Sunday, April 12, 2020

Little things mean a lot

If I read another writer paraphrasing the title of Gabriel García Marquéz’s novel Love in the time of Cholera, I’ll vomit. You’d give a ninth grader a pass but to see such sophomoric cleverness from big name journalists is depressing and we don’t need more of that. Life in the time of Corona Virus, Love in the Time of Social Distancing, Lies in the Time of Covid-19. Make it stop.

If you’re like me you’ve had highs and lows through this tempest. I’m one hell of a lot more worried about the economy, mine, than I am about the disease. It’s been a month since we communed in a herd if you don’t count the supermarket, pharmacy and Post Office. It’s been painless and, other than eating out, we’re not missing the action. And we sure are saving money. A couple dinners, two lunches and a breakfast out each week adds up to real money. We are craving, more like dying for, a Smoky Quartz pizza and an IPA at the Downtown Taproom. We’re simple creatures after all.

We’ve indulged in a couple of virtual cocktail hours, the second of which was with John Farnsworth and Thea Swengel Saturday night. Once we got our technical difficulties sorted out it almost felt like we were physically together. I guess we shouldn’t be embarrassed that we had audio lapses. Even the Meet the Press was having sound sync issues Sunday morning. And how about those lovely folks at Zoom. Privacy concerns aside somebody is getting very rich. And all I have is this stupid tee shirt.

John just got back from four months in South America, three of which were in Buenos Aires. He told us he might have stayed six months, but the State Department warned travelers to head back to the U.S. pronto. It took the intrepid wanderer three days of planning and 24 hours of flying to make it to Albuquerque. His itinerary routed him from Buenos Aires to Sao Paolo to Newark and Albuquerque. My ass is sore just imagining it.

Then, to add insult to injury, Thea quarantined him in his studio for 14 days without so much as a hug. She fed him through a slot in the door. She said that he was hesitant to leave his cell when she unlocked the door after two weeks. I wonder how we'll react when we’re let us out of the hoosegow. Will we feel unbridled excitement or apprehension when barriers are gone? Thea thinks we’ll have an awkward transition. And what about handshakes, hugs and kisses. My hero Dr. Fauci, now on the outs with whatshisname, suggests that handshakes should disappear entirely. As far as I'm concerned a courtly bow and a direct look in the eye will do quite nicely.

And speaking about freedom, at lunch with Peggy yesterday I commenting on how precious it is and that in some small way our shelter in place regimen makes us appreciate the unfettered license we’ve always had to do whatever we want to do whenever we want to do it. It makes those balmy days in Brittany with artist friends last July seem a like a distant dream. And that studying Spanish every morning in the rooftop classroom of Escuela Ixchel in Antigua, Guatemala was only make believe. This new appreciation of what we had and took for granted stems from the realization that freedom of movement and social interaction is not a given, is not guaranteed. Boy, do I Iook forward to that woodfired pizza and a frosty beer. That’s the simplest expression of free will that I can think of.

Appreciating our good fortune is the gift these hard times have given us. Let’s accept that gift. Applying my new-found appreciation for the gifts that will follow is my goal.

Today I got an email from my friend, the photographer Marti Belcher, in Virginia. Within her Easter tidings was this nugget from author Roald Dahl.

“And above all, with glittering eyes to the world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Words to live by.

Thanks, Marti.


j. Madison Rink said...

:-) Thanks, Steve....and Marty... :-)

Steve Immel said...

Thank you, Madison. I hope you are safe and healthy in these trying times.

Blacks Crossing said...

Guilty as charged with my reference in March to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but heck, it seems, as you said, everyone is using it ad nauseam. One or two times fine, after that, meh. Little things do mean a lot, and the things we did last spring or summer seem like a full life-time ago. It is so very strange and that is why it is important for people to record their experiences and feelings, one way or another. The human brain does an excellent job of filtering and forgetting, making it more important to record these things. Glad you are blogging and photographing and keeping a diary, as it were. Thanks, Steve! Keep well, safe, and shooting!