the captain vs his youth.

Old, evil captain about to meet his demise. Young, cocky youth about to rule the world. I see what J.M. Barrie did there.

Well, Internet. I’m better. Not completely better, but hanging in there. I probably shouldn’t write when I’m THAT discombobulated by Life, but I will share with you that when I find myself THAT discombobulated by Life I really don’t know what else to do. It’s either sit and feel like my brain and insides will explode, or stare down the depression with written words. Challenge it. Dare it. Come at me, bro.

The other thing that happens when I get like that, after I hit PUBLISH? Is I sit and beat myself up – who the hell am I to think that any of my sad little first world problems matter at all. There are people in Syria who’ve witnessed the brutal murder of their entire family. There are boys in Africa being drugged and trained to kill. Girls in Asia as young as 3 being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery. ISIS is still a thing in the world. In other words, there are people who are under way, way, WAY more stress than I am, with my ridiculous petty little personal dramas. Right now, this very second, someone is losing a very big battle with something really overwhelming. And I’m sad because I’m bad at communication and my rent’s going up $75 a month. Please, Amy.

On the other hand, you find out which people do give a crap about you. So there’s that.

Tonight I felt like eating chicken wings for dinner. Lemon pepper chicken wings are my favorite. Blue cheese dressing. With a beer. I did not bring Miss M with me – I left her in after school daycare while I took myself out to an early dinner. I have Miss M back for 2 weeks now. It’s not that she couldn’t have eaten chicken wings for dinner with me, though they aren’t her favorite. It’s that I did not feel like eating beer and wings with her around. Am I selfish? Yes. I needed at least 2 more hours to myself. It’s been a week.

The thing about the area I live in is that I am very Blue (Bernie Sanders/Hilary Clinton fans) and it is very Red (Donald Trump fans). Tonight, I sat at the bar of a local wings restaurant, listening to a group of four very loud men talk politics. Three were fairly young, one was older – I’m going to call him The Captain. The younger men were discussing the potential perils of a Trump presidency vs. the potential perils of a Clinton one. While clearly very right-wing and people who liked to scream the F word as loud as humanly possible in a fairly empty establishment, they also sounded concerned and fairly reasonable. Mostly they were worried about whether or not they should vote a person into presidency who talks like an unhinged lunatic and can’t keep a single story straight. They had no love for his opponent, but at least she made sense while telling her politician lies. And her hair was more convincing, too.

They were making The Captain incredibly unhappy.

The Captain, I learned later from Charlie the Bartender, was a self-made millionaire. Which would explain why The Captain was deeply unhappy at the possibility of electing a Clinton back into office, because The Captain was certain she’ll re-distribute his wealth to welfare queens and other lowlifes. He slapped the young men on their backs, asking them what they’d prefer: buying nice big houses and living comfortably, or living hand-to-mouth like the lowlifes, accepting handouts. Like lowlifes.

At some point, I started to wonder who the lowlifes really were: drug-addicted welfare queens on food stamps having a hard life, or bald rich guys with beer guts drunkenly declaring other human beings unworthy to live because their bank accounts weren’t as big as his.

At any rate, in came Karim. Karim was from Pakistan, and apparently he and The Captain were familiars because they both frequent that restaurant/bar. The Captain immediately switched from being concerned about lowlife welfare queens stealing all his gold to lowlife terrorists planning to steal all his gold AND take over America AND make us all worship Allah AND kill him (I’ll be frank: I would not necessarily stop the last plan). He honed in on Karim. Because Karim was from Pakistan and clearly a representative of all terrorists everywhere.

“Hey!” he yelled. “How’ve you been??? You remember me, right? Right, buddy?”

Karim said, “Oh yes. Very well! How are you my friend?”

And The Captain was off. First he wanted Karim to tell him which part of India he was from. Karim reminded The Captain he wasn’t from India, he was from Pakistan. Then The Captain wanted Karim to tell his young bar buddies that even Pakistan, a country known to harbor terrorists, agreed with him (The Captain) about American politics, and that Donald Trump would be the better president. Karim stopped just short of agreeing to the part about Trump, but did admit he and The Captain saw eye-to-eye on many issues. Which I found interesting, since The Captain was clearly convinced Karim was in cahoots with terrorists.

At that, The Captain walked over to Karim’s side of the bar and proceeded to joke with him about patting him down, looking for weapons of mass destruction. Dear Karim. Dear, patient Karim. He sat quietly and didn’t agree or disagree with The Captain, but also didn’t allow himself to be patted down for WMDs. Smart Karim. And when The Captain wanted to buy Karim a drink, I guess for putting up with The Captain’s crazy over-the-top need for attention, Karim politely declined and sipped his Manhattan.

The Captain pulled out after that, leaving us all with something kind of racist-y to think about but stopping short of using the actual n-word because Charlie the Bartender was African American and could definitely have squished The Captain.

That’s who wants Trump to be president, y’all. People like The Captain.

After The Captain was for sure gone, one of the young men walked over and sat down with Karim. They did not talk politics. They talked Art – graphic design, specifically. And about where Karim had been born, and how much he missed his country but also loved America. They talked about the young man’s girlfriend, who’d just moved back to Minnesota. The young man just passed his bar exams, and he’s head over heels in love with his girlfriend. So he’s packing up in a couple of weeks and going to Minnesota to start a life with her. She was the whole package, he told Karim. Exactly everything he’d been looking for his whole life. (This was the part I eye rolled, because seriously. His whole life. What was he? 23? Which means last week he was 13 and just into puberty. Please.) (I am jaded. I am cynical. I am bruised. Sorry.)

Anyway. That last bit renewed my faith in humans. There was The Captain, judgmental and creepy. And here was this nice young man, curious about other people from other places and respectful of the past while embracing the present and the future. I’m not sure he even bought half of anything The Captain had said; I think he just liked saying the F word combined with Hilary Clinton. (I will admit – I’m not really a Hilary Clinton fan, so I understand his disdain. But I stand firm in that I like the idea of a calculating woman president far better than an orange lunatic.) I finished up my beer and wings, relieved that people like this young man are in the world, taking over, and men like The Captain are being phased out. I clearly don’t share the young man’s politics, but he seemed like a kind, good egg.

There are days that’s all I really want: to know that most people in the world are kind, good eggs who give a crap about other people’s troubles. Because that means we’re all going to be okay. Even if an orange lunatic with Caligula-like aspirations does get elected. (Will somebody PLEASE hurry up and invent a time machine so George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and John Adams and Ben Franklin can come to 2016 and see what the hell is going on, so they can advise us all what to do NOW????)