Running. With Incongruity.

Friday. Early afternoon. A crack between conference calls.

I run.

I’m up a whopping seven pounds since being sheltered in place. There are no barriers to entry, to the Fridge, to the pantry, to the potato chips. Or the counter tops, which on alternative days are lined with Susan’s Chocolate chip cookies, Zucchini loaves and Banana Bread.

I flip her an article: “Forget the Sourdough. Everybody’s Baking Banana Bread” and highlight the punch line:

Nervous about venturing into markets, many people are making do with ingredients at hand, including the moldering bananas. In the past month, banana bread beat out pancakes, brownies and pizza dough as the No. 1 searched-for recipe in the U.S. and world-wide, according to Google. The humble loaves are taking a star turn on Instagram and Twitter…. “The isolation stages of grief,” another said, are “denial, anger, banana bread.”

But I feel little of this. No grief. No denial. Little isolation. OK, maybe anger, ever-present, on slow boil.

And yet again, I’m out of step with the Pack, feeling none of the isolation, feeling none of the mid-winter-like cabin fever others are swamped in. [Read more…]

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

In your house for days on end,
Hours, minutes, weeks all blend.
Boredom, hunger, Tiger King.
Food depleted, you need some things.
And though I shouldn’t need to ask,
When you go out, please wear a mask.


Source: covidbookcovers

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Photo: Newsy.com.  Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

Evolution?


Eric Yahnker with Pandemic Lovers (after Magritte), 2020, oil on linen, 36 x 27.5 in. Eric Yahnker is a contemporary artist born in 1976 in Torrance, California. His humorous, meticulously rendered graphite and colored pencil drawings and elaborate process pieces examine pop culture and politics.  He can be found at his website and on Instagram.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call


A giraffe peers up at a drone at a closed safari park, which has begun selling half-price advance tickets online to raise money to feed its more than 2,000 animals. Rebecca Blackwell, April 19, 2020, Chapa de Mota, Mexico. 

 

 

How do you sum up something that’s so huge?

How do you sum up something that’s so huge?” asks Alexei Hay. “One of the only answers is the emptiness, the thing that speaks to whatever everybody’s going through. The absence is more telling than taking a picture of anybody.” Not long after the citywide clampdown began, Hay, like a lot of photographers, realized this was a fleeting extraordinary moment, one he wanted to document in a grand way before it was gone. What’s on view here is neither a completely depopulated New York nor its usual bustling self but something eerily stuck in between. These are middle-of-the-night photos shot in broad daylight, snow-day pictures without the snow…

The very overfamiliarity of some of the sites — the Flatiron Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral — is paradoxically what, at this one unusual time, keeps you looking. Nothing is visibly wrong, exactly, but everything is wrong. Ordinarily, if you see pictures of normally busy and now deserted streets, it’s the emptiness that gets you, as your mind goes right to Vanilla Sky or the Rapture. Here, the thing that triggers alarm is not the absence of people. It’s when you see the few souls who are out and about, and they’re less than six feet apart.

~ , from “New York, Four Weeks In Portrait of an empty city.”

Don’t miss Alexei Hay’s photos in the New York Magazine: April 13, 2020.

Too much world. Too much, too fast, too loud.

From my window, I can see a white mulberry, a tree I’m fascinated by—one of the reasons I decided to live where I live. The mulberry is a generous plant—all spring and all summer it offers dozens of avian families its sweet and healthful fruits. Right now, the mulberry hasn’t got back its leaves, and so I see a stretch of quiet street, rarely traversed by people on their way to the park. The weather in Wrocław is almost summery: a blinding sun, blue sky, clean air. Today, as I was walking my dog, I saw two magpies chasing an owl from their nest. At a remove of just a couple of feet, the owl and I gazed into each other’s eyes. Animals, too, seem to be waiting expectantly, wondering what’s going to happen next.

For the longest time, I have felt that there’s been too much world. Too much, too fast, too loud. So I’m not experiencing any “isolation trauma,” and it isn’t hard on me at all to not see people. I’m not sorry that the cinemas have closed; I am completely indifferent to the fact that shopping centers have shuttered. I do worry, of course, when I think of all the people who have lost their jobs. But, when I learned of the impending quarantine, I felt something like relief. I know many people felt similarly, even if they also felt ashamed of it. My introversion, long strangled and abused by hyperactive extroverts, has brushed itself off and come out of the closet.

I watch our neighbor through the window, an overworked lawyer I just recently saw heading to work in the morning with his courtroom robe slung over his shoulder. Now in a baggy tracksuit, he battles a branch in the yard; he seems to be putting things in order. I see a couple of young people taking out an older dog that’s been barely able to walk since last winter. The dog staggers while they patiently accompany him, walking at the slowest pace. Making a great racket, the garbage truck picks up the trash.

