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Countdown to Election Day


Tick tick tick. Here we go.

I don’t know about you, but I’m nervous as hell. Between the election, Gus, and the pandemic, I feel like my life is spinning out of control, amidst a black cloud of depression and fear.

There are increasing signs Trump could win. Troubling reports out of Florida that Latino voters are veering Republican and Black men aren’t voting. What?!? I have to assume those Republicans are the Cuban-Americans. I don’t know what it is with these Florida-Cubans. After sixty years they still can’t accept that their side lost the Cuban Revolution. Get over it, Cuban-Americans. As for Black men not voting, I can see why. It’s a case of “a pox on both their houses.” That’s an explanation, but it’s not an excuse. You still have two days to vote, Black men! Do it!

More troubling signs: More Republicans than Democrats voting early in key states. That’s exactly the opposite of what should be happening: Democrats are supposed to have the advantage in mail-in ballots, Republicans with voting-in-person on Election Day. And Trump! He seems to be everywhere at the same time, a devil-dervish out on the trail. It reminds me of Harry Truman’s campaign blitz in the final days of the 1948 election—and we all know how that turned out. Well, it ain’t over until it’s over. Biden is still ahead in the polls—but so was Hillary.

Then there’s Gus. I told you I wouldn’t write about his day-to-day deterioration and I won’t, except to say this: It’s very hard. My heart breaks when I gaze at my little guy, still doing okay despite the growing tumor on the side of his snout. He licks his paws, or dozes in his little bed in the sunshine, and all I can do is feel. Marilyn advised me yesterday not to feel guilty when I have Gus put down, and I told her I wouldn’t. I’m not big on feeling guilty.

As for the pandemic, well, what can I tell you? You’re going through exactly the same thing. I’m reconciled to having to wear a mask for the rest of my life. It’s been, what, eight months, going on nine, and I can hardly remember what pre-COVID life was like. Did we actually hug our friends, work out on the StairMaster two feet from someone else, cluster in movie theaters and bars?

I joined a men’s group, first time I ever did anything like that. A guy posted on Nextdoor that he was a father of two, divorced, in a nasty breakup with his girlfriend (she did it through a text)—which would have been bad enough, except that the pandemic made him feel even more isolated and lonely. He was taking a chance, he wrote, putting his feelings out there (men aren’t supposed to), but he wondered if other men were experiencing the same things, and if so, did they want to explore the possibility of a men’s rap group? I immediately responded. We’ve met three times now. If you ran into these guys in the normal course of events you’d think they were ordinary dudes. But in the privacy of a men’s group, their feelings come pouring out, and it blows my mind how epically sad and broken they are.

What a horrible time. I’ll watch the election results with my friends Lauren and Fernando here in the building. I’ll bring a nice bottle of bubbly and a pizza. This nausea in the pit of my stomach is damned unpleasant. Someone in my men’s group asked me what I’ll do if Trump wins, and I said, “Rely on my friends and family.” I’ll need them more than ever. When Gus passes, it will be the same thing. But ultimately, I’m alone, as are you, and you, and you. We come into this world naked and by ourselves, and that is how we leave it. (Well, unless the funeral parlor dresses you up.) Yes, I’m feeling rather fatalistic these days. Aren’t you?

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