Stream of Consciousness

Nothing makes me feel more like a stereotypical woman than driving. I often watch the YouTube video entitled This is Why Women Shouldn’t Drive to make myself feel a little better. Again, this is stereotypical. I can’t think of a better driver than Dana, which is one of the many reasons I miss being married to her. Even if she did turn into the football coach/driver’s ed teacher when I was driving, it was nice to have a second pair of eyes. The last time I drove Lindsay’s Yaris with Dana in the car was during Lindsay’s wedding weekend. Dana would have driven home, but she was incapacitated due to being bit on the foot by a “floating breast implant,” otherwise known as a Portuguese Man O’ War. I peed on it for her since she couldn’t reach it on her own, and when that didn’t work, we went to a convenience store and bought some chewing tobacco to make a paste, which actually did make things a lot better. So here’s a tip. If you’re going to the beach, make sure Red Man is in your first aid kit. Plus, trying to pee on Dana’s foot is when I realized what love should be.

I will say in my defense that I never got a speeding ticket or a red light camera ticket in my other Toyota, a Corolla gifted by Matt when he got his new Jeep. The Yaris comes with its own set of blind spots, and so do I. I have gotten two red light camera tickets since I’ve gotten my car, mostly because the lights are not over the road, but on the sides, sometimes behind trees and bushes so that I cannot readily see them. Plus, I was driving in an unfamiliar area and looking at my GPS a little too hard.

“I was caught” going 51 in a 35 in Takoma Park, but when I looked at my calendar, I realized that it probably wasn’t me. Unfortunately, they only got pictures of the license plate and not who was driving, so I didn’t have any recourse in the matter. I’d left my car in a garage that day and given my spare to the parking attendant. It didn’t matter. I didn’t have time to go after the parking garage, and the ticket was only $40. The red light cameras are $150 a pop, but they don’t accrue points on your insurance, so I just paid those as well. I also sent Lindsay a copy of my insurance and a statement that I was driving so she can prove to her insurance company that she wasn’t driving and therefore, the ticket shouldn’t count against *her* insurance. I hope it’s enough. Making things harder for her in her life is at the bottom of my to-do list, ALWAYS.

Right now, the car is registered in Lindsay’s name because she couldn’t find the title, and the last thing I wanted was for her to have tickets in DC, because eventually she’ll want to drive here. Because I go home and watch Netflix every night and eat peanut butter sandwiches, I had plenty of money to pay all three without breaking a sweat. It’s enough to wish I’d never taken on the responsibility of owning a car, but it for damn sure is nice that I don’t have to wait for the bus when it is butt-cold outside. The fact that it is supposedly spring in MD doesn’t mean a thing. When I arrived last year, in April, there was still snow on the ground. I still need to get secondary mirrors so that I can see beyond the length of the car, and now that I’ve had three tickets, it’s probably time to go to O’Reilly’s or similar. I meant to get them a long time ago, and just forgot.

When I said I was giving up my old stories for Lent in order to make room for new ones, this is not exactly the story I wanted to tell. Plus, I haven’t been able to truly let go of them anyway, so forgive me… I know not what I do.

Melissa has ghosted and the only thing I can think of as to why is that when I asked her for her e-mail addres, she got my real name and Googled me. If that is the case, good riddance. I don’t want to be friends with anyone who cannot accept me for who I am. It is also possible that with being a foreign service officer, she’s just off the grid. Some foreign service officers also work closely with the CIA, so it’s possible that she can’t reach out, not that she doesn’t want to. But we’ve had some good laughs, and it was fun while it lasted nonetheless. “Cojones de carne” will give me enough laughs for a lifetime. The only reason I can think of that she might not be involved with intelligence is that she is based here in DC and not overseas (at least for the moment). I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in Belgium, Syria, etc. Plus, ISIS is no joke.

She is dead now, so I’ll never know, but Dana’s Auntie Bert was a foreign service officer, stuck in Dien Bien Phu when it fell. She was old enough that the CIA had not been formed, and was still the OSS. I pretend that Auntie Bert was friends with Julia & Paul Child. None of this can be confirmed, because even if Bert was intelligence, it’s not like we’d ever find out… especially since she’s not a part of my family anymore…. another completely sad reality in my divorce from Dana.

