By Lee Lynch
Oh, yes, we had fun this year decorating for Halloween. For a couple of hours, I didn’t once think about the ghouls in D.C.
We don’t get trick or treaters here, but we have a lively neighborhood of adults from 55 to 95, ourselves included, who get a kick out of holiday trappings. Our plastic Frankenstein mat screeches bloody murder when we open or close the garage door. Half the time we scare—and laugh—ourselves silly.
It had been many full moons since we last dragged out our spooky paraphernalia. My sweetheart exhumed it from the treasure chest that is our garage and instructed me to decide what should go where. Me? Organize? The prospect was scarier than an army of menacing phantoms.
I somehow coped.
While my sweetheart turned the inside of our home into a nest of funny hobgoblins and jack-o-lanterns that looked as if they had severe indigestion, while she dangled strings of orange mini-lights and hideous witches with flapping accordion legs, I worked outdoors. Sometimes it’s for the best to work separately; to put it nicely, we don’t trip over each other’s creativity that way.
We have a phenomenon in the Pacific Northwest we call dry rain. It could also be called dripping fog, or micro-drizzle, or in season, witch spittle. I braved the spit with an armload of orange and black regalia, various strengths of fishing line, a k-bar knife, and my thumb braces (tying knots in fishing line is not recommended for the arthritic). I decorated everything from the driftwood in our front yard to the bike barn to the maple tree. By the time I went inside to admire my sweetheart’s lovingly placed handiwork, my t-shirt, workshirt and jeans were soaked through.
It wasn’t until a few days later she mentioned that the decorating spirit took hold of her for a reason. We needed to brighten up our lives. Midterm elections would be held a few days after Halloween and we were witnessing howler monkeys amass in support of a monstrous pretender to the presidency, shouting “Lock her up!” about Senate Minority Leader Diane Feinstein for the sins of fighting for human rights, gun control, income equality and other issues essential to a thriving country.
The dismantling of our beloved democracy has sickened us. We are feeling its effect even in our humble home. My sweetheart’s job disappeared some months ago. Despite supposedly low labor market statistics, despite her skills and competencies, despite her willingness to accept work far beneath her considerable abilities, we live in a trump world right now, where the job openings may be many, if you’re not age fifty-seven and a woman, or if benefits are not a concern, or if you need to earn at least enough money to pay for transportation to and from work.
The disappearing job and the fact that my income is from Social Security led us to cancel a visit to family back east, a commitment to be in Provincetown for Women’s Week, and our plan to celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary on the trip. Instead, we sought distractions to cheer ourselves at home.
The giant cobweb that is the United States of Corporations has everyone I’ve talked to depressed and frightened. Already insurance companies quite legally deny Americans good health care and pharmaceutical companies can price essential drugs out of our reach. These behemoths are ever-merging, illegal yet undisturbed monopolies. The candy companies are buying up the healthy snack companies and expanding into actual foods. The big pesticide makers tout themselves as world saviors for spreading toxins on our farms and in our waters. Stock market gamblers fecklessly bet our health and the earth itself away.
Decorating done, we decided to celebrate our anniversary locally, with a restaurant gift coupon we’d been hoarding. We were still on a high from our community potluck where, in our 97% non-gay neighborhood, where the month’s anniversaries, including ours, were announced to spirited applause.
The Pacific Ocean was dark outside the restaurant window as we remembered the happy wedding eve when our birth families, astonishingly, met and mingled at Bubala’s restaurant in Provincetown. Eight years later, my sweetheart had a need to tell the waitress why we were there. The waitress beamed, congratulated us and wished she’d known: she would have drawn hearts in our desserts.
We needed to be boldly out to disrupt our fears. The new configuration of the Supreme Court, the seeding of trump-judges all over the country, the blatant disrespect for women shown in Congress and the White House—we had to celebrate our marriage while it’s still legal. We had to be out to the sweet, well-meaning people who congratulated us in hopes they would understand the connection between their votes this mid-term and our happy gay marriage.
I want to go trick or treating at the doors of the apathetic and the Clinton-averse and howl and screech and spray witch spittle as I beg them to please, please, wake up and vote the living dead out of DC.
Copyright Lee Lynch 2018
Lee Lynch is the co-curator, with S. Renee Bass, of the recent collection, Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices From the Gay Bars, available from Flashpoint Publications. Her novel, Rainbow Gap, is available from Bold Strokes Books and other outlets. Her book, An American Queer, a collection of “The Amazon Trail” columns, was presented with the 2015 Golden Crown Literary Society Award in Anthology/Collection Creative Non Fiction. This, and her award-winning fiction, including The Raid, The Swashbuckler, and Beggar of Love, can be found at http://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/Author-Lee-Lynch.html.