I didn't want to take any part in the inauguration this weekend, either witnessing the pomp and circumstance or letting in any snark, hatred, anger and gloating on social media (and I'm sure there was a good share of unity, defiance and maybe even hope in there too but I knew I couldn't filter out the bad stuff.) I had big plans for staying away from it all and I was pretty successful except for two instances where America still managed to horrify me.
What worked: Working, watching "Hidden Figures" (inspiring, entertaining, easy on the eyes, family-friendly, although I noticed something interesting about a movie set in the early '60's: no smoking!) Also, a playdate with another family. Nothing distracts you from the big stuff like 4 kids under 5 tearing around your house finding ways to weaponize non-weapon toys.
What worked: Taking the baby to his baby music class (happy diverse community!) Having friends over, one of whom was a former teacher of Paul's, so it was great to see them and eat some cheese and drink some wine during the day.
What didn't: Watching "Divided States of America" episode of Frontline*. The part about the shooting at Newtown made me feel sick as usual. Reliving the fact that even after that event, 45 senators voted against background checks for commercial gun sales made me, maybe ironically, want to enact physical violence against said people. I needed a distraction so I took James for a walk while I wore a pussy hat a neighbor gifted me. This was a great way to strike up conversations with people who went to the Chicago march, which sounded like a very happy occasion. Afterwards a college friend came to stay with us, one who has kids my kids' age so not only did we get to catch up, she knew exactly how to talk to and hang out with my kids so they were completely smitten with her.
What worked: Stepping up my breakfast game for our houseguest and making some avocado toast with radish and mango. Watching a bit of SNL and helping Paul make a basement fort. Making these delicious meatballs from the Small Victories cookbook. Taking a bath while watching Friends with Paul entering halfway through and trying to delicately answer his questions during the episode where Rachel is having her baby and Chandler and Monica are trying to make a baby.
What didn't: After dinner Steve proposed we watch this American Experience* called "Command and Control" about an accident at a silo that housed the country's most powerful nuclear weapon and how basically every fear you've ever had about nuclear warheads is COMPLETELY FOUNDED. We're watching it right now as I write and that's the only way I can watch it, with one eye. At one point Steve went to get some cookies and asked if I wanted some and I was like "Nah I'm good." This was a weekend for trying to forget about what a bunch of white dudes in charge can possibly get up to. While it was an excellent show, it was not terribly reassuring.
I suppose if I really wanted to keep my bubble intact I could have avoided all TV over the weekend but what can you do. I got my wish and otherwise kept the weekend inauguration-free, social media free. Now it's back to work for me and for the rest of the country. I hope we can sort out which distractions are worthwhile (meatballs, cheese, wine, avocado toast, children, friends) and which are not.
*I don't typically make that big a point of watching PBS but I guess we should get it while we can before it gets taken away.