A few days away, alone

By Caitlin Kelly

The last time I was away from home alone was early March, almost seven months.

It’s a real luxury to leave home, to have a working vehicle and the spare time and income to travel, but the challenges of two people working full-time from a one bedroom apartment — as so many are now doing! — are tiring.

I needed some solitude.

I decided to head to small-town Pennsylvania on the recommendation of a friend, staying at a small hotel with a handsome Arts & Crafts design and a large, lovely garden. I had planned to stay seven nights, but decided to leave early, which surprised me.

It was a rougher part of the world than I generally prefer — tattoo parlors and shooting ranges. There just wasn’t much to do, although I loved my morning routine of reading in the garden for a few hours every day, catching up on months of the many unread magazines I lugged with me.

But the main reason?

It’s Trump country.

I did enjoy a break.

The inn was welcoming and their meals delicious.

I drove country roads in warm fall sunshine and enjoyed rolling hills and lush green farms, weathered barns and old mills.

But the vast majority of lawn signs — and signs posted on barns and other buildings — were overwhelmingly for Trump, a man I despise, who has destroyed many of the things I value, including 200,000 American lives lost to COVID.

I despair every day he remains in office.

So every sign I saw supporting him made me feel ill and alien, surrounded by people who don’t care about any of the things I care most about.

I didn’t have conversations about it. I don’t go looking for trouble!

But it’s been a useful and important reminder of the largely Democratic bubble I live in. I knew that before leaving home.

What I didn’t realize is how viscerally sick seeing so much support for him would make me feel.

It’s a constant subject of conversation now — what will we do if he wins again?

I spoke to an immigration attorney recently and learned that I can get a re-entry permit to leave the U.S. for two years and keep my green card. That’s welcome news, but it doesn’t solve the problem of my husband’s work, based physically in New Jersey.

And another four years of Trump?

I don’t think the United States will survive.

15 thoughts on “A few days away, alone

  1. I think a lot of people outside the US already see it as falling apart. I’m hoping that Biden is elected, but if he gets it, it’s going to be an onerous, onerous job. The damage has been immense. I’m wishing you the best.,

  2. I don’t understand Trump supporters. I have no idea if they are uninformed or just being willfully ignorant. My cousin lives with his dad who is a full blown Trump supporter and it’s been very tough on him.

  3. Jan Jasper

    Caitlin, I completely share your fears. I’m astonished at the ugly underbelly of the American character that has been exposed by Trump. I guess that these people had their offensive beliefs prior to Trump, but they were not comfortable speaking up in such large numbers until recently? In any case even if Biden wins – and I certainly hope he does – I’m not sure that we could easily put the toxins back in the bottle, so to speak.
    I’m sure that you and Jose have already explored whether his work as a photo editor could be done remotely.

    1. Jose’s best anchor client — whose income we rely on — is in NJ, on-site. Some of it can be done remotely but not all.

      But even if I go back to Canada for a while, he can’t even cross that border. Hardly fair to leave him behind.

      1. Hi Caitlyn, you should check again into that. I know of two couples (they are acquaintances) where one was non-resident Canadian and the other was American. Both couples were given permission to enter just last month. It’s worth a try.

    2. Jan Jasper

      Caitlin, it is such a shame that Jose’s work requires some on-site presence in New Jersey. I wish it could be done 100% remotely. And it never occurred to me that he would not be allowed to even cross the border to visit you in Canada. Of course you wouldn’t leave him behind, that’s out of the question.

  4. Margaret

    It was really interesting to read your post. When I visited New York this time last year, I was a bit worried that we would have to talk to a whole lot of Trump supporters and I wasn’t sure how I would cope with that. As it happened, we stayed in Flatbush and did not meet or hear one person talking about Trump. It was honestly a welcome relief from being here is Australia where we are persecuted with having Trump on our TV screens night and day. It puzzles me why the media here think we are so interested in every single thing that he says. We have enough of our own racist/stupid politicians talking on the radio and TV, I don’t think we need to hear from Donald as well.
    I feel so sorry for all the lovely thoughtful American people with whom I interact on the internet and I wish you well in the forthcoming election. Let’s hope and pray that it doesn’t end badly.

    1. Thanks…

      NYC is very much a bubble in this regard and one I admit to enjoying. It has been a very useful eye-opener to spend time in a place where so many people admire him. It has made me feel physically ill to see these signs everywhere.

      And Canadians are as sick of him as you…albeit MUCH closer, economically and geographically.

  5. i’m glad you were able to find a way to have a getaway, and so it turned out to be in a place that was hard for you to connect with the local population. i understand what you’re saying, friends of mine bought a very nice lake house less than an hour from me, but they said they would never live there full time for the very same reasons.

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