Monday, June 1, 2020

A Sunny Day in 2004

I paid for my coffee and went outside to sit at a table.
Suddenly, confronted by the shop owner:
"HEY you paid with a fake bill! You can't use this!"
Wait. What?

He came over to the table and angrily put the bill down in front of me, pointing,
"See here. And here!"
Oh. Yes. I do see. I had no idea that I had such a bill in my possession - it must have come from another transaction. Can you take my card? Can I write a check?
Shaking his head, mumbling, "Can you believe this? A pretty good forgery!"
To me: "Don't worry about it."
Laughing to himself, walking inside: "I'll take this over to the bank later."


RIP George Floyd

Monday, May 11, 2020

My Son’s Face

My son is home from college. His freshman year cut short by this pandemic. He’s still taking classes, online, from is room. But that’s not what this is about.

I came upstairs the other day and he said ‘what do you think?” 
“About what?’
“About my face?!” Incredulous.
Blank stare....
“OMG I shaved!”
I’m sorry, did you have facial hair?

But when I look at him I don’t see the man in front of me. 
There are layers upon layers of memories through which he filters.
His infant disgust, his toddler frustration, his boyish delight .... all of those faces are still there.
Most people can’t see them but I can.

I wonder what he really looks like.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Chained to Freedom

The perfect analogy today made by a NYTimes reporter: America’s response to Covid19 is equal to our response to guns; somehow dozens of other countries are able to control the problem but the US is too chained to it’s freedoms to allow control to actually happen.

Chained to our freedom might seem an oxymoron but it’s true. Our freedom is more important to us than our safety and even our lives.

More than that our addiction to money and capitalism supersedes any call to health. “Some people will die if we open the economy? Let them die. It’s a risk we have to take - thousands of lives for millions of jobs.” Fair trade? Hell no.

They say the disease doesn’t discriminate but that’s bullshit too. Some people can hide from the “invisible enemy” on one of their yacht in the South Pacific while another person tries to figure out where he can lay his tent for the night without being told by cops to “move along.” And even when the virus takes us down it is the rich who will have the private care needed to come back from the beast. Nobody is going to tell the largest donor to the hospital that there isn’t a ventilator available. They’ll pull it from the older uninsured vagrant who “probably would have died anyway. Right?”

The virus is not an “equalizer” and this is not the “great pause.” Romanticizing these months perpetuates a myth that will fool generations. Can we call it what it is? A screeching halt made toxic by a lack of unifying leadership over a divide that this virus has pushed to the limit.

I’m not seeing any good way out of this. But I remain curious to see how it unfolds. To be clear: I did not say hopeful. I said curious and I mean that in a myriad of ways.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Dance

May 3 and we’re in this weird spot. The state government is loosening things ever so slightly ... giving an inch, so to say ... but people are taking a mile. So many people in the park today, nobody wearing masks.... you wouldn’t even know there was a pandemic if it wasn’t all over the news all the time. It makes me angry. Then I feel bad for feeling angry .... I mean, not everyone has a yard and people need to get out somehow. Fine. But everyone is pushing boundaries and I’m not sure how far I’m willing to go or what I’m willing to tolerate. Without clear rules it’s hard to know what is safe and what is not. I hate it.

I feel like the next natural step would be for each household to combine with another. Keeping mingling between two or three households and introducing more slowly ... maybe once a month. Until a vaccine or cure is plentiful.

Meanwhile I dislike taking the Sam (the dog) for a walk. I’m constantly crossing streets or changing direction to avoid oncoming pedestrians. It’s like a big zigzag dance. We need to make rules .... walk on the sidewalk in the direction of traffic... I think that would at least help. I read somewhere that that’s how they “do it” in Europe but I have no proof that it’s true.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Normal is as Normal Does

Another month has gone by... As we in California “flatten the curve”, shelter in place has become the norm. We’re hunkering down. I’m weeding and pruning and gardening like a crazy lady. It calms the nerves. The roses smell delicious even as the the thorns draw blood and howls.

The weather this week has been beautifully warm. In past years I’d go for a run or take the dog(S) for a hike but it’s no fun dodging pedestrians and hikers who don’t seem to give a rat’s ass that the virus dictates a 6 foot boundary around my person.

My anxiety level has dropped considerably in the last three weeks and I’m not sure this is good or bad. As my panic subsides so does my vigilance. I’m no longer wiping all the groceries down with Clorox before putting them away, and I’m not quite so weird about the mail. But I’m still sheltering in place. I don’t see that changing for months and months.

Nothing will ever be the same but all this is already starting to feel normal.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Notes from the Apocolypse

Welp ... I should have started this about 4 weeks ago to truly document what’s been happening but I didn’t and that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t start. Now. So. Here we go.

Read my tweets (@berzerkeley) if you want to get an idea of what I’ve been feeling up til now... I don’t say much on facebook that’s of any worth... but my Instagram feed might be interesting. I don’t know. It’s up to you.

The two weeks I had without anyone, without the kids, felt ok. I had some momentary freak outs and panic attacks (one early on led me to the doctor who, bless her heart, prescribe Ativan for me so I can occasionally find a level head (half mg) or sleep (whole mg).

The birthday was a little weird, but not unlike a lot of birthdays in the past. I remember one year - must have been 1988 because it was in NY and I spent the day at doing what we NOW call “self care” - the gym, nice lunch at a restaurant (solo), walk around the park (Central). I don’t mind spending my birthday alone as long as I’ve planned it. Which is did. I ordered cupcakes for delivery and dinner from my favorite local restaurant (then Beau - it’s what we’ll call the fellow in my life) Venmo’d me money because he had wanted to do all that and I beat him to it. I’m just so used to taking care of me ... I didn’t even think to wait. Ha.

I spent the birthday weeding the front yard and it looks great now. Super happy with it. .. Actually maybe another couple of hours to put in, but wow such a difference. (Again - that’d be my instagram feed for photo proof of that).

When it came time for the kids to come home to me (they had been with their dad for 2 weeks and we decided that 2 weeks between visits is the safest (?really who the fuck knows? It’s what we decided, might not be right for your split family but I think it will be ok ours. We’ll see. Again who the fuck knows) I flipped out and had a panic attack. I was afraid they’d bring germs here or they’d pick up mine here.... They calmed me down (and half Ativan) and as it turned out only Joe ended up coming. Apparently the kids decided they needed a break from each other. Ohkay. Would have liked to know but whatever. Choosing battles is easier now.

So when Joe arrived - who I’d not seen since January = I found myself afraid to touch him. I’d not touched anyone’s in 16 days or more... I was hesitant which felt so wrong.

I think this shelter in place is going to be a 9-12 month venture. Maybe longer. A lot of innovation will happen - good. Unionizing among grocers, delivery people, and other “essential” employees will happen with support of the public. The economy will never ever be the same as what it was and that’s ok. Maybe even good. I hope I live through it. More so I hope my kids and my parents live through it because death from this is lonely. Nobody can be by your side. You’re infectious. I can’t bear to think of any of them suffering this way. I wrecks me. This is when I seek the Ativan.

But for now I’ll take a walk. With Sam. Because Joe is jumping rope in the backyard and I’m getting bossy. And stressed. Yeah. Bye.