We all have it: COVID 19. It’s a rhythm thing

The hardest part of catching a virus is when it’s coming on…you feel terrible, you start making all kinds of plans to deal with getting sick, cancelling obligations, re-arranging work.  Your head buzzes with infection. You’re mad and sick at the same time;  you’re mad at yourself for getting sick, for having a break in your immune system. You curse your army, your fortress of protection for failing at their jobs. Your soldiers have fallen down on the field, even though you’ve worked hard to keep them in shape.

You’re mad that you have to do all this scrambling. You don’t know how long it’s going to last, and finally, you feel terrible…

You try to stay calm and let the virus run its course, because you know that’s all you can do.  You try to hunker down and accept the fact that you’re sick.  You try to stop stressing about stressing… You try. And you try some more and this just makes it all worse. This feeds the fever–it’s getting worse.

The virus blossoms to its full self… you might lose some more sleep, you might lose a few pounds, you might lose your pride, you might lose your “joie” You curse and complain,  you whine, you feel sorry for yourself.  You imagine being sick for weeks, or months… maybe you wonder if this thing is going to kill you?   You begin to think it’s your fault, because you skipped that extra workout at the gym, you shouldn’t have eaten all those Dorritos.

You worry about others in your immediate circle… you want company because you feel so shitty, but you don’t want to be a jerk and ask people to expose themselves to your illness.  You don’t want anyone to bring you any new germs either. You have no energy to do anything, you lament the hours you’re “wasting.” You watch TV, but that makes you feel worse for lots of reasons. The people on daytime TV seem to know you’re laid up and they play to your worst impulses — pummeling you with ads about medicines and filling the screen with insidious programming.

You’re just plain sick.

You’re just plain lousy.

A day passes, a week?

But then…something happens…

You sweat. Something breaks…it’s the fever.  Some destructive pattern has been halted.

The army is more efficient, the fortress walls are getting fresh brick and mortar. There’s a bit of a lift in your heels… small energy pockets are renewed and released into your bloodstream.  You’re getting an organic blood transfusion as your army gets on their feet, weapons in hand, ready to tackle the enemy. The battle continues, but something is different now. Your foot soliders begin to get the upper hand.  You can feel the rush of fresh energy. It’s called Hope. The hope builds upon itself, and soon the soldiers are pumped with enthusiasm – they fight with vim and vigor, getting the advantage in the fight brings them joy, even a thrill.You start to be assured…yes! I have resistance…I have regained control Yes! Yes! …I will beat the enemy. Yes! I will win.

The hope and the confidence has its own momentum, much like the negative momentum of falling ill…It is ACTION/REACTION. The curve begins to have a completed shape…Another rise, another fall, symmetry in nature. It’s a rhythm thing.

It’s a vibration, a sound wave, a moment to realize: we’re lucky. We can heal.

As a global community, we’re not there yet. One case at a time.

The House Vote — Relativism and Righteousness

December 18, 2019

The most serious questions raised in the US House Vote for Impeachment are these:

Are we incapable of reaching beyond our own narrow views of “reality,” in order to truly consider that we might be “wrong?” Is it possible to consider that, perhaps, we have been blinded by something, by someone, by our own selves?

Is it possible to escape our pre-conceptions, our deeply blind need to side with political narratives, bent on distorting the truth in order to preserve a foundational perception of our Selves?

How far have we come into a world of Post Truth?

Are we, as a culture, finally embracing the idea that there is no such thing as Truth? Is it time to accept that all of our truths may be dependent upon our singular perception? Is this not what Hume postulated a long time ago?

Is this a response to perhaps an over-zealous age of scientism, objectivity, big data, “realism,” a quest for a unanimous agreement on basic principles of truth.  Is this a response to Neitzche’s claim that “God is dead?”

Is this the fall of the use of a capital letter T when it comes to truth? Are we finally going to accept that no capital T belongs on the word, that our leaders and lawmakers can so completely rip our bodies politic in twain?

I wonder if my fellow artists, intellectuals, and soul-searching human beings, are contemplating the profound sense of confusion that is blanketing our nation’s capital.

Have we slid so far down the slope of Relativism that there is no climbing back up the hill?  What now?

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I am ashamed of them all.  I have not heard one voice today that speaks of a middle road of any kind. Is there not one person in our body politic who has the guts to admit to complexity, admit to the possibility that this is not a melodrama for children, but a layered and nuanced discussion of perception?

