Pine Street Episode 224: Looking Back

I’m glad you’re back, Nellie. Same assignment, that year? What did your teacher think about last week’s interview? She said it was okay, huh? 

I’m pretty sure you’re not telling the whole story there, Nellie, but then again, I’m not telling the whole story of that year, either. How can I? It was like living a decade or a century.

Around the time of the election, the weather turned. Like a bad novel – “it was a dark and stormy night” kind of thing. It seemed like mother nature decided to put us in a kind of time-out, turn off the lights until we sorted ourselves out. 

We felt on the brink. We felt suspended between alternative futures: one in which things stayed normal, and one in which they would never be normal again. We imagined what others had felt at other times of upheaval: the world wars, the Spanish flu, the civil war. We hoped we were not like those people. We hoped we were overreacting. We hoped someone would swoop in and solve it all for us; and we knew, deep in our hearts, that no such hero was out there.

Your grandfather, myself, my sweetheart, our friends – we saw ourselves as a kind of band, like Robin Hood’s merry men. Robin who? That’s one for you to look up on your google device. One of the oldest archetypical stories of humanity: robbing from the rich to give to the poor.

I see that glint in your eye. No, we didn’t steal anything. Sorry to disappoint you there. But we did upset things. We made some people nervous. Some people tried to paint our early-morning food deliveries as sort of Trojan horses for political propaganda. Others claimed we were part of a conspiracy to keep people at home and afraid, make them weak and dependent, so government could control them. And a few even said we were a doomsday cult, preparing for the end of days.

You know, the usual human insanity. 

Yes, look up Trojan horse, too. I don’t have time to explain all my metaphors, Nellie. See? Our hour is up. 

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