I’m going to whisper this, because it’s so monumental, I don’t want to jinx it: Bean wore jeans to school today.
Levi’s 501 button-fly original jeans. I know that’s not even worth mentioning for most kids, but this is a child who, at 14, has never (ever) worn anything except the softest sweatpants (no bumpy seams!), snug velvety leggings (which have morphed into athletic compression tights as he’s gained teenager size) and shorts. That’s it. He’s never worn any other type of pants.
He used to cry if his pants were “flappy” and couldn’t tolerate anything that tickled his skin. Last week, Jon and I found a pair of Levis on clearance in his size. They were dyed a bright turquoise, which made me think perhaps he’d give them a shot. I left them on his bed, and left him alone. Last night, while I was in my office, I overheard Jeffrey explaining how to manage the button fly and showing him how to fasten them up. I held my breath, but said absolutely nothing.
This morning, he got up, and instead of putting on his fancy pants, or his party suit, or his tights, he put on his 501s. He came into my room and asked me to help him cuff them, and then went happily off to toast his English muffins like he’s done 5,110 other mornings. He did wear a tie-dyed shirt—I mean, we can’t be getting too crazy.
In other news, I am in the stage of writing a book where the writer does everything humanly possible to avoid sitting down and starting. Jon called me out on it earlier in the week. “I see you’re trying not to write.” he observed, as I was fixating on fixating the under-counter cabinet lighting in the kitchen. Jerk.
He’s right. There’s a new book fermenting, and I don’t want to do it. Why is it so painful? Why does it have to get to the point where not writing it hurts more than finally giving in and putting my butt in the chair? Be a writer, they said. It’s so much fun, they said.
Speaking of, I am the guest speaker at a book club this Saturday night. If you’re in the DC/Metro area and want join us, message me. (this actually is one of the fun parts of being a writer…)
So government shutdowns suck if you’re a federal employee. There’s a crap ton of misinformation and propaganda out there about government jobs, and it’s mostly wrong. When the government shuts down, it hurts the lowest paid workers the most. Congress all still gets paid, but the janitors, cafeteria workers, office assistants, secretaries, cooks, and even the regular white collar jobs? They don’t get paid. They may eventually get paid when whatever they are fighting over passes, but there is no guarantee. There is also no way of knowing how long a shutdown will last. How many of you could make it three weeks on no income and still honor all of your commitments and bills? It’s incredibly stressful and the people on the bottom rungs are the ones who are hurt the most.
In this shutdown this last weekend, I know people who had to come home from vacations they’d planned a year out, because all scheduled leave is canceled and recalled in a shutdown. Transit and airport employees don’t make a lot (salaries are public record, look it up) but they had to buy last minute tickets home to report for duty, on their own dime, to a job they didn’t know if they would be paid to do. Consider that. Think about what that would do to your finances and family budget. If they had not come back immediately, they would have been AWOL and could have been arrested. That’s what a government shutdown means on the ground to regular workers.
It’s not all mid-six-figure salaries and fat cats. It’s blue collar workers living paycheck to paycheck trying to take care of their families. And it’s millions of them.
We’ve got to find a better way move this country forward.
I support CHIP fully, and I am grateful it’s been funded for 6 more years. It’s the only civil thing for a nation as rich and broad as this one to do. I fully support DACA. I support Dreamers. I want our representatives to do right by these people and protect them under the law. Do it. Do it now. And don’t roll anyone else over with the bus while you do it.