“Things are definitely feeling a little different this year.”
Shit’s bad.

“I’ve been appreciating the honesty of your Facebook posts.”
I have a group chat with five of the other Girl Scout moms dedicated to screenshots of your holier-than-thou rants. Every time I get a notification from you, I audibly say some form of “Jesus Christ, what now?” or “Here we fuckin’ go” (away from little ears, of course). Save that oversharing for your pastor or your therapist – but of COURSE, call me if they’re not doing tele-appointments, and I’ll break out your favorite Pinot (outdoors, from 6-feet away).

“We probably get our news from different sources.”
You get yours from tinfoil hat-wearing giraffe murderers on YouTube, and I get mine from fact-checked, bias-policed wire services with type-A lawyers. But yes, I’ll down a bottle of Trader Joe’s Merlot and read all of your precious Tom’s Freedom Corner of Truth newsletter excerpts and reply, “thanks for sending!” with that heart kiss emoji. But I will NOT send you my digital coupon for Trader Joe’s cookie butter. Things have changed.

“Give my best to [your husband].”
I saw the InfoWars bumper sticker on his F-150, and I don’t know how you can share both a kitchen and a garage refrigerator with that man. To show my disgust for him and everything he is, when I bring his favorite beer to our next socially distant cul-de-sac meetup, no more 30 racks; it’s six-pack city for that jerkface.

“Are those new shoes?”
The bullshit coming out of your mouth right now is beyond what my brain can process sober. In order to get out of this conversation without committing a felony with the keys from my Kia Sorento, I must change the subject. Please talk to me about how your new Steve Maddens are actually super comfortable, and you found them on sale at TJ Maxx, so I can try to forget about how many times you just said “the BLACKS.” And yes, I did say, “Are those new shoes,” not “I love your new shoes.” The gloves are off.

“It sure is interesting to see all the yard signs on our block.”
On my morning walks, I note which neighbors I will continue to greet with an audible “good morning” and which ones will henceforth get only a chin-up smile and half-wave. I refuse to sit by and do nothing.

“And I do have to tell you, that surprised me. I wouldn’t have expected that from her.”
She’s dead to me. When I throw her daughter a baby shower on my patio next summer, and she asks if she can bring anything, I will not say, “Just yourself, that gorgeous mama-to-be, and your big smile!” I will say, “Oh, if you could be in charge of dessert that would be wonderful.” This election will leave scars.

“Well, I am certainly ready for all this to be over.”
At this point, I don’t even know what “this” is. We’re living in a world where the government is brazenly ignoring and profiting off of a pandemic that’s killed more than 220,000 people, where expressing political beliefs is putting people at risk of violence from their own neighbors, where voting is being suppressed at every turn — a world where whether or not we should protect ourselves from a virus, burning planet, and foreign election interference are up for political debate! The Lit Ladies canceled November 3rd Zoom book club because we knew none of us will be able to function. And even if things do turn out how we want them, we’re still in the middle of a raging pandemic and economic crisis, and I’m supposed to keep my goddamn composure, smile through my mask, say “hi” in the Sun Fresh cheese aisle like everything is fucking fine?? It’s insanity. No one can do that.

But I will.

I will say “hi,” and I will buy so much cheese. So much gosh darn cheese.