San Diego Update: All in all, things are going well here at Fortress Front Street
Rebecka continues to fight to make the world a better place with daylong conference calls around the world, I continue to provide snacks and shoulder massages.
I am writing and doing my art. I don’t feel locked in, deprived, or put upon. I feel cocooned. And when I am out and I see people practicing social distancing, I feel they are looking out for me by taking a step back to stop the spread of the virus. Thank you world, for caring.
Humor is blossoming all around us.
I was talking with a former intern recently and I mentioned that I am finding quite a bit of joy in this mandatory “stay at home” period.
“Figures,” she said, “Leave it to you to find joy in the midst of a pandemic.”
But Dad always said, “In most situations you can choose to be angry, afraid, or amused, so why not choose amused and face the way things are with a grin? It may not change reality, but at the very least it will make it mad as a hornet.”
So I am always on the lookout for good humor, and there is no shortage with this virus going around!
Safe Corona Practices
The day I have been hoping for has arrived! They are encouraging face covering in public, and my look is back!
And may I add, I am no Johnny-come-lately to this look, I have been preparing for this moment since I was 6 1/2 and riding the range on Glover Avenue in Chula Vista, CA.
I have long been a seeker of humor and have found that it strikes where you least expect it.
Scene: Chula Vista High School, English class, 1967.
Teacher: “As we see, Hamlet ends up regretting not killing Claudius. Can you give me an example of someone else with major regrets?”
BOOM! The voice from the back of the class, perhaps my favorite comedic medium. I always loved those brilliant flashes when some semester-long silent soul suddenly pipes up from the back of the room with a zinger that is pure comic genius. I always wondered if this would be the only funny thing that person ever said. If so, what a special gift it was to be in that small audience.
Now with the internet, the whole world is the audience and this pandemic seems to be encouraging the voices in the back of the room to come up with some spectacular moments of mirth.
And I am grateful for the frustrations I have aged out of.
The here-to-fore often undervalued gift of just caring
One of the advantages of this world-wide reminder of mortality is that we seem to be noticing people that we have been taking for granted, people who are very important to us, that we had assumed will be around forever, and now we see that a lot of people in this world are living on borrowed time. You too may have been hearing from some people for the first time in years. And because I have had 126 interns, and scores of former coworkers who are very dear to me, multiplied by the fact that I am 70 years old (high risk group alert! Keep the blankets pulled over your head until summer, Gramps!) I am hearing from a lot from people I love. The messages started off innocently enough, disguised as just touching base, “How are you enjoying retirement in San Diego?” then as the number of infections in California mounted the tenor became, “How are you feeling?” and I suppose when we start to get near the peak, all pretense will be gone, “What’s your temperature? When did you last check? How many fingers am I holding up?”
But their messages make me smile as I sit here in my bubble and count my blessings.
Rebecka gave me that black Stetson cowboy hat in 1990 as a present on our third anniversary when we were living in Harlingen, Texas. I had just started the ProBAR project, a political asylum project which represented Central Americans seeking protection in the U.S. after fleeing civil war violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and the problems the Contras were causing in Honduras.
When I dressed for immigration court, I wore my black hat, black cowboy boots and a light blue western style suit over a pink snap-button shirt. One day after a hearing Judge Alan Vomacka waved me up to the bench. He pointed to my new tie with large cows on it. “I’m glad to see that tie. I was beginning to worry you would turn out to be just one of those cowboys that’s all hat and no cattle.”