Wide Awake In Economy

I love travel. I love seeing new places and experiencing new ways of living on this planet. But being on a flight for 10 hours is not my favorite.

Wide awake at 40k feet somewhere over the Labrador Sea

As I’ve documented several times in several ways here before, I am not a great sleeper. I want to be. I really do. I just can’t seem to make it work for me. And in an already cramped economy seat after the person in front of me has fully reclined their seat so their head is in my lap and I can smell their shampoo, my ability to sleep disappears completely. Still, in a desperate attempt to break tradition and at last fall asleep on a flight, I drank my red wine, took some melatonin, and donned my Airpods Max noise canceling headphones. Rather than feeling sleepy, though, I find myself air drumming along the beat in my ears. No bueno, but at least I am burning calories.

I am halfway into this flight from Denver to Munich en route to Rome and I am suddenly aware of what a pampered house pet I am. I keep telling myself I can survive another 5 hours, but my tush is debating the veracity of my forced assertion. And there is only so much time you can spend wandering the aisles in the dark, tripping over outstretched limbs and fallen faux pillows before you begin to look like an anxious toddler or a junkie struggling through rehab.

Perhaps now would be a good time for a haiku:

Too broke for business

Packed in coach like a sardine

Sleep, please find me soon!

FFS

The siren song of Trevi fountain, the Pantheon, and pizza will pull me through tomorrow’s exhaustion, and then perhaps tomorrow night I shall at last get some rest. Until then, I shall daydream about sleep. That counts, right?

And Just Like That My Calendar Feels Like 2019

The pandemic. Am I right? I lived the vast majority of my life never using that word. I vaguely remember reading that word in history books once or twice before I hit 20, but that was as much as my brain ever considered a pandemic an actual thing. In the past two years, however, I don’t think I’ve gone an entire day without mentioning it. Honestly, I am sick of the word. Sick. O. It. I am almost as sick of the word as I am of not having a day alone in our house, watching my hands bleed from relentless hand washing and sanitizing, running out to buy more hand lotion, wearing masks, hearing people complain about wearing masks, getting vaccines, hearing people complain about getting vaccines, taking Covid tests, hearing people complain about taking Covid tests, and trying to explain how science works to others and remind myself about it, as well.

I know. I know. We are not out of the pandemic. (There’s that word again). No one has any idea when we might be out of it. So we are in limbo. We’re going on a cruise next month. At least, we think we’re going on a cruise next month. It all depends on whether we can manage to stay Covid-free between now and then, even as cases are on the upswing again. Now, if this was 2021, I’d say that would be no problem. We’d just hole up at home and skate our way onto the cruise with a clean bill of health. But this isn’t 2021. It’s 2022, and 2022 is apparently 2019 again. No masks. No crowd size limits. No restrictions whatsoever. It’s a free-for-all. Everything is back up and running. Sold out playoff hockey games. Sold out concerts. Parties. Dining out. It’s all back, baby. And we are here for it. We are SO here for it, so ready to be here for it, that our May calendar is packed. No lie. Here is is.

Oh, wait. I have one free day on 5/23. Woot!

As you can see from the tiny dot underneath every date (save 5/23) between now and May 31st, we have something going on every day between now and the end of the month. I plan to keep the 23rd open for the nervous breakdown I will be having. Why is our calendar so full? Well, let’s see. There’s senior prom and all our usual appointments for therapy and haircuts and doctor’s appointments and the like. Then hubby and I are flying to Pasadena to see a concert, booked a million years ago before we had anything on our calendar. We get back late on Sunday night and then Monday I load a different, pre-packed suitcase in the car and drive to Washington to pick up oldest son from his sophomore year at college and then drive the 1,085 miles back home across five states. Then it’s our youngest’s 19th birthday. Then there are graduation parties for friends’ children and more events for our own son’s graduation. We are going to another sold out concert (in our city this time) on the 24th. The 27th is my damn birthday, but that should be low-key because hubby and I are in class that entire weekend trying for get scuba certified. Then it’s basically June, and we have graduation practice and will have family in town. Then it is graduation and woohoo! We’re almost done! But we aren’t because we are hosting a graduation party for Luke and his friends. Then on the 6th we have to clean the house for the house/dog sitter, buy dog food for our security beasts, shop for what we need for the trip, find our passports, pack, get Covid tests to prove we can take the trip, upload results of said Covid tests to the Celebrity Cruises web site so they will let us board, and get on a plane to Rome on June 8th. Did I mention we still have a puppy who is, well, a puppy and a senior dog who is, well, not exactly a puppy? What the hell was I thinking? Finish strong and you can collapse on a boat? They have limoncello and ouzo where you are going? Hold on, sister. You can make it. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

