#1 daughter’s online community agreed on a day of political-discussion moratorium yesterday, and it seemed like a good idea. In my non-virtual conversations, though, I heard some interesting things.

NPR pointed out that we are just about half and half on the candidates, and each side felt that terrible things would happen if the other guy won. So right now half of us are feeling great relief and half of us are feeling great trepidation.

The word on my son-in-law’s Navy base was that the guys might make less money under Kerry, but were more likely to die under Bush.  All the other issues, they said, would only affect civilians. The state in question went for Kerry. I was surprised by this. I would have expected either the right-wing patriotic bit or the candidates’ military service to have been big issues, but I suppose if you are looking at imminent death, other points seem less important.

My sister in New Zealand said that news reports about the U.S. presidential race showed people fighting at the polling places. My polling place was quite jolly, with everyone laughing and talking together — not newsworthy. The image shown in New Zealand reinforced their feeling that the United States is now a place to be feared, some kind of Wild West show filled with overemotional, under-intellectual outlaws who might do anything.

I just naturally put on black yesterday morning. When I got to work, I found that my colleagues were dressed in black as well. As the day went on, through work and on to choir practice, the number of us who were dressed in mourning became something to laugh at — rueful laughs, but that is still progress. We can’t have another four years of polarization. Our relationships with the outside world are problematic enough, without our “forming a circular firing squad,” as the guy on NPR put it.

The DNA scarf is coming along. I think it is looking rather handsome and masculine. All objects have a note, as you doubtless know. They have frequencies to which they vibrate. This is what causes glass to shatter and bridges to fall down (not always, of course, just when their particular frequency is matched. And I think a baseball bat or a tugboat could do it, too). We cannot hear the songs of scarves, but I think this one would be a baritone.