Letter to a Friend – March 29, 2020

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Hi Friend.

Just thought I’d write and say Hello.

Listening to Pandora radio app, and have it tuned to play classical relaxation music.  I forgot how beautiful classical music is.  Beethoven.  Debussy. Yo-yo Ma.  Chopin.  Puccini.  I wish I could play the piano.  The cello.  The violin.  All at once.  And sing.  And dance.  All at once.

I think of you as the calmest person in the family.  The most introspective.  I have pictures of you in my mind from Thanksgiving dinners over the years, and they are meditative in substance.  I hope that makes sense to you.  It does to me.

Face in the mirror.  It’s all about this pandemic.  This pothole in life’s road.  It seemed like any other crisis I’ve gone through, until last Friday.  I’ve gone through many ups and downs, as we all have, but we all relate to our own in a larger way because of emotions we owned at the time.  And emotions remaining long after.  Mine are no different from anyone else’s.  They’re just personal. 

Pandemic.  This crisis is different.  I’m not alone.  Not sitting in my bedroom figuring out how I got here and what I’ll do to get through it.  This isn’t just making a wrong decision and becoming involved in something stupid.  This one involves everyone. 

Still, I feel alone.  I’m used to being alone.  Have hobbies that are alone hobbies.  I don’t depend on anyone else for my happiness.  Can’t.  That only invites sadness. Others have their own happiness to tend to.  Happiness that needs to be nurtured and loved.  And brought back from times of loss. 

“Take care of yourself!”  “Don’t be a crybaby.”  “What’s the matter with you?  Can’t take a little bit of the blues?”  OK.  I’ll try.  No, I’ll do it.  Just give me a day to cry.  It’s cleansing.  We retain a little bit of ‘baby’ in our souls.  I want my mommy.  I want a hug.

Scattered throughout time.  We’re all scattered throughout time.  Clair de Lune.  What a perfect musical backdrop for right now.  Today.  Tonight.

That’s enough!  Stop being down.  Time to figure out what to do now and tomorrow.  Include all the “What ifs”.  Then watch a favorite comedy.  Right now, I want to see ‘Liar. Liar’.  I want to see the scene in the restroom where Jim Carrey is throwing himself around and pounding his head with the toilet lid.  Right now.  “I’m kicking my ass.” 

I’ll write again soon.  I love you.  And I still want a hug. And some chocolate.

Dalia

Didn't See that Coming

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Driving nervously in the almost-fast-lane of the freeway, Dalia tried to relax.  On her way to Bella’s bridal shower at the ex-in-laws home, she wondered how she would stay positive through the whole afternoon.  She felt these people didn’t like her.  They didn’t care.  Dalia needed to appear relaxed, confident, and above all, cool. 

“Find a way to focus Dalia” she thought.  What to do. What to do.  It was more of a soft command than a question.  Ah, yes.  Think of a joke.  It had to be something relatable.  Maybe something about today.  About life.  About cars and drivers and freeways.  Eyes darting from front to side to mirror to front to other side to front to mirror, she caught mind-glimpse-pictures of little things happening all around her. 

“That billboard.  It’s about, oh damn, I’m driving too fast to read it.  Why do they do that?  Fewer words people!”  Dalia thought maybe she should change lanes, merge into the slower lane so she could take in more.  But those drivers are so slow.  Almost creeping along.  Creepy along.  Little chuckle.

Dalia merged into the slower, but not slowest lane, and felt her blood pressure go down just a little.  Maybe there was something to be said for driving in the slower lanes.

Still looking for stories.  Jokes.  Oh, look what that guy just did.  “What’s he doing?  Maybe I should try to get closer and, oops!  Didn’t see that car coming.” 

There it was.  The beginning of the joke.  “Didn’t see that coming.”  It’s not only the beginning of a joke, but a well-known phrase.  It could be used for so many things.   

Events and words and the very best joke now taking shape in Dalia’s head.  Scenes jumping from one car, one driver to a sign on the road, to the passenger in another car.  To Dalia.  How she reacted.  How they reacted.  “Oh, this is getting good” Dalia said.  Yes, out loud.  How else do people talk to themselves while creating?  That thought could be part of the joke.

And she had it!  Laughing out loud at the absurdity of the joke.  The reactions of everyone involved in the almost hilarious joke.  “Hahahahahahaha! That is perfect!”  Yes, Dalia said it out loud.  She had to remember this.  This was a keeper.  “Oh, my gawd.  This is so good.”

