After a fantastic week of Joe, Kamala and Amanda Gorman, a 22 year-old young woman who made me love poetry once again for the first time since my early twenties, it started to happen.
I began falling into the…
Strange the way it creeps up on you. And even stranger how, once you get to be a certain age and have had enough therapy, you know how to begin to creep out.
What brought me careening down there after this cataclysmic week of exciting firsts?
- L.A. house arrest to avoid a virus
- Vaccine searching fatigue
- Zoom communication (meetings, teaching, and even socializing)
- Screen watching fatigue (what was once fun and decadent now feels dronish and labored no matter how much YOU liked it and swear I MUST see it).
- Fascism and other tales percolating from the dark side of nowhere
Of course, this is merely a partial list. Feel free to add on and subtract for yourself as you see fit.
I was sort of embarrassed to write this because of the privilege I enjoy. White, employed (Note: Well, for now, nothing is permanent), happily married, friends, house, food, shelter and pasta guilt-free more nights than I can count because, more than anything else, THAT’S allowed these days).
Still, living through these times feels like dancing on the head of a pin too often than not. At any point you can slip and impale yourself. Perhaps not too badly but just enough that a small puncture slowly turns into a crack, and then a wound, which gets larger and larger and then suddenly emerges as a…gaping hole
And, you know, that can’t be good. Imagine what awaits you when you’re fully sucked down inside.
Um, no….THAT’S not what I mean.
Living in Los Angeles, California has had so many benefits but the most recent downside is navigating at the epicenter of U.S. Covid-19. We’re averaging well over 10,000 new cases daily and more than one million overall.
Our home state of California has over 3.4. million cases thus far, the most of any state in the country. When you consider there are just shy of 25 million people infected in the entire U.S. that means we account for almost 20% of cases.
And yet, we have far less vaccines available than other states. A friend in Florida told me it was easy peasy to register for your shot. Yet the first day you could register in L.A. county, the site crashed, appointments were cancelled and many of us (Note: ME) spent hours trying to book vaccinations at sketchy clinics that wanted ALL your insurance info online and STILL didn’t manage to offer a definite spot for both shots.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the Trump administration had it in for California and gave Florida a larger part of our vaccines just cause HE lives there.
But I’m not a conspiracy theorist.
Nevertheless, it did give me a lesson on how others might have begun to succumb.
This, of course, was countered by watching a kind and decent man being sworn into the presidency pledging that his first priority would be fixing the CoVid mess by listening to SCIENCE and not poll numbers.
But what was even more encouraging has been his appointment of seemingly EVERY top expert in EVERY field of government to do that and much more AND to, in turn, save the Republic.
(Note: It also didn’t hurt that not ONE of them was related to him by either blood OR marriage).
Call me crazy (and many have) but I found this to be oddly encouraging. That and watching the unmuzzled Dr. Anthony Fauci spreading honesty on TV once again, particularly about all things CoVid. He even got down in the weeds and reassured crazies like me that there is NO real difference between the Pfizer and Moderna shot and that the only reason he took the Moderna one was that it happened to be the one available the day he had his vaccination at the National Institute of Health. But that he would have done either.
Speaking of straight shooters, AND decency, tell your Fox News viewing relatives there is neither to be found there. Sean Hannity this week had a banner onscreen headline categorizing Joe Biden’s first week as president “DISASTROUS.” Not sure if this was due to the one million shots for the first 100 day pledge, which was already being met after several days in office, or the US reentering both the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization.
Still, they did surface with two compelling Biden scandals. Our new president has the temerity to wear a Rolex watch AND owns and exercises on a Peleton bike.
Oh, the no golden toilet of it all! Oh, the shame!!
Sure, I’m being snide but I’ve found that’s one way to brighten up my world and get by. The other is to take in the fact that after four years DECENCY might actually be back in vogue.
How do I know?
Well, when Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff was walking down Constitution Avenue with his wife, VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS OF CALIFORNIA, he made international news just for briefly stopping and doubling back where they had previously been in order to retrieve the earring that had just fallen out of her ear.
So shocking was this act of valor in these days, I heard one journalist this week actually say on air, where do you make copies of a guy like that?
Yes, that’s how starved we’ve been and how low the decency bar is. Which means imagining how high we might get back to during the next four years is indeed something to live on for and celebrate no matter how long it takes to get us all immunized so we can return to hugging (and more) in person again.
Though if all that doesn’t do it for you, reveling in the words and images of our young poet laureate on Inauguration Day was a real, um…shot in the arm for my psyche, not to mention a reliable booster on each awful day since. And that was even AFTER listening to Gaga sing the National Anthem with a giant Dove on her chest.
I mean, if Amanda Gormans exist in the world – a young person with that much talent, grace and theatrical style – who also overcame a speech impediment – to live perform a POEM(!) she wrote for the ages to the world on Inauguration Day – how bad are things, really?
Especially when it leaves us with this life lesson:
..We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
We will rise from the windswept northeast
Where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
We will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it