Students chalked many of the campus sidewalks a week ago with VOTE and our polling location. Their work is barely faded now, still fully visible, a reminder of what we were doing last Tuesday, though I cannot tap into the feeling of that day, the sense that This Would Be Over Soon and we would know by 11PM. Owing to that disconnect the chalking is less a reminder of a particular day and more its own new text. Seismic shifting of ground means no conceivable way back; a new reality came into being forcefully and fully. It cut the cords. So I look at this chalk the way I might look at a ruin. What was it to live in that world? Who were these people? It cannot be that I was one of them.
Because now I am someone else. Maybe I am not alone in this feeling: in addition to the horror there is focus and clarity, there is a sense of work to do. I catch myself using this sense of purpose as a comfort because I have that luxury, because I can take up the project as a well-meaning ally instead of a body on the line. To be clear: I am not asking to be a body on the line. I do not envy those positions. To be clearer still: I out myself as part of the problem, replicating the same self-focus that got us here in the first place. (This will be the best blog post. A blog post like you've never seen before. Big league.)
Maybe the good I can do is in publicly working this through, in disentangling on the page and then getting out of the way. This is just a chalk outline of who I was last Tuesday, and soon even that will be gone.