I realize this is a lot of sniveling from a white woman with an embarrassment of riches in the areas of wealth and good fortune, but it’s my full calendar and my introverted, whiny butt will complain about the lack of quiet, sit-in-bed-all-day time if it wants to.

Just please don’t remind me that in 2020 and 2021 I begged for my life to be, and I quote, “back to normal,” because of course I did. Who wasn’t wishing for that same thing after being stuck at home with spouses and children and pets for months on end? We all wanted out. Now we’re getting what we asked for. Don’t remind me I did this to myself. Of course I did. Be kind and please say a silent prayer to Jesus or Allah or Vishnu (or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster God of Pastafarianism) that my heart holds out, at least until we get to Santorini. Then I can die, exhausted, happy, and at peace at long last in an ouzo haze.

Puppy exhibiting how I can attempt to hide from those dirty obligations and celebrations

Finally Going To Take My Own Advice

I have posted this quote from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on here before and it is the intro portion on my Facebook bio.

Me in a nutshell

Tonight, though, I’m finally deciding to take my own advice for real. I have been thinking for quite some time now that I need to take a social media hiatus. To that end, I’ve decided to go dark on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for a month. I’m not walking away from the platforms forever, just long enough to give my life a good detox. It’s not even that I necessarily spend too much time on them. It’s just that the time I do spend on them often leaves me feeling negative or isolated or frustrated or annoyed. I don’t need the ads. I don’t need the opportunity for comparison. I don’t need the divisiveness or the unhelpful and unnecessary commentary. I feel like too much of my life and my headspace are being taken up, frankly, by crap that does not matter.

Facebook has done some good for my life over the years. I’ve reconnected (even if a bit superficially) with some truly genuine people. I’ve used it to check up on and check in on friends who live at a distance. It’s been a good place to store memories of things I’ve done and places I’ve gone. If I scroll back through photos I posted, Facebook is a flip book of my life over the past 14 years. Back in those early days, Facebook was fun. Sadly, it has changed since then, but then so have I.

What at last led me to the conclusion that it may be time for me to take a vacation from the site was, oddly enough, an episode of South Park that I watched last night. Stan doesn’t want a Facebook account, but his friends create one for him. The next thing he knows, he has hundreds of thousands of followers. His girlfriend, Wendy, is mad at him for a comment another female made on a photo of him in a bunny costume. (That person turns out to be his grandmother’s friend who is 92.) His dad keeps bugging him to be his Facebook friend and to “poke” his grandmother. Remember pokes? Ugh. Sick of the whole thing, Stan decides to delete his account, but his profile has become more powerful than its user and it can’t be deleted. There’s a scene reminiscent of the movie Tron where Stan is now actually in the Facebook realm and there he runs into the profiles of family and friends. They keep saying things like “Grandma likes Teddy’s photo” and “Teddy thinks Stan’s bunny costume is fantastic.” And that is when the insanity of Facebook really hit me. This is what we’ve become.

In lieu of actual human interaction, we’ve become a nation of people who show our support and friendship with a thumbs up or a heart. Instead of getting together over coffee and sharing photos of our trips, we post them online for the world to gawk at. Rather than calling someone to catch up or writing a card or even sending an email, we hop online and try to validate each other’s existences with quick comments, funny memes, and likes. We also use Facebook to leave unnecessary, snarky opinions on each other’s posts as if this type of hit-and-run commentary is actually useful dialogue. It is not surprising to me at all that Gen Z is the most depressed and anxious generation yet. They may not use Facebook, but Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat serve the same purpose, a giant popularity contest and yardstick against which to compare themselves. Imagine the psychological damage when you discover others don’t find you interesting or likable at a time when you are still discovering who you are.

