A late afternoon cool drink on a sunny haven of a deck catching up with a friend, a new client meeting that feels like anything but work, grocery shopping without a mask, an early morning walk around the reservoir with the only other person who can talk as much as I can, seeing my sister in person for the first time in 16 months, having dinner with friends at a restaurant. These days, post-ish pandemic, the act of seeing people without fear, the abandoning of masks, the freedom of walking to the post office without being suspect of every person I pass on the way makes me feel gratitude pumped full up on steroids.
Noticing the things we used to take for granted is good for us, healthy. Maybe, if nothing else, the pandemic has caused a re-set that has allowed us to tune into all we have in a whole new way–to be wowed by the common. What I’m hoping for is the ability to be able to hold onto this ‘everything old feels new again” attitude. I know it’s the money shot.
People are still struggling and dying and coping with the the horror of what Covid’s left behind. I don’t mean to sound like it’s over, I know that for many it is not. But for now, for me, there is an after-glow that’s risen up and my eyes are wide open to it.
(I wrote this yesterday, but had a ridiculous wordpress virus and had to download new software, but first delete like a billion gigabytes or what the hell ever they are before it would even download. First world problems, but hellish, nonetheless.)
I just walked the dog, and proceeded to have a toasted gluten free english muffin with mozzarella cheese for breakfast (I could eat one of these every hour all day long–isn’t melted cheese the best….and if you add some avocado…and a little bit of Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel and maybe a slice of bacon, and some tomato….but I digress), and I am sitting here in my office, in deep in thought about how to describe a contractor’s invention for keeping basements dry (very sexy work today) when my phone flashes, “Breaking News: “At least four dead in 2nd mass shooting in Chicago in four days.”
As my eyes scroll through this message, my brain fast forwards to where this happened, geographically. This is what I do everytime we have a shooting–I don’t want to see the word “California,” where my son lives. Even if it is on the other side of the state, I worry he might have somehow found himself there, which is about as unlikely as Chip and Joanna Gaines doing an ugly renovation. When I saw it was in Chicago, I went back to my work.
But then I was all like, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
YOU JUST READ THAT FOUR PEOPLE WERE DEAD AND YOU JUST WENT BACK TO YOUR WORK, LIKE YOU’D JUST READ JLO WAS ENGAGED AGAIN. I had to smack myself and remember that these are people just like me with families and friends and lives and hopes and dreams and jobs and favorite foods, like mozzarella on english muffins. These shootings have become so frequent that even, I, an overly sensitive type, is beginning to become jaded. Hard stop, right there. I just can’t allow myself to let this kind of news stop meaning anything. I can’t allow myself to forget that this is bat shit craziness and we all need to remember that gun violence is killing people exactly like you and your kids.
This is how it is now. The shootings are more and more frequent. This CNN article says as of this weekend, there have been 272 mass shootings in 2021 so far. And since it was published 23 hours ago, that didn’t include the Chicago shooting I just read about. And by the end of the day, or week, who knows how much that number will increase. But you know, I have to figure out how to explain my client’s innovative technique to keep basements everywhere dry, so I’ll just carry on.
The other night we just so happened to watch Us Kids, an extraordinary documentary on the gutsy, resilient, fucking spectacular students from Stoneham Douglas High School in Florida, who became gun activists (after losing 17 and having 17 others injured during a mass shooting at their school. The movie documents them traveling all over the country with their message and first hand experience of gun violence. It’s quite impressive what these kids did and continue to do. And the director does a great job of making you feel the exhaustion these kids experience. (I felt so much gratitude toward these students, who were brave enough to make noise, to try and challenge the status quo, to push for laws by sharing their story). And as we watched, utterly blown away by their tenacity, we all said the same thing at the end of the movie. AS MUCH AS THESE KIDS HAVE DONE, THERE HAS STILL BEEN NO LEGISLATION THAT’S MADE GUNS ANY HARDER TO OBTAIN.
Yeah, what am I even saying that everybody, including me hasn’t said before.
But when will it be too much? Do we have no bottom? who will have to die in a mass shooting for anything to change? Have you already started to ignore the breaking news that details another mass shooting? I will not allow myself to be become inhuman. i will force myself to remember that every life taken is a life like my own.
Yesterday I met a friend I haven’t seen since the pandemic began. She is amazing and smart and super cool and she is dealing with cancer right now. We talked about it and the challenges of living in the now and how illness forces you to do that. And it made me think that the only way I can ever live in the moment is when I experience something that shakes me to my core and makes me feel like I’m standing on the tippy top of a weathervane on one leg, holding a house above my head. Why is it so hard to live in the date on the calendar? Why do we spend so much time looking back and looking forward, but not living in the day we have?
Anyway, we ate in a beautiful little garden, leafy salads topped with ham (me) and sardines (my friend). Then we walked to one of my very favorite old stores on Newbury Street, Matsu, that had closed for many years, and has just re-opened on Charles Street, and happens to share a wall with my friend’s adorable children’s store Kodomo, where you must go if you have kids, or know kids or just enjoy a great store!
Matsu is one of those stores that is beautiful from top to bottom. Small and intimate, the clothes are sublime and both my friend and I had a love at first sight moment with two different pieces. My friend bought a beautiful dress that was flowy and transparent and looked like she could have been born in, it was so her. And I bought a gorgeous black ruffled top that had me at hello. We were both giddy and might I add, totally in the moment!
It was a perfect kind of day, with a friend, in a beautiful place, the sun shining, talking and eating and shopping WITHOUT MASKS. Gratitude goes to my bad ass friend who is spunky and spirited and who reminded me to live in the fucking day I wake up in.