I’m obsessed with the new Justin Timberlake single, “Say Something” — an acoustic, harmonic build of a song that inspires the heck out of me. I’m even trying to learn that rhythm on my uke, but I’m kind of a spaz. I’ll post a video below, but meantime here are some of the lyrics . . .
Everyone knows all about my direction.
And in my heart somewhere,
I want to go there. Still I don’t go there.
And everybody says, “Say something, then, say something. Say something, then, say something . . . ”
Trouble is, I deal with depression. Like, the icky, real kind of depression.
Jeez, I really didn’t want to admit that here. Pay no attention to the frightened girl behind the curtain! But some of my favorite people also deal with it, including my hero Rachel Maddow. Plus a lot of other cool peeps like Lady Gaga, Carrie Fisher (RIP), Kendrick Lamar, and pretty much any famous writer you’ve ever heard of, from Sylvia Plath to J.K. Rowling. Mine started in my 20s. Well, when I was a kid, it manifested as shyness — obviously I’ve cured myself of that! Now it’s an intermittent existential crisis that hits me in sloppy, irregular waves. Last week I felt like there wasn’t much of a point to anything; right now — after a weekend that included exercise, writing and fun social plans — I feel quite normal and happy.
PLUS: Tada!! I have a meeting today with the CEO of a place where I freelance, to pitch my creating and leading an Earth Day extravaganza for the company. I’ve been trying to do it since before the last Earth Day, and now that I’ve got a shot at it, I’m like, “Oh, gawd, I don’t care anymore.”
I hear them call my name.
Everybody says, “Say something, then, say something. Say something, then, say something . . . “
But I DO care.
It’s just really hard to . . . get it up? Stay motivated? Get out of the sticky procrastination and “why bother?” mindset when it hits me? I was even finally gonna acquiesce to my psychopharmacologist’s ongoing offer to up my wee anti-depressant dosage during my 6-month check-in the other day, but yippee!! — she said, instead, to try this B-vitamin supplement thing that she’s got most of her patients on now. I’ve already ordered it.
Because our government situation makes my mood, like, 100 times worse:
- EPA head Scott Pruitt said last week that if climate change is indeed real, it could be a good thing for humans. OMG. If I could have 5 minutes to sit down with this dude and tell him why it’s not.1 (See footnote below.)
- Trump’s new $1.5 trillion spending plan for “gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways all across our land” doesn’t account for climate change. First of all, Thomas More’s lawyers called from the 16th century — he wants his Utopian language back. And secondly, spending billions of dollars on infrastructure that’s “the wrong thing, in the wrong place, at the wrong standards”? Talk about your waste.2
- Oh, he also wants us to return to the moon. Mmkay. I assume next he’s gonna tell all the hippies to get a haircut.
Justin, along with country blues singer Chris Stapleton, continues singing at me, and the harmonies start to build:
“Say something, then, say something. Say something, then, say something . . . ”
I don’t want to get caught up in the rhythm of it.
But I can’t help myself. No, I can’t help myself. No, no.
Luckily not everyone’s paralyzed, given these bits of good news:
- Chernobyl is being transformed into a solar energy complex;
- Bloomberg reports that there was $333 billion invested globally in 2017 in clean energy;
- The EU just released a strategy for plastic waste; you can check out it here — it’s actually interesting, and an easy read.
- And there’s now a Formula E — for badass electric cars!! How cool is that??? Hugo Boss even ended their sponsorship with Formula 1 and switched it to Formula E. A race against climate change — HELL, YEAH!!!
- Also, I saw Hamilton! I showed up and spontaneously got a matinee ticket on Valentine’s Day — my 18th anniversary of moving to NYC. Sooo good. I actually wept. So did the dude next to me.
But then there’s wife-beating White House aides, porn-star payouts, internet trolls, and Florida, not to mention Russia. How can we stay focused on such a “bourgeois playground” as the environment and climate change when our democracy is being slowly dismantled?? It’s like in war-torn or poor countries — they can’t focus on the long-term when they’re too busy just trying to figure out how to round up breakfast.
And now my own government is giving me the same agita by doing things like trying to kill my affordable health insurance, undoing laws that prohibit mentally ill people from buying guns, and wiping out rights for disabled people. (The latter happened last week. What. The. F . . .) I’m a first-worlder, and I can’t even focus on environmental issues myself — and it’s my raison d’être.
(I like to say that with a thick French accent: raison d’être.)
Maybe I’m looking for something I can’t have . . .
Sometimes the greatest way of saying something, is to say nothing at all.
But I can’t help myself. No, I can’t help myself. No, no . . .
Clearly I have some motivation left — I still find myself pulling empty plastic beverage bottles out of Bayram the janitor’s trash bin as he wheels it by my desk after hours, and popping them into the recycling bin in the kitchen. Although I don’t know where that goes, ultimately.
I have other questions: Why does everyone in my department leave their computers on 24/7? Why don’t we recycle more paper there, even though DeBlasio made recycling imperative for NYC businesses last year in addition to residences? Can I give everyone a set of stainless-steel utensils to keep at their desks? (Not that that’s in my personal budget.)
By the way, these are two pics I snapped there in the building. When I stumbled upon the banana peel in the Xerox room recycling bin, I thought someone was messing with me (but alas). The second pic is a beauty shot of what I (delicately) pulled out of the trash there one day. I often see those plastic cup/lid/straw combos used to carry water around there. It hurts my brain. And I have ideas!
Meanwhile Trump responds to yet another mass shooting by talking about “mental health.” Are you freaking kidding me? WTF does Trump know about mental health?
Then he (well, his administration) releases a budget plan that proposes spending $277 billion less on domestic programs like Medicaid and Medicare than on military programs.
(I guess we need to spend $716 billion on defense when we put a man at the top who taunts and alienates every other leader on the planet. I know, that’s old news at this point — this shit storm moves so fast. All I can say is, praise be for Robert Meuller. I’m also listening to the “Slow Burn” podcast; it’s about Watergate, super-entertaining, and eerily parallel to our current universe.)
Speaking of shootings, I’m gonna try to talk to my uncle Sonny, who lives down south, and who’s an NRA member. I know that because he sent me a Christmas card with an NRA logo on the back. (I myself tend to get those “free greeting cards” from orgs like ASPCA and the Arbor Day Foundation — it takes all kinds.) (And yes, the tree-saving organization sent complimentary paper cards as part of their fundraising. Oh, the irony.)
The one from the Arbor Day Foundation is made from recycled paper. And the NRA card is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. At least they both love trees.
And I love the bridge in the song, when the instrumentation drops away and it briefly goes a cappella:
Still in my heart somewhere,
BTW, I just found this quote from Rachel Maddow in a New Yorker piece on her: “The thing that defines whether or not you’re good at this work is whether you have something to say when it’s time to say something. Because you’re going to have to say something when that light goes on. . . . I want to have something to say that people don’t already know.”
OMG, maybe she’s obsessed with Justin Timberlake too!!
Say something, then, say something. Say something, then, say something . . .
Arright, I gotta shower and then go make my pitch to the CEO. I’m nervous. In fact I kinda feel like I could throw up right now. Will report back later . . .
I’m back! I survived!! He’s amenable to a company-wide Earth Day event. He told me to set up a meeting with a woman in operations, and . . . wait for it . . . the CFO. Oh, shit, really?
He also said something that unknowingly validated my feelings about all the political craziness. He said that the company had a sustainability program for a few years (which I knew about) when it was “all the rage.” He implied that it’s not anymore, now that we’ve got all this other stuff we’re dealing with out there. And I was like, “YES!! I was just writing about that this morning! Meuller’s gotta to get this douchebag outta there . . . ” (I might not’ve used the word “douchebag.”)
I also just got an email from the Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival — which I performed in a good couple of years ago (five?). They’ve invited me to be part of a short performance at their 25th Silver Anniversary Gala next month — they said I was one of 7 performers who they thought of for it. It’s co-hosted by Ted Lange, aka Isaac the Bartender. Oh yes it is! WHAT? Why am I so freaking insecure about stuff? (Oh, to be able to rewire some stupid messaging installed in childhood . . . )
Now, though, I’m off to see Black Panther. With a group of people from the aforementioned company, whom I don’t know. (I won the ticket.) Little do they know there will be a big enviro-geek amongst them.
Okay, here’s the “Say Something” live, one-take video. It’s shot in the Bradbury Building in L.A. — you may remember it from the original Blade Runner. Oh, did you think it was gonna be me singing and playing it on my uke? I’m still working on that. And obviously, I’ll keep you posted on the Earth Day plan. Follow this blog below the footnotes to stay abreast of the sitch!
And talk to me in the comments.
1. In reality, climate change will have a few winners, but lots and lots of losers. “If fossil fuel emissions continue on the current trajectory, temperatures by the end of the century [i.e., in my nephew’s lifetime] will be about 6.5 degrees warmer than now. That means more extreme heat waves, heavy rains, floods, droughts, storms. Health problems will worsen, hurting the poorest and most vulnerable, and lead to more conflicts and civil wars.” A la Syria. But everywhere. [UN Intergovernmental Plan on Climate Change, via the AP.] [My footnotes need footnotes.]
Also, people don’t talk about ocean acidification much. Temperature rise causes the seas to become more acidic, and even a teensy increase kills the little guys at the bottom of the ocean food chain, by robbing them of the nutrients to grow their shells. The operative phrase there is “bottom of the food chain.” Yikes.
Mr. Pruitt, or shall I call you dumbfuck: climate change doesn’t look like the sea calmly lapping up a few feet higher onto the shore. Now put your piña colada down and get to work.
2. Says Michael Kuby, professor of geographical sciences and urban planning at Arizona State University and contributing author to the National Climate Assessment, the federal government’s most comprehensive scientific study of the effect of global warming on the United States. Hello.
3. According to the EU’s recent figures, more than 7 tons of plastics disappear into the oceans every second. Um, “disappear”? Maybe we can come up with a different word? 😉