I am going to keep on using WordPress because I am still on my blog-every-day-for-100-days timeline, and I will keep Snapchat because I only use that to send silly selfies to my son at college. My other social media apps will be temporarily deleted from my phone so the temptation to open them is gone. I have no idea what this detox will do to me. I’ve been a fairly regular social media user for years. I’m hoping that by sometime mid-next week I will find my brain focusing a little better and my productivity at home increasing. If I am able to be more mindful and rediscover my inner peace, it will definitely be a win. I’ll let you know on June 5th.

Unmoored

Photo by Joel Bengs on Unsplash

I’m having a sad day. I assume you know the kind of day I am referring to. It’s as if all the difficult and emotional things in my life that have been running in background mode for a while all decided to rise up and jump on me at the same time, leaving me at the bottom of a dog pile of sadness. I’m one of the most fortunate people I know, so I fight the urge to feel sorry for myself, even when there are legitimate life experiences that are troubling me. When you have everything, it feels shallow to whine about the few things that feel off in your life.

I allow myself to feel frustration, anger, shame, guilt, and a whole host of other emotions, but sadness is verboten. I think this goes back to my childhood. There are only so many times you can hear someone sing “Cry Me A River” or say “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” before you realize sadness is something to be avoided at all times. The past couple days, though, I let the sadness smother me. I have been throwing myself a pity party, and I’ve not been enjoying it one bit.

Tonight while walking with my youngest, I was talking to him about how I am struggling. In addition to all the truly shitty things happening in the world and the country right now, I’m facing growing older, having my kids go to college and move on with their lives, recognizing that the job I’ve devoted myself to 24/7 for the past 21 years is ending, accepting that the pandemic took a toll on my friendships and hobbies, and trying to figure out what I am supposed to do with the rest of my time on earth. If I had to put a term to what I am feeling, I would say I am unmoored. Luke, being the wise person he is, told me I need to find some anchors, regular routines or habits that will give my life some stability and meaning when I feel like I am adrift. He pointed out that he has reading and school to keep him busy and give him purpose. This makes sense, and I know he’s right.

I have spent the past two years the way many people have during the pandemic: in limbo. I’d like to start back to yoga, but I suspect the minute I do some new variant will come sweeping through, close studios, and set me back again. This fear that the other shoe is constantly about to drop and mess everything up is debilitating. I need to get to a place where I can shove my melancholy and fears aside and throw myself back into life. I need to start moving forward, but it’s hard to do that when all you want to do is lie around and binge watch shows in some sort of meaningless, feeling-less stupor. I am all over the place, stuck in a cycle of feeling superfluous one minute and lying to myself and acting as if everything is fine when I know damn well it is not the next. It’s no bueno.

I need to claw my way out of this hole. I am going to start with forcing myself to exercise and hope that sets me on a better path. It’s either going to improve my mood or kill me is what I figure. At least it will be a step in a direction, which will be better than staying buried under my demons, right?

Life is hard. Anyone who tells you it isn’t is selling you something. On a more positive note, though, I guess “unmoored” is another way of saying “free to explore new shores.” So, there’s that.

Our Nation’s Adults May Need Some Graham Crackers And A Good Nap

At an Avs game in 2011 with my little guys

We went to a Colorado Avalanche hockey game last night. My husband and I have been going to hockey games since we started dating in the mid 90s. At the time, he was working for the Denver Grizzlies IHL organization, a team which moved to Utah in 1995 when Colorado acquired the Quebec Nordiques and became the Colorado Avalanche. We have a long history with the Avs organization. I went into early labor with our oldest the morning after the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2001, presumably from all the screaming and jumping up and down while quite pregnant. Our oldest is named after the then team captain, Joe Sakic. Like I said, we’re tied to this team.

