man white gun

Tbh the father-daughter dynamic between D.Va and her actual father, the only person IN THE WORLD she can’t beat at Starcraft (presumably he’s the one who taught her to play in the first place) is a much more interesting dynamic to explore than “D.Va views a middle-aged stranger, a grumpy white man with a gun, as a father figure”

the cishet white man fires the gun, intending to kill the female protagonist. his aim sucks, just like everything else about him. the stray bullet hits an innocent lesbian standing nearby. everything stops. there’s an expression of utter shock oh her face. and then…

“WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!” she screams as she reveals a bulletproof vest under her jacket. “I COULD HAVE DIED!”

she quickly disarms and pacifies the man.

“why are you wearing a bulletproof vest?” the protagonist asks, stunned.

“well, duh. i am a lesbian who just had a sex scene with the woman i love like 10 seconds ago. it seemed like a logical thing to do.”

“lmao tru,” the protagonist laughs as the end credits start to roll.

showrunners all over the world are enraged. what a plot twist.

“we didn’t see THAT coming!” they cry.

4

Every Tuesday my parents go to Austin’s Bar & Grill with 25 or more other old people. My parents start talking about what they’re going to order on the Wednesday after they were there on Tuesday. Sometimes it’s going to be salad and onion rings. Other times it’s hamburgers and, perhaps, green beans. They tip bigger than they would because others in their group tip smaller than they should. It’s something to do when you don’t have all that much left to do.

On their way to Austin’s, they will pass Garmin, a complex that started out small and just keeps getting wider and taller. My dad worked at King Radio for most of his adult life. It was founded by Ed King, a K-State graduate who built a company that became the gold standard for small aircraft navigational equipment. I worked there during the summers when I was in college where I shipped more 170B transponders than you could imagine. (Coincidentally, Mr. King paid for the International Student Center on the KSU campus and this is where Pete took me on our first “date” where he ate the food in the refrigerator that was not his.) 

Anyway, when he was at King Radio, Dad had a casual friend named Gary. They played softball together, talked about their young kids, got their hair cut by the same downtown barber. Gary and an Asian engineer at King went on to combine their names, Gar and Min, and formed the company Garmin. If my dad had been younger and less close to retirement, he would have gone to Garmin in those days when it was neither wide nor tall. Sometimes, as they drive to Austin’s for tacos and french fries, Mom and Dad mention Gary and wonder how things might have been had Dad been in on the ground floor.

Anyway, Austin’s and Garmin collided two days ago in my hometown. As you might have heard, two Indian engineers headed across the street from Garmin to Austin’s to watch what every sports bar in Kansas would be watching—the KU Jayhawks go for their 13th straight Big 12 conference title. A drunk, known to the Austin’s people, kept hassling the two men and was kicked out of the bar. He later returned, shouted something like “Get out of my country” and shot them. Another young man, who would have had no idea that he was going to become a hero that day, stepped in to help. One Indian was left dead, the other was injured along with the hero. Another day. Another angry white man with a gun. Another dead young man. Another time of us all saying we never thought it would happen in our town. Until it did.

And we’ll all begin the rituals that we’ve become so good at. A few days ago, I looked for a GoFundMe page so that I could donate to the desecrated Jewish cemetery in Missouri. Today I will donate to the GoFundMe for the Austin’s bar victims. Young kids and moms and teen girls will bring flowers to put outside the bar. Neighbors of the shooter will say that they knew their neighbor was a bit off but they never expected this. We will mourn the loss of a fellow human who was trying to make his way on this big earth. His body, paid for with GoFundMe money, will make its way home to his family. We are just really really good at this in America. Practice makes perfect.

Anyway, last night, with those words “get out of my country” that have been given more acceptance by Trump bouncing around in my head, I went to the town hall meeting at the church at the end of my street. Senator Jerry Moran was not there. To be completely fair, and I’m trying to be in these trying times, this was not an organized meeting. Moran had not set up this town hall meeting. He had not said he would attend the meeting. Rather, organizers set it up and invited him. Even on the website, it said that no one knew if Senator Moran had seen the invitation and no one knew if he would attend. So I can’t fairly say that he ducked out of meeting that he had never set up.

But his presence or absence isn’t really the story here. I live in Johnson County, Kansas. It’s not totally red like most of Kansas. It’s definitely not blue. But, still, parts of it voted for Hillary. Others voted for the candidates who could not win. If you add those together, more in Johnson County voted for someone not named Trump than voted for Trump. It’s not a purple area yet, but it’s definitely lavender. Olathe, though, is a red dot in that purple. It’s really red. Like maybe scarlet. And, still, the parking lot was packed. Perhaps with as many cars as would be there on a Sunday. It was dark and you could see the headlights of cars driving up and down aisles trying to find a place to park. 