My dad has always maintained that Station Chief in the Foreign Service is CIA. Dana’s dad says it’s more likely a janitor to go unnoticed. But again, nothing that can be verified because we aren’t supposed to know the names of those people, and I think it’s better that way. Most people would be terrified were Oz to be revealed. I am just sad that Auntie Bert died before I got to meet her. I don’t think she would have told me anything about her intelligence work had she done any, but I do think that her above-board stories would have been fascinating.

I’ve also never met my great uncle, Foster Fort, who supposedly died when his helicopter crashed during a coup in Africa. He is my father’s mother’s brother, another mystery in our family begging to be solved, but no way to find out anything because we’re not supposed to go down that rabbit hole. Because it’s been so long, I can imagine that one of the stars on the CIA wall for fallen officers is his.

Watching Covert Affairs is one of the most enlightening things I’ve ever done, because it gives a real insight into what goes on. Of course there is more in terms of the drama of television, but the offices look right. It kind of feels like you’re there. Valerie Plame is the technical advisor on the show, and it’s worth the Amazon Prime membership to check it out. One of the things I learned from the show is that the CIA does indeed have a Domestic Protection Division, but it’s not connected to the FBI. It’s in charge of watching international incidents that could end up on our soil… the only parallel I can draw is to The Blacklist and how Red Reddington stops international criminals in the US at times.

The FBI trying to hack into the iPhone is at the forefront of the news, and I think it will become the NSA’s next project. I do not know how I feel about this. I am of the mind that no one has private information anymore… it’s just information now. Using a bit of code to get into iPhones that may contain messages that plan terrorist attacks might be a good thing. I’ve always thought that in my own life, the best way to protect myself is just not to be interesting. But we are kidding ourselves if we don’t think that our phones already provide enough information for the police and the FBI to track us. Between GPS, triangulation on cell phone towers and wi-fi signals, we are pretty much on the grid all the time. For instance, the speeding ticket didn’t come from getting pulled over, but by some drone monitoring speed.

The lesson in that is just to let people honk at me and not go with the flow of traffic. Perhaps they have no idea that you can get speeding tickets in the mail… although I am proud of DC that they think your insurance going up is punishment enough. $40 is the cheapest speeding ticket I’ve ever had in my life. It doesn’t matter if the police are visible. You can’t catch the drones.

It’s amazing how much our society has changed even in the last ten years. With a Trump presidency, privacy will go out the window altogether. At this point, I do not see a lot of hope for Bernie except as Hillary’s running mate, which would be awesome because it would give Bernie enough political capital to run on his own. I also think that Bernie and Hillary would work well together, given the fact that they both believe in a lot of the same ideals. Hillary has been fighting for the Health Care Bill of Rights since Bill became president in 1992. I know that the Vice President is usually relegated to attending funerals, but if Frank Underwood is any indication, Vice Presidents can have a lot of power if they know how to use it. I don’t know if Bernie Sanders is politically astute enough to whip votes in the Senate, but let’s hope so.

But let me be clear. If it is not over for Bernie Sanders, I will vote for him, too. I just think that mathematically, the nomination will go to Hillary, and I can’t think of a better role-maker in terms of First Dude than Bill Clinton. That’s the thing about Bill and Hillary. Because Bernie is so absolutely leftist, I don’t think he will appeal to moderate voters. But lots of liberal Republicans (lonely at parties these days) and independent voters were swayed by them. I have always been a (Bill) Clinton Democrat. Someone who leans left and plays to the center, believing in reaching across the aisle to get it handled.

Let me also say that Mitch McConnell is a Delta Bravo, which is “douchebag” in military slang. Hold the fucking phone. You won’t consider a nominee for the Supreme Court unless the NRA approves? Who bought you, sir? We can tell. How many millions of dollars did they give you to make that assinine statement?

The NRA is the bane of this country’s existence, even baiting children into owning guns by making them come in all sorts of colors and “zombie themes.”

Let me also say for the record that I am not necessarily against this, as long as their parents are trained gun owners themselves and want their kids to learn gun safety at a young age so that by the time they are adults, they know the pain they are capable of inflicting on animals and humans alike. Especially with animals, they need to take the animal’s sacrifice into consideration and bless what they’ve shot, giving thanks for the food it provides.

And on that note, it’s time for me to go, but I will leave you with a piece of sage advice. I didn’t write it, but it’s still so true you can take it to the bank:

Never, never kill a mockingbird.

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