Laughing more and feeling darned proud of herself, Dalia realized her exit was coming up, so she slowed down and began navigating again.  ‘Go left, turn left again at the place, and make a U-turn about half a block up to the building by the other place.  Slow down and turn right.  It’s there on the right.  This is the end of the navigation.  Park your car. Good-bye.’ 

Heavy sigh.  Not just for the drive from her house to this one or circumnavigating through crazy streets and drivers and thoughts. The sigh was for what was to come.  In that house.  With those people.  Now.

Climbing out of the car, Dalia went through the basic checklist:

  • Is my makeup OK?  Looking at the reflection in the window she checked this off as OK.
  • Is my hair OK?  Same reflection, same window, same ‘OK’.
  • Stretch.  Ahhh … Done.
  • Deep breath.  And now a second one.  Done.
  • Time to go inside.  Doing.

Waiting for the door to be answered.  Mind moving memories around, filing some into crevices, trying without success to delete others.  “Why are we even here?  What’s life all about?  Do grasshoppers ever wonder about their lives or why they were born to hop?  Why am I thinking about grasshoppers?  Why not dogs or cats?  Am I preprogrammed to think about insects when making important decisions?  Is my hair OK?  I’m thirsty.” 

Minds can be hard things to shut off when you’re waiting at the door of the Ex’s.  And there are so many Ex’s in life.  The list gets longer with each passing day. The X-List. X-files!  Maybe another joke there.

Chuckling, Dalia started thinking about the funny joke on the way over.  And the door opened.

There’s an old saying that when one door closes, another door opens.  It works in reverse, too.  When one door opens, another closes.  See how that works?  The open door gave way to the beginning of a new 3- or 4-hour adventure.  A memory that will last years.  Not all of it.  Not every single minute.  But flashes.  Those remain.  Just flashes.

Smiling.  Hi everyone!  So good to see you.  You look amazing!  How do you do it?  Wow, look how tall they are.  They grow so fast, don’t they?  What have you been doing?  The house is lovely.  Who is responsible for the decorations today?  The food smells great.  Yes, thank you, I would love a glass of wine.  Yes, white.  Not sweet, but if that’s all you have, I’ll love it.

The bridal shower went well.  Laughing.  Drinking and eating.  Opening presents and being very surprised at all of them.  Brides are always so happy and thankful.  Their new life is going to be wonderful, and everyone wishes them well.  They are marrying their prince.  They will live happily ever after.  Hard times?  Not us.  OK, maybe, but we will get through.  Yes, you will.  Just stay on the road.  Or at least come back to the road if you find yourself detouring to somewhere else to do something else.  Or something.

Second glass of wine.  Dalia knew she needed to drink water or juice from here on out.  The drive home.  Drives home are almost always faster than the drives to, depending on traffic.  There is no trying to navigate to a new, never-before seen place.  It’s auto pilot.  Brain functions on auto.  But not all brain functions.

Rehashing scenes from the shower as she drove home, Dalia felt melancholy.  “Grasshoppers.  Yes, grasshopper.  That is your quest.  Go forth and beat the hell out of those meanies.  Here.  Take my sword.”  Fun show.  Not everyone remembers who Grasshopper was.

Dalia drove and felt happier going home than she had earlier in the day.  Didn’t care about hair or makeup.  “Screw me if they can’t take a joke!  Wait a minute … that’s not right.” 

Dalia thought about the joke she created, yes created, on the way to the shower.  “Chuckle city”, she laughed.  “Let’s see, how did that begin?  Uh, was it with the blue car?  No.  Then what?”  No amount of racking her brain, going through each step of the drive-to was bringing the joke back.  The hilarious joke.

Dalia’s mood went from melancholy to shock to despair, and then took a hard right turn into the garage of disbelief.  “I cannot believe this!  It was so funny.”  Despair came back.  “It was so funny.”

It was one more thing Dalia didn’t see coming.  The vanishing joke. 

Oh well.

Silence

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The silence is overwhelming.  Yes, people are talking.  Discussing.  Debating.  Voicing their opinions.  But there is a silence in the land, a void of consciousness not in sound but in action.  It’s in the air.  There is hate in the air. 

Crying can be felt as well as heard.  Do you feel it?  Sadness.  Confusion.  Thousands of children, men, and women are crying.  Feelings of loss.  Any mother or father, brother or sister, can sense it and cries inside if not outside.  We still must go to work, shop for groceries, get on with day-to-day activities.  But the sadness of what is becoming somewhat accepted in this land eats at and consumes hearts, minds, and souls.  It is a plague.  Rotten.  To the core.

