It seems that my unfashionable subject matter has suddenly become topical. I am amazed to tell you that the Times Literary Supplement is planning to publish the essay I wrote last week about the rural white working class. Who knew that this would be part of the fallout of a Trump presidency? Pardon me while I grind my teeth into powder.
Yesterday I was feeling overwhelmed by a sense of paranoia about what, apparently, I am destined to do these days: that is, talk to people who don't want to talk to each other. Such conversations are anguish--full of missteps and errors, wormholes into rude or flippant or furious reactions. Still, as a naturally clumsy person, I'm used to falling into tar pits. If you're the kind of person who enjoys superstition, you could blame it on the fact that I'm a Libra and thus cannot stop second-guessing everything. Those goddamn scales get me into a lot of trouble.
I've never felt afraid up here before. I've felt like a weirdo every day, but I've always had the sense that people forgave me for my peccadilloes--all of those books everywhere, no TV in the living room, awkward small-talk during Little League games, plus she gives our kids hot cocoa that doesn't come out of those little Swiss Miss packets. The day after Trump was elected, Tracy at the garage gently washed my car windows without being asked. I took it as a kindness, maybe even as a conciliatory gesture. Probably I was wrong.
Mary, who runs the transfer station, told Tom how sorry she was that we were moving. "We will all miss you," she said. But she said that before the election. Now, who knows?