Because Words Matter to Me

I have struggled at times with how to refer to my status during these COVID days.

Working from home? That’s true, but it doesn’t even remotely carry the weight of all the social distancing protocols we’re trying to adhere to for safety. Homebound? That has a bit more of the “stay in the fucking house” energy that we’re living with. But it’s not a true name, since I am heading out of the house every 7-8 days or so on some quick essential errand.* Sheltering-in-place? That’s close to accurate, since Gov. Baker is certainly encouraging folks to stay home, and since my “work-at-home” status is indeed driven by the fact that our offices are closed. But there’s isn’t an actual honest-to-Gaia shelter in place order for MA, so that phrasing still isn’t entirely true.

woman isolation

For the most part, I keep coming back to the term “lockdown” as the closest useful analogue I can find to describe my and my family’s status during this particular wave of the pandemic.**

But the one thing I won’t be calling it? Quarantine.

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Earth Day 50 During COVID-19

(Should that “During” in the post title be capitalized or not? For once, I’m gonna let it go without looking up the right answer.)

So, it’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. And it’s an interesting moment for Earth Day to be happening.

I mean, you’ve seen the before and after pictures right? BC and AL*?

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 8.57.26 PM

The cessation of travel and commuting and non-essential manufacturing has caused a undeniable drop in air pollution during these COVID days.

And you may have seen the memes in response to this all:

Humanity is the real virus!

Or,

What kind of asshole are you to wish death and destruction for your species? Capitalism is the real virus!!**

I’m going to pointedly ignore the foolishness of rhetoric that is based on denying the actual objective reality of SARS-CoV-2‘s existence as an honest-to-goodness real-and-true virus. Instead, I’m sufficiently intrigued by the apparent environmental benefits of this pandemic that I wanted to do a little bit of noodling around that.

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Closing a Loop

I’m in the mood to take a tiny break from COVID-specific diarizing. It’s like that line from Falsettos,

Let’s be scared together. Let’s pretend that nothing is awful.*

I’ll be back on topic tomorrow, but tonight I just feel like indulging the bookwormy part of my life.

bookworm 2 eyes

About 6 weeks ago—or was it a decade?—I said I’d dish up my new reading goals for 2020. And then I didn’t, because: heartbreak. Politics. Pandemic.

Absolutely understandable, but hey! Let’s take a little escapist side trip down reader’s lane tonight…

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The COVID Diaries

Yeah, about 10 days ago, I said I was gonna have a lot to say about COVID-19 and then I got quiet instead.

Part of that was my general sense of it being fruitless to post. You see, two Fridays ago, I was feeling super-frustrated. I don’t pretend to be a huge expert or anything, but I know enough about epidemiology that I was already clocked in (right around the start of March) to understand how serious this all was.

But I wasn’t seeing a similar awareness in my surroundings—not at the local, regional, or national level.

So I was feeling increasingly tense and stressed and frustrated at my Cassandra-like status and I was in the mood for a big ol’ superiority rant. I was probably gonna link to  every data scientist’s analysis I’d been reading* and yell and scream to the effect of:

Don’t you people get it!?!? This shit is REAL!

But right after my last post is when things began to sink in: locally, regionally, and federally.** And now here we are.

coronavirus-4937221_960_720

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First Amendment Protection

Since our extra-successful weekend errand running finished up so quickly, I decided to use some of that time watching movies, as well as the reading I’ve already mentioned enjoying. And, with last holiday weekend signaling the end of May, I decided to start my film selections by taking a quick look at the HBO list to see what movies are about to drop off of rotation, in case I wanted to see any of them before I lose my chance. (You may recall that’s how I started doing film reviews on here in the first place.)

There was only one movie that jumped out at me form the “departing May 31st” list, but it was a film well worth seeing: Steven Spielberg’s The Post.

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Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

This was a slight deviation from my post-pre-diabetes-diagnosis plan to focus on reading only those challenge books that were already in my possession. When I made that course correction, I’d forgotten that right at the start of 2019 I’d put my name on the waiting list for the library’s e-book copy of this title.

So, when my name finally reached the top of the list a couple weeks ago, I decided just to roll with destiny and give myself the pleasure of reading this. (A bird in the hand and all that…)

I’d already had Cooper’s memoir/social analysis on my reading wish list since mid-2018, on the basis of the good press and positive reviews the work was getting. In complete candor, for all that I went into my 2019 planning with the supposed goal of drawing primarily from my own library, this was a title I wanted to shoehorn onto my 2019 list, come hell or high water.

Lucky for me, it wasn’t all that hard to find a place for Cooper’s book. Between the callout to the New York Public Library staff picks and the invocation of celebrity recommendations, I was golden.(1)

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The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

We had one main project for the holiday weekend, but we were able to wrap it up so quickly yesterday that I’ve had some extra-luxurious reading time on my Saturday and Sunday. Which means that after a long dry spell, I’ve finished yet another book—this one, the latest choice from my fat activist/HAES/body love reading list.

Sonya Renee Taylor and her radical self-love/liberationist platform, The Body is Not an Apology, has been on my radar for some years now. I think it was my friend Alice who first brought Sonya into my awareness. Even if I’m misremembering this detail, I am going to stand by this poetic retelling for the rest of my days. There is something so just and sacred and fitting in a poet of Alice’s caliber bringing me to learn about a poet of Sonya’s caliber.

So as soon as Sonya’s book was released last year, I bought myself a copy. And then I let it sit on my bookshelves with all the other body love/goddess power books I’ve been ignoring in my quest to be super smart and fulfill all these reading challenges.

My decision to abandon reading challenge perfection in 2019 to make more room for actively self-nurturing titles put Sonya’s book back on the priority list, and then a guest teacher call with Sonya as part of the Mastery curriculum put this at the very top of that list.

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