So how are things?

I don’t think I realized I hadn’t blogged in almost a month. Then again, it doesn’t seem like there’s that much to say.  Am I sticking to my resolutions? Sure. Are the things of the wider world getting better? Not really. Am I still struggling with where I’ve landed in life and how to make the stones worth counting? Absolutely. 

In keeping with the goals for 2015, though, I’m going to try pushing through and see what comes of it.  Sometimes that works better than others, but anyway, here is a post just for the sake of trying not to let it lie fallow for a month. So what to talk about?

Japan.  Japan is coming in April, and I’ve been researching options for internet access while there.  Turns out that Japan is so much the opposite of the US for mobility that Wi-Fi is hard to come by, since your cell service is pervasive and reliable and strong.  So while my original thought was to get a SIM in the Moto X, it’s looking more and more like the preferred option will be to rent one of those mobile internet widgets (the kind that acts as a wi-fi hotspot and gets its connectivity from the 4G network – basically like the internet service on a VTA light rail) and take the iPhone 6 in airplane mode with wi-fi turned on.  Which would actually probably be just fine, in light of the fact that we’re unlikely to ever be further than wi-fi range apart on this trip (an actual guided tour, which is the way to go when you don’t speak or read the language and can’t sound it out).

Nevertheless – and despite the fact that Android 5 Lollipop STILL hasn’t made its way over yet – I still find myself drawn to the Moto X. Sure, it doesn’t have the email or media or messaging I want (SIMSme notwithstanding). But it’s mine.  It doesn’t belong to work, and I only have to pay for service when I need it, and it’s not tied to anything contractually, and it’s unlocked, and it was actually slapped together in America (okay, in Texas, but that’s practically America), and they nailed the handfeel and micro-USB is an industry standard everywhere, and this phone feels…

It feels like something else.  It feels like it fell out of a different path, one where I not only don’t have the Apple ties but don’t even necessarily live in the tech sector. A different world where politics is center-seeking and things are made in this country and the American Dream isn’t a luxury good and people who are different are approached in goodwill rather than fear.  A world that doesn’t suck the way 2014 did.

Something was different last year, and if I had to put a finger on it, I’d say it’s when we all collectively realized that there may not be a happy ending.  Stupid keeps winning, ignorance keeps winning, racism and bigotry keep bubbling up even as we get traction on gay marriage, the climate keeps changing, the drought goes on, Congress gets more worthless and the media that covers it gets even more so, sports becomes ever more rigged and gimmicked and sports media gets ever more shrill and predictable, and the tech boom shoots money out of a firehose at complete assholes while everyone else tries to scrape by in a world where a suburban 3-bedroom townhouse can cost a million dollars.

I’ve said it before, but as bad as the old days were, at least you knew who the enemy was.  Look, the Nazis are exterminating people and the Japanese Empire is bombing us. Either we fight or things will be worse. Look, Jim Crow is backed by law and by terrorists who will bomb churches to make it stand up. Either we fight or we let the rednecks write off a third of the South to sub-American status.  When the enemy is Hitler or Bull Connor, it’s a lot easier to rally and fight and know you’re doing the right thing.

Now? Now it’s becoming apparent that small-town America (and not-so-small-town-America in some places) has a police force that’s armed itself to the teeth and thinks it’s patrolling Fallujah and they’re going to shoot and what are you going to do about it, call the cops? And half the country is willing to let them, because they’re only shooting colored people so what do they care?  People think that climate change is a fraud because all they think of is “global warming” and every time it snows in New York in January that’s proof that Al Gore is fat, and meanwhile Northern California goes the entire month of January without a drop of rain and the drought extends into its – third? Fourth year? And in the meantime people don’t seem to remember where their fruits and vegetables come from and wonder why produce is going up.  And Saudi Arabia ramps up oil production and because gas goes back to $2.30 a gallon, people are happy to go back to driving and filling up the SUV and don’t think about the fact that the country that produced most of the September 11 hijackers is suddenly in a state of political flux that could leave it highly unstable.

So I guess that’s why I haven’t been blogging. I don’t particularly want to engage with the world right now.  I want to punch out, take refuge in a fireplace on TV with the Christmas tree still up and my sweetie snuggled up nearby. Or in a quiet dark dive bar where I’m the youngest person around by at least ten years. Or in a dell near Weathertop a few days out of Bree with Black Riders no more than a day behind. Or in Las Vegas, or Tahoe, or Japan.

Sometimes, you just need an escape.