The Hank Chronicles: Lipstick


The Hank Chronicles is a Bottle Magazine series in which we attempt to deconstruct the intricacies of the Trump Era through the lens of a mother and her chocolate Labrador. Read the first installment here.

“First of all, it takes about 6 years to get to Las Cruces,” Hank said after our first “road trip with a purpose.” It took us 4 hours.

Our maiden journey began after a quick trip to the vet after a toenail issue. Yes, a toenail. But because I have the best veterinarian in all the land, we were on the road by 10 am. My biggest anxiety about this trip was the difficulty of getting Hank in and out of our truck. It’s big. Hank’s dad bought a step/stair situation that we can unfold so Hank can “walk right down,” as instructed on the YouTube video. Except Hank is not as brave as the dog in the YouTube video, and with the toe and the 7 pounds of dog treats he ate this weekend, I was surprised (and happy!) that he got the step thing mastered!

The plan was to get in some good conversation with people along the way and attempt to find the pulse, take the temperature, and stop the bleeding. Wait, not that last one.  I’m a nurse and it’s easy for me to revert on my days off.

This weekend, and really ever since my choice for president lost, bigly, I have been struggling to find my place in the world. Naturally, you tend to think that everyone in the world basically thinks the way you do and the division isn't real. Well…it is.

As a nurse with many decades of practice, I have taken care of all kinds of people. Babies, grandparents, monks, assholes, lesbians, policemen, pussy grabbers, ministers, children, adults, hippies, drug dealers, teachers, you name it. My perspective in life has always been inclusive. We are here to help each other. Pussy grabbers have always been just as grateful for my IV insertion technique as the mothers of that infant I just poked. And now, here I am, unsure of what to do next. The division worries me. And I’m part of it.

I was hoping for some good conversation with folks at our first stop in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The weather was beautiful.  Slightly chilly, but clear and crisp. Walking Hank in the morning I was ready to start the gabfest, but I was sadly mistaken. The night before at our hotel, there was a beauty pageant. The Miss New Mexico pageant was happening and my pressing issues got trumped. The buzz was definitely palpable and it wasn’t about my burning questions – it was about a human’s beauty. My heart was broken.

I have been struggling lately with the notion that I am somehow unknowingly perpetuating the stereotype that our new president idealizes. The beauty pageant didn’t help. I wanted to talk about the Muslim Ban. I wanted to see people outraged about a 5 year old being separated from his mother for half a day while being detained at an airport. I wanted to be wowed by all the outrage. But instead I was wowed by lipstick and smiles and fitness and camaraderie and proud, happy parents. Everyone congratulating each other and being nice and happy and FOR SHITS SAKE!!!

Hank thought they were pretty nice. I think he thought the vibe was positive. So many happy people. No one angry or threatening. The combined weight of the humans in their tiny dresses was nowhere near the combined weight of Hank. That was weird. I’m pretty sure not one of them had a dog treat in her pocket.

So while our first outing on a “road trip with a purpose” wasn’t exactly what I expected, I think that is the point. Life is moving on for some people. Not me exactly. I will remain rabid. I will continue to be enraged. I am not okay with “moving on.”

But I cannot require that of the people around me. My current workplace friends are happy with their new president. They are basically a big group of Miss New Mexicos: a smiling, happy, cordial group of clueless nice people.

Tori is the mother of three grown children who lead impactful, engaged, and interesting lives. Her career of 30+ years as a nurse has been consumed by working exclusively with women and children. When she isn’t working, you can find her hiking in the mountains behind her home or taking long, chaotic walks with her new baby, Hank, a chocolate lab and c0-author of this column. If you ever meet Tori, you can count on her having dog treats and a blue poop bag in her pocket.