Life goes on, and how, but at a completely different rhythm. I tidied up my closet and took out the newspapers we had read and placed them in the recycling bin. I repotted the flowers. I picked up my bicycle from the shop where it had been repaired. I have been enjoying cooking.

Images from my childhood keep coming back to me. There was so much more time then, and it was possible to “waste” it and “kill” it, spending hours just staring out the window, observing the ants, or lying under the table and imagining it to be the ark. Reading the encyclopedia.

Might it not be the case that we have returned to a normal rhythm of life? That it isn’t that the virus is a disruption of the norm, but rather exactly the reverse—that the hectic world before the virus arrived was abnormal? …

The virus has reminded us, after all, of the thing we have been denying so passionately: that we are delicate creatures, composed of the most fragile material. That we die—that we are mortal. That we are not separated from the rest of the world by our “humanity,” by any exceptionality, but that the world is instead a kind of great network in which we are enmeshed, connected with other beings by invisible threads of dependence and influence. That without any regard to how far apart the countries we come from are, or what languages we speak, or what color our skin is, we come down with the same illness, we share the same fears; we die the same death.

It has made us realize that no matter how weak and vulnerable we feel in the face of danger, we are also surrounded by people who are more vulnerable, to whom our help is essential. It has reminded us of how fragile our older parents and grandparents are, and how very much they need our care. It has shown us that our frenetic movements imperil the world. And it has raised a question we have rarely had the courage to ask ourselves: what is it, exactly, that we keep going off in search of?

~ Olga Tokarczuk, from “A New World Through My Window” (The New Yorker, April 8, 2020)


Notes:

  • Thank you for sharing Sawsan (@  Last Tambourine).
  • Portrait of Olga Tokarczuk: Quillette. Poland’s Nobel Prize Winner in Literature (2018)

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:  Photo: NPR.  Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

From one citizen to another, I beg of you: take a deep breath, ignore the deafening noise, and think deeply about what you want to put back into your life. This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred (yes, sacred) opportunity to get rid of the bullshit and to only bring back what works for us, what makes our lives richer, what makes our kids happier, what makes us truly proud. We get to Marie Kondo the shit out of it all. We care deeply about one another. That is clear. That can be seen in every supportive Facebook post, in every meal dropped off for a neighbor, in every Zoom birthday party. We are a good people. And as a good people, we want to define — on our own terms — what this country looks like in five, 10, 50 years. This is our chance to do that, the biggest one we have ever gotten. And the best one we’ll ever get.

~ Julio Vincent Gambuto, from “Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting” (forge.medium.com, April 13, 2020)


Notes: Thank you  Lori Ferguson for sharing. Portrait: boro5

WFH: Week 3

Thursday morning.

Work-From-Home Week 3. I think. Days merging together. Shelter-in-Place. Work-in-Place. Work 7 x 17.

I miss my commute. Miss my 30 minutes of quiet time in the car. Miss my 60 minutes of reading time on Metro North.

First conference call of the day. I step away from the call to grab dental floss. Multi-tasking WFH style.

I adjust the wireless headset, and focus back on the call. Tense. I catch myself grinding my teeth. A night (and now day) grinder. He warned me. After each check-up for years. “DK, you should consider a mouth guard. A retainer.” Nope. This Insomniac is not going to roll around in bed at night gagging on plastic.

Back to the call. I lean forward on the desk, and wrap up the call. I summarize the next steps and as I’m about to thank the group, my bridge loosens, and tumbles down my mouth, then my throat.  I gag, eyes water, I spit the bridge out onto my desk. My thank you comes out Thunkkkkk. Stunned by the chain reaction, I disconnect the line.

My tongue, an anteater, desperately searching for teeth, finds none. Cool air, laps the soft gums, fills the void.

Not the COVID-19 disruption that I anticipated.

Next morning. He agrees to take me in, my dentist. He opens his closed office. No assistants, a one-man band. Air suction, water syringes, sputum splashing from my mouth, onto his googles, onto his shield. 1 hour it took, reconstructing the breaks, putting Humpty back together again.

He walks me out to the door.

My tongue passes across the ivory of my front teeth. Smooth.

I bite down. The Bite, in line.

“Thank You Doc. You didn’t need to come in.”

I open the door, walk down the empty hallway leaving him behind me as he shuts down the office.

Thank you Doc. Thank you.


Inspired by: “And so I remind myself: my real challenge right now is a spiritual one. In the midst of an evolving, unprecedented crisis, can I truly practice living moment to moment? Can I take on this strange new life day by day, from a place of tender awareness rather than fear? Can I let go of the ways I thought life would unfold and save my strength to swim with the tide? Can I stay focused on what’s good, right now?” ~ Katrina Kenison, from “The gift of an ordinary day

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