The end and the beginning

When humor fails, there’s poetry. This morning after election night, Wislawa Symborska comes to mind, particularly her poem “The End and the Beginning” (to honor copyright, read it in full here; it’s worth it).

There’s also running away. Another of Symborska’s poems, “Consolation,” begins: “Darwin. They say he read novels to relax, but only certain kinds: nothing that ended unhappily.” Darwin’s supposed approach reminds me of my own escapism during this travel adventure. It also reminds me of how I felt at Burning Man.

(Not my photo. Source: joliebilder.de)

(Not my photo. Source: joliebilder.de)

The New York Times sucks at collecting and interpreting data, apparently. (And they’re not alone.)
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And yet. I’ve long loved the ways the NYT makes data available via interactive data graphics (live, up to date election maps here). And I like maps. So awake at 3 am, trying to make some meaning out of this disaster of an election night, I stare at maps.
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I see the alignment on a map showing size of the margins, with the coasts a series of large blue droplets. Our Cricket trip, the places we stayed longer. The places Hillary Clinton has a strong lead.
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(Blue line is buying the Cricket. All other lines are travel adventures of the last year.)

And you can see it in the other maps, too. Idaho, Utah, and Arizona were among the most conservative places we spent time (camping and interacting locally, not just passing through as with “flyover country”). Chris and I noticed and talked about the gap between our values and the hometown values in these places. And yet. Idaho, Utah, and Arizona are not the solid red states in this election. They leaned blue, shifted blue, went pink.
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Orange County looks like it will have gone blue for president this year, the first time since 1936. We spent the winter in San Clemente. It seemed a bit too Republican for me, but in the tolerable way I grew accustomed to living and working in Connecticut: upscale suburban coastal Republicans who share many of my social values. But this is different. My home county, the one I voted in yesterday, went for Trump. That in itself is difficult to grasp.
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I don’t know what to think about the rest of the country.
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Clearly I’ve isolated myself. On one hand, it makes sense to me to do this, on purpose. “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Create the communities I want to live in, surround myself with things I value. Make a sane and happy life. On the other hand, it makes me feel (at best) ignorant and (worse) irresponsible. Like dropping out is also looking the other way. Burying my head in the sand. Living in a fantasy world of my own making.
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This is a hell of a way to return to the real world. I don’t know what else to say. At 3 am I felt caught by surprise. This morning’s quasi-analysis helps me see that such surprise is a problem of my own making.
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XO,

cricket small