We’re Number One!

To mask or not to mask, that is NOT the question.

It’s not up for debate.  You go outside, you wear the f-n mask.  If you don’t you get fined $10,000 the first time.  The second time you go to jail.

And yes, I’m a liberal.

I will get the hose!

Jail is the last place you want to be in a national pandemic but jail is where you will go for not adhering to the #1 medically approved way you can best protect yourself and others from contracting and spreading COVID-19. If you’ve ever watched any of the Law and Order shows (Note: And at this point in our lives, who hasn’t?) you’ve doubtless seen the one about the person who knowingly spreads some very contagious, possibly lethal disease and is charged for assault or even murder in court for callously using their bodily fluids as their weapon of choice.

So, life imitates art, right?  And we haven’t even started on death.

Then why don’t we?

You tell ’em, Olivia!

I live in California and we now have the dubious distinction of being #1 in the country for COVID-19 infections.  More than half a million and counting.  We were doing okay for a while but since businesses reopened in the last couple of months we’ve seen a sharp surge or spike or whatever you want to call it in cases.  

Our death rate (Note: Almost 9224 people so far) is not quite commensurate with other hot spots but health care in California is a bit better than it is in other states.  Still, we’re catching up (Note: 219 dead in the last 24 hours) and if this continues, well, watch your back, America!  We’re gonna contribute mightily to the almost 160,000 and counting Americans who have already perished, with no end in sight.

(Note: FYI, that is more Americans killed than in the Vietnam, War, Gulf War, Afghanistan War, Iraq War AND Korean War combined).

Get a nice haircut for your open casket

California has for decades been known as the place that nationwide trends originate.  This has been both good and bad.  Sadly, we gave you the Valley Girl but on the good side Silicon Valley did revolutionize the world.

On second thought, perhaps that wasn’t as good as we figured.

Never a good sign when Zuckerberg is looking more and more like a Batman villian

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 40 years and have heard all the jokes, the jealousies and the jerk-offs who put us down but secretly long to be or at least borrow from us.  They haven’t really bothered me because even though I’m a New Yorker through and through California won me over long ago.

It had a freedom, an openness and a sea of possibilities that I was never able to find or be comfortable with on the east coast or in my wonderful New York City.  To this day I love the east coast, New York especially, but it simply isn’t California.

Forget the beach, I’m talking Laurel Canyon, Joni, Carole, Tapestry on repeat

And yet these days that’s the last thing New York, or any state should try to be.

As my husband travelled in the car this Los Angeles afternoon, he drove through the somewhat busy streets of West Hollywood and spotted packed tables of people seated in sidewalk cafes, browsing store windows or simply walking and jogging all up and down the streets without masks.

At his count at least 50% of the people he saw had ZERO face coverings.

WHAT THE F-CK!!!!????

I don’t get why this is so hard.

But please, scream FREEDOM and wave your flag

I do get that this mask thing has become somewhat political and that many members of the Republican Party are choosing to go mask-less as a political statement against Democratic liberals.  Even the recent death of 2016 Republican presidential aspirant Herman Cain from COVID, which was diagnosed right after he attended that huge Trump rally mask-less in Tulsa, Oklahoma, hasn’t stopped them.

But West Hollywood ain’t Tulsa, you’ll just have to trust me on that.  You have as much chance of attending a Trump rally here as you do of buying a ticket to an AOC fundraiser in Tulsa’s BOK Center, the downtown stadium where Mr. Cain and thousands of others exchanged air, spittle and who knows what other types of bodily fluids back in June to kick off Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

So again, let’s pose the open question – WHAT. THE.  F-K.  GIVES?????

WHAT. IS. LOGIC

I say this pretty much sequestered in my house – high-risk group member that I am, and a very vocal one – and at the end of my rope.  I mean, I love my house, don’t get me wrong, and I know I’m A LOT more fortunate than most.  But even I don’t want to be here for the rest of my life.

However, I will be if the alternative means taking my life (and yours) in my hands because my fellow citizens are too dumb, selfish and/or vain to mask up.

My bet is that it could take the hot spot illnesses and underestimated deaths nationwide of thousands of teenagers once school begins to get people motivated.  But then again, the slaughter of an entire classroom of  6 and 7 year olds by a lone gunman with an assault weapon didn’t foster much of a change almost a decade ago to our nation’s gun laws, so perhaps I’m mistaken.

The Chair does not sugarcoat things!

We Americans are a really, really, really strange breed.  We elect our first African American president and then eight years later turn around and put a White Supremacist racist (Note: Can you be one without the other?) in the White House.

