A couple of weeks ago, at friend’s gathering, someone asked: How long are we going to put up with this?
This was before the mandatory mask mandate in Colorado, but with everything from public gatherings to churches limited to ten people — strictly six feet apart — per gathering.
The title of this post — Saudade — for those of you gaping at it and wondering if it is the name of a fantasy character (Now I think about it, it would be a pretty good name for a fantasy character) is a word the Portuguese pride themselves on saying is untranslatable.
This sort of claim from any language more or less always makes me roll my eyes. Because it is translatable, of course it is. Most of the time, in its pedestrian every day use, “tenho saudades” means “I miss.”
Now the thing to remember is that besides basically being the chaotic neutral D&D alignment with borders, Portugal is a place of poetry. Perhaps because as my older son put it “The damn country is an iceberg. Most of it is in the past, trawling beneath the water, unseen, and affecting everything.”
So saudade, not used in its every day pedestrian sense, but in the sense poets and madmen (most Portuguese) use it refers to missing something with a deep, painful longing, something that can’t be called back/experienced again.
Perhaps the best way to express it is the ballad by Jean Ingelow quoted in Agatha Christie:
Ah, maid most dear, I am not here,
I have no place, no part,
No dwelling more by sea or shore,
But only in thy heart!
Saudade is what you might feel if you lived by the sea, in a beautiful city, and one day an earthquake came, the shore collapsed and the sea came in. Suddenly all the places that were familiar and commonplace to you, the places you lived in and worked in, and saw every day were ten miles from shore, under water.
In storms you’d hear the tolling of the submerged bells and felt an acute but unavailing need to go back, to walk those streets again and meet all the friends who died that night, not as an extraordinary event, but as they were.
Saturday I left eating till much too late (this grief thing is weird. Every time it hits me as though it were brand new, too) and being famished and with us needing to go look in the business mailbox, we went to Pete’s (which is right around the corner from the business mailbox.)
Because Pete’s is an old style diner, the six foot (insane, unsupported, completely arbitrary) rule means that the main dining room is basically unusable. I mean there is EXACTLY one two person booth available.
Also, because some people are insane, some interpret the rule — all hail absolute king Polis, who needs a kicking on his fat ass. Since when does he have the right to violate our pursuit of happiness that way? Also all of us asthmatics should sue him for violating ADA. Oh, and Sprouts is on my shit list FOREVER. They don’t “view” a face shield as enough, and don’t make exceptions for asthmatics. WHERE are all the lawyers?– as meaning they can only remove the mask for shoveling food in. (Picture how much touching of that mask goes on, and the eating and just how gross and unhygienic the whole thing is.)
As we drove back, I felt — looking at the mostly deserted summer streets, the masked people — as though I were hearing bells toll under a stormy ocean.
I wanted more than anything to go back to just five months ago, to the normal, awake world, where Americans have freedom of assembly, of taking risks in pursuit of happiness, of having businesses open or not without the fiat and imprimatur of the government.
And the problem is, it can never come back again. The compact is broken.
So many things we thought utterly unimaginable have happened in the last year. Oh, some happened before, but we found out about them: like the utter perversion of our system of government by an outgoing president who decided to weaponize the secret services to a) prevent the election of someone he didn’t want b) prevent that person from governing if elected.
In politics, a lot of things are like the genie in the bottle. Once you let it out you can’t cram it back in again.
The current — orchestrated — distraction might prevent Obama and the Clintons, and the whole vomitous of mass of self-proclaimed and dirty as sh*t (with apologies to real excrement) elites from paying for their crimes. But it won’t prevent this from becoming the new normal.
Honestly, the only thing that prevented us from banana republic status for generations was the fact that the press wouldn’t report on the casual law transgression that democrats routinely engaged in, which of course gave the democrats a leg up, since Republicans couldn’t retaliate without being torn limb from limb by the hounds of press. But it also kept the fragile form and idea of a constitutional republic in place.
The democrats MIGHT (but I doubt it) have realized that what they were doing was the equivalent of certain diseases and parasites which mask their existence until it’s too late.
And it could be much worse. Without the internet. We are blessed that the enemies of freedom have a TOTAL inability to foretell where things will lead. Like all people greedy for power and control, they see ONLY their desire, not what comes after.
Look, they were never going to get their heart’s desire, which is the equivalent of Stalin’s reign in the USSR, but more absolute and going on forever. Partly because that reign is actually impossible for any extent of time. (Even Cuba or NK only look that controlled from the outside (besides being smaller areas with very uniform culture.) Partly because… well. Stalin would eat them alive for lunch, without disturbing his mustache one whit. When it comes to evil our lefty elites are the equivalent of a possessed rubber ducky. The evil and the intent are there, but the ability to carry it out is matches their (in)competence at everything else. That same press that protected them also made them unable to survive without protection. They’re like the evil possessed toddler let out to play on the highway. …. often, as we’ve seen in the last few months, literally.
What they’ve proven over the last few months is this: They hate us and wish to torture us. Winnie the flu, that increasingly flimsy excuse, becomes day by day more obviously a paper tiger, and they stomp their little hooved feet and scream they won’t let us out to live our lives, and that we have no rights that don’t come from them.
There is no going back. Even if they donned masks of normalcy and sanity tomorrow…. who would believe them?
There are many paths from where we are.
One doesn’t exist. That’s their promised land where they get to play “Simon says” with us for the rest of eternity. First because everything they learned on how to run a society is wrong, and often the diametrical opposite of what allows a society to run. Second, because we’re a continent-sized country of increasingly restless prisoners.
It doesn’t mean unpleasant alternatives don’t exist. When societies go out of their nut insane, as ours seems to have gone these last six months, the only thing that seems to stop it is war and more specifically losing a war. Considering the state of those who could win a war against us, (enemies foreign and domestic, in fact) I don’t think that would end well or be a viable alternative. Well, not for those of us who dream of living in freedom. (Though you can’t kill an idea and some of us have our scraps of flag, if only in our hearts.)
There are decent alternatives, too, though. Those in which Marxism which has infiltrated so many of our institutions is finally dismantled, and we start rebuilding western civ, now with more sanity.
Tech is harder to monopolize now (yes, yes, I know. the tech giants, yadda yadda. But that’s their attempt at one more yota of control. It’s not actually as easy as you think. There are ways to evade it when it becomes intolerable.) It’s harder to long march through the institutions when institutions are toppling (Largely because they were infiltrated by the gang that can’t tie its own shoes.)
You know where I’m placing my bets. In the end, we win, they lose. Unless we concede the culture fight, which honestly I don’t even think we can. Our very existence threatens them. They can’t cancel EVERYONE.
So be not afraid. I don’t know how long we’ll put up with this. I expect till November, one way or another (which makes me remind you to have food and meds on hand for a couple of months, etc.)
But even though I know the status quo ante was already rotten, and that the people who pulled this on us were already in power throw vote-by-
fraud-mail and able to do whatever they wanted; even though I remember all their abuses before this last catastrophic intrusion….
I miss the unbroken sunlit world, where I knew a shop would admit me if I needed to run in and buy a blah blah, without demanding I impair my breathing or — who knows, next week — hop on my leg, or whatever governor shithead Polis dreams up to impose on THEM.
Sometimes the tolling of those bells under the water as the storm gathers fills me with unbearable longing.