Alternate title: Hell is Other People
1) Coworker on a different team is walking new guy around and introducing him to everyone. She gets to my cube and introduces me as “this is brightersideoflife. Whenever there is cake at the office, she runs to get some.” I have lost quite a bit of weight since starting at my job, and this definitely felt like she was trying to put me in my place as a still fat but smaller than I was woman. And OF COURSE I was eating a snack (thankfully not cake) when this happened, so I might as well hang a sign announcing I eat a lot over my desk.
2) Taking an afternoon walk with another coworker. It’s in the high 60s aka about 15 degrees warmer than November should be. He says to me, “man this is unnatural weather this fall.” Me thinking (yeah it’s called global warming). Coworker, “I think it’s the moon. Explains all the earthquakes, too.” It takes me a strong 10 seconds to gather my thoughts, but then I explain to him that all the Oklahoma earthquakes are because of fracking, and that New Zealand sits on the Rim of Fire, where earthquakes aren’t uncommon. And then I have to explain what fracking is. GT, it was only a 15 minute walk. I didn’t have enough time to explain plate techtonics and seismology to him. He probably still thinks the moon is responsible for tides and earthquakes.
3) Met another new coworker for my team. Dude checks all my boxes for bro-tastic douchebag, but I am trying to keep an open mind. I remind myself the last dude that was hired could double as Christian Bale in American Psycho but he turned out to be cool. During the conversation new guy mentions he really wants to get 2 German Shepherds. Those are awesome dogs, so I am starting to warm up to him. Then the reason: He saw 2 shepherds get into a dogfight with a pittbull and he was super impressed with how “badass” they were.
4) And the icing on the cake. A friend who I’ve only known a couple of years starts this really respectful and good facebook post about what keeps people from voting. Me and another person are all “gutting of the Voting Rights Act.” For good measure I add that felon disenfranchisement disproportionately effects POC because of the bullshit “war on drugs.”
Then my friend texts me and mentions that he has never voted in his life, even though he’s in his early 40s. He’s a solid liberal, but has never registered since he felt his vote never mattered. (In Missouri, land of republicans.) And he says as a feminist he’s never been so upset with an outcome of an election (which he still didn’t vote in.)
Me: why did you never care to vote before? Have you felt like nothing would impact your life, for better or worse, from any election?
Him: Well I’ve never felt inspired by a democratic candidate before Bernie (still didn’t vote in this election) or scared by a republican candidate before Trump (I repeat still didn’t vote).
Me: As a woman, it’s always felt important to me to vote to maintain my rights over my own body, as republicans have been trying to take that away for every election I’ve voted in.
Him: Yep, that makes sense.
Me: and in 2008, even though I had health insurance through school, I thought about how people would benefit from Obamacare, especially my friends with pre-existing conditions.
Him: yeah I have friends who needed insurance and couldn’t get it
(Me thinking: HOW DO YOU NOT FUCKING SEE IT YOU PRIVILEGED ASSHOLE)
Me: So in previous elections you weren’t inspired enough to vote, even when people you cared about had very good reasons for voting and you had the opportunity to support them through your vote. You do realize this is the definition of white male privilege. “I don’t feel super special and inspired by this candidate, and it’s no skin off my ass if they aren’t elected, so I’ll just not bother.”
Him: well I didn’t understand things as well 12 or 8 years ago as I do now
Me: Right. That gives you a pass 12, 8, or 4 years ago. Not last week.
(Seriously I want to be a hermit sometimes.)