Today I am feeling introspective, philosophical. Perhaps it is because my workspace is temporarily at the kitchen table, directly in front of the kitchen window until my new chair and laptop desk arrive sometime next week. As I glance outside the window, I see the birds, pecking at the feed my darling neighbor, Maha, has put down for them, and I see the children … one kicking a ball, another attempting to fly a kite, while yet another is taking some of his very first steps under his mother’s watchful eye. Life is happening … the nation’s shut down has not stopped that, nor has the coronavirus, nor has the person in the Oval Office, nor have those who support him. My flowers are blooming … well, some of them, anyway … a few bees are seen hovering, and even a hummingbird! And so, Filosofa’s mind begins to wander …
I think about all those people screeching for the economy to re-open, for shops, restaurants and bars to be once again open so that they can spend what little money they may have there. And then I look at the birdies and I wonder … in the grand scheme of things, do the shops really matter? Do you really need a new pair of jeans or a dress or new toaster oven? Will you be happier or healthier in the long run if you dine out tonight, and hit the bars tomorrow night? For some, no doubt, the answer to that question is ‘yes’ … I am glad I am not one of them.
I never enjoyed shops and malls anyway, and I am definitely not a bar person. I did always enjoy our Saturday afternoon meals at a favourite local casual restaurant, and then a trip to Barnes & Noble afterward, but frankly, I’m finding that I have adapted, that my life is no less rich without that, and my bank account has grown considerably without our weekend spending!
On May 27th, another space shuttle of sorts will transport two U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). I wonder why? After all, it isn’t as if it matters to most of us, it is historic only in the sense that it is an outside craft, not a NASA-built craft, but rather one created by Elon Musk’s company, that will transport the astronauts. It really isn’t important … so many things have been postponed, have ground to a halt, including the education of our children … that IS important … that I wonder why this launch continues as planned. Probably an ego trip for Trump & Musk. Ah well, it matters not to me, for there are far more important things for me to focus my attention on.
I’ve largely ignored the efforts by Trump & Co to distract our attention to his circus acts of blaming everyone but Thomas Jefferson for his own failures and shortcomings, but some things cannot be ignored, such as his systematic purge of people in the administration who would hold him accountable for his actions. He is, in essence, creating a ring of protection around himself, giving himself powers that no president was ever intended to have. I worry about what’s next on his agenda. Is not that a far more important concern than heading to the local mall, or sending a couple more men into space?
Look out the window … better yet, step outside. Look, really look at the birds, the trees, the flowers … would you really rather be at a mall packed full of people, choking on the smell of 100 different varieties of tacky perfume, ogling things that you neither need nor really even want? What’s really important to you? Is it more important that you can go ‘do stuff’, or that you are still alive to appreciate the beauty of nature? Do you really care if planes are flying again right now, or thousands of cars are clogging the highways at rush hour?
Yes, I do realize most have jobs they need to get back to, that the mortgage is coming due, groceries must be bought and paid for, the kids need braces and those aren’t cheap. I realize the economy of the nation is important. But is it more important than ensuring that our government is looking out for the people of this country … all the people, not just the wealthy? Is it more important than ensuring that we still have a voice in our government? Those who eagerly seek a “return to normal” will be sorely disappointed, for I suspect it will not happen any time soon, if ever. In mid-March, I cared … now, I hope that we find a new ‘normal’, one where people matter more than ‘things’.
But, aside from all that … are you really so eager to return to the battlefield, knowing that many more will yet die? Nothing has changed since March. There still is no cure. The virus is still just as contagious as it was two months ago. We still have over 1,000 new deaths per day in the U.S. Human beings. Mothers, fathers, children, grandparents … people, not merely statistics. Do you really care if the U.S. has two new astronauts on the ISS right now? Wouldn’t next year be just as good? There is no ‘race for space’, no reason for one. Money down the tubes that frankly could be put to MUCH better use this year, helping the people who are suffering, keeping the nation safe.
As I write this, two young boys walk past my patio, see me in the window, and they give me big smiles and wave as if I were an old friend. The birdies are pecking away at their food. The neighbor’s dog is fertilizing the grass in my yard. And despite all that is wrong in the world right now, I find a reason to smile.