As though hit by a blast from a giant hair dryer, my hometown of Somerville is melting. The snow is first to go, but I can’t help but notice how much of the infrastructure is crumbling, too. Roads, for example, which have developed some truly impressive potholes. The front steps of our apartment building, which have buckled under the weight of the snow. Sidewalks. Small dogs that have been stuck in snowdrifts for months, surviving only because batty old ladies bring them kibble whenever the constant blinding snowstorm abates. I do believe that ice may be all that’s keeping some of this stuff together. (Especially the dogs, who have adjusted to their new existence and would be traumatized by release.)
My guess is that this summer will be at least as ridiculously overwrought as this winter has been. Some junk science and a horde of squalling liberal fascists suggest that we now live on a planet of constant meteorological opera. But, as Nostrodamus once said, that’s bullshit. What is opera to me? I don’t even speak Italian.
In other news, today I pick up our first farm share of…THE SPRING. It will include beets and carrots and rosemary and apples and a bunch of other stuff that I will cram into the slow cooker tonight while I read another book for Sidekicks, write another article for ForeWord, whip up a library-themed article for to enter a competition, finally catch up on my work for No Flying No Tights, and blast into the upper atmosphere with the sheer power of my awesome. And, of course, I’ll catalog about a million books before all that. No biggie.
I just wrote a 1,000 word piece on the death of Eric Garner, and WordPress bugged out and I lost it. Here’s the jist:
Institutionalized discrimination will bring our country down.
Boston protested last night. I’m hoping it will happen again. Real change needs to occur, obviously, but more than that, we need to sustain change. Congresspeople must be made aware that nobody wants any more black men to die at the hands of white police officers. Police chiefs need to be made aware that there is a problem with their hiring processes.
And if you feel like you can sit by because it doesn’t affect you…consider the morbid history of what happens to people who ignore minorities’ rights violations, especially by people who are armed, organized, and in a position of authority.
It’s that time of year again. I’m proud to say that I’ll be voting this afternoon, not necessarily for a governor of Massachusetts – I though Duval Patrick did a pretty good job and Martha Coakley is a no-brainer – but for the questions. Here’s a rundown:
1. Gas tax
NO. No means “tie the gas tax to inflation” here. Seriously, do we want our potholes filled or not? Those pothole-filling machines run on gas too, y’know.
2. Bottle Bill
YES makes nonalcoholic, noncarbonated beverages subject to deposits and returns. There’s a little noise about this, though it’s being mostly outshined by Question 3, but the thing I have heard nobody mention is that bottles are the main source of income for a large percentage of the homeless population. The environment’s an extremely worthy cause, but has anyone thought about diverting that extra money to fund shelters?
Yet certain busybodies continue to believe that because they have a firmly held personal belief against casinos, nobody should get casinos. There are all kinds of dumb pseudo-economic excuses for this attitude, but it sounds like it comes down to the all-American desire to sermonize people who are trying to have fun.
A NO vote means let them have the fucking casinos. Also, stop trying to undermine the democratic process with loopholes and backhanded legalistic trickery. Are you not adults?
4. Employee sick time
So due to circumstances I have no interest in sharing with you nosy fucking bastards, I am losing my job at the end of December. Not that it’s much of a secret anymore – they posted the ad yesterday. I’m OK with it, I just wish they’d mentioned it was going up, you know? Anyway, the thing that has typified my short time at this job has been the total lack of sick time. I had about one day of personal time that I used on a family get-together – the only time I’d get to see my dad and sisters this year, as well as the last time my now-fiancee, then-girlfriend would have a chance to assess firsthand the family she was marrying into. It had been in the works for eight fucking months, so no way was I backing out. Then, obviously, a month later, I got sick and had to take a day unpaid. Then, because I couldn’t afford not to work, I went to work sick and spent the next month and a half trying to recover on my feet. It. Sucked.
The worst thing is that I may run into exactly the same situation if I get another library job: sic months of probationary, wherein I had damn well better not get sick.
Keep in mind that I’m in a position where I can even take an unpaid day. If you’re living on tips, or if your employer is an asshole who will fire you if you “don’t show up” after trying to call in sick (for sick time you don’t have,) then you know how much less wiggle room you have.
YES means every employer in Massachusetts will have to give people sick time. How is this even a question? If you vote NO, you have no soul.