I remember learning in 10th grade biology about pithing frogs, i.e., killing the animal by piercing its brain, instantly disqualifying it from life by nullifying its animating, electrifying core.
Last night’s pithing began over cocktails and continued, astonishingly, all through dinner and finally coffee.
Our hosts, an old school friend whom I see too rarely, and his wife, both busy distracted people, either keep in mind too few distinguishing details about us between encounters or like us too little, because the primary social focus of the evening became their recollection of our affiliation with the political party and point of view “opposite” to theirs.
This, they concluded and announced, was a fault of ours causally related to racism. We found this difficult to fathom because: (a) it isn’t; and (b) no conversation among us has ever included the discussion of race, a concept, for what it’s worth, that neither of us believes in. (We think it’s an invalid classification, a taxonomy mistake, and that humans are basically like dogs in our almost infinite variations of appearance, character and temperament.)
Like dogs, cats and, I imagine, frogs and bats, we see shadows all around us and try to penetrate them as best we can through quiet attentive observation. It doesn’t always work, but it’s the best we can do. For what it’s worth, although we are a happy, devoted, long-married couple, we are not the change we have been waiting for (or however that garbage-y cliched expression goes), and we will never ever see things that way.