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Friday, May 22, 2020

Welcome to My House

Does anyone outside our family remember
Entemann's chocolate-chip creme cake? My
cousin Debbie found the recipe and taught us
on her Craftpocalypse site how to make it.
My wife and I are now going into week nine of being quarantined together in our home. I am a little ashamed to admit how happy I've been here, under no obligation to see anyone (except my mother, around whom I wear a mask when I pop over to see her, and my daughter, for whom we've made a quarantining exception).

The days, though Groundhog-Day like in their sameness, pass quickly. I have video-chat dates with friends every week. I write for my MFA program (poems, short stories, 55,0000 words of my novel). I wear nothing but yoga pants and tank tops. I've been building a mosaic on the side of our house and making daily art with an online program I signed up for. I cook delicious meals and eat a lot of ice cream. (So, so much Vanilla Swiss Almond by Haagen-Dazs that I ought to become my own retail outlet just to have wholesale amounts delivered here.) I've been learning to play bridge with my Bridge Life Master mom, something I think I'll still be saying after 10 years of this "learning," as the nuances of this game are endless. I take part in writing accountability dates and Zoom critique sessions. I do yoga (with Adriene, on her Find What Feels Good channel) every day, the only commitment I never break with myself; I cannot say enough about how life-saving this practice, started right after my son died, has been for me. My dog couldn't be more thrilled about having me home with her.

Even the stress I had around touching groceries, back when I was spraying with Lysol every item that came into our house, has abated now that research shows we are all most at danger of catching corona virus when we're in an enclosed space together, breathing one another's air. So I've stopped scrubbing down our packages and purchases and have relaxed about hiking with my daughter, saying hello to neighbors as we walk our dogs, and visiting people to pick up items from my "Buy Nothing" group. (Buy Nothing Facebook groups, local to each community, allow members to give away things we don't need anymore and to be gifted items our neighbors don't need anymore. My house and wardrobe are furnished, decorated and enriched by literally hundreds of these items.)

All of the delights I'm enjoying do not change the terrifying fact that a coup is and has been happening right in front of us, in which inspectors general are fired and replaced by cronies and loyalists, in which good people are silenced, in which bad people are let out of prison early, in which the entire swamp of our federal government is abusing its power and stealing our money to enrich themselves, holding parties with big donors on our dime, making millions in stock deals with insider knowledge, giving themselves and their donors giant tax cuts, and looking for ways to keep us from voting in November.  I do my best to put the horror out of my mind, as I feel helpless to change what is happening, but that leaves me feeling slimy with guilt for all the pleasures I'm still enjoying.

So I'm going to go back now to my art project from yesterday. Just reading all of these statements aloud reminds me that in my practice of only controlling what is within my control, I'm doing well, I'm doing right, and I need to just keep going.

But if anyone has any ideas for how we can affect what's going on "out there," please let me know.

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