Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Things I want to remember

All photos by Evan Leslie Images 

As the world starts to open back up...

I want to remember that most nights, beautifully formed, lyrical yet observant sentences slide into my head during the 10 minute ride from my house to Dog Beach, and they slip out like the air through my hand that is always out the window, fingers splayed, unable to catch either air or thought.

I want to remember how it felt to be without words, so that words, when they come often again, are revered and appreciated for being the quiet spouse of creativity that keeps the household humming.

I want to remember how MFD picked up allllll the slack during these months when living in Corona Land abruptly downshifted me into operating under a super reduced capacity with limited bandwidth. We've been together for 18 years and for various reasons I've never leaned hard on him - addiction for a long time, I have some ingrained would rather keel over than not pull my weight thing because I'm an enneagram 8 and we don't really lean - and I quietly, passively dropped my basket at one of the most inopportune times. He was also doing his (non-showing) real estate work, volunteered at a local food scarcity charity daily, ended up connecting that charity with city govt resources and ramping up a program at that charity to feed close to 1,000 people at nearly 100 recovery houses a week, and dealt with his mom dying in the middle of a global pandemic. I want to remember that he never stopped working, working his program, helping other people, and giving me room to be as I needed to be and showing such patience and care that I would definitely not show in a role reversal. 

I want to remember that he never pointed out to me how my household work productivity dropped by 2/3 of what I normally contribute and instead just asked what needs to be done and got it done. I want to remember how I started to feel that we had traded places for a while which was super weird but also cool. 

I want to remember that this gave us a better balance than we've ever had between us. 

I want to remember that my mother in law died in the middle of all of this. You truly do not understand how much closure you get from the typical funeral with family and friends followed by a luncheon where you can share stories and laughs and hugs until you don't get that. I am not a big funeral person, but MFD is. I know if I'm feeling that it's not right, he's feeling it tenfold. It just feels like it didn't happen? The 10 person funeral we had was like a vague movie sequence dream. There is a huge disconnect like something big is wrong or missing. It's hard to describe. 

I want to remember how time seemed both sped up and stopped, simultaneously.

I want to remember that I packed up all of my shit one weeknight at 10 pm, got in the car, drove to the shore, and just didn't go back. Neither did Bruce and Ben. I'm not sure when we will. MFD and the old dogs still split the week as was the plan all along.

I want to remember how all the clothes and shoes sat in dressers and closets in Philadelphia, unmissed,  while I subsisted on four drawers and an under the bed box with MFD taking my laundry home and bringing it back every week. For the 18 years we've been together I did my laundry and the household laundry (sheets, towels, blankets) along with shore house laundry and just as quickly MFD took that over along with a load of mine every week.

I want to remember how on a Sunday night in the North End while the setting sun infused everything with a glowing warmth that I said, "I want to live here," meaning the neighborhood, and MFD replied, "You do live here now, you know that, right?" meaning the shore. And amid the covid pandemic and the black lives matter uprisings that have been 400 years in the making and the vitriol and hell of the internet, I felt happy.

I want to remember how great my company was through all of this and how much care they showed their employees. 

I want to remember how I was so into cooking three meals a day for a month and a half and now only want to eat what I don't have and things that are cooked by other people. 

I want to remember how the library is the place I missed most of all.

I want to remember that books were read but that my concentration was poor and fleeting. 

I want to remember how nice it felt to spend so much time outside sitting and being because there was nowhere to go and nothing to do. 

I want to remember how I noticed a lot more searing moments of beauty outside. 

I want to remember that I worried a lot that I'd be forever changed by this and then I worried that I wouldn't be. 

I want to remember how what I used to think was normal and required is neither. 

I want to remember how I searched in vain for rubbing alcohol in every store for months and still can't find it. 

I want to remember how laying down all the requirements and routines was so fucking tiring, like an exhaustive undoing that required recovery.

I want to remember how when this started I thought I'd be able to quell the chaos that raged outside in the world with a new white board for my dining room. 

I want to remember that the only stores I missed aside from the mom and pop small businesses at the shore were TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshalls because they are the real MVPs with deals. 

I want to remember that we just let ourselves look how we look, and how much I liked MFD's hair when it wasn't perfect. 
I want to remember how adaptable people are. 

I want to remember what lengths people will go to to help others. 

I want to remember what lengths people will go to to block others from resources they want for themselves. 

I want to remember we can all do hard things. No exceptions. 

I want to remember how quickly I went from no phone calls please and no FaceTime unless you are my niece or nephew to calls and FaceTime accepted without appointment!

I want to remember our 10 year old TV died, my computer monitor bit the dust, and a bunch of other shit broke like the house and things in it were complaining about suddenly having to work overtime for no additional pay.

I want to remember I lost half of a cavity in like week three and have been very precarious with biting ever since. 

I want to remember how much I wanted to hug the world. 

I want to remember how much more confident I would have been going into this if we had universal healthcare, properly staffed and funded hospitals, and the appropriate PPE for frontline workers. 

I want to remember how scared I was that everyone was going to lose everything because we don't have a government that works for the people. 

I want to remember I laughed so fucking hard so many times and also cried really hard a few times and both were a great release. 

I want to remember how it felt like I had to re-learn socialization and being with people in person when I started seeing people again, how for so long video calls felt like so little but in person also felt like a little too much. 

I want to remember how nothing felt right in almost any situation and what a fucking weird time this has been. 

I want to remember how fucking privileged I am. 

I want to remember I spent so much time with my dogs and it was so great, especially with the old dog. 

I want to remember that I get by with a little help from my friends, in global covid pandemics and racism pandemics or no pandemic. And I have some of the very best fucking people on the planet in my life and we showed up for each other on text, phone, FaceTime, Facebook, Instagram, freaking Zoom and Teams. Your circle is the MVP in or out of any pandemic - make sure the right people are in it. Thanks to our BFF Evan of Evan Leslie Images for the pics. Contact Evan for your family, something fun, yearly kid pics, bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, and any big family event. Or just to take photos of you on your porch, unshowered, wearing clothes you threw on that morning. 

What do you want to remember? 

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