As we were leaving the game last night, parking lot traffic was its usual nightmare. When we got to our car, we were penned in by cars already lined up to exit the lot. These are the times when you see both the best and the worst of our species. Sometimes you are lucky and a calm, rational person will let you into the line ahead of them. Other times, people are complete assholes. Once there was a clearing and we were able to back up, we joined the line and began our wait. My family and I are unfazed by these situations. We’re travelers, and the first rule of traveling anywhere is “hurry up and wait.” So, we are well practiced and wait patiently. I mean, what are you going to do? Everyone has the same goal of getting out of the lot. Sooner or later, you will get there.

Sadly, other drivers in that situation often aren’t as big-picture about it as we are. It’s something else to watch a lot filled with impatient people trying to jockey for a prime spot in the queue. The car in front of us was a Lexus sedan. To the right of us just ahead, in the row of parking spots from which we had just emerged, several other cars sat with their lights on, waiting for one driver to show some kindness and let them into the growing line. But the cars in line were unrelenting. Steve and I were remarking about how people can be so petty in parking lots, when a woman in a Lexus SUV on the right began to inch her way forward, hoping to hop in front of the sedan directly in front of us. The men in the sedan would have none of that. They pulled forward as she did, hoping to bully her out of the spot. Undeterred, she inched forward again. Both cars came to a stop as traffic stalled again. I watched the passenger in the sedan become more agitated. I saw him gesturing at her. He unrolled his window, shouted some obscenities, and flipped her off. He then did something I’ve not seen before. He exited the car, walked over to her window and yelled at her some more before walking around the front of her car and parking his grumpy butt right against her front bumper in an act of defiance. Steve and I looked at each other. Here’s a man in his mid 40s getting into a pissing contest over being one car length ahead of someone else, like he owned that spot in line and it was criminal that someone thought they could leave the lot one second ahead of him. The woman looked flabbergasted. Then the man started to direct the car he had been in around him (and her bumper) so the sedan had now inched far enough forward that it blocked her in completely. At that point, the big baby left the front bumper and reclaimed his seat in the sedan, triumphant. For the record, we let her out of her space, so she ended up directly behind him. Hope that one-second gain in travel time helped him out. Geesh!

What is with people? I know that assholes have existed for as long as humans have roamed this planet, but it sure seems like we are witnessing, in person, a lot more episodes like this one lately. The collective emotional IQ of our nation seems to hover right about toddler level these days. Maybe we all just need some graham crackers and a really good nap?

Buy The Damn Shoes

Yesterday I posted about a pair of Betsey Johnson, ruby red, rhinestone-bedazzled, four-inch heeled pumps. My son spotted them and pointed them out to me while we were in DSW looking for summer shoes for our upcoming cruise. I tried them on because I had to. I mean, is it even possible to walk past these stunners without at least being curious if they could change your life or transport you to Kansas if you click your heels three times? Oh…and did I mention they also come in silver (and green and blue too)? Fabulous.

As a rule, I do not blog about things like shoes because I am not exactly a fashionista. I fall solidly in the fashion category “trying not to dress like my grandma but definitely not wearing crop tops either.” So it’s surprising that I am writing about shoes two days in a row. But I got a lot of feedback from friends and fellow bloggers about these shoes today. All the comments said I should “buy the shoes.”

So, I think I will take some time to go back to DSW and try them out again. If I get them, they would be a splurge on something that will mostly live on a shelf in my closet. They won’t be alone, though. They will join these lovelies, both of which have been worn a couple times at most. I can’t bring myself to part with them because they make me happy and remind me that I am (or at least have been on occasion) a little more than a typical suburban housewife. Sometimes I am a little sassy.

