It isn’t always a goddamn picnic.

The Male Sibling Unit has been inconvenienced AF today, much to his irritation.

*GASP* I asked him to accompany me to the post office to mail a package and then, adding insult to injury, I asked him to help me carry stuff home from the grocery store. This threw his “schedule” off about 10 minutes total (Oh FUCK, there’s a SKIP-BO tournament at STEPS today!!) The needling, angry comments persisted until – in a fit of anger as I watched my last fuck drift off, like a helium-filled balloon into the sky – I LOST MY SHIT.

In the middle of a street. A dead one, thank Christ.

In gravely quiet tones (Clint Eastwood has nothing on me) I took my stance and warned him that if he spoke one more word – just one, or even a fragment of one – I would NOT be replying and furthermore, I would take immediate, consequential action upon arriving home. Go ahead, Punk: make my day.

The Male Sibling Unit blinked, perhaps not understanding me. “Why?” he managed to ask, uncertain as to why I would want to refrain from reacting or replying to his witty repartee and chiding banter and irritating-as-fuck declarations of obstinate fury because oh my fucking god, SKIP-BO STARTS AT 2PM AND IT IS 1:42PM.

I countered his why with “Why should I listen to you say things that just piss me off? Does it make you happy to ignore me when I ask you to stop and does it thrill you to upset me? Hmmm? Does that delight you?” Now I was channeling Jack Nicholson’s Joker and not Dirty Harry.

Something in my tone, or on my face, seemed to actually connect with him, and he replied quietly, and with mild surprise, “No, it doesn’t.”
We resumed our walk and the rest of the trip home was blissfully silent.

And then, like a light switch being flipped, he resumed with the attitude as soon as we closed the door behind us. The walk to the community center takes him about 5 minutes, so getting there on time, or maybe just a minute or two late, wasn’t going to be a problem.

The Male Sibling Unit apparently doesn’t grasp the meaning of “self-sabotage” and so he commenced to do just that with flawless execution. 10s across the board, folks! I asked him to bring his cat’s dish down from his room so I could fill it. I listened, overhead, as he walked into the bathroom at least three times, back into his room, slamming the door, and then, as I stood with the cat food mixed, and ready to go into the bowl, he came down the stairs…..empty-handed. He stood on the landing and asked, with the fakest innocence dripping from his voice that I have ever heard, “Do you need Ragnar’s dish?”

Dirty Harry returned, once again. Or maybe a combination of him and the “Get off my lawn” character Eastwood portrayed with such realism. I was getting tired of this.

“Did I ask you to bring it down?” I menaced, digging my nails into the palm of my hand so as to not slap the piss out of him. If ever there was a moment in which I deserved the Medal of Freedom – since apparently the requirements are much more relaxed now – it was this one. Tiger Woods got one for much, much less.

“Well YEAH. Duh.”

Again, I beseech you: am I not the most worthy of the Medal of Freedom? I ask this because The Male Sibling Unit is still alive; I didn’t punch him in his large schnozz or Gibbs-slap the gray matter out of his bald head. I growled at him, when he returned with the bowl, “Take this to Ragnar and then get the fuck out of my sight.” The Male Sibling Unit stomped back up to his room, shouting, “I’m NOT GOING. I’m STAYING HOME.”

This, right here, is a prime example of what I encounter almost every day with The Male Sibling Unit because of his intellectual impairment. I share with you the funny stuff, the sweet stuff, and most of you think that life with The Male Sibling Unit must be one hilarious conversation or incident after another. It must leave me feeling so blessed.

I do. I am. But days like this are the norm, and days like this, I don’t talk about. Maybe I should. Maybe I do him a great disservice by making it seem as if he is a barrel of laughs and his hysterical antics are a constant source of delight for me. Sure, there are many, but he is, after all, human. He has bad days, too. And he has less ability to cope with them than others do, and so it falls upon me to “manage” those moods, and outbursts, and angry moments when he bites his hand or hits the wall or slams a broom handle into the screen of his television (true fucking story), shattering it. Most of the time, and especially when his schedule deviates just a millimeter off course, The Male Sibling Unit is a 6 year-old trapped in the body of a diabetic, hyperthyroid-encumbered 44 year-old man. It is hard. Hard for me to remain the Zen-like, big sister who has in truth been his mother figure since he was a baby. Hard for him to control the narcissism that is as much a part of him as his eye color.

Maybe I don’t always handle such moments with the patience and grace that I should. Today, certainly, was not my best moment. All I could think about was that if I didn’t get him out of my sight, I might lose my shit again, and wake The Husband up with my Banshee screech. He worked all night; hearing me Channel My Mother would not be the best way to be awakened.

“The FUCK you ARE,” I shouted after The Male Sibling Unit as he stomped up the stairs. “Feed the cat and GO TO STEPS.”

He practically ran out the door, tossing a meek “See ya later” at me as he breezed past.

Glass of wine mid-afternoon? Why, I do think I will.

Oh fuck me, it’s a political rant.

