“…Put My Tears In Your Bottle…”

“Are they not in Your book?”
Psalms 56:9

Every day I think maybe it will be better than yesterday.

It is a very hopeful attitude considering we will soon hit 100,000 U.S. residents dead in not quite 3 months.  That is 3% of the nearly 1.7 million U.S. infected, which itself is 30% of the infections world-wide.

Our total deaths are 30% of deaths of ALL countries. Almost 1/3.  Including countries that are considered Third World on every metric.

And for those saying “well annually we lose this many from flu, accidents, etc.,“ isn’t the better question, “Why are we still losing so many people in these other, more easily preventable areas as well?”

One number really does not make the other more acceptable. That is public relations “magic” to make something unpalatable appear as if it is of little importance in the larger scheme of things.

I know.  I used statistical information to make favorable points as a media rep for PG&E in the 1980s about the dangers of nuclear power versus flying. I know the tricks of the trade.

So if our death rate is also currently 30% that of the rest of the world’s, clearly we have not done as good a job of stopping this virus as Donald Trump would wish the “base” to think.  Or even having the necessary federal coordination to help effectively test, trace and treat it.

You want a test?  You still can’t get one.  Even then, it is only good for as long as you test negative.

Yet people were out at pools and other entertainment venues this weekend as if their lives depended on it, when in fact the opposite was true.

Of course, perhaps life could be worse.  You could be a Black man lying on the pavement as a police officer’s knee on your neck chokes the life out of you for the world to view.  I viewed it.  The entire video.  And I saw a murder happen before my eyes from those whose mission is to “protect and serve.”

To protect whom and serve them how?

Even the easy things to do don’t seem easy anymore. 

How hard is it really for Jack Dorsey to take Trump’s conspiracy theory about the death of Lori Klausutus off Twitter?

Not very.  He is the CEO.  He has a right to do so.  He has the moral obligation to do so.  But morality is evidently not Dorsey’s imperative, despite pleas from the widower to take down the tweet.

I originally joined Twitter for fun and met a couple of women with whom I looked forward to live tweeting about Thursday night’s airing of a new “Scandal” episode, not to be a political warrior against Trump, the GOP or on behalf of other social issues.

But when Trump became the Republican nominee, I couldn’t look away.  I had been a GOP voter from Reagan through Romney.  Trump did not even begin to represent the values for which I thought I had been voting: country, family, the moral fabric of our lives.

I had to speak out.  Because of Trump.  Because of the way he has made me re-evaluate the party I once supported. Re-evaluate myself, my faith.  And Twitter became the platform for my voice.

God knows I don’t want to keep doing this.  I am so physically, mentally, emotionally tired of doing this.

I have lived the better part of my life.  The rest was supposed to be peaceful, full of family and friends and the little joys.

But until we vote in November 2020, I have committed myself to continue being a Twitter warrior as part of the #Resistance.

After that, whether Trump wins or loses, I will be done with social media except for my blog.

Which was never, ever meant to write about Trump at all.

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“Contagion” Redux

So watching the 2012 movie “Contagion” while “Social Distancing” during the Memorial Day 2020 weekend may sound like a depressing thing to do.

Yet I actually enjoyed it once I got past the Kate Winslet death scene.  It was a little too real until then.

I will skip to the ending which explains the beginning  first.

Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays U.S. patient zero, got the virus by shaking hands with the chef who prepared her meal in a Hong Kong hotel. The chef, who was in the midst of preparing a pig for roasting just prior, didn’t wash his hands beforehand, merely wiped them on his dirty apron.  He then clasped her hands while taking the photo.

Of course the pig had been purchased live at a pork farm. It had also been infected by a virus found in bat guano.  The bats had been turned out of their natural ecosystem when the company Paltrow works for ironically mowed down trees in which the bats had once made their homes in an Asian forest.  The bats fly over the pig farm.

You get the drift.

We are still the cause of our own destruction through our desire to mine every resource, grab every bit of land we can, to turn a profit.  Environmental consequences be damned.

The human misery we experience is generally of our own making.

