FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

I’m Obnoxious

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

By the time you read this, I may have a grandson. May be on my way to spend a week with him. I’m excited yet anxious, thinking of years ago and the way I felt when I was pregnant, unconcerned with gender, caring only about a healthy baby.

Now, the worries are wider.

Where I live, you can’t spit without hitting a Prius. And most of the bumpers display an Obama sticker, a peace symbol, and an anti-fracking message.

One afternoon last week, my neighbor D came over. With a friend and a bottle of wine. I said, “It’s too early to drink.”

D asked, “When do you start?”

I looked at the time on my computer screen and said, “Two forty-three.”

After one glass of red, I knew I was talking too much. Blathering on about injustice. D tipped the bottle above my goblet, pouring a second. When she lifted it to land a third, I shook my head no.

Suddenly, I had to ratchet up about being unable to vote for the lesser of two evils. Next thing I knew, D’d reloaded my wine glass, skillfully, while I was distracted. I pressed on about the illusion of choice, those small baubles we’re offered, like cellphone plans and TV and Netflix menus, pathetic nods to freedom.

Oh, dear, I felt terrible the next day. Not just from the hangover but knowing I’d been obnoxious.

A few evenings later, D requested my presence. I couldn’t believe it. Thought there might be method to her invitation—to exhibit me as some specimen, the person who never shuts the Grandma Fletcher up. I made a silent vow to behave, practice restraint.

As soon as I entered D’s condo, I recognized a couple I’d met at a pre-theater cocktail party months ago. Back then, they’d discussed their activism at Moral Mondays in Raleigh, protesting the conservatism of Gov. Pat McCrory. I wasn’t sure I could maintain allegiance to that vow I’d just made. I longed to say something innocuous, such as, “Yes, I remember you.” And then, if there were a pause, “How long have you lived here?”

But there was no lull. Because almost immediately one of them mentioned seeing me at a Moral Mondays rally. Yes, I’d gone, at the urging and in the company of my son, when I first moved to NC. Then this very nice man said he and his wife had attended the large, recent event held on Saturday to denounce the policies of the Republican-controlled state government. I smiled. Then blurted that my rallying, protesting, marching, holding signs, holding hands, and candlelight vigil-ing had achieved nada. Not only have I accomplished nothing for peace and justice, and how naïve I was to think I could, US foreign and domestic policy have become even more repressive.

There I was, at it again, no control, as I yapped on about the influence of multinational corporations whose voice is louder than ours, even if we amass in large numbers to shout that the status quo is intolerable. Yammered on about politicians, the twinning mainstream parties, the Koch brothers, and Art Pope. Blah, blah, blah-ing that Pope used his uber-wealth to deliver a draconian blah, blah, blah to NC and that no state is protected from this. But I didn’t stop there. I had to yap more with the why-I-won’t-vote explanation—that the system’s corrupt and to vote is participating in corruption.

Then, when I was asked my opinion of Elizabeth Warren, I said, “She supports the Israel Lobby.”

This, after only one drink.

It’s embarrassing. For many reasons but especially since I don’t have a solution. I just bitch. And I’m conflicted. Really. I have friends who adamantly disagree with me, who organize and risk arrest in pursuit of justice. If one of them called tomorrow and asked me to join her or him at a demonstration, I actually might go. Even though I know that politicians exploit these protests by saying, “Look, here’s an example of dissent. This is democracy in action.”

When I left D’s and walked across the hall to my place, I said, “You have to stop this wretchedness, accept the decisions others make about their own contributions.” Talking to myself.

I imagine my grandson, his innocence, my wanting to protect him forever, this child I will love with all my heart. I think of that look between parents, an expression so joyous, so electric, it sparkles. I’ll see this soon, feel it.

But I’m thinking too about mothers and fathers who’re waiting the arrival of a baby, worried about the effects of US WMD, DNA-changing depleted uranium, worrying that schools, homes, and playgrounds are battlefields. And I’m ashamed—ashamed that I am incompetent to do anything except express frustration with such intensity I’ve become un-fun.

I wonder too if my grandson will look at me when he’s old enough to comprehend, when I’m diatribe-ing, and say, “Shut the Grandma Fletcher up, Grandma Fletcher.”

Missy Comley Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email: missybeat@gmail.com.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
March 23, 2017
Chip Gibbons
Crusader-in-Chief: the Strange Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Michael J. Sainato
Cybersecurity Firm That Attributed DNC Hacks to Russia May Have Fabricated Russia Hacking in Ukraine
Chuck Collins
Underwater Nation: As the Rich Thrive, the Rest of Us Sink
CJ Hopkins
The United States of Cognitive Dissonance
Howard Lisnoff
BDS, Women’s Rights, Human Rights and the Failings of Security States
Mike Whitney
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate
John Wight
Martin McGuinness: Man of War who Fought for Peace in Ireland
Linn Washington Jr.
Ryancare Wreckage
Eileen Appelbaum
What We Learned From Just Two Pages of Trump’s Tax Returns
Mark Weisbrot
Ecuador’s Elections: Why National Sovereignty Matters
Thomas Knapp
It’s Time to End America’s Longest War
Chris Zinda
Aggregate Journalism at Salon
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail