Preserve that quirky zero

Dear President Trump,

Since you don’t read my letters to you I’m sure you don’t remember me writing several months ago about the numbered white stripes marking the drains on the barriers lining the freeway, but I have an update on them for you nonetheless. A couple of weeks ago I noticed they’d all been given a fresh coat of bright white paint and in the process the wonky little black numbers were painted over. I was saddened that those carefully and not-so-carefully rendered numbers were all gone; they were so cute and dear. But then a few days ago I was stuck (again) in very slow commuter traffic and noticed that the zero at the beginning of the series is still there. That stripe was re-painted too, but whoever applied the fresh coat very carefully painted around the zero instead of consigning it to oblivion. It’s a tiny little thing that someone had the wherewithal to preserve that quirky zero in such an odd place where virtually no one will ever see it, but I’m grateful to that someone and their sense of humor. There’s not a lot that’s funny in sweet, wistful ways out in the public realm these days and any and all such infusions need to be treasured.

Before closing I want to tag on a note about your decision not to attend the Kennedy Center Honors program this year. I was assuming it was this weekend since this is all over the news, but I just looked up the date and it isn’t until December. The stated reason is you don’t want politics to overshadow the honorees’ accomplishments and apparently the Kennedy folks are pretty relieved not to have to deal with you. I get this, but to me the decision signals that you are going to auger in on your divisive stances. I also wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this is in retaliation for all the members of your Arts and Humanities Committee resigning in protest yesterday. It feels petty, cowardly, and small for you to duck that ceremony and I don’t think it bodes well for us as a country. We need to see you rising to occasions that are meant to bring people together on higher planes and by choosing to pass on one of the most important such occasions you are sending a sad, dangerous signal.

May you be safe from your own machinations.
May you be happy to engage with the whole country.
May you be healthy in your dealings with those who disagree with you.
May you honor the humanity of all.

Tracy Simpson

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