There are also other elements of what we are currently experiencing in the COVID19 pandemic. The exponential rapidity (R naught) with which the virus is spread through coughing, sneezing, touching something an infected person has touched.  Contact tracing. Using large structures constructed for other reasons to set up huge federal field hospital operations. The lag time and inadequacy of government intervention to aid people struggling to survive in an economy that is closed.  The rush to find a vaccine.

The societal breakdown was more rapid and widespread than we have experienced.  In our life, essential workers have not stopped working, and rioting and looting in the streets has not occurred.  Despite the social media posts showing people going berserk and getting themselves tased because they refuse to sign for a traffic stop violation, we have been marginally civil to one another.

(Okay, except for the people in Michigan trying to intimidate Governor Gretchen Whitmer with their AR-15s on the Capitol steps in Lansing.)

There is even an anti-vaxxer narrative.  Of course the web site provocateur with 12 million followers (Jude Law) pushing it has no problem making money off the fear and suspicion of the government he is promoting.  Celebrity capitalism at its finest, right?

There is even a dollop of hope thrown in.  A vaccine is found when a brave researcher (Jennifer Ehle) uses herself as a human Guinée pig to skip over controlled clinical trials. The vaccine is quickly scaled to dole out to the world based on your birthday month and day in a lottery system reversal of the Shirley Jackson short-story.

And Matt Damon, who played Paltrow’s naturally immune husband, throws a belated at home Prom Night party for his daughter and her boyfriend at the end. (Although why CDC researchers never study Damon’s immunity to see what it is that protects him from the virus remains an unsolved mystery, given the focus on anti-body studies as in our own current situation.)

But hey, it’s only a two hour movie to document a world-wide pandemic from start to finish.  Would that COVID19 would have passed on so quickly.

Strangely the movie made me feel better about being home, alone, staying in on a Memorial Day weekend.  No family barbecue.  No walking on a beach somewhere.  An afternoon nap the only novelty in the “Groundhog Day” of my coronavirus experience.

Because re-watching the movie convinced me I am doing the right thing, no matter how much I am dying to get to the beauty shop and have my hair – which is now three different lengths and four different colors – more stylishly coiffed as I am used to having it.

It’s not worth it to me to risk my life for something a box of L’Oreal off Amazon, a couple of hair ties, and barrettes can temporarily cure.

Because right now there IS no cure for this virus. I don’t care how much hydroxychloroquine Donald Trump allegedly takes.

And if real life follows the script, that two hour movie was about a year-and-a-half minimum outside an air conditioned theater.

Just about in line with everything Dr. Anthony Fauci has told us as our real-life contagion continues to unfold.

Real life.  As strange as fiction, it turns out.

 

 

The Lies of COVID

The lies of the world have not changed

Midst the violence of the virus, 

The pandemic that could end us

The one that does so tire us, 

In so many different ways

Through all the deaths and losses.

The lying cries of liberationists

Who think they are free to choose

How the rest of us should die:

“I will breathe and spit on you

As I desire,

While I cling in fear to my gun.”

As if they could shoot the virus down

With a bullet, not a vaccine or a drug.

“I will open my store, lie it is safe and lure you

To fill my wallet:

My breath I’ll blow upon you

As I snip, or file, or tattoo your wounds away.

Your money will take away my longing

For treasure, possession and place.”

As if the virus were an inconvenient fact,

And not an incontrovertible truth.

“I, POTUS, will lie to you that the U.S. is best

At testing, PPE and PPP:

That those jobs lost to you by immigrants

Will come back greater than before; the stock

market even more!” 

When those jobs were long past gone

To innovation, cheaper resource, just in time to store.

“But please, vote for me once more.”

Illusions, all, in the face of nature

We noisily shut out with

Our cars, trains and planes;

With our desire to go farther, faster

While the world goes up in flames

We create.

The Amazon will be no more.

We believe we will tame the virus,

Until the next one comes along

And scientists recalculate

How to make us strong,

As fewer of us go on.

Reaching always outward

Never deep within,

To weigh the sins that plague us:

They also the viruses that mutate us

Until our self is them.

Dear God do not deplore us

For failing to sing Adoremus te Deus

And kneeling before thee

As Christus Redemptoris:

Hail Mary and Amen.

