The small wisdoms of the pandemic are accumulating, the sum of which makes me hopeful for the future. I know now that one can eat too many Dots and pay for it with an extended period of pretzel overdose and, because Dots are so spiced and garlicky, with a lengthy episode of bar mouth as well. So one has to ration Dots carefully like one would cupcakes. A person shouldn’t eat a dozen cupcakes, only three or four.
I’ve also learned that one’s hair can look hideous but feel grand. This is a paradox surely, especially for someone who has always gone by the motto – look great, feel great. After six months without a haircut, I don’t look great but I do feel great. I spend an enormous amount of time running my fingers through my own hair, maybe in surprise at how much of it there is and maybe just because it feels so nice. I have two public appearances coming up, inasmuch as any appearance is public these days, both involving presentations that will involve many people looking at me and presumably my hair, so I will have to decide if feeling grand will trump looking hideous.
Every day we go to a dog park that is adjacent to the far end of our airport and so the planes come overhead while we are walking and it is always compelling to look up and watch them as if we were both five years old again and just learning that there are people in those big things in the air. But that’s not why I like that dog park. I like it because when I am there the wind is always blowing so it is never hot or still and, of course, the wind catches my hair which drives me crazy but feels wonderful, and best of all, there are no flies or bugs. Yesterday, at a different place, thirty flies landed on Punchy’s back and rode for free all the way back to the car.
The secret poisonous sauce in waiting is fear. In the early days of the pandemic, I was close to immobilized by fear, waking with it, tasting it in my mouth in the car, feeling my forehead with the back of my hand, swallowing hard a thousand times to see if it hurt. Do I have a sore throat? So I suspended everything, but mostly myself. I hung my ambition and enthusiasm and energy on a big dirty clothesline that ran from my old porch to the back of the garage. Periodically, I’d go check all those things to see if they were dry and then leave them hanging some more. It was fear that kept the clothesline up. But almost without realizing it, in the past few weeks, I’ve gone out in the yard, snatched each one of those tired things off the line, jammed the clothespins in my pocket, and stopped waiting.
Tomorrow is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, the beginning of the High Holy Days. I’m not Jewish but I know at least one Jew very well. I like Rosh Hashana because it kicks off a ten day reflection culminating in Yom Kipper, the day of atonement, which is basically folks thinking about how they messed up and with whom and then apologizing. The greeting for Rosh Hashana is Shanah Tovah. For Yom Kipper, the greeting is G’mar Tov, an abbreviated way of saying “May you be sealed in the Book of Life.” It is the long view that Jews take, with good reason, so I am glad for many years’ experience living with a Jewish person. So, Happy New Year everyone! Next year will be so much better.