I think this winter can be characterized by SAPD, seasonal affective political disorder.
We can all agree that politics, the president, the new cabinet appointees and policy changes that are being tweeted and blasted through the media daily are the topics du jour. Frankly, it feels like there’s no escape. How do you spell RELIEF?
I know I’m not the only one who has become obsessed with multi-day feeds from the New York Times, The Washington Post, Twitter moments, political Instagrams, Snaps and Facebook notifications. Watching CNN before bed and waking up to “Morning Joe” is no longer mind expanding. It’s all become a long and exhausting treadmill of misery with no finish line.
And that’s when I reach for the phone. Talking with my girlfriend is always good for a little distraction and fun. But not lately. It seems neither of us can get off topic. Actually, joyful conversation requires vigilance these days. Most dinners, walks, and phone calls require someone to say, “Can we talk about something else beside politics…..Pleeeeease?”
So the other day I asked my friend if she would try a little Face Time experiment with me. We would have a 10-minute moratorium on anything political. No politics allowed! The rules are simple, anyone who veers back onto politics gets automatically and rudely interrupted and not allowed to finish their thought.
We started with books.
“Have you read the new book by Amor Towles, A Gentleman In Moscow?” I asked. It’s incredible.
“Yes, fantastic, I loved it and cannot stop thinking about Russia then and now,” she said.
“Can you believe how brilliantly the main character, the Count, moves through the 20th century from the rise of the Bolsheviks through Khrushchev? Amazing how he adapted but kept his charm, and wits despite the narrowing of his life in communist Russia…”
She interrupted me, “No…not safe — this is not a safe topic. That period in time feels too close to what is happening now… I’m talking freedom and privacy issues.”
“Whoa,” I blurted. “Time out.. That’s it .. Subject change.”
I continued, “Did you get your plane ticket to California?”
“Yes, but I thought it would be good weather and now I’m wondering if I should even go.”
“Ah, come on…I’m sure it will be fine, no one gets weather right.”
“Well, if you haven’t noticed Southern California could be under water soon. It hasn’t stopped raining there all month. This global warming thing is out of control…isn’t anyone paying attention?”
“Hold on…time out. Nope we are not going to talk about the weather. It’s off limits.”
“Did you see that new play, “Dear Evan Hansen?” We just saw it, really amazing! The playwright captured how isolating it is for high school kids in this era of social media. The music was catchy and it was brilliantly acted…”
“Time out,” she said. “We are not going to talk about social outcasts, misfits or anyone who isn’t mainstream in this day and age because I’m really enraged about the issue of tolerance around diversity…”
“Whoa, hey what are you drinking there. It looks amazing. Is it spiked? Ha ha. No seriously, did you make that cappuccino yourself? How did you get the foam to look so fluffy….yum I want one.”
She smiled and took a sip. “Now here’s something we can talk about as long as I don’t tell you it’s made with almond milk because I’m lactose intolerant and because I don’t want you to lecture me on my food issues.”
“No, no,” I laughed. “I think we are safe with almond milk. What else are we safe with?”
“Movies — The Oscars. Everyone loves the Oscars. We can talk about who will win.”
“Nope…too much controversy. Oscar boycotting…you know…next topic.”
“I had fake eyelashes put on.”
“You what…let me see, hold the phone closer to your face. They look awesome. Why did you do that?”
“I’m sick of my mascara smudging so I thought I’d try them out…”
“Insane, I may have to experiment.”
We both laughed.
“By the way, we can talk about sex. That’s fair in this game right?”
“Hmmmm. OK, but what would we talk about?”
We both laughed.
And then we found our groove. We filled the space with the stuff that didn’t make our necks stiffen.
I turned my Face Time camera onto my new couch. “You like it, I got a pull out for when the kids come to visit..”
And as we stared at our phones, an update flashed about Kellyanne resigning…
We both blurted out, “Fake or real?”