We could easily do a similar reverse turnaround on masks and COVID-19.  Or we could just let the virus spread further, mutate and mow a good 25-50% of our population down (Note: FYI, that’s 80-160 million people sick and/or dead) and make the decision for us.

Who knew SNL could predict the future? #idid

Count on me to be at home, watching it unfold from my safe house in California.  If you happen to pass by I’ll be the one screaming obscenities at the window at you if you’re showing too much nose, mouth or skin as I wonder who the f-ck we are and what the f-ck we have all become.

The Eagles – “Hotel California”

Living in the Now… For Now

Here’s one of my dirty little secrets – I’ve always found it hard to live in the present.

You can imagine the challenge this presents during a global pandemic.

Who’s gonna tell him?

Certainly there are advantages to not dwelling in reality these days.   But it’s more complicated than that.  When you’re usually thinking about what will happen or what could happen you’re never fully experiencing what is happening.

Yeah, well that’s the idea.  You pretend it’s healthy to eat a pint of ice cream and/or a bag of cookies a day because to not do so will cause you to scream ‘WEAR A F-CKIN’ MASK’ at every person on your street who isn’t doing so and thus avoid your arrest by police or Homeland Security (Note: HAHAHA, they’re really Black Ops Forces!), whichever comes first.

#realtalk

Okay, point taken.

However hear me out.  There’s a lot happening right now, TOO MUCH.  But the good news is WE actually get to decide what to focus on.

It recently occurred to me there is a power in this, especially in these extreme days of social distancing/isolation/quarantine/near suicide.  See, even in that instance I get to decide what to call it.

My daily routine

I mean, I could’ve chosen the phrase, my personal alone time to do what I want without anyone interfering or telling me what to do.

Yeah, I could’ve chosen that and tomorrow I just might.  But not today.  Tomorrow, it’ll all look rosier and tomorrow I can CHOOSE to have a happier day!

See, the glass is either half full or half empty.  We figure out for ourselves how to look at it.

What glass?

Am I being snide about these choices, making fun of this new age-y approach or quite sincere and/or spiritual?  Well, it’s up to you to decide how to take in this message and what YOU will TAKE AWAY from it.

See what I mean???  Once again?

This actually all occurred to me after I received a wonderful, thoughtful and ultimately quite mindful gift from a dear friend and colleague via Amazon.

No, it wasn’t cookies or ice cream.  Though that’s probably a good thing because how do you effectively scrub those down with Clorox wipes?

Rather, it was this:

EVERYDAY PEACE CARDS – 108 Mindfulness Meditations by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Namaste

TNH is a peace activist, poet and global spiritual leader who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Dr. Martin Luther King and his teachings have been around for decades.  Here, you can look him up.

But these, his 108 everyday peace cards, all printed on sturdy, shiny paper stock, do quite well summing up his philosophies.  In fact, his instructions are to pick a card each day, think about it, and then display it for yourself in his enclosed small, white paper standee on your desk and/or nightstand so you can refer to it anytime you want on that given day.

Or not.

Again, me

Remember, you have the option.  You can decide to re-gift it or even trash it.  I mean, how relevant is this hippy dippy stuff in neo-fascist fascist 2020 America, anyway?

Yes, you might feel that way one day.  And on another, maybe the very next, one of those cards might strike you being as incredibly profound and relevant as each one of Carole King’s 12 songs on Tapestry was (Note: And continues to be) to me the first day I heard it in 1971.

(Note:  For those under 30, simply substitute for Tapestry Taylor Swift’s just dropped folk collection, Folklore, and you’ll get what I mean).

Legends

Again, you decide on whether I’m being serious or snide about this.  Consider what you want to focus on and how it will best serve your life in this given moment YOU’RE living through.

That is the real beauty of these cards and, to me, that was the true meaning of this present.

So far it’s told me things like:

— Every twenty-four hour day is a tremendous gift to us.  So we all should learn to live in a way that makes joy and happiness possible.

— If there are negative things around you, you can always find something that is healthy, refreshing, and healing, and with your mindfulness you can recognize its presence in your life….If you are facing a sunset, a marvelous spectacle, give yourself a chance to be in touch with it.  Give yourself five minutes… 

Would the 10 seconds between episodes on Netflix count? #askingforafriend

— Real silence is the cessation of talking – of both the mouth and of the mind…This is not the kind of silence that oppresses us.  It is a very elegant kind of silence…It is the silence that heals and nourishes us. 

— I believe that in America there are many people who are awakened to the fact that violence cannot remove violence.  Those people must come together and voice their concern strongly, and offer their collective wisdom to the nation.

 A joke or a map or a little of both?  Or still, none of the above?

So many possibilities. Daily.  And decisions.

Taylor Swift – “August”