There are days my optimism fails me

Nov 20, 2021 | 36 comments

By Jan Dynes

Always the perpetual optimist, today her mind went rogue, betrayed her and took a nasty twist. She didn’t know quite what to do with these feelings, she seldom went down the rabbit-hole. Her ‘Rah, Rah Pollyanna’ had always served her well at seeing the silver linings. Today though she felt less able to ignore the things going on and questioning this world on fire.

So, she mused, life had kept right on moving, but she had hit a nearly total standstill, 20 months of reflections on her past, listening to so called experts continually changing information, revisiting some great memories to deal with lockdowns and also some horrendous nightmares watching the news daily. There were days when time had painfully crawled so slowly, yet over a year and a half that had transpired in barely a wink. 2020 and most of 2021 had been catastrophic. So many had died. So many denied it. Though in Cuenca things were quite normal, though still masked. Other places were resurging ad dire.

They (the multitudes) had given it many names, pandemic, Covid, conspiracy, virus, hoax, government control and more. Blame had been assigned in myriad directions. People all seemed so absolutely sure of everything, while inside they rebelled against their utter helplessness and sheer terror.

No one really knew anything for sure, but false bravado and denial was shouted, texted, tweeted and posted angrily everywhere. Rumbling and rioting consumed social media. Mass shootings barely got a mention, they had become commonplace. All decency seemed lost.  Watching the U.S. news and so many social media feeds. Of course, she had distance from all that now, a runaway expat in a serene and tranquil Ecuadorian paradise. She had the ability to turn it all off.

Mostly she did too, but there were days she was sucked into the vortex. January 6, she couldn’t believe her eyes or turn off the spectacle unfolding at the Capitol. Now finally some arrests were being made. There were other days too since the all year, but that one day had horrified her, the little slaps on the wrists to Seditionists didn’t seem enough. Moving away didn’t mean that she didn’t still mourn the country of her birth in such a state.

There was a deep cavernous vortex of political hatred, vax vs anti-vax battles, vicious racism was rampant, Blue vs Black, religious prejudice and all the filters of integrity, decency and kindness seemed somewhat lost. People said horrific things, gang mentality caused horrors in the streets and things like QAnon raised their ugly heads.

Was it Sodom and Gomorrah, should we build an Ark, or leave this planet? There are lots of talks about our planet dying, but still people wait and talk, but drive their gas guzzlers and leave every light on in the house and couldn’t be bothered to carry cloth bags to the grocery store. There were always the good people who do, but they seldom outweighed the selfish others. Those people who scoffed and figured they’d just colonize Mars. What kind of answer is that?

Countries falling, immigrants wandering thousands of miles without finding any refuge, doomed to fall in the cracks along so many borders that reject them.

Inside the country, tent cities pop up everywhere too; the invisible and uncared for suffer horribly, while people with full bellies and Mercedes Benz’s and Lexus’s drive right by them while cursing the eyesores, but never considering the homeless humans, hungry children or those dying without care. No, instead they drive into their heated garages, grill steaks on their custom outdoor BBQs and sit in their recliners in front of their big screen televisions, evading paying taxes, but tithe to their churches telling themselves they were very good people. The USA had become a country of the ‘have’ and the ‘have nots’ and they despise each other. The really lavish, book space travel now, the great divide between the shopping cart homeless and the spaceship wealthy has deepened to unimaginable lengths.

There are multiple Civil Wars competing to destroy and rip the country to shreds, talk of succession and unfathomable vitriol being flung between parties. It seems a little calmer under Biden, but the scepter of 45 still looms large….in 2024?

45’s followers still wreak havoc and Republicans and Democrats have remained the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s. How and when will the nation finally heal?

These were where her musings which led her to be deeply saddened this day. Where had her Pollyanna gone? She realized watching the news was always a big mistake.

Jan Dynes, the author of Refraction, Dottie’s Gift, Jamal’s Story, The River and Hear Our Voices moved to Cuenca on Easter four years ago and fell in love with the city and its people. She lives on a finca high upon a mountaintop, 25 minutes out of the city at 10,400 ft. She found her paradise above the clouds looking out over her beloved Cuenca which serves as her muse.


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