole in the grating idiom of a Valley Girl. The man is an embarrassment before the world.
And Hillary has been in the public eye for so long that the notion of seeing her and listening to her (recently she moderated her voice because polls told her she was “too strident”) for another four years is abhorrent. Do I trust her to do what’s best for the country? No. I trust her to do what’s best for her. Move aside, used-up woman.
Also, they’re both seventy; and yes, some people are sharp at seventy, but not as sharp as they used to be.
So this is where my thoughts go as I dip and rise with the waves. There is no wind, but the water’s choppy. Herons are everywhere. One skims over the foamy crest right in front of me. It lengthens its neck, stretching toward the treetops, flapping its wings as it finds a perch. Oh. There are a couple of nests up there. Sublime.
Crossing under the bridge, we’re on the Colorado River, a soothing band of blue with a wall of untamed greenery on the left and houses on the right—modern mansions adjacent to modest weekend rentals. I expected it to be hot out here, but the misty breeze makes it pleasant. Several people have arranged their chairs in a semi-circle on a sandbank. Feet resting in the water, they drink from cans, tell stories, and tease each other. I’m glad they’re having a good time.
I’m acquainted with a woman, Vivvi, who thinks Trump is going to save us all. Trump declares that women love him, but I doubt the existence of these women. Other than the few who are paid to speak for him (surrogates, an unexpected term in this arena), who are these devotees? What kind of woman isn’t offended by his derisive remarks about menstruation and wrinkles on faces that are no longer youthful? What woman isn’t bothered that his wife’s portfolio holds nude shots? (I’ve heard they’re quite tasteful; but still, foreign leaders would have easy access to naked pictures of our first lady). And so, when Vivvi came down on his side, I went to some trouble to question and observe. Here’s Vivvi in a nutshell:
She didn’t go to college. She doesn’t like to read, but will flick through a fashion magazine if she’s stuck in a waiting room. She enjoys reality TV. Though she’s never owned or fired a gun, she’s against gun control—and don’t get me started on that; also, she thinks that Planned Parenthood is evil—again, don’t get me started. She wears ankle bracelets, toe rings, low-cut tops. She drips accessories—scarves, jewelry, belts, hair ornaments; and her accessories match her clothes. Her husband insults her publicly. I’ve witnessed it. So, she’s a throwback. Come on, Vivvi, even Edith Bunker evolved. When I asked Vivvi why she liked Trump, she said, “Because he says what he thinks.” Good Lord, if a president goes around saying what he thinks, we’ll all be lost!
Up ahead, David turns back, signals that he wants to return to the main portion of the lake. I guess it’s time. We can hardly follow the Colorado all the way to the Rockies. With a shrug I make a tight turn. I’m impressed with myself when I crank it up to forty—what a daredevil I am. Under the bridge, back to the lake. True to his word, David is doing his circling and splashing out in the center, far away from where I chug contentedly along. First one direction, then the other. When we get to the dam it’s time to head back in.
It’s been a relaxing break, helpful in that I’ve reached a peace of sorts: whether we vote for the witch in the gingerbread house or Swift’s Yahoo, the country will be fine. How much damage can one person do in so short a time?
GW pops into my mind. Stop it. Shut it down right now.