The last time I wrote here I felt so much older. The school year was still grinding its gears before the slow, screeching halt. Now we have more or less settled into summer mode, whatever that means this year. For the first time in several years, the kids were with us for July 4th. Young A was excited to see fireworks (which we watched from Mom’s balcony) because they never see them at camp.
The weeks center around when we have been able to get a slot to swim at the neighborhood pool (and keeping track of when the last thunderclap was, as I am at this very moment, because the pool reopens 30 minutes after that). We take bike rides around the neighborhood. We make grand plans for new things to cook and then actually cook them. We keep a weekly date on Wednesday nights to watch a 45-minute performance by Robyn Hitchcock, live from his Nashville home. On television, we’ve introduced the kids to some iconic TV ensembles: The Simpsons, the Bradys, and most recently, The Muppet Show. We’ve watched enough Hitchcock movies now that Young A sometimes requests to watch “one of those funny murder movies.” (We avoid the really twisted ones.)
My translation work has all but ground to a halt, mirroring the economy of one of the countries that provides me with the bulk of my work. This gave me time to finally set up my business website. Luckily J’s work continues uninterrupted, because he’s in that sort of line.
As the survival milestones pile up around me, it becomes more and more difficult to conceive that my life was in grave danger five years ago. The feeling that has replaced it is a larger and more generalized fear, for all humanity across the globe under threat of the coronavirus (and totalitarianism), and for Black people being hunted by racist police in my own country. As conversations rage about how school should or should not resume, I find myself desperate to put any big decisions on hold until we have a functional and competent Federal government once again, but that won’t be until at least early 2021. In the meantime, I hope for a vaccine swiftly and in our days, and I read about racism and inequality, and try to see which of my life patterns may be aiding and abetting these things.
Like clockwork, though, things come back around to remind me of the passage of time. This Friday I’ll have my second set of scans since the coronavirus changed everything. The last time I went, they were still letting you walk into the facility and call the elevator yourself. This time, I will have to call a number to be admitted to the building. It seems very special and exclusive and fills me with dread. Not for the outcome of the scans, but for the process of getting through them without contracting any other disease.
It won’t be a typical scan day where I can reward myself for putting up with the various intrusions by having a leisurely breakfast after. The cafe I would have gone to is inside a shopping mall, and even if it has reopened, I won’t risk it. Instead, I’ll head home, perhaps see if I can take the kids for an afternoon swim (although the sun is strong then), and prepare for the next day.
This Saturday, I will walk 5K around my neighborhood to take part in the virtual Miles for Melanoma in support of the Melanoma Research Foundation, an organization that does so much to support research, education, and advocacy. I just learned about the event today, so am late in the game in terms of fundraising. It is very hard times and I don’t expect many people have extra coins lurking under the couch cushions… but if you feel inclined to make a small donation to MRF, this is my personal page for the event. I’d be so grateful.
Update: Scans were all fine! I will live to see another quarter.
(* Leonard Cohen fans, please know that the title of this post came purely from looking at the image that accompanies it, and hoping for clear scans this week. I haven’t suddenly turned to Scientology!)