Sunday Songs: Johnathan Rice – “We’re All Stuck Out In The Desert”


Watching the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, I thought up a tweet I decided not to send.

“Come February, I’ll be living in a country led by a female head of state. I just hope it’s still America.”

A lot of decisions have been put on hold pending the next few months, from little things like whether to replace my microwave to bigger ones like whether or not to even bother dating. I’ve been thinking about trying to learn another language, and trying to come up with a game plan for my investments in case the economy crashes, because I’ve consumed enough science fiction to know dystopias always begin with people thinking a bad decision isn’t the worst.

I keep telling myself the odds are low, lower than Nate Silver says. That this is just a hedge, that I’m doing this as a mental exercise, as preparation for the worst, in the hopes I never have to follow through. But at a party yesterday, I noticed a “Donald Trump Bug-Out Bag” sitting on top of a bookshelf, and felt a little less alone.


If you believe in ancient tomes, my people spent forty years wandering the desert, disallowed from entering their once and future homeland by divine decree.

It’s a silly story for all sorts of reasons, as most stories in that (series of) books are. But as I drove home from yesterday’s second birthday party, I found myself doing the math as I passed various locations of significance from my nearly fifteen years in this city. Until now, I’d always focused on how much my investments earned versus how much I spent every year, but in this case, I went with the money-under-the-mattress scenario. Could I make it forty years? Maybe. Probably. It depends on so many variables.

Until now, the world hasn’t interested me much. I’ve always sympathized with a speech from the final season of Battlestar Galactica about the limitations of human experience, but in my case, it’s that some things about Earth will always be the same. For all of our cultures, there are still just people. The sky is always blue (except in parts of China), the days are always 24 hours. My travels have been limiting, but what I’ve seen strikes me as mundane, especially compared to infinite potential of the universe at large.

It’s possible, though, that my time is rapidly approaching. That my father’s untimely demise will wind up funding my escape, that I’ll spend the next four years or forty bouncing around this blue orb, in self-imposed exile from my homeland.

My mom likes to say that, for all of its problems, America is still the best place in the world to live. For now, I agree. And I hope 270 electoral votes worth of people agree with me, too.

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