I find it extremely painful to sit helplessly by when something about which I care deeply but over which I have not the slightest control is being decided. Just now, the Supreme Court is deliberating about two cases -- the fate of the Affordable Care Act [ACA] and the constitutionality of bans on same-sex marriage -- that matter a great deal to me. I am not personally affected by the fate of the ACA because my health insurance comes through Medicare and a supplementary plan offered by my UMass pension system, but I would be saddened and outraged if the five reactionary justices were to gut it. The same-sex marriage case touches me personally, of course, because of my son, Tobias. But I am forced to sit and wait for a decision from a group of people for whom, collectively, I have no respect whatsoever.
This is the appeal to me of sports. I actually do not care who wins a football game, basketball game, baseball game, soccer game, or golf match, so I am emotionally free to root frantically so long as the team I have arbitrarily chosen to back is winning. As soon as my team falls behind, I turn off the TV set or surf over to an NCIS rerun -- out of sight, out of mind. When it comes to sports, I am completely a fair weather fan. The emotional drain on me is non-existent.
All of this passed through my mind this morning as I sat in the Carolina Cafe. After eating my lemon poppy seed muffin and managing, with tremendous effort, to complete the NY TIMES crossword puzzle [something that does in fact matter to me a good deal, I must confess], I sat for a bit reading the rest of the Saturday ARTS section. The lead story today is a long, detailed account of a fight to the death between two Madrid museums who are feuding over which of them will get to exhibit several very famous paintings. The case seems to hinge on decisions made some four or five hundred years ago by various Spanish monarchs.
I have never visited Spain, and at eighty-one, I rather expect I never shall. What is more, the visual arts are not desperately important to me [whereas music very much is.] So as they say down here in the Southland, I don't have a dog in this hunt. It was a relaxed, amusing way to spend several minutes while finishing my coffee. For that time, at least, I could allow myself to forget all the truly horrible things in this world over which I have no control.