“He’s not gonna go.”

the h with Jake

My husband – “the h” – and I just celebrated our twelfth wedding anniversary, though we joke that *illegally* we’ve been together much longer, having lived together for half a dozen years before making the state a party to our relationship. He’s a smart man, the h, an expert at so many things – from rugs to knives to guns to cars to software – it has caused more than a few people to accuse him of being a CIA agent. To wit: during our lockdown, the h bought a smashed up motorcycle at a city auction, and restored it to like new, easily sellable for many times what he invested in it. Just yesterday he refinished a table he bought from a person off of Next Door for just $80. The table, new, is still available online for $1200 and contains the artist’s signature. The h has restored it to all its former glory and then some and it glows mellowly in our west-facing living room. He helped the neighbor take the engine out of his Porsche, fix what needs fixing, and get it started for the first time in many years which the neighbor, an Italian, insisted on celebrating with champagne.

The h is a builder of things – whether it is a bookshelf, a fire or an argument, he proceeds the same: with the best tools, a plan, no fear of questions, and and a calm state of confidence. He’s an early bird when it comes to ideas – years ago he held a living room seminar on the role of universal basic income, before Andrew Yang was famous among anyone but his own kids. He’s been following the crypto and token industries for more than a decade, suggesting I take bitcoin at my Farmer’s Market stand in 2014. I’m still kicking myself for not doing so, though a couple of customers asked – just as I’m sure a dozen of his friends are kicking themselves for not listening when he’d ask, did you buy Bitcoin yet? (I’m sure because he’s getting so many texts he had to turn his notifications off). The h is often right but never righteous, only offers advice if asked, and keeps quiet even when he knows someone is wrong and spouting off all over the place. What he isn’t, is likely to crow about being right, which he has been all along, about the current situation in the White House.

“He’s not going to leave the White House,” the h said in 2017. It is something he has steadfastly maintained. So has Bill Maher; we both liked his film Religulous, but don’t always love Bill’s schtick however have been watching him for the novelty of Bill holding the same adamant opinion the h has never wavered from, not once.

He’s not going to leave,” Bill has been saying, over and over, everyone laughing because it becomes predictable and like a joke when you say the same thing every time you get up to talk, except Bill has very much not been joking. He’s been right, just like the h.

“Holy cow you were right,” I said to the h as we watched with a stunned world videos of men in tactical gear rappelling up the wall in front of the Capitol building while a group of rioters screaming at the badly outnumbered Capitol police that THE PRESIDENT INVITED US!

“Yes,” the h said. See what I mean? He could have said “Toldja!” but no. He knew he was right. I was the one who needed convincing.

Taking Jake for a walk, the living room window of a second story neighbor cranks open open. “You were right!” the neighbor calls out. “You were totally right!”

The h nods.

“Oh come on,” I challenged the h at one point. “What exactly do you mean, he’s not going to leave? What exactly is going to happen? He’s going to take out a gun?”

We watched in shock as a group of bearded men (#notallbeards) – some indeed with guns – roared in unison, “Hang Mike Pence” against the backdrop of an actual makeshift gallows that had been erected to frame the Capitol building (and, may I add, a made-for-Instagram framing if I’ve ever seen it).

I cannot take my eyes from the footage, which the h watches with the flat expressionlessness of the unsurprised, with an occasional shake of the head. Most of the rioters are well-turned out in new MAGA merch: hoodies, ski hats with big fluffy pom poms on the top, long scarves with TRUMP on them, the familiar red baseball hat, everyone posing, cheeks rosy from yelling Freedom! smiling for group selfies. There were many many flags waving and these flags were new and large and all the same size and bright, these flags have not been stored in garages or closets or boxes, they’ve just been delivered. The flags were often close to each other in the crowd, as if carried by medieval knights representing far away kingdoms – – if knights were white supremacists and mob rioters that take their flags and beat Capitol police with them, that is.

You were right, honey. Every single day, you said F*ck that guy. When in the beginning some friends and acquaintances said maybe we should give him a chance you grimly shook your head. You knew what they didn’t. F*ck that, you said to the go-along-to-get-alongers. He’s not going to leave, we’re in so much trouble here. Every single day, while you held Zoom meetings bringing a new organization into being, rebuilt engines, baked dozens of loves of bread, fixed a sagging unsafe wooden deck for a friend, strategized with developers, built a beautiful wooden box for my vinyl albums, drove 9,000 miles roundtrip to take your daughter to college, helped friends and family learn about Bitcoin and blockchains and democracy, replaced the ignition when someone tried to steal your car – every single day you kept your focus building things but never stopped saying, f*ck that guy, he’s not going to leave, and you were right.

You were totally right.

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