Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sorry, Trayvon.

I didn't realize until this morning how depressed I've been about the George Zimmerman trial. I had thought about writing about the verdict, but Emily Bazelon and John Oliver already said what I wanted to say, and better than I could say it.

It seemed that everyone I knew--in real life and on Facebook--was either silent about the matter or profoundly depressed. A co-worker confided that he had been crying about it all week. A childhood friend asked how she was going to explain this to her children. A friend of my parents who lives in Florida and used to work in the legal system spoke of the legal climate in Florida.

In the face of this, I felt I had nothing to share. Nothing new to add to the conversation.

And yet it felt as if the world was despairing, and I retreated to the habits of depression: watching TV, playing repetitive games like solitaire, disrupting my sleep cycles, forgetting to charge my iPod. And not making anything.

This morning I was trying to decide what to wear in the heat wave that's plaguing us, and I found that Hopper had brought one of my dresses home from the cleaner. It's knee-length and sleeveless, so I put it on. I got my hair cut short on Saturday, and it's a great haircut that always looks cute. I slipped into my adorable polka-dot flats, grabbed my book (because I had forgotten to charge my iPod) and I set off for the bus.

There was a horrible accident today that shut down a major highway in my area, so the bus took forever. But when I arrived in New York, I decided that I looked good, I felt good, and I should be glad I wasn't in the accident. Then I saw a young woman telling a young man in a suit to text her soon. He replied, "Awesome," and the look on his face was priceless.

I followed the woman out the door of the bus station and thought that watching a young man fall in love is a great way to start the day, and that's when it hit me. I decided I needed to walk through the park, past the dog run, because dogs don't despair. Dogs don't care about discriminatory laws or crazy vigilantes or even dead boys. Dogs are all about now. Sure enough, there was a poodle entering the dog run, his tail wagging earnestly. He didn't care that there weren't any other dogs in the park. He was going to get to sniff the whole dog park off-leash, and that was awesome.

Things may be feeling a bit hopeless right now, but life goes on, and where there's life, there's hope. We don't do Trayvon Martin any favors by slipping into despair. We need to get up and face life and make this world a better place in whatever way we can.

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