Now I’m in Philadelphia for a few days. The buildings are pretty. I imagine pictures of them will be forthcoming.
It’s always interesting to me to be on the east coast, especially down around the D.C. area. At least I notice it more there than in cities like Philadelphia. The competitiveness. Most of it from the white men.
I know, I know. I’m not supposed to say stuff like that.
But it’s like they’re all still shooting for herd buck. They talk about power. They play little mind games of withholding information and discuss retirement salaries like they’re analogous to another, more intimate masculine part. When I wonder about D.C. politics, I should remember these men, for whom the stock market is everything and their personal wealth takes precedence.
On Saturday, I took a walk on the beach after lunch. The fog kept everything soft and shimmery grey. I wore a sundress and walked barefooted in the surf, carrying my sandals. As I climbed the steps to the hotel deck, a woman bundled up in sweatshirts, with a little dog on her lap, asked me how it was out there, if it was cold.
I said no, It’s warm. It’s lovely. And I laughed, for the loveliness of it all.
And the guy next to her nodded and said, Yeah, see? That’s why I make sure never to laugh.
I realized he meant that I’d blown my lie by laughing. I contemplated the levels of that as I walked up to my room. That he thought I’d want to lie about such a thing. That laughter is a sign of weakness. And that he thinks about these things, even sitting on a hotel deck watching the surf, that you must govern your responses, in order to win interactions between people.
It exhausts me to contemplate it, frankly.
It would be interesting though, to have a character who makes sure never to laugh, who thinks this way.
Who loses all his money and ends up working as a clown in a three-penny circus.
Bwah ha ha ha ha!