When you went to the polls today you didn’t just vote on your own behalf, you voted for all of us. You voted for people you don’t know and will never know, people like the folks I encountered in passing today while earning my own miniscule piece of the American Dream as a substitute high school teacher.
Mary works at Macy’s and sang with Sal Carson’s big bands for 21 years
(7-11, El Camino Real @ South San Francisco High School)
“Let us go forward together with our united strength.” #HopeTuesday
So my teaching assignment on Halloween was to manage five periods of world and American history. Toward the end of second period, around 10 a.m., one of my students whipped out this mask, put it on, and just sat quietly at his desk. And since he had finished the classwork anyway, I let him roll with it. And Churchill didn’t seem to mind.
Yes, yes, I know, Guy Fawkes was a treasonous bomber whose religious motivations seem uncomfortably plausible in our current age of terrorism. But he’s come to represent a righteous, anti-oppression kind of protest, and to see some affinity for that in a modern-day American high school is kind of what #HopeTuesday is all about.
(I’m a substitute high school teacher. The photograph is from my pictorial teaching diary. See it here.)
His name is Joe and we were both in the same waiting room at Kaiser Permanente in South San Francisco. He caught my eye because he was so nicely-dressed, looking much classier than the anxious people one typically sees in dreary HMO waiting rooms. Joe makes a habit of dressing nicely all the time. He likes to look good because he’s a dance instructor in San Francisco. According to his card, he can teach you the Tango, the Cha-Cha, and the Boogie. I can give you his number if you’re interested…
(South San Francisco, California 2016. See more of my work here.)
I don’t know about you, but my Facebook and Twitter feeds are saturated with links to media coverage of the race to the White House between TweedleBint and TweedleBitch. I’ve grown physically weary of the topic, and the climate of fear and anger that has washed over my country because of it. I found the best way to recede from this madness is by taking time to look around me at people and what they do. Observing such things brings a sweetness and a kind of joy to life that no fascist or machine-politician president can take away from us. I really believe that.
And there’s hope in this, which is why I pursue it and why I’m encouraging all of you to do likewise. You don’t even have to plan anything, just savor the unexpected moments life is throwing at you right now.
For example, recently at a Mexican supermercado I encountered a little girl who really wanted the hell out of some Cheetos. She knew I was watching, and didn’t care. She would not be denied, and so…