the sugar high that good news gives
Wednesday, November 9 2022
Yesterday had been the midterm elections, and I'd been so anxious about them in the preceding weeks that I had to stop following the news. It's something I've done now and then for years whenever the news gets too depressing, and I find it really helps my mood to avoid it. Of course, I'm embedded in a world where the news occasionally has consequences beyond just making me depressed. As a relatively well-off white male, though, the biggest of those consequences is the effect of the news on Gretchen's mental state. Like me, bad news tends to make her depressed, and I don't see her going on news fasts in response. Like me, she's been increasingly anxious as the midterms approached, especially as the menace of inflation (which had seemed to recede back in August) came roaring back, at least as a story in the news, in September and October. Since we earn a lot more than we spend, inflation hasn't had any effect on our lifestyle. But it's apparently affected others, making Republicans more likely to vote while depressing the vote for Democrats. It's well known that people always blame the party in charge for whatever happens on their watch, and while inflation is affecting every economy in the world right now, Republicans can plausibly say that if things were done their way there would be no inflation. The fact that their actual ideas for fighting inflation amount to tax cuts for the rich, a policy that doesn't have a huge base of support (and would only make inflation worse), is lost on a lot of voters. There have, of course, been other stories affecting how the electorate feels: the end of Roe vs. Wade, a Fox-News-hyped "crisis on the border," the ongoing Fox-News-manufactured "crime wave," and the fascist menacings of Donald Trump being the most important.
At some point early this morning before dawn, both Gretchen and I were awake at the same time. I would've preferred that she not turn my thoughts to the outcome of the midterms, but that was what she was eager to talk about. Fortunately, it was good news: John Fetterman had defeated the Dr. Mehmet Oz, the teevee snakeoil salesman clawed up from obscurity by Oprah Winfrey (who disowned the monster she'd unleashed shortly before the election). Later there would be bad news: J. D. Vance (an even bigger phony than Mehmet Oz with a disturbingly anti-democracy worldview) would win the Senate seat in Ohio, Ron DeSantis would be re-elected Governor of Florida, and our own southern New York House district would be won by Republican Marc Molinaro. But things weren't turning out as badly as we'd feared.
Still, I continued avoiding the news as much as possible throughout the day. Maybe it's best to ignore news all the time, even when it's good news, since the sugar high that good news gives you is just going to lead to another crash. On the other hand, it's good to be an informed citizen. But getting updates every ten minutes is psychologically detrimental and doesn't add anything to the understanding of the issues in the news. Despite my deliberate avoidance of the news, some crept through, and by the end of the day I had to treat myself to some late night comedy mocking Republicans for the fizzling of their promised "red wave." At that point control of both the House and the Senate were still undecided.
I went out and got another backpack load of firewood at noon today. It was probably around 80 pounds, though I didn't weigh it. I had to split the pieces before they'd fit in the woodstove, and I put them away in the woodshed as part of a push to replenish its depleted stores.
At the end of the day, I wanted to buy myself the ability to drink alcohol. So I painted a tiny panting on one of Gretchen's old expired PETA membership cards, which had her name embossed on its surface like a credit card. The card's design included a rabbit that I left in the image. I covered everything else with a green paint and then painted a tiny portrait of Gretchen in the available space. I liked the results.
With a roadbeer in hand, I drove out to Lowes to get a few more supplies to help with my plan to jack the far end of the hinged dock out of Woodworth Lake. This included a stout steel bar to fit in the hinge lugs, which would give me a solid attachment point to pull upward. I also got some quick links large enough to go around that bar. I hoped to maybe find a human-powered come along using a long cable to help pull the fully-floating section of dock ashore, but those sorts of things can only be bought on Lowe's website.
After that, I returned cans for deposit and got some groceries at the Hannaford on 9W. Among the things I bought were three bottles of antacids, two bottles of diphenhydramine, "fresh cut" Delmonte canned green beans, Delmonte canned mushrooms, three packages of spaghetti, a twelve pack of Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA, and four separate pints of vegan Ben & Jerry's icecream.
My painting today on Gretchen's old PETA card.
Me on Lowe's anti-shoplifting camera in auto-checkout. This is the only place I've ever been busted for shoplifting. Click for a wider view.
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