gratitude-a-thon day 2030: a shot in the arm

This past Friday at 1:04, I illegally parked in the South End and walked into the Boston Medical Center Building at 85 East Concord Street, where I greeted every person I saw with an “I am so excited!” before sitting down in a semi-open cubicle to have a nurse named Yonni give me a vaccine for Covid-19. I felt like someone bought me a Caribbean island filled with potato chips, there was another 10 seasons of Schitt’s Creek, a cure for cellulite and a scientific discovery that made a dog live exactly as long as its owner. Yup, that happy.

How to explain this year to an alien? I am still wandering around the feelings to be able to properly assess. I used to try and write about infertility when I was going through it, but I could never nail down the immensity, the soul searing, just-out-of-reach dream that was so everyday casual for everyone else. It took me at least a decade to communicate anything close to the experience of those three years. And I suspect it will take me at least a few years to properly capture the effects of this pandemic.

Later on Friday, I drove my husband to get his shot at a CVS in Cambridge, where he too was offered an exceptionally organized experience. We came home to our daughter having poured us shots of vodka, because she said, “shots required shots.” I couldn’t argue, even though I have taken, perhaps five shots in my life’s entirety to date. I mean, if ever you’re going to celebrate, it should be when you’re getting a vaccine that can save your life. And after all, they did tell me to hydrate.

My arm hurt quite a lot in the night, so I popped some Tylenol. It hurt even more on Saturday, which was basically a bust of a day, where I did a few errands and then napped and planted myself in front of the tv. I was tired. My husband had no symptoms at all. Sunday my arm hurt less and yesterday, it was barely a memory. And as far as the vaccine being painful, I actually didn’t think they’d put it in, when they said “done.”

There’s talk of another surge, which I can barely take in. I know how lucky I am to be part of vaccination nation. It seems like they are really flowing now and that there will be enough for everybody who wants one, which I wish was everyone, but is not. I am so beyond the rainbow grateful for this shot in the arm. Thank you science. Thank you Joe Biden (talk about a shot in the arm).

gratitude-a-thon day 2029: sun, snow and unbridled happiness

Just that little bit of Spring last Thursday, and my head was spinning with getting out the patio cushions and buying some plants and where are my flip flops. Just those warm temperatures got me in a high-as-a-kite mood. And then yesterday, I was getting my nails done (and yes, I get my nails done at a very safe salon with loads of Covid accommodations) I looked out the window and let out an audible scream. I mean audible as in the entire neighborhood probably heard me and since the salon is close to the police station, it wouldn’t have surprised me if a few on duty officers came storming in thinking there was some sort of robbery or mayhem that needed addressing. There it was, predictable as Tucker Carlson saying some absurd lie, snow in March. At first it was just a few rogue flurries, but then it became absolute blizzard conditions. BLIZZARD. CONDITIONS. By the time I walked home without socks on, mind you, it was light snow, and by the time I walked up my steps (all of a 2 minute walk from the salon), the sun was out. And so it goes in New England. You’d think I’d be used to this by now. But no, I’m still like Jack-in-the-box surprised.

Anyway, my point here is that just that one warm, bright, 65 degree weather sent my spirits soaring to Mars with that Rover thing. So, imagine how happy we’ll all be when the weather warms up for real and more and more people get vaccinated and the Covid restrictions start to loosen up. It might just be a happiness we’ve never even known before. And that is something to look forward to. That there is some gratitude that might just be unprecedented.

gratitude-a-thon day 2027: failure of imagination

After 9/11 happened, I remember reading how the Pentagon assembled a bunch of Hollywood writers and directors in a secret building in L.A, to brainstorm what future terror attacks could look like. They were told to think of the craziest, most off-the-wall ideas possible. Because what the Pentagon realized, which was referred to as the “failure of imagination” theory, was that nobody in government had the imagination to have even considered an attack like an enemy using a plane as a weapon.

At the time, this just fascinated me–this “failure of imagination” theory. I became obsessed by what we weren’t imagining and made my brain work overtime. But even though I thought of dozens and dozens of horrific events–some so diabolical and easy to pull off I thought I must have lived life as torturer and spy in a past life, when last March, we started quarantine for a killer virus on the loose, a pandemic was not on my list of crazy shit. Which brings me to my major point here.


And so, in between what is right now, and what has been for the past year (and on March 13, it will be a full year that we’ve basically been in quarantine, which is WHAT? How?), and what is an unknown future, I am going to try and embrace with full attention and gratitude, those things that I used to take for granted, and which I have missed like I miss my mom. I’m going to grab those first spring days in New England that always make me feel pure possibility, and when we can safely go to a restaurant, I’m going to listen for the beginning quiet that turns into a low buzz of laughing and talking and sipping and forks and knives hitting plates, because that sound is not just about nourishing one’s self with food, but with company. And while I always have had reverence for the way flowers sprout from cold hard soil, after a long hard winter (and by the way, any New England winter, no matter how mild, is cold and hard to me and this one was colder and harder, I’ll tell you) I may just genuflect as they petal up in their colorful clothing. I will hold the sound of a crowded beach as dear as the sound of the waves biting the shore. I will stop complaining about crowded airport lines, trying to hide my giddiness at the act of getting on a plane flight to somewhere foreign and exciting–to travel again. And I will not hold back my unadulturated joy in the ability to hug the people I love and sit with them wherever I please to talk about how much we’ve missed one another, how starved we’ve been for each.

Because as fertile as my imagination is (and I get paid for thinking of ideas, don’t forget) I know that I don’t know anything. I know that something worse could occur in the future and until then, (and hopefully there is no then), I don’t want to miss a thing.

gratitude-a-thon day 2026: not the red carpet roundup

So, there was an award show on last night–The Golden Globes. Usually I would be knee deep in fashin’trashin’ by now, but since people are dying everyday, and we’re still smack inside of an ongoing pandemic, I didn’t feel like it was ok to be mean to anybody (unless it was Donald Trump). So, if you were thinking I was going to say that Cynthia Erivo’s Nickelodeon slime-colored space age Valentino was so awful that I’d rather take my dog’s used poop bags and knit them together to make a dress than don that mess, or that Emma Corrin’s send in the clowns mime dress made Princess Di die again, or that Anya Taylor-Joy checkmated everyone in her slinky and sublime Dior and Veronica Lake hair, or that I could actually feel the silk through the tv of Elle Fanning’s slithery Tiffany blue Gucci, I’m not. Hoping next year will be different. So, until then.

What I will say is that I saw Nomadland this past weekend and it deserved to win because wow, and wow and this is a story everyone should see. The authenticity factor was extraordinary and while Frances McDormand was exceptional, I was also wildly impressed with the people who were not actors and actually lived the life they were portraying.

Movies that entertain are good fun, and Lord knows I’ve been relying on them throughout this pandemic, but movies that can teach you something, that leave me with a lesson, something to think about, or much smarter, are the ones that win for me.

Gratitude for entertainment, in all forms. without it, this pandemic would have been a lot worse and a lot longer-feeling than the 1,289,409 years it’s felt like.