Is it silly to spend money on something you will hardly use? If it is, I have a house full of silly things. I rarely use the Pottery Barn appetizer plates with 1960s cocktail recipes on them that we received as a gift from friends years ago, but I still like them and so they live in our cupboard. We have an Instapot that has only ever cooked eggs, maybe three times. We have a collection of 1980s-era beverage glasses from Burger King with Star Wars characters on them too, but I am not parting with those. If I got rid of everything in our home that is not used daily or even regularly, we could downsize to a 1000 square foot apartment with two-bedrooms (I need the extra closet for my awesome shoes). So, what would be the harm in buying a pair of ruby slippers that make me smile and feel a little feisty? Worst case scenario is that someday I pass them along in pristine condition to some other woman who would get to live out her Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz magic.

Sometimes I think too much. Sometimes it’s best to stop thinking and buy the damn shoes.

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

I went shopping for shoes for my son and myself today. He bought a pair of running shoes and a pair of flip flops. I bought nothing because I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for (cute, comfy espadrille sandals), but Joe spied these glittery, rhinestone, ruby red shoes and pointed them out to me. I have no reason to purchase these shoes, but I did have to try them on because, well, Dorothy shoes.

When I got home, I started wondering if I should have bought them. I mean, I have literally no place to wear shoes such as these given that my usual attire is as pictured, denim and Converse. On the other hand, shouldn’t every woman have a pair of shoes like these? Does it matter if all I do in them is wash dishes? How fabulous would I be rolling the trash can to the curb on Monday morning?

I might have to go back to DSW tomorrow.

Shit Is About To Get Real — Can We Handle It?

This kid literally cannot

To protect my mental health these days, I keep most of my news consumption to online articles because when I watch television news and see the strength and resolve of the Ukrainian people as they undertake what may well be an in-vain attempt to salvage their nation, I often have to leave the room to cry. I just can’t. It’s too much. Coming off two years of a global health crisis that kept us indoors and away from the greater community that binds us, my coping strategies have reached their limit like an old, elastic band that has been sitting in a drawer for ages and now will break when stretched. Just when the light at the end of the tunnel came into view, an aging white autocrat in Russia decided to push his limits.

I saw a video today of a four year old who approached his waiting school bus, got within fifteen feet of its steps, bent over to put his mask on, and then fell backwards with dramatic flourish onto the concrete, as if the prospect of the school week was more than he was capable of handling at that moment. We are all that kid right now as we wonder how much more insanity, unrest, upheaval, heartbreak, hardship, and stress we can take both at home and around the world.

For almost 77 years, the world has known peace in Europe. That peace has existed my entire life and all but three years of my parents’ lives. While my parents had a solid concept of the horrors of war through their parents, I had only what I saw in films. Aside from the 1980s era nuclear holocaust fears I had courtesy of our Cold War with the Soviets and “The Day After” television movie that haunts me 38 years later, I have felt mostly safe in our geographically isolated American bubble. That ended the other day when Putin’s army invaded a sovereign Ukraine, and then shit got real when he dangled the threat of a nuclear attack.

In an opinion piece on the CNN site this morning, six global voices weighed in on Putin’s invasion. Marci Shore, an associate professor of modern European intellectual history at Yale, had this to say about Putin: “This no longer felt like a man playing a high-stakes chess game, now it felt like a scene from Macbeth. My intuition was that an aging man facing his own death had decided to destroy the world. Ukraine is very possibly fighting for all of us.” This does indeed feel like the situation. While texting with my geopolitically savvy son last night, we discussed what can be done about the war as Putin begins to feel the squeeze of the joined hands of the free world around his neck. Joe told me, “The goal of the west should be to sanction as much as possible and create a counter propaganda machine to turn the oligarchs and Russian people against Putin.” And while I realize he is 100% correct, it means this war in Europe does not stay in Europe. We are a global economy. People around the planet will feel the sting of Putin’s actions in higher fuel costs, and those higher fuel costs will trickle into the costs of goods manufactured and sold around the world. The sanctions imposed on Russia will touch us all one way or another.

These financial hardships will be our contribution to squashing tyranny and, hopefully, restoring stability to Europe. Are we up to this task? I’m not sure. For the past two years, we’ve witnessed a steady cavalcade of tantