So this is not going to be about the election. Just to be different. I’m going to write about my four-year-old’s birthday, which was the Saturday after the election. An important day, Saturday, November 12. Certainly to him. Far more important than Tuesday, November 8. As far as he’s concerned a “Trump” is something you do after too many beans or, in his case, almond butter, which goes straight in at one end and out the other in a rectal tympani. He thought it hilarious that the word kept popping up on the radio, and I love the fact that in each case he’s visualizing an air bubble escaping from someone’s backside—he must think that to be the bedrock of our culture.
But, like I said, this not about the election. This is about us driving over the Golden Gate Bridge into Golden Gate Park on a beautiful fall day. About us stopping at Peet’s first for the obvious, packing some snacks, getting an early start so as we come down 101 we see downtown San Fran coming out of the fog, a fog which lifts just as we get rock star parking, because it’s early, because we prepared, all of this a reminder that there are other currencies.
Oh, and we have a dog. Arrived Thursday. Not a post-election knee-jerk move. It’s been in the works for weeks, which is not to dismiss the welcome distraction though the way he casually lifts his leg in order to allow his tongue to get to his balls serves as a constant reminder. He’s a Havanese, Bichon, terrier mix—the dog that is— and came to us via a local shelter. They think he’s about a year old—another remarkable parallel—and spent a lot of time adapting on the streets. It’s hard to imagine him surviving, but there it is, the unfathomable miracles of nature, and now he’s about to get his first romp around Golden Gate Park, not to mention his first trip on a Stow Lake pedal boat, or any boat come to that, unless he was some variant of stowaway. Same for my four-year-old. This his birthday extravaganza—being pedaled around Stow Lake looking at ducks and meandering turtles, crayfish, waterfalls, pagodas, arched bridges…all under dappled sunlight while sipping on a mix of ginger apple juice and water and slipping grapes sliced into quarters into his eager mouth—positively Elysian.
After this, we walk around the island to get to the top of the waterfall, another first, and a thing of beauty in itself, except for the pipe emitting a layer of sewage scum into the middle pool—a timely reminder, but also a reminder that every bucolic scene possesses its own sting. There’s no place to hide from it, but, then again, as with sewage, it’s a thing of our own making. Nobody put forward reforming the electoral college in Obama’s first two years when the Democrats controlled the world. Why reform one of the most antiquated electoral formats in the first world when it’s working for you? I’m not a history professor but as far as I can tell the electoral college survived because of slavery. Even the most rudimentary online search reveals that in 1787 when James Wilson proposed direct national election of a president, James Madison responded that “The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.” Meaning, slaves were not allowed to vote, but under an electoral college they counted as part of the state population and, thus, impacted the number of electoral college votes allotted to each state.
But, anyway, I digress. From the wonders of Golden Gate Park back across the bridge, by this time embedded in traffic, but no worries, cause we’re satiated by the wonders of urban nature and we can see all the sailboats. Then, to home, and lunch of hotdogs and beans—more Trump jokes—followed by the requisite singing of Happy Birthday and the vanilla hazelnut chocolate cake from the gluten-free bakery, because he loves a gluten-free cake. This followed by a spot of TV, cause it’s his birthday and an early night. Pretty much the perfect day in a four-year-old’s head when you throw in the new toys and the time spent on the living room floor playing with said new toys while scolding new, adorable dog for treating new toys as chew toys. As I said, perfect. And nothing like Tuesday, though, as I promised, we’re not talking about that.