Maybe this is why I have always been so suspect, even disdainful of politics—this need to vilify, this need to create a divide in order to take action? Maybe this is why I have been reticent to march in the streets, or carry signs for political action.  Maybe this is why I believe that we create division in order to more fully develop our own identities, because we have failed to do so without these external differences. We have not yet looked inside for our sense of Self—we only feel alive when we are in opposition to someone else?

I have no affinity for Donald Trump. I actually believe impeachment might be called for. But I am more disturbed by the division than anything else. I drive to work today—down the highway I go in my  2010 Toyota Corolla, on my way to a modest college in a modest town, where mostly working class families are trying to feed their kids and pay their bills. I do not live large, but I recognize my place of privilege in the middle class, my adult years dedicated to economic stability for myself and my family.  I’m a pretty ordinary person, on her way to work on a rainy Wednesday morning. I listen to public radio as I often do…I can name the major players in the big news stories of the day. Yes, I am informed, yes, I’m eager to listen, lean in, and learn… and yes, I have my opinions. In fact, I encourage my students (and myself) to have opinions about everything. “Stand up and have an opinion.”  It means you care.

But today, the vitriol, the hyperbole, the righteousness of the US House of Representatives has finally pierced my skin.   I am deeply troubled.…I hear no humility, no self-awareness, and finally, no Truth.

If this were couples therapy, I’d applaud the arrival into subjective terrainld, exploring experience over “fact.” But this is not therapy. This is business. This is taxation, this is governance. I believe in some old fashioned ideals from the 18th Century Founders. Forgive my romanticism for a moment? I know how to seek revisionism, and reading Zinn’s tome is an important reminder of our dangerous need for fairy tales.

Is this only history repeating itself? has it always been like this? Is my own naivete? I know politics has always been fractious…duh. But have we come so far as to seem ridiculous? Or have we always been ridiculous? Have ideologues always been this blatant in their righteousness? Do I have some kind of Romantic vision, guilty of believing that “it didn’t used to be like this?”

I want to be able to see this for what it is…

And I want to be able to admit that I might be wrong.

Following up on Match.com(mentary)

Finally, someone has sent me a note!  I had just upgraded a few photos, revised my summary to sound more charming and less intense (I’m a playwright, after all, fitting the word to the action is what I do),  Intense is scary, right? 

Look!  a word of sweetness in my Inbox…

We start to email back and forth, like “normal” adults…a few questions here and there, the usual.  I am a careful wordsmith, never saying anything too revealing…pretty funny, eh?  what with this blog, seen by millions? (okay, 10) … “He” gets intrigued… I think, “Of course he’s intrigued, I can spin a phrase, dangle a few metaphors, what else is more attractive than that I wonder?” (don’t answer that) “He” leans in—spills a few  gushy words in my direction.  My ego is fed. Maybe I’m not a loser after all,  ugly, old, boring.  

For a few days, I am slightly atwitter about my Inbox… checking it a bit too often.  I write a note.  He writes back.   We’re  getting to know each other in written notes? How delicious is that?  That’s 90 percent of why I write a blog,  why I write or read anything… I hunger to know.

 But it hits me – you can see where this leading if you notice my quotation marks. Something’s amiss…It’s all in the language!  It’s in the punctuation, the nuance of curves, the commas are so revealing…  maybe even some topsy-turvy verbs.  I had already reminded myself not to be too harsh about grammar, etc…maybe I’m dealing with  English as a second or third language…  But no…that’s not it.  He’s not really responding,  he’s pretend responding.  

There is no “He.”  “He is an “It?”  

My friends tell me that he’s probably just a weirdo with poor language skills,  playing his hand clumsily.

No,  I think it is a chatbot.   Pure software.  Reeling in those of us iin need of connection – that would be all of us—this will lead to asking for money, no doubt. …augh, I’m hurt, I’m aghast, I’m even horrified.  The very concept turns my stomach. But I’m also a little ashamed of myself,  blinded by my vanity, my wanting?  “When you prick us, do we not bleed?”

 Rejected on the personal front, I get intrigued by the technology. Do some research.  Of course…this is it!…an attempt at human communication.  Wow…I love this, what a world to explore. I know we’re hard at it right now, simulating human communication…I’ve “chatted” with online assistants, inspiring a play about a lonely woman finding a sweet word from someone in the Xfinity chat box, looking for love.  

 The bot took “his” profile down from Match immediately, duh… Match is off the hook.  That’s your problem now, idiot. I stopped responding…nary a word. Without a cue, how will the software respond?  

 It’s a new experiment now. 

Okay, no one likes me on Match… but I’ve got new material.  Maybe that’s all I want anyway.

Got Weeds?