This month, back in 2012, I lay on a procedure table in a Cardiac Cath Lab, technicians milling about, doing their job; which was to diagnose why my heart was galloping, racing, pausing (gulp), and flopping inside my chest in ways that an unborn baby does in the womb. I was experiencing pain and shortness of breath.

My cardiologist came out of the booth after my catheterization and held my hand. He was aware of the structure of my life: the elderly mother at home, a daughter and grandkids living at home, and a full-time job that was both thankless and required me to do illegal things on a daily basis. He said, “You’ve got to end some of the stress in your life. Is any job worth dying for?” Afterward, as I lay, flat on my back for 4 hours in order to give the femoral artery that the catheter had been inserted into time to close and seal up a bit, I was inundated with calls from my workplace.

“You ARE coming in tomorrow, right?”

“No, I am on bed rest tonight and tomorrow; no stairs or overexertion for 48 hours after that.”

“Well, then Jennifer can’t take her vacation.” (A coworker who had put in for that day six months earlier.)

I resigned, by email, the following Monday. I did not hand in a two-week notice or give them time to scramble and offer me maybe a dollar more an hour. They never called to see if I was okay; not once.

Turns out, my doctor was right.

Six weeks later, the entire remaining staff walked out, too. The morning that happened, my former boss made frantic calls to my voice mail, asking how I was and begging me to call him back.

I declined.

I learned how to be terrified every, single day in my five years there. I was angry, sick, and worried about going to jail due to the questionable business practices I was forced to engage in. I’ll be on meds for my heart until I die, but the friends I made there went through the fire like I did.

One died of a cancer not diagnosed in time because she gave her whole being to that thankless job – 25 adult years, then death at 48.

One struggled with infertility that only resolved itself after she left and removed the stress. She now has two beautiful children.

One was only there for a few months, but was of independent enough mind to say, “Fuck THIS” and get out.

Countless others left for better atmospheres and less stress both before and after I resigned.

We all share a kinship; we were in the trenches together, commiserating wearily whenever we could. We are all better for not being there anymore.

What’s the point of this little ponderance? I honestly don’t know. I guess I’ve been feeling my age lately, seeing it on my face and realizing that I more than likely have less time left on this rapidly-heating planet than I have thus far lived.

I feel a sense of urgency, especially when I ponder the alarming rate at which this country is going to shit due to the admittance of prejudice, bigotry, and racism; all just fancier words for hate and intolerance. Two states have curtailed the rights women fought for decades to secure and one more is set to do so.

The country is being governed on a social media platform.

It’s been proven that a dictator so filled with loathing for our country that he wishes to destroy it by any means necessary has, in fact, set the stage for it to happen. He has done so with the help of those who were voted into office under the auspices of wanting to “Make America Great Again.”

I asked, when this campaign slogan first emerged, “What makes you think America isn’t great now?”

The truth is, we weren’t – aren’t – great. We allowed a reality circus act to take over the White House; a criminal and charlatan. He brought with him his crime family and then installed more of his kind to Cabinet positions.

Oh yeah, we, the opposition (the Resistance) wring our hands, bitch, shout, and roll our eyes every day. We demand change. In the beginning, we took on his supporters and tried to “understand” them. The marginalized. The unheard. The forgotten Americans.

Where, exactly, did that get us?

I’ll tell you: it got us here. Here is where we are, in a dystopian sort of reality where even the movie Idiocracy seems better.

In this reality, the *President spends hours on Twitter, bullying and giving stupid nicknames to those he’s actually really threatened by, and in Alabama, you better not get raped by your uncle and then find yourself pregnant because guess what?

You’re gonna be giving birth to your son/daughter-cousin!

Did I ever expect to be contemplating just what relation a figurative baby conceived by the rape-incest of a niece by her uncle would be to the niece forced to give birth to said baby? Fuck no.

And yet, here we are.

I can almost look back on those five years of hell, from 2007 to 2012, with fondness and nostalgia. I was stressed, but at least we had a noble, presidential man in office for most of that time, and I never feared for my grandchildrens’ futures. I could sleep at night, knowing that competent people in government weren’t going to get us blown up. No, nobody is absolutely perfect and none of them were infallible, but at least they could read.

And spell.

And pronounce “origins”.

And never used words like “bigly”.

Or made fun of prisoners of war, disabled journalists, or referred to a black supporter as “my black man right there.”

They didn’t think white supremacists were “very fine people.” They didn’t sexualize their daughters. They didn’t refer to their meetings with the North Korean dictator as “A love story”.

Neither one of them – George W. Bush and Barack Obama – was accused of sexual assault. Neither one of them had declared bankruptcy 7 times. Neither one of them had such bad credit that only Russian Oligarchs would lend them cash.

Say whatever you will about either one of them – especially Dubya – but I was proud to call him my President, and even prouder to call Obama my President, too.

I will never say that about Trump.

Yep, 2012, on that Cath Lab table, I was scared, but I knew there were solutions. Ah, the memories!

I’m more afraid now, because, according to polls, 48% of the country thinks like Trump. What’s the solution to that kind of hate? How do we walk back the wheels set in motion to reverse Roe v. Wade?

I fear for my granddaughters.