My high school friend Verneda was there. We talked about the meanness that we hadn’t known existed in America. We talked about the night Hillary lost. We talked about how all this political activism was something new. We agreed that we needed to keep it up even when it was hard.

The meeting room was full. The overflow crowd had spilled into the lobby. No one in the lobby could hear the speakers inside. What most surprised me was the demographic of those there. I had expected young people in jeans and sweatshirts on this unseasonably warm evening. I’d thought there might be some moms there. They were there. But also there were so many old people. Like really old people. And they, the old people, were the ones in charge. One bent-backed lady with silver hair kept shushing those of us in the overflow area because she wanted to hear the speakers. She looked like those women who always run the polling stations. Those women who show up, do their job, get it done, and go home with no thanks. I repeat. The majority of the people there were old. I was—-surprised.

These old people had us fill out 3x5 cards with messages to be hand delivered to Moran’s office. They had a whiteboard where you could write a message to Moran, take a picture of yourself standing next to it, and as the old women told us, post it to social media. Social Media? These suddenly tech savvy ladies and gentlemen were telling these teens how to use social media to ferment discord.

When I was a teen, there was a song by Buffalo Springfield that I loved and, when I hear it, I remember Vietnam and halter tops and Jesus freaks. The song said:

“There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.”

That’s how it felt last night in this church lobby in scarlet red Olathe where I mingled with angry riled up Kansans. There’s something happening here. And Senator Moran and others would do well to pay attention.

A brief list of things that have made me feel like shit lately (you know, in addition to literally everything happening politically, rampant sexual assault inside and outside of Hollywood, and the omnipresent threat of nuclear war):

– A coworker brought donuts to a meeting on Halloween and then one girl refused to eat one because she had been too “bad” lately and the most senior person at the meeting, the boss of everyone there, acted concerned and disapproving and said “you were doing so good before… what happened?” and the girl had to “explain” her “bad behavior” (ie. not dieting well enough) and then the boss asked another of her employees how much weight she’d recently lost in a way that made it clear she had to share this information with everyone at the table, which she did, and everyone oohed and aahed approvingly and no one else ate a donut.

– The past three times I’ve gone to a movie theater, I’ve been either too scared to enter the room, or asked Ben if we can leave before the movie started because I have this deep, intense foreboding that a white man with a gun is going to come in and start shooting everyone.

– My boss’s boss’s boss decided to strike up a rare conversation with my colleague and I about what a menace the homeless people in our neighborhood are and how “firm” he is with any who try to enter his business to use the bathroom. Another colleague chimed in to laugh about how hilarious it is when another manager confronts a homeless person washing themselves in the bathroom and forces them to admit why they’re there.

– A guy I went to high school with, who is still a distant friend of friends, posted a video on facebook of a half-naked girl at some sort of frat party (I didn’t watch the video), and every comment was about how she would be someone’s slut wife some day, how this was the reason they didn’t want daughters, how this girl would eventually post about the experience as sexual assault when it was clearly her fault, how ludicrous it would be to reply that it’s her body and she can do what she wants with it.

– I know it’s not my job, but it still feels like my job to fix the problems between my parents, even now, 21 years after they first split up. I am still the mediator, even when I say nothing, I live with the guilt for not fixing what they’ve broken. Even my neutrality feels like choosing a side.

– My IBS is getting worse and there are new symptoms and sometimes it’s hard just to get through the day. Sometimes I kneel on the bathroom floor in my office building with debilitating stomach cramps and pray no one comes in, because we’re not allowed to take sick days without a doctor’s note. I’m too anxious to go to a doctor because last time I went to a doctor he told me my abdominal pain was a pulled muscle, and I started to argue with him, to insist it was not a pulled muscle, and he said “what do you want me to do?” and then I started to cry, so I left. It turned out that I had c. difficile, a potentially life-threatening infection.

– My grandma – my brilliant, funny, artist grandma who was so thrilled for me when I moved to New York and used to tell me about her life as a flight attendant and art teacher and mother of six – doesn’t really know me anymore, and doesn’t sound like herself when she talks, and doesn’t exactly have a place to live because all of her children together can’t afford the kind of care she needs.

Last night, for no reason, I started crying uncontrollably and when Ben asked me what was wrong I just kept saying “I don’t know, I don’t know,” and I really didn’t! I had no idea. I thought, maybe it’s my hormones. Maybe I’m about to get my period. I just realized how much of this stuff I’m dealing with and compartmentalizing and stuffing further and further down, like my mind is a trash compactor.

Some nights, I really wish I had a friend here. I just want to get a margarita with another woman and commiserate about how fucking scary and dark things seem, how all the worst people I know are in the highest positions of power. I want to tell all the women I know that I’m here if they’re not ok, if they feel crushed by the weight of an unnameable responsibility, if they cry some nights after work and can’t pinpoint the reason. It’s happening to a lot of us, I think.