I was seriously debating whether I should sit while I drank my tea or water the garden while I drank my tea, when I heard Carolyn shouting from the top of the back stairs:

“NO MORE MALARKEY!”

“Malarkey” is an old slang Irish word for “bullshit.” This was our President-Elect’s slogan of choice during the primaries. He even had a big banner on his campaign bus that announced boldly to the world: “NO MORE MALARKEY!” I doubt they even use the word in Ireland anymore. As a slogan for a national campaign for the U.S. Presidential nomination in 2020, it was hopelessly clueless and antique.

But Joe Biden does grow on you, doesn’t he? Well, he does ME, anyhow. And now I find his antique cluelessness very…. how shall I say?…. dear.

So Carolyn’s resounding “NO MORE MALARKEY!” woke me from the collective nightmare that we have been living through for four years.

FOUR YEARS!?!!!*!?

We not only won an election, which is a very big deal in itself —

WE DEFEATED TYRANNY!

I’m not saying we conquered it. We’ll see about that. But this round of the fight, the most important possible round, was won by US!

We did this.

All of us, the millions of us who made phone calls and texted and wrote letters and wrote postcards and knocked on doors and sent out emails. No one yet is talking about the UNPRECEDENTED number of volunteers who cared passionately and worked their asses off to elect Joe Biden President.

WE ALL DID THIS TOGETHER.

Pretty cool, huh?

Carolyn and I went out the front door and yelled. From the backyard, we heard people yelling. It wasn’t huge. Our neighborhood’s pretty gentrified. I’m not saying they’re TRUMPERS, heaven forfend. But perhaps the impulse to cavort with joy in public does not arise with frequency.

Then we had a toast, the three of us, Carolyn, her husband Matthew and me. Matthew brought out a bottle of sake and we toasted “To the future!” as we sat on the deck, which now exists in an entirely new world from last week’s deck. When Carolyn talked to her daughter Mica, who’s due to have a baby in a few weeks, she said “I feel so much better about bringing this baby into the world than I felt yesterday!” And indeed, whenever I saw a woman pregnant or someone with a small child, I couldn’t help but think of how crucial this victory was for them.

Then a celebratory photo with my pro-mask window display. Then I was exhausted, having slept horribly for the last few days weeks months years. So I took a nap.

I was woken up by the doorbell ringing. It was my friend and neighbor Betsy, dropping by for a celebratory almost-hug, and to tell me I HAD to go down to the Castro!

THEN I remembered the eagle mask I had bought months ago. You see, one of my guilty pleasures is perusing mail-order catalogs. And sometimes I see some amazing THING that I MUST HAVE. And when I saw the full-head rubber masks of four animals for only $24.99 each, I said to myself, “That bald eagle mask has my name on it!” I figured I could use it, no matter what the outcome of the election was. That’s my practical side manifesting.

So I ran up the stairs to tell Carolyn I was going to the Castro as a bald eagle, and she of course wanted to join me in her Statue of Liberty costume. I was worried how I was going to actually wear the mask, because it was huge and wobbled all over my shoulders. But I discovered if I first put on the fedora that has been residing in my closet since some unknown person left it at my house ages ago — the mask fit perfectly!

Well, perfectly for a MASK. As we ALL know now, masks are not about comfort. And the more imaginative, the less comfortable. But, quite frankly, if you’re wearing a mask for performance, the discomfort is an essential part of the deal because it forces you to transcend your minor itches and snorts by becoming one with the mask. I learned that one Halloween.

So 45 minutes later, Carolyn and I met outside, ready to roll down to the Castro. (You COULD actually roll down, I think. Never tried it.) Carolyn couldn’t find her Liberty costume, so she came as kind of a jolly patriotic clown.

And the Castro was HAPPENING, which is something it does very well. There was a truck with loudspeakers and the music played and I danced and danced and danced. I danced a long time — 17,354 steps worth, according to my pedometer. Then I returned up the hill, totally exhausted. Spent the rest of the evening quietly, reading, talking to friends.

Image for post
Image for post
The author dancing in the Castro

I think we all will remember exactly where we were and with whom on this ery special day.

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Written by

Terry Baum is an actress, director, teacher, filmmaker, political activist, and award-winning lesbian playwright. Her blog BAUMBLOG is a “Top 100 LGBTQ Blog.”

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