Letter From the Vineyard 21 May 2020 Color me confused…

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 whitehouse.gov, 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.”

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