Archive for May, 2020

Letter From the Vineyard 21 May 2020 Color me confused…

May 22, 2020

Most mornings I wake after spending the night in a mosh pit of dreams; last night I was interviewing a woman relating to me how various Russian nobles were slaughtered by the Reds in a house where they were being held, then I introduced her to Count Pilkov, who had betrayed them all.

Many are heist dreams, some involving famous actors; one featured Anthony Hopkins.

It’s said many of us are experiencing vivid dream lives in these lockdown days, reflecting the insecurity and anxiousness of the times.  Where slaughtering Russian nobles fits in, I don’t know.  It was just last night’s installment.  Some I remember, many I don’t.

The Vineyard has had three days straight of sun, gusty winds, a freshness to the air, winds blowing the stuffy weight of winter away, warm enough windows can be opened to clean out the air in the little cottage where I am pretty much cozied down until Halloween, when I will have to depart for somewhere else, yet to be decided.

Island roads are busier; the intersection of Edgartown Vineyard Haven Road and State Road once again inspires prayer, probably the same at Five Corners.  

The Vineyard is coming to life after hibernation, most everyone masked, smiles hidden behind cloth, grocery shopping feeling slightly less terrifying, still feeling confused why I can’t find generic allergy pills at the pharmacy; felt triumphant I could score Tylenol.  There were only two bottles, I thought of grabbing both; thought that too selfish.

This is the new normal.  My sister had to scrounge the internet for Tylenol in Florida.  Cameras for computers are hard to get; it took three tries to get one for my brother, each a harrowing tale of trying to follow it from China to Minneapolis.  Two disappeared along the way, the third got through.

Udi’s Gluten Free Multi-grain has been absent for weeks from Stop & Shop.  Once again, yesterday, there were no paper towels, though there was toilet paper.

Coronavirus, which, for one bright moment [if there is anything bright in a pandemic] seemed to offer hope we would unite as a country.  It hasn’t; the pandemic is politicized along the expected lines.  

Color me saddened.

Many U.S. counties have no testing for coronavirus at all.  

Color me angry.

Tonight, leaving the bookstore I passed a small group standing near my car, not six feet apart, not wearing masks; it concerned me.  They knew each other, laughing as they talked, having encountered each other on a walk down Main Street; I worried for them, wondered if I should socially shame them for not following rules.  I didn’t.  But was I socially irresponsible in not doing so?  So many questions in this time when we are dancing with death.

Color me confused.

And we are dancing with death.  Massachusetts has been one of the hardest hit states.  We have more cases, more deaths than some countries.  People are restless, want their old lives back and I’m not sure we’ll have our old lives back for quite some time, if ever.

Nothing will be the same.  We are about to see a crash in commercial real estate as companies have discovered they don’t need so much space.  Nationwide Insurance is condensing from twenty centers to four.  Silicon Valley employees will find themselves relieved from horrific daily commutes.  The slow transformation to work at home has been catapulted by this virus, changing, forever, the global workplace.

Now let me leave you with something I have been pondering for days, a comment by our president.  I offer it with no comment. I am still parsing it.  If you question its veracity, it is directly from, May 6th.  Make your own decision. 

“And don’t forget: We have more cases than anybody in the world.  But why?  Because we do more testing.  When you test, you have a case.  When you test, you find something is wrong with people.  If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.  They don’t want to write that.  It’s common sense.  So, we test much more many, many times.”

Letter from the Vineyard 09 May 2020

May 10, 2020



Outside, wind blows, blustering, perhaps a result of the winter vortex sweeping through the east, bringing May snow to some; if not snow, rain and wind, which I suspect will be the Vineyard’s fate.

Driving the wooded lanes of the island, it seemed to me the trees are having a hard time blooming; the landscape seems devoid of buds of spring green you’d think May would see.  All still skeletal fingers, clawing toward the grey, somber sky, pleading for relief from a silent universe.

The days of April and early May have been mostly drear, dank, wet and worn. One day a week blazes with beauty that doesn’t stay.  One so drear, I had to force myself not to return to bed, pull the covers over my head.

This week I accomplished something that had not been on my radar six months ago, “the Vineyard shuffle,” moving from a winter rental to my summer place, committed to before I knew I was not leaving the Vineyard, becoming an unwitting “wash ashore.”  When I discovered I was not departing at the end of October, I scrambled for winter housing, securing a pleasant venue through the lucky help of local author, Paul Dolman, whose “Hitchhiking with Larry David,” is a perennial summer favorite.

Now I am back in the little cottage, happily inhabited last summer, almost settled in, looking out the bay window at a riot of foliage struggling to come to spring life.

When I first walked through the door last summer, I realized I had walked into a happy place;  softly bleached wood, a comfy chair in which to read, set back from Katama, a close ride to the bookstore on my little electric bike, fondly named, “Rodolfo,” as it seemed European in spirit, Italian in particular.

Now we live in the age of Zoom, as in the winter house, I have established a place, still being refined, for Zoom meetings, of which there have been many, of which there will be many more to come as no one is moving towards being in person anytime soon.

During this age, I have helped author “COVID – The Biggest Disruption of Our Lives,” with the team at the Center for the Digital Future, where I am a Senior Fellow.

It’s been presented to AARP; Jeff Cole, Founder and Executive Director, and I will present to A&E Networks sometime in the near future.  You can see the summary at

Doing the work has given me, along with the bookstore, a sense of being anchored, not adrift on a sea of uselessness, preventing me from entering the new competitive sport: baking at home, if one can find yeast and flour, not an easy task.

This morning, I feel breezy, light-hearted, ready to meet the world as it presents itself.  I ventured to the store, having an appointment with a very nice man, to prepare a book for him for his daughter to give her mother for Mother’s Day.  The book he wanted is somewhere in the distribution chain; has not arrived at the bookstore.  We found another, in stock, suitable for giving.  Thank you, Mr. Kelly, for your sublime patience in all this.

We are all needing patience, fortitude and fearlessness as we face this incredible time of disease, joblessness, uncertainty, anxiety [61% of Americans are more anxious], unsure of our leadership, more secure in our governors than our president, with Fauci trusted beyond all.

We are in uncharted territory, must make our through it, which we will do, as that is what we humans do, make our way through – it’s the heroic nature of the human being, to make it through, to struggle, suffer, to keep on going when it seems we should surrender all hope, a spirit which amazes me, has all my life, will until I have no more life, that we have marched through events like world wars, the Great Depression, and are still here, marching on.

It is Mother’s Day this weekend.  Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, and to all the families celebrating the day, through whatever circumstances this day gives us.