In the early morning hours of January 20, 2017, a thunderstorm swept through the Bay Area, dumping inches of rain in just a few minutes. The rain rain rain came down down down indeed, with apologies to Pooh and Piglet. I pulled the covers a little closer to my chin and thought how happy I was to have a roof over my head. A roof that had recently received an upgrade and with the repairs came solar panels. So clever. So comfortable. So full of hope for the future.
But it was inauguration day, and the skies were as dark as they had been for several days. Clouds persisted with only moments of sunshine peeking through to give the faintest ray of hope. Then something came into my head that wasn't Pooh and is wasn't Piglet and it wasn't Disney. It was Travis Bickle. Taxi Driver. I thought about the way Travis feels about the rain: "Someday a real rain is gonna come and wash the scum from the streets."
This was not a safe or comfortable feeling at all. This was not hope for the future. This was the interior monologue of a man who felt he was pushed to the edge. As the rain continued outside, I thought about ways to push these ideas from my own head. "The sun'll come out tomorrow," I thought. "Bet your bottom dollar." Of course, this is the same little voice that insisted that it's a hard knock life. Outside the rain persisted. Lightning crashed. The gods were angry. The Flying Spaghetti Monster was not his usual benign presence. My instinct was to pull the covers over my head and wait it out.
Good job, instincts, since eventually the downpour backed off to a sprinkle. The gutters ran full and sure enough, the trash moved down the street. Which seemed like a good thing until it became clear that all that garbage was headed for the storm drains. And out to the bay and into the ocean. There was no more filth on our streets. Now it was finding its way into our streams and aqueducts and seas. The conservation of garbage. It was just being rearranged.
And I thought about what was going on back on the right hand side of the country. The sun had already come up in Washington D.C. It was a new day. Someday a rain will come there too. Where will the trash go?