Hard Puzzle

It seems sacrilegious to write about anything except what’s happening in Ukraine.

But I have nothing to add to the commentary. I trust the people in charge of America’s role in the war, even though I wish more could be done to end Putin’s intense and inexplicable cruelty, especially after watching women and babies evacuated from the bombed maternity hospital in Mariupol yesterday.

Refugees, the majority of whom are children, old people being helped along by soldiers, people who can’t leave because they are sick or disabled or have decided to stay, the coverage is gruesome and endless and hypnotic. One can’t do much else but watch. It is, after all, a moral obligation, isn’t it? To witness?

I tended to small bits of business today. Set up a meeting or two. Put a post on social media asking for ideas about best ways to reach diverse populations of older adults and got no response, showing me, once again, that no one much cares about old people unless they are one, a cynical reaction but legitimate nonetheless.

Then I undertook a deep cleaning of our bedroom which involved scrubbing the baseboards and noticing for the first time that there are scratch marks on the bathroom door which, I presume, were the work of some dog, but of the seven we’ve loved, I can’t remember the culprit. That’s how long I’ve overlooked the damage.

The reason for the cleaning frenzy is that we are getting a new mattress which we bought yesterday at the furniture store where we bought the mattress we are currently sleeping on. When I woke in the middle of the night to think about Ukraine and a vast assortment of regrets and plans, I finally remembered how long we’d had our current mattress. Twenty-two years. Who owns a mattress for twenty-two years? We do, apparently.

On Monday, we have a new mattress coming with an ‘adjustable base’ that allows us to raise the head and foot of the bed, it has memory foam, and all the lovely things mattresses should have. We know this because Ruth, the sales lady at the furniture store, knows everything about mattresses and sleeping and hip pain and side sleepers.

Meanwhile, the lucky people in Ukraine will get a cot with a clean blanket.

I can’t explain the inequity. I don’t know why we get to spend an hour with Ruth, the sales lady, who put down protective covers over the mattresses and pillows so we could lie down in the showroom on four or five mattresses to see which we liked best while the lucky people of Ukraine fall asleep under donated blankets, worrying about relatives they can’t reach on the phone anymore.

I don’t feel guilty necessarily, but I do puzzle over it. What twist of fate put us here and not there? Why are we so safe, so relegated to the role of spectators and well-wishers while parents are covering the ears of their children so they don’t hear the bombs exploding. I have no answers. Nobody does.

3 Comments on “Hard Puzzle

  1. Thank goodness you don’t attribute the difference between the new mattress and the cot to a “special blessing” or “special protection” or other such appalling language. I have no idea why we are at the moment spared. But it is only at the moment for any one of us.

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