 Beautiful? 

Ugly?

If we didn’t know…if we didn’t surround our vision with…”understanding, contextualization, knowledge, experience”    then could this field of yellow blossoms just be beautiful?  Bright, delicate, nature’s greeting, whispering sunshine, a reminder of eternal rotation, repetition, renewal?   

But no.   They are weeds.  We know this.  Symbols of neglect, stubborn roots, plants to destroy, clear away, make room for the ones we deem…correct for gardens, suburban luxury, even privilege?

How do we free ourselves to just see things? Free ourselves to see freely…dandelions?

If we could…we would be free…but never notice our freedom.  Sigh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Match Dot Com (ments)

Hey everyone, I’m back. For now.

Match Dot Com.

First, let’s be clear – seeking connections online is risky.  Duh… Seeking connections by looking at a few selfies and reading  “summaries” is pretty absurd, yes?  I get that.  But the idea/the expectation of finding a few folks to get to know with a few clicks …pretty tempting.  For some time, I’ve wondered, wow…what kind of middle -aged men are “out there” these days, who are these people? A few folks (men only) have told me, “oh there’s so many people out there, just looking for a good chat or sweet connection of some kind…it doesn’t have to be heavy, etc…”  Something, someone new?  A tiny bit of anticipation? A little excitement?  What could hurt?

Okay, after peeking around for a bit, I finally paid to give people a chance to respond to my Profile.  Paying  to meet people..?  UGH.  My millennial daughter:– “get over it mom,  that’s just how it is, no biggee.”    Okay…here’s my credit card # — UGH.

Okay…it’s time for that flood of curious, good-looking, smart, witty, charming, middle aged men to ring in. Surely, this will be easy, right?  Like my men friends said, “there’s so many people out there…”

I pay the toll, so I can cross the bridge.  I send a few hellos… Quick and Light…”Hi there. It looks like we might share a few interests.” God, I’m good…such a wordsmith.

Nothing in response.  Nothing…I’m talking Nothing.

Rinse and repeat.

No “likes,” no notes.

Match lets me see who has “viewed me.”  Wow…I got 4 “views” but not a single “like.”  No notes.  More views, more silence.  More notes from me, more silence, more nothingness.   So, they “view me” and then they don’t like me. Okay.  Wow.

I get theoretical. Is the old adage true?  Men want young, glamorous, fertile, blonde women to wear on their arms at dinner parties?  Men on Match sometimes post: “looking for…” and then they post an age quite younger than they are. I’m serious here people!

I rework my profile; what have I done wrong?  I revise my Summary:  Quicker and Lighter… Confession:  I post a new selfie, one with more eye makeup, longer earrings, a flirtatious smile…  I send a few more hellos. I never get heavy, or hint that I’m a writer and all that…stuff. “Hey there, nice photo.  Hey there…I like hiking too.” (god, I’m good)

Nothing.

Not a word.

Hmmm…

Do I get mad?  Do I get hurt?

I’m 60…  I have some wrinkles, but I’m so hard to look at—I look pretty healthy and fit—it takes a little effort these days, but I have all my original body parts (I thought this was a good thing?). Moreover, I’m not looking for a husband (I thought this was a good thing?), just a little company maybe…I’m chatty and warm, I read books, stay informed, have oft been told I can be quite the witty and sharp conversationalist.  I can be Quick and Light. 

Is it possible that the very attributes that worked for me 40 years ago work against me today?   Is it me, or has the world changed? I thought men liked smart, fierce, strong women…Did I live in a bubble?   Or is it that I’m just not blonde, young, or glamorous.  I don’t wear lip gloss?

I prefer to see this as social commentary, but maybe it’s just ego…I’m rejection whining.

Is it possible?  Middle aged men have an easy time dating and middle aged women …well, we don’t? Is the old adage still true, after all this work, all these struggles?  Whoops, what happened to Quick and Light?

I hope one of you readers is furious right now. How dare I generalize?   how dare I make sweeping assumptions?  I hope you’re fuming, “that’s NOT how it is…sure, some men this, some men that, but all men?  Oh Pllleeasse.”     Okay…bring it on… convince me that it’s not a societal flaw at all…we’ve come a long way baby and all that… we’re all so …evolved now.

WAIT – don’t tell me that…if you’re right, then I really am just a loser…don’t tell me that.  I can’t even get a follow up note on Match.com…

WAIT … if you’re reading this and you’re  “available”…send me a hello? (JK)

WAIT…if you’re reading this,  to hell with Match.com… I already have what I want and need.  Maybe.

 

 

 

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