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Breaking News

My heart is broken.

After three months of sheltering mostly at home during COVID_19, it seems my blood pressure – which withstood three years of the Trump Presidency on a beta blocker alone – now also requires a “calcium channel blocker” to prevent me from stroking out (a major risk factor for me as my maternal grandmother and my birth mother both died that way).

Yesterday was nearly an ER trip for me when I had gotten done talking to my cardiologist’s nurse. Fortunately we settled on some anxiety and pain meds for pounding headache and a way to maybe lower my diastolic and systolic numbers.

As you can see, I made it through the night. Hooray for me!

And today brings a new pill into my life to increase the flow of blood into my brain by relaxing blood vessels.

I guess I should have started this out with my head is broken.  But those who know me best could have told you that. (Insert 😉 winky emoji with tongue 👅 hanging out here.)

So I began my morning in serious spiritual contemplation, reading the book “The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective,” by Richard Rohr, OFM, a Franciscan friar from New Mexico, and Andreas Ebert, a German theologian.

(Rohr runs the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM; he is of course controversial to conservative bishops and priests because his idea of ecumenism extends beyond the Lutheran and Episcopal churches, and he is rather Jungian in his writing.) (He is also as likely to quote Rainer Maria Rilke as Blessed Julian of Norwich).

Of the nine personality types that comprise The Enneagram, I have read about the first three and what their “root sin” may be. Of course I am convinced I am the type I just read about, until I read about the next type.

I imagine we each have a little of all nine in us, but one is supposed to be our dominent archetype, and by working through the “root sin” of that type through prayer, meditation, and contemplation, we get to the Fruit of the Spirit that helps us rid – or at least control – our personality of that sin.

For example, the “root sin” of a Three is untruthfulness and deceit. Its pitfall is Vanity and the Fruit of the Spirit is Honesty. But you have to put in some very serious self-examination to be reborn from deceit into honesty.

This is a very simplistic explanation, and there is also a modicum of symbology that goes with each type. There are also diagrams based on pythagorean geometry and the spiritual wholeness of certain numbers, but I kind of looked at it, went uh huh, and moved on.

Moving on to the pharmacy was my next task. I garbed myself with visored hat, mask, sunglasses, gloves and hand sanitizer. Yet I still felt very uncomfortable about the older woman not wearing a mask and pressing her face to the plexiglass supposed to protect the pharmacy workers as she screamed at them about the cost of a medication.

I over social distanced from the woman directly in front of me who, though wearing a mask, let out a dry cough as she handed in her prescription, and was uncomfortable that – though he was exceedingly polite – a young man walked within three feet of me sans mask.

I held my gas points card and the two packages of paper towels I had scored far away from the plexiglass as the pharmacy tech zapped their codes into the cash register and entered my prescription cost.

Scurry is an apt word for how I left the building, although I did get a chance to socially distance a “hello” to one of my Church Deacons and his wife somewhere within this experience.

My biggest mistake was turning on the car radio, though. It was still on MSNBC. I heard enough of the Rick Bright testimony before Congress to make my BP start to rise after hearing a Republican say “there is plenty of blame to go around,” but then try to squarely put that blame on Barack Obama’s shoulders.  I quickly turned it off.

So for now it is good-bye Andrea Mitchell, Nicole Wallace and Ari Melber.  Thank you, Governor Andrew Cuomo, (D-NY) for helping me handle the facts of quarantine, social distancing and hand washing so much better than my own Governor, Brian Kemp (R-GA), ever could.

I will not miss Trump and his insane lies, one piled upon the other in a jumble that looks like a tower of unbalanced Jenga blocks.  They should completely fall over and crash when each one is pulled away; yet by some evil magic they don’t.

To my Twitter friends and fellow members of The Resistance and other voter promotion groups to which I belong, I need a break until I see how this new medication works.

Meanwhile, I will be figuring out my Enneagram type, working on contemplative prayer and yoga, and going back to watching as many versions of “Pride and Prejudice” as I can find. (I include the “Bridget Jones” canon  in this category; after all, they have Colin Firth in them, the penultimate Mr. Darcy.)

Hopefully see ya all next week!

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