Good Riddance, 2020
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
This is the month when I weed my files, tossing out scribbled notes and fragmentary observations that never made it into a completed column, such as the following scraps of journalistic residue from the year gone by.
Going Viral. COVID-19 is pretty much out of control, yet millions of Americans still refuse to wear masks. I’ve noticed that this testy subculture throws the word freedom around a lot, but I never hear them use the word responsibility. I’ve pretty much gotten used to wearing a mask. I like the way it makes me feel—sort of sinister. And I really like it on morning walks when it keeps my face warm. The only downside is that my glasses are always fogged up, causing me to walk into parked cars and mailboxes. When I was downtown yesterday I tried to strike up a conversation with a fellow who turned out to be an art installation.
Creature Comfort. I just thought of something I’ll actually miss when the pandemic is over. The reporters on the PBS NewsHour have been doing most of their broadcasts from home, so when Lisa Desjardins is giving her evening updates, her cat can often be seen in the background snoozing on the sofa. Somehow the sight of the contented feline softens the harshness of the day’s events. When Lisa is finally able to go back to the studio, I’m really going to miss her cat.
Birth of the Blues. One of my fellow left-leaning buddies once considered relocating to another part of town just so he wouldn’t live in Whatcom’s 42nd Legislative District anymore. Good news, amigo, you don’t have to house-hunt. So many new people have moved into the district that the 42nd is turning blue. Republicans Luanne Van Werven and Jennifer Sefzik lost their races for the state legislature. Only Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Khmer Rouge) is left, and his days are numbered. Incidentally, when Van Werven and Sefzik realized they had lost, both conceded in a timely and gracious manner—a refreshing contrast to the tantrums being thrown by the overgrown infant in the White House. Grow up, Donny.
Food for Thought. I’m tired of my own cooking and of eating takeout food from styrofoam containers with a little plastic fork. When this pandemic is finally over I’m going to eat all three daily meals in three different restaurants—and I”m going to do this every day for at least a week. I’ve been having recurring dreams about the biscuits and gravy at the Old Town Cafe.
Tough Love. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who are behaving irresponsibly because they have “COVID fatigue.” Hey, crybabies, I’ve got COVID fatigue too, and I’ve also got mortgage payment fatigue and dental hygiene fatigue. I’m tired of making monthly house payments and flossing my teeth every night. But I do it anyway because I don’t want my house foreclosed on or my teeth to fall out. So let’s suck it up here, folks. COVID doesn’t care if we’re fatigued; in fact, COVID likes it when we get careless because it wants to kill us. After carefully weighing both sides of this issue, I’ve concluded that I’d rather be bored than dead.
War and Peace. I’ve just been perusing some of my favorite right-wing nutjob websites. I’ve been so preoccupied with other issues that I had forgotten about the War on Christmas which, of course, has already started again as we’ve entered the holiday season. A few weeks ago I learned from these sources that there’s also now a War on Thanksgiving. Oh man, as a card-carrying liberal I’m now expected to wage war on two fronts. This is a lot of responsibility, especially considering that I already have some wars on sacred local events to wage as well, such as the War on the Deming Logging Show, the War on the Ferndale Old Settlers Picnic, and the War on the Subdued Stringband Jamboree.
Feeling the Spirit. Yesterday was one of those days when the cumulative deprivations of the COVID life got me down. But nothing revives my spirits faster than the natural world, and in the early morning hours restoration arrived at my living room window, a panoramic view of the full moon illuminating Bellingham Bay. The silver light was ethereal and timeless, bringing to mind a couplet from Emerson: “Beauty through my senses stole / I yielded myself to the perfect whole.” Better days will come.