Turn on the TV.  Watch the news.  Listen to lies.  Watch faces of liars.  Some liars smile like elves, and others wave their arms in the air and say, “Believe me”.  But they’re all liars.  Selfish, soulless, immoral liars.  In their effort to place blame on others, they go against everything that is good and loving.  They try to distract from their own acts.  But these are not children.  They are not hiding cookies stolen from some cookie jar.  They are grown men and women who feel they have power over others, and they intend to use it.  “Who cares if children get hurt.”  That’s what they think as their mouths spew forth words of “It’s not my fault”, or “Arm the teachers”, or “But god says….”.  Liars.  They lecture about being pro-life, and yet happily separate children from their mothers, as they quote from bibles.  Sending thoughts and prayers.  They lecture about being good people, yet they watch as children are murdered on an almost weekly basis in our schools and streets.  And they send their thought and prayers.

The bully sits at the head of the table shaking his fist and calling names.  Grown men cower.  Grown men cower.  Grown men who have been elected to protect the constitution cower and praise the bully.  In front of cameras!  Smiling!

People talk.  On TV it’s one channel against another.  One show praises and defends the wickedness.  If you squint your eyes just so, you can feel, smell, the acrid odors coming through the monitors into your homes.  They revel in the idea of an administration which is overtly putting into motion laws and actions that hurt those who are not in their favor.  And they smile.  This makes them happy.    

Others speak of laws and debate over what can be done.  Their intentions are good.  They care.  They educate.  Their concern is real, and it is felt.  But, it passes quickly as, without realizing it, they bring the bullies back into the room and give them more air time.  More showtime.  It’s part of what keeps the bullies bad and glad.  They are the stars once again.

We need leaders.  Strong leaders who will not wilt and crumble under the loudness of the tyrant.  Let the others do their work behind the scenes to build a cell wall around the bullies, but in the meantime, we need leaders.  I do not want to live in Nazi America.  I see the beginning of concentration camps and it is concerning.  Frightening.  Maddening.  We cannot let this happen.

We need leaders.  Honest, caring, strong leaders.  Martin Luther King, Jr. is gone.  Loved forever.  Never forgotten.  We need someone with his strength.  His dedication.  Man or woman, it makes no difference. 

This feels like the 60s.  Protesting, caring about the planet and all living things.  The changes that came out of that era are with us today. Change didn’t happen overnight, and it wasn’t without struggles, because change takes time.  And hard work.

But how much time do we have now?  The bullies are gathering on the sidelines and amassing strength and weapons.  They light torches.  Scream at and confront people in parks, parking lots and stores, people they don’t know but have decided they just don’t like.  Ugly contorted faces lean out of car windows and try to intimidate.  Then, they praise the bully.  

The Resistance is growing.  I believe the Resistance will cut through the wall of hate that is trying to engulf America.  I believe.  Let’s resist together.  Let’s break the silence.

Happy New Year 2018

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January 2018

We can only do the best we can with what we have to work with at that time.

Hindsight helps decisions made in the future, but tests that are in-the-moment often challenge our hearts, souls and minds. We are in the midst of one of those times. Thought-provoking. Inflammatory. Confusing. What will we do to save our country, our planet, and our fellow beings?

Hate isn’t the answer, yet there are so many haters and schemers who have emerged to fly their vile flags in our faces. They push, shove, yell, lie, try their best to intimidate. They are like schoolyard bullies. Some on the schoolyard shake in their shoes, others whisper that the bullies are A-holes, and others leave the scene. But we all know that bullies will only get bigger and nastier without a challenger or two.

Emotions swing back and forth between anger and depression. What to do? What to do? Not sure, but I do know we can’t just sit back, wring our hands and lament of what could have been. We must take a stand, hold that stand until the tides turn, and then we must continue to fight to ensure the poisonous quills of hate are rendered immobile.

MTK day is stamped on my calendar as Monday, January 15th. Honoring his deeds and spirit should be an everyday occurrence, and a constant celebration of humanity. Humanity that values every person and every living thing on this planet.

There was a poster in the 60s with the words “War is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things”, and this continues to ring true. Every Day. We are in a war to save the progress we have made in the past 50 years. A war that truly had only begun and it needs our attention, our nurturing, and our protection. We must continue on this path. Period.

We must march. Vote. Pass legislation. Run for office. Be gatekeepers for our country and its people. ALL of its people.

We shall overcome.