I have a very close friend who lives quite far away from my modest dwelling in Oaxaca, Mexico; we live in two very different environments yet or conversations share the common denominators we have in our two diverse worlds. We speak of our personal lives, our loves and disappointments, our economics, shopping, and dining experiences. We’ve talked of friends, relationships, those that were foolish, how to escape them, others that were less problematic and, of course, when it’s best to take the risk and continue. We often talk about travel experiences by plane, by train, bus and car and the diverse benefits and discomforts of each, and we openly advise each other on how to make travel easy or sometimes to comfort each other in the fact that the specific trip under discussion quite simply has no comfortable option at all. Through the advantages of the internet, we have, for the last decade, maintained a successful and mutually supportive friendship.
However, through the years we have never made any attempt to discuss politics, that is, until yesterday, when I asked her what she thought about Donald Trump; her answer was clear, honest and envious. “Who is that”? I was shocked and very happy for her.
Like Lord Voldermort, in the Harry Potter series, who was referred to by the author as “He Who Must Not Be Named”. With that in mind any further mention of Trump in this essay will be referred to as “The Shame”.
On hearing my cyberfriend had never heard of “The Shame” before, I suggested she look him up in Google. After a half hour she sent me the following message: “He seems like a very terrible person”.
Yesterday was one of many American primary elections and I spent hours following the results while on line; retrospectively, it was a big waste of time. Yesterday wasn’t the first time. Since 1989 when I decided to leave the United States, I large part of my residual baggage was the slowly ominous reality that I was becoming a serious news junky. This was not only my desire to keep current in world affairs but there was my need to hear English; there was no hint at the time that I was in the beginning stages of developing a serious habit.
Slowly, it started a dependency that became primary in my life; I couldn’t have breakfast until I had seen the news and I couldn’t eat dinner until saw the news and over the years I began to realize that I needed to see it a second time on another network, sometimes three times and finally sometimes all day.
Yesterday was the crises point, it was not only the wasted time that troubled me; it was the chronic mentioning of The Shame, hundreds of times through the day, disgusted me deeply. The mantra through the day was resonating and relentless: VOTE. If you want to change things VOTE, if you want your opinion to influence change, VOTE!
Unfortunately, with my propensity to change residencies from country to country I have temporally disqualified myself from that privilege to vote. I have paid taxes in Switzerland, Japan, and Mexico and, of course, in the USA but because of the frequency I’ve changed locations I have no legal residence at the moment to call my official home.
The voting yesterday, the saturation with The Shame, and the happy isolation of my cyberfriend who had never heard of The Shame, all have moved me to end this news addiction, I hope I can do it, I think life could be happier without that dependency. So far, one day, it’s working. Wish me strength.
Oaxaca, Mexico, March 16, 2016