Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Inauguration and Burnside Street

The Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, whom Burnside Street in Portland is named after.

Today I was driving the kid on Burnside Street. Near our home the road is four lanes and a busy thoroughfare.

A woman with a baby in a backpack started to make her way across the road in a pedestrian crosswalk. I was in the lane nearest the center line and stopped to let her cross. A panel truck to my right appeared to one moment make a break to keep going but then realized a stop was required.

The woman made a sour face at the truck’s quick stop, prompting the driver to start a series of long horn blasts. The woman calmly stood in front of the truck, removed the lid from her coffee, and deftly flung the cup’s contents onto the windshield.

I drove away looking at the scene in my rearview mirror. The truck had on its hazard lights, indicating that it wasn’t going anywhere. The woman stood on the curb and yelled and shook her fist. The truck driver apparently declined to get out of the truck.

At this time, in another universe, President Biden was being inaugurated.

In my mind the bully truck driver was Trump and the woman was newly empowered because his reign of corruption and idiocy was over.

I realize this narrative is one of my own making, but it was a day that felt like new beginnings, starting last night when President Biden and Vice President Harris paid tribute to 400,000 COVID deaths.

I realize that the Biden White House will have its ups and downs, with policies I disagree with and so on. If the Biden administration has a basic normalcy and competency, such will feel like a radical rethinking of government.


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