I never do anything the normal way if I can avoid it. This includes living my life in the right order.
I was born on the leading edge of the Boomer generation. I came of age in an exciting time. My generation protested and demonstrated against racial discrimination, the Vietnam War, and the subjugation of women. We studied ecology and warned people to protect the earth. We even went overboard, declaring, “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Reefers were passed around at wine and cheese parties, with the wine served in paper cups. New forms of addictive drugs were developed and sold. The more reckless among us dropped Acid and hoped they would survive with their brains intact. Transcendental Meditation became a fad. Brassieres were burned, boys and men grew long hair and beards. Women and girls grew long hair, too, including me. My hair is thick and coarse and it grows at the speed of light. Growing it so long I could almost sit on it was easy.
Speaking of going overboard, there was also easy, open sex. This was hard for those of us who were still reeling from strong religious upbringings. It was like being a starving person with Celiac Disease who is locked in a room with 200 loaves of bread. It made you envy your friends who could be “spiritual” and wild at the same time without a twang of guilt.
Although I eagerly adopted a hippie look and a somewhat broader outlook than the one I had been raised with, I didn’t take part in any campus demonstrations, although there was plenty to demonstrate about. I was busy studying music and theater, getting my head together and trying to jumpstart an operatic singing career.
Fast forward to the year 2016. I was now a senior citizen, complete with AARP membership, senior discounts, arthritic knees, doctor visits and friends who worried about me, even when there was no need to worry. Suddenly, a loony guy who, up until now, had been only known as a wealthy, obnoxious, egotistical real estate developer was the Republican candidate for President of the United States. The loony guy proudly shouted his racism, xenophobia, misogyny and whatever other dangerous ideas came into his head.
In other words, we were handed the Mother of All Causes.
At age 70, I suddenly became what I could have been at age 21: a protestor. I signed a gazillion online petitions and gave a lot of contributions, which were, by necessity, small. I am not wealthy, and I would make a terrible bank robber.
When the loony guy was declared President, even though he didn’t win the popular vote, I geared myself to escalate the protesting – after I recovered from being sick over the whole mess.
So here I am, still signing online petitions, still giving small amounts of money, sending postcards, knitting “pussy hats” and trying to talk myself into calling members of Congress, which is something I have a half-phobia against (don’t ask me why). The only reason I didn’t join the women’s march was that I knew I wouldn’t last more than about 30 minutes because: (1) I have arthritic knees (see above); and (2) we older ladies need accessible bathrooms, which can be hard to find in New York City. On the other hand, I can yell as loud as I ever could, and I can certainly sing loud, so when the next opportunity to march comes, maybe I’ll go there and stay as long as possible.
Those 30 minutes might count for something.