On the day that only six Republican Senators voted to allow the January 6 commission to move forward, I more than share Sue’s pessimism. I appreciate her ability to shine a light on what’s going on in our country now, as well as offering a way to cope with it.
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, California
It was a veritable obstacle course on my street today. Garbage cans on both sides of the road, three per household. The street itself is narrow and snakelike. This morning, a truck driver failed to stop at a stop sign and sent a green barrel flying, causing a neighbor to swerve to avoid being hit by the truck driver who wanted to see where the green thing landed. The too-big tow truck that came for her car had to back down the street, beeping all the way. Just another day in the canyon.
I have lived in this canyon for twenty-eight years now, though it has been a part of my life since childhood. Every time I think there is nowhere else to build, another house or two appears. The last empty lot on our street has a new house. It took forever, but now it is nestled in next to what the neighbors lovingly refer to as the ‘ugly sisters,’ the last two houses built ten years ago.
Now, at the incredibly busy corner of Mulholland and Laurel where each March I look for sprays of poppies and the occasional lupin, and in May, I wait anxiously for the dry grasses to be cleared away by a work crew, there is a bouquet of trucks. Skip loaders, graders and such. The city planners had, finally, created a left turn lane off Mulholland Blvd., with a signal to ease traffic. This new build will put a bit of a strain on that traffic plan. Oh well. Another thing over which I have no control.
Each time I think that people have seen a bit of light and turned towards a kinder way of being with each other, I am proven wrong. I try to make sense of a world that seems to revolve around a steady diet of hate and mayhem. Last weekend, there were twelve mass shootings, numerous instances of hate both in graffiti and speech, not to mention several assaults simply because someone looked different or worshiped at a different building. The same vigilance I need to maneuver through the canyon is required in this world of ugliness.
There does not seem to be a solution to hate. At least not one that everyone will heed—just like the stop sign the truck driver failed to acknowledge. I suppose it is unrealistic to long for a place of peace where respect and kindness are the mainstays. While I am pessimistic that the world will ever change, I do know that my world is brighter when I greet friends and strangers with a smile and allow respect to be my guiding light. That is all I can control.