On January 22, 2017, I was standing at my kitchen sink doing dishes. It was Inauguration Day. I scraped, I scrubbed, I scoured (I don’t own a dishwasher), and for some reason I started thinking.
Maybe it was the inauguration that made me want to wash something. Or the news about Monsanto bidding on some farmland just west of here, so they could build a seed research facility. Or possibly, just the sight of all those suds in the sink had set my mind to wandering. It was as if my head were full of thought bubbles.
Just as one popped, another one would form. I was thinking about pesticides, and the election, and my children’s future. I felt a sudden urge to scream, but instead I quietly turned off the water, dried my hands, and walked down the hall to my office. Sitting at the keyboard then, I felt a faucet turn on in my consciousness, and my thoughts dripped out through my hands and onto the screen.
Here’s what I wrote that day, word for word:
“So here is what I was thinking while I washed dishes:
I was thinking that some of the world’s biggest problems can best be solved if we do just one thing: simplify.
Break them down into their bare bones.
Start thinking like a child.
Now I know very little about Monsanto, and the science, which makes me feel like I’m not qualified to write to the newspaper expressing my opinion about Monsanto. I’m sure I would get shot down or receive hate mail due to my ignorance. But then I realized that I actually know quite a bit. Here is what I do know about Monsanto:
Aren’t they the company that produces Roundup?
Isn’t Roundup responsible for the decline in the bee population?
Isn’t the decline in the bee population something that threatens our crops and all manner of life on this planet, eventually?
Isn’t Monsanto turning a blind eye to that despite scientific evidence?
Isn’t Monsanto also responsible for creating special seeds, genetically modified, which they are forcing farmers to grow, and isn’t Monsanto prohibiting farmers from growing their own seeds?
Isn’t all of this crazy?
Then I realized that, even though I don’t have too many scientific facts in there, I do have an even more valuable commodity … common sense. Well, maybe just as valuable. And science is, in fact, predicated on common sense, logic if you will.
I was thinking much as an innocent child would, who is often times even closer to the truth of the matter than we realize.
Then I started thinking about politics. Uh-oh. Don’t get me started. It’s inauguration day, after all. But now I am started. And I just can’t stop.
I just can’t stop thinking about how a child would see this whole Donald trump thing. A child would probably say, why would we want to put a bully in charge of anything?
And isn’t it bad to grab, and point, and make fun of people?
And why does he call someone “my African American” … he doesn’t own him.
And why is Donald trump so rich, and all of his friends so rich, and why are only the rich people in charge? And isn’t it better to share?
And why do people want to hurt each other?
Why do they argue so much?
Isn’t it better to get along, to be nice and kind and friendly?
Why do people vote for someone who says he grabbed someone? Or that he could shoot someone and that people would still like him? None of this makes any sense at all.
And why do people think that war solves problems? We have been having wars since forever and they haven’t stopped yet. Maybe adults should try something new instead of repeating the same things over and over again.”
So there you have it – recycled thought bubbles from a little over nine months ago. Unlike regular bubbles, thought bubbles can be saved in special places, like notebooks and hard drives. I take them out sometimes and I shake them like snow globes just to see what happens. Sometimes the scenes come to life, rearranging themselves in newer, smarter, or more interesting ways. Other times, it just snows.
Either way, it’s a much better way to spend my time than doing dishes. And who knows, maybe January 2018 will turn out better. I might have a dishwasher, at least.