Before I drank the mule:
I took a morning run in the delicious, freaky, late-November warmth, and as I felt the calm wind rush against my face, I wondered how the air could feel so comfortable after such a treacherous night in America.
I went to work and braced myself for the black-and-white, clear-cut judgments from my super liberal coworkers, knowing that even though I was outraged, too, I wouldn’t as wholeheartedly agree with their convictions that people on the wrong side of history are pure evil, because really, I just want everyone to love each other, as naive and impractical as that may be.
I worried that my skirt was too short to be office-appropriate because it was, though it hadn’t seemed so short at home in the mirror.
I was shocked when no one at the office even mentioned Ferguson; were these people who claimed to be so progressive only insistent on demanding human rights when it came to abortion laws?
I thought about how I was glad I didn’t have children in this screwed-up place–but that’s not really true, because the world has always been part crap, part gorgeous, and though we don’t have to accept all of the crap, we also can’t wait to procreate until it’s perfect.
I fought to get a department-wide pizza party reward set for the day before our holiday party, because that somehow mattered to me in that moment.
I constantly refreshed my Twitter feed to keep up on the latest journalistic developments of the story, hoping for something that might immediately spark a real outcome so we could all start fixing this broken society together.
I found my way to the swanky, pretentious lounge a friend-of-a-friend had deemed post-work-worthy, where the cocktails were $10 during happy hour, a detail I spent an inordinate amount of time resenting.
I watched as the friend-of-a-friend’s friends repeatedly congratulated one of the girls for her engagement, as if she had done something as impressive as getting a nation of people with difficult histories and conflicting presents to show compassion for one another.
After I drank the mule–with bourbon, not the traditional vodka:
I wanted people on my Instagram feed to go back to posting pictures of puppies and food instead of peaceful protests, and I realized that was a gigantic privilege I had–to have the choice to turn the madness off for a while.
I inadvertently ran into the path of one of the protest marches, but my friend didn’t hear me announce that fact and it wasn’t until 3 blocks later that she noticed all the people walking in the street.
I recalled the time in college I’d joined a rally for peace, and it had been such a thrilling experience because it was something I’d never done before and I was young and making a difference–though I wasn’t making a difference, and I couldn’t help but wonder if these people marching for Ferguson were making any discernible difference either.
I mulled over whether any single person speaking or acting out against an inhumanity thought they could actually do anything to change the situation, and concluded that’s probably how people in Nazi Germany justified not doing anything to prevent the atrocity.
I tasted a beer called Radiant Pig Gangster Duck.
I got an HBO Go password.
I wondered what weapons I had at my disposal.
I ate a turkey burger.
I laughed over how ineffective a guy was at flirting with me via text.
I realized my weapon is the written word–it may not be much, it may not always come out the right way, it may not, all on its own, do the immense job of convincing the world we all belong to each other, but it is the only thing I can see that I possess, from sitting in this position of privilege and ignorance, that can possibly contribute toward the massive movement necessary to adjust the path of humanity toward a sunnier clearing.
I went to bed wondering if there’s a way to get the people who think lamenting an injustice means condemning those who refuse to see it, and the people who think a system that sometimes works must be respected above human life, to come together and look at each other’s souls with something other than darkness in their hearts.
I woke up the next day not knowing the answer but believing quiet words, while not nearly as flashy and fear-striking as guns and fire and Facebook-friend-cutting, may be at least as useful a way to start healing the sorrow as any other.