Optimism: Hey, old friend!
Me: Who the hell are you?
Optimism: Oh come on, I’m sure you remember me.
Me: I’m sorry, but I can’t see you clearly through this thick fog of despair and impending doom.
Optimism: It’s me, Optimism! Cheeriness? Excitement? Hope?
Me: Not ringing any bells.
Optimism: But surely you remember all the fun times we had together? The lighthearted laughter? The dreams of the future? The foolhardy levels of certainty you felt as you hung up streamers at your Clinton/Kaine election party? The rose-colored glasses? The silver-lined clouds? The half-full drinks?
Me: Hmm. Vaguely. That all sounds so quaint now. I laughed once?
Optimism: Oh come on. Pep up!
Me: I had to call my senators today to ask them to pretty please not take health insurance coverage away from kids with cancer. What is this “pep” you’re talking about?
Optimism: Listen. Things do seem really bad right now. I’ll give you that. But they’ll get better! People are waking up! We’re banding together! We’re fighting back! Plus Taco Bell just released a taco shell made of fried chicken. The American dream is still alive and well!
Me: We need so much more than a chicken taco shell to save us.
Optimism: In times like this, I like to sing a happy song. Join me? Here we go: “The sun will come out, tomorrow, bet your bottom --”
Me: That’s the problem. Global warming will kill us all.
Optimism: You’re not making this easy.
Me: I’m sorry, it’s just that whenever I catch a glimpse of even a sliver of happiness, I see Donald Trump’s glowing orange head looming over it like the Death Star, signaling our imminent demise.
Optimism: Yeah, even I don’t have a great response to that. Things are shitty. It’s not a time to be flippant or blind to reality. But you can still find small reasons to be happy and hopeful.
Me: Like what?
Optimism: Blue sky. Old books. Pretty bras. Poetry. Art. Music. Civil disobedience. Good coffee. Bad jokes. This video of a cat eating watermelon.
Me: OK that’s pretty cute.
Optimism: Right?! Cat videos are essential in times of turmoil.
Me: The sounds are kinda gross, though. So much slurping.
Optimism: Work with me here.
Me: Sorry! I’m gonna try to stay positive. Maybe if I just watch that video on repeat for the next four years. With the sound off. In an underground bunker.
Optimism: See! Now we’re talking!
Me: Gonna stop at Taco Bell before I hunker down.
Optimism: Whatever you’ve gotta do, babe. Whatever you’ve gotta do.