I guess I understood the basics of Brexit. It's just that I, along with the oddsmakers, never thought it would happen. But when it did happen, I just couldn't understand what would lead anyone to vote for Britain's exit from the European Union. I couldn't understand it, that is, until I woke up at about 5:00 this morning and realized that the reason I was sleeping so badly was that I had managed once again to infect myself with poison ivy.
It's become something of a summer tradition for me. Most of the time I leave whatever landscaping gets down around my house (and it's not much) to my husband. But one day toward the beginning of each summer, some sort of hormone is released within me and I start ripping things down. Ivy, dead wood, creepers, vines... you get the picture. Now, I know from experience that poison ivy - or poison oak, or poison sumac, or some other poisonous plant - lurks somewhere in my yard, and that in order to sensibly protect myself before I start on my ripping frenzy, I should put on a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants, and gardening gloves. But here's the thing: I don't want to dress sensibly. It's hot out, and I feel like wearing my T-shirt and shorts, and besides, NOBODY IS THE BOSS OF ME. So every year, I go out there and do what I am apparently programmed to do: convince myself that I won't go anywhere near the Poison Whatever, and that there is absolutely no risk involved, and that I will be just fine. And then I wake up one morning and I'm astonished to find that my entire body is a mass of rashes.
But this time I feel like I learned something. Not about avoiding poison ivy in the future - don't be silly! - but about what it must have felt like for the British people who voted for Brexit. It must have felt like: HA. YOU (E.U.) ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME. I can act in ways that are directly contrary to my own interests, and no one can stop me! Hey look, I can make the British pound reach its lowest value of the past 30 years! I can drive global markets into turmoil and strike terror into the hearts of investors around the world! I am so damn powerful! Whee!!!
The difference is that when I choose to perversely attack my back yard in shorts and a T-shirt, the only one who ends up suffering is me.