Where’s Mother Teresa when we need her? In 2011 I was in Skopje, Macedonia; this is a rainy day view from a coffee shop window. One of the best trips of my life, by bus, train and long-distance taxi around eastern Europe. I posted it today just because I couldn’t think of a photo to go with my melancholy post.
3/21/2020. C-19 Day #5. Soon I’ll think of a different heading for this “diary.” It’s 3:51am. Just heard the paper hit my front step. Started taking the Albuquerque Journal again and it’s interesting to me how comforted I feel by getting that old-fashioned print-on-paper hometown newspaper at my front door. Home, emphasis here on hometown, is where it’s at when I’m scared….
My agenda for this fine time of day between 3 and 5am: Reviewing possible scenarios for the next few months and/or years of my life. I always feel better with a selection of scenarios and plans in front of me.
***PLEASE REMEMBER WHAT FOLLOWS IS IMAGINATION, NOT FAKE NEWS.
Scenario A is best case: Covid-19 under control in another month or two, no deaths in New Mexico or illnesses among anyone I know; North Fourth Art Center open and in action, i.e. I have a job; gym available; travel plans pick up where they were in July (Africa) and the rest of the fall after these minor delays (California, Minnesota, Cuba, New England). Did I mention Sleazy T. being defeated soundly in November?
Plan A is to, above all, keep busy and healthy. Keep making notes and plans for work, writing and travel. And remember to clean a drawer or two. Projects about which I am obsessing on practically an hourly basis—maybe that’s just OCD me.
Scenario B is acceptable: Covid-19 tapers off naturally with summer, and a new vaccine finally ends it…though by now it’s fall and a lot of damage has been done to the economy. We’re getting by and it’s a little better every day with a new president at the helm and some degree of sanity and truth returning to the world. My friends and family are well; only minor setbacks are delays with Robert’s knee surgery and Sara’s graduating college, and time passing to quickly for ageing me. North Fourth is open again, burdened by a small business loan and the loss of the building improvement funds which the state diverted to more pressing human needs. All 2020 travel is postponed but will resume, full steam ahead, in 2021. I will not have left the state for way over a year—for me a painful record but there are worst scenarios—to which I’m coming.
Plan B: Stay in busy and healthy mode. Move ahead with additional determination (and as little existential fear as possible) on writing and travel plans. Keep closeness to family and friends created by the pandemic. Be sure and do everything possible to vote the SOB out of office.
Scenario C is not good. Covid-19 hangs on through 2020. Contained to some degree but in a form that doesn’t allow life and work to return to normal. Much of the population suffering economically. The SOB Sleaze is re-elected. People I know and care about have been ill. And me…well I’m now forcibly retired because North Fourth has had to close its doors and I’m not of an age to start over.
Scenario C isn’t all bad however. Here’s how it might look for me. I’m existing on rather meager retirement (which the Republican cult has tried to eliminate but so far the poor houses haven’t opened) because I spent my 55 years of wages on raising kids, paying rent, buying books, and traveling. But it’s okay. I have a tiny studio apartment in a quiet building (plants block the view of concrete out the front window), books; I can afford gym fees and a streaming channel or two; I have nice people to visit; and, since I do not like food anyway, all these ramen noodles and canned blueberries on which I subsist are fine. I’ve managed to develop excellent writing habits and happily blog away about life minutiae like ageing and family escapades with only an occasional rant, so my days are productively filled. I bought a new Surface with my last bit of savings and I did mange to get photos mounted from every country to which I’ve traveled so my walls are nicely cluttered with memories.
About travel. Well unfortunately that had to end when my job disappeared. I made it to 112 countries out of 196. Plus Guam and Greenland which are ‘other’ enough to count. My last goal was 120 but Covid-19 smashed that plan into smithereens. There are, however, my annual trips to Minnesota and one or two to California. While I badly wanted to visit the continent of Africa and my family in Norway one last time that didn’t work out. However since I’m part of a lively family of smart adventurous people, second-hand journeys must satisfy my craving for ‘going places.’
Elders Robert, Marsha and I, manage a couple of month together every year in Minnesota or here in New Mexico. We mostly take long walks or sit around commenting on the political folly of the moment and the strange ways of young people.
Plan C is to remain healthy enough to live out the scene just painted. And to try to figure out how to make enough money while-old to take one modestly big annual adventure until I cannot walk.
Well okay, sitting here on this early spring morning in 2020 the truth is I’m not quite convinced #C is something I’m willing to embrace quite yet. However, putting worst case scenarios down in black and white calms me. Although obviously there are way worse possibilities for me and the whole wide world than I’ve outlined above.
I’ve had a bit of milky coffee and a nice pill and it’s almost 5am. It is going to be okay isn’t it? I’m off to bed to continue “The British in India,” my favorite go-to-sleep book.