“First I went to the assignment without my phone, my notebooks, or a pen,” Tim said. “Basically I went out naked.”
He was having a lot of trouble adjusting to Trump, even more than the rest of us for some reason.
“Then I got in an accident on my bike. My wrist still hurts in fact.”
He examined his left arm.
“I’ll have to take your word for it,” Charles said. “I don’t feel a thing.”
As usual, he was taunting Tim, who didn’t want to admit he was still depressed about Trump.
“Look how smug he is about it,” Charles said, pointing to one of the ubiquitous photos that has ruined the news.
“For now,” Tim said. “But he’s going to find out it’s a lot of work even if you do a lousy job. I wouldn’t want to work that hard. I’m glad I’m not the President.”
He was casting about for something to lord over Trump.
“Really?” Charles said. “I was going to elect you. I wrote your name on the ballot.”
I tried to distract Tim by asking what he’d been doing all day, but it turned out he’d spent another day alone with his music collection.
“I had to separate the post-hard-core from the spaz rock, the twitch rock and the space rock. Yes, I used my time wisely.”
At least he had done it at a bar so he got out of the house for a while. Not that it seemed to do him much good.
“The cats were pissed as usual because I was home late.” It was never a good sign when he was obsessing over the cats.
Apparently he hadn’t eaten anything either. “I was going to get a yogurt pop but it was $5.”
“So? You’d pay that much for a beer.”
“I know, but with a yogurt pop the buzz is gone the moment you’re done with it.”
He said he was too worried about his blood pressure to eat anything.
“Do you still drink three beers a day and eat cheese?” the doctor asked him at a recent visit.
But recently his numbers had improved, probably because his intake was so low. After the shock of the election, he was only just getting back enough appetite to eat a little cheese again.
“If all you eat is cheese your blood pressure is going to go right back up,” Charles said, still trying to go after Tim. “And you thought it was so great to be you.”
“You’re probably right,” Tim said. “Well, for a few weeks it was incredible to be me.”
“What do you weigh now?” Charles asked. It bugged him Tim was looking more buff since the election.
“Why did you whisper it?”
“Because I don’t want anybody to hear me. That’s my ideal weight. It’s like my social security number.”
But despite that good news, he was still panicking about his health. I tried to point out it was probably just because he felt out of control.
“I’ve read about this. What you need to do is remind yourself there are lots of things you can control. Write down the things you can control on a notecard and read it to yourself when you’re feeling panicky.”
“What should I write?”
“What can you control?”
Tim thought a moment. “How much water I drink.”
“How much laundry I do.”
It wasn’t too promising. Anyway, he was convinced he was just down because of Gronkowski being out for the season. But I didn’t see how he could be that affected by it.
“Does that mean you’re out too?”
“Yes, I can’t play without him.”
He was so low I was suspicious he’d fed the lunch I’d left for him to the cats.
“What is Chicken eating behind the radiator?”
“I don’t know,” Tim said, “but I don’t think it’s exactly cat food. Nor is it necessarily food of any kind.”
When she saw us looking at her, she came over and stuck her face in Tim’s tea mug. “I can’t believe she’s still after it even after she found out it isn’t food,” I said.
“She’s having an exfoliating steam mask,” he said. Apparently, he didn’t see that as anything unusual.
Then she tried to get Barbados to lick her face. “He just cleaned you this morning and he’s not going to clean you again,” Tim scolded her. “He’s not a car wash.”
You could see how the lack of other distractions might be adding to Tim’s difficulty in dealing with the election.
“Could you keep it down in there?” he called to Angela, who had dropped something while making dinner. “You woke the cat.”
Barbados opened one eye. “Could a guy get some peace around here? I haven’t had any sleep in at least two and a half minutes.”
Tim’s punishment for yelling at Angela was having to clean a raw egg off the kitchen floor.
“It’s like cleaning up a giant booger,” he said.
He tried to use it as an excuse for skipping dinner, along with other various other ones. When we passed him the chicken he said he wasn’t eating it anymore. “If you couldn’t kill a chicken you shouldn’t eat chicken,” he said.
“So if I can’t build a house should I be homeless?” Charles snapped.
I passed Tim a bowl of mashed potatoes instead.
“Fine, I’ll try it,” he said.
Henry gave him a spoon. He was getting worried about Tim too.
“I don’t want a shovel,” Tim said. “Give me a rake.”
But he still didn’t eat anything.
“So what was the story you were covering yesterday?” I asked. Maybe he’d gone without pen or paper but at least it was better than doing nothing. But it turned out he couldn’t even bring himself to write the story. It was about Trump’s views on climate change, endangered species, and the national parks.
“Is Trump going to get rid of the environment?” Henry asked.
Tim slumped down even farther in his chair and I realized that’s what was really getting him down.
“I can’t believe so many people would vote for a guy who doesn’t even believe in climate change,” he said. “I thought he was just speaking untruths to the powerless. How is it possible people like that can now be running our country?”
Even Charles finally was on Tim’s side. “Try to have hope. He might not be able to quit the climate treaty. Other countries are going to put up a fight.”
“What difference does that make?” Tim said. “Trump loves a fight. Especially if somebody might get hurt.”
I tried to remind him at least we were all in it together. But there was no denying it was going to be hard getting through the Trump years.
“What time is it?” he asked later, while we were watching a movie to get our minds off things.
“11:30, time to go to bed.”
“How convenient,” he said. “Because I don’t want to be awake anymore.”