Saturday, March 21, 2020

Love in the time of COVID

A Trevor Noah comedy video asked viewers what their favorite song about the end of the world is (cheery thought, no?). I immediately thought of this one, then realized I had no idea who sang it. It was one Skeeter Davis, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find out how much I liked it. The song is simple, beautifully sung, and affecting in a way that reaches across the barriers of time. 

I don't even think I've heard this since its heyday in the '60s. This came out when I was eight years old, so I apprehended it with eight-year-old sensibilities - in other words, it probably hardly registered at all. But now I hear it with new ears. It's not about anything apocalyptic, of course (though one's first major heartbreak might fit into that category). Otherwise it would be too much, no matter how well-sung or heartfelt. What made me a bit queasy is that all the comments were posted in the last few hours, on a video uploaded in 2011! 

People have the end of the world on their minds. Comedy shows are becoming a bit forced, and more than a bit distasteful. I don't want to hear the "lighter side" of coronavirus, with visions of truckloads of dead bodies in Italy with nowhere to bury them. There isn't one, and that's final.

I am also miffed at all the "six simple steps to feel better under quarantine" and "how to improve your attitude" and "look on the bright side". Walking outside will soon be prohibited, so perhaps we will just have to walk in place. People with treadmills are prescient, obviously.

I don't know, I find myself hunkering down in a way which is sometimes scary, and sometimes almost enjoyable. I feel grateful that we have enough - so far, anyway. That my people, my close family are OK. I care about the world, and it is aching now, and infected. It's hard to drive the thoughts out of my head. I had a dream I was visiting with Bill's brother and his wife - we hadn't seen them in more than ten years - then suddenly jumped back, realizing I had to keep a "social distance" between us.

Seems to me the world is alienated enough, with technology standing in for human contact. But at the moment, it's the best we can do. Without it, the word wouldn't be getting out. It STILL isn't, not sufficiently to flatten the curve as we are expected to do. 

My office is now my cocoon, my doll haven and my troll village, Trollandia, a state of mind as much as a collection. They relax me palpably, and I don't question that. We were amazed and a little overwhelmed at how crowded Lafarge Lake was today, though for most people it's the only avenue left for any sort of outing. The ducks were fed to bursting point. Kids ran around as if they hadn't run around in days. It was heartwarming - and a little scary.

I'm  posting cats and cherry blossoms, because I always do this time of year - but with a difference. When I post one of them on Facebook, suddenly everyone "likes" them, when NOBODY likes my stuff, period! It's because people are nearly desperate for something that will make them feel good, if even for a moment. This led to a truly nasty little article about HOW TO AVOID COMFORT-EATING in this time of cholera. It's a pandemic, folks. I can eat whatever the fuck I want with impunity, because soon it may turn to famine. 

These are ramblings only, and I never expected to make them, at 1:30 in the morning. I had a surgery planned for next month which will likely be postponed. I am concerned, very, about my daughter's colleague, a wonderful reporter named Michelle Brunaro, who underwent months and months of chemotherapy and overcame Stage 4 breast cancer. She came back to work and was reporting on stories, almost like before. But today I thought about that, and the bottom dropped out. She should not be going out to work. Not at all. Even my daughter, totally fried with stress and nearly hysterical with anxiety, is penned at home, stuck to her computer, trying to stay employed.

I hope Michelle can go home now, stay home, stay safe. It was really good to see her again, but it was plain she was not quite the same. Her hair was short, her face a little puffy. I just hope this thing passes her by. I think of that weird thing in the Bible where somebody marked the doorway with an x in blood - could that be it? This sounds insane! - so that the pestilence would pass that house by.

I had better stop now, since I do not plan to edit this AT ALL and want to go to bed. This is a mixed-up time, and emotions are turned upside-down. People are doing weird things, like putting up their Christmas lights (!), claiming it will help to spread good cheer in the time of cholera. (I don't mean literal cholera, folks, I'm referring to the title of that novel.) If I saw Christmas lights and inflatable Santas now, it would weird me out so badly that I'd want to run home again. But that's what people are doing. To me, it's desperation: we'd better put our lights up NOW, because come December. . . Maybe that's not what they mean. But to me, Christmas lights in the first bloom of spring can mean only one thing. The world has been turned on its head, and it may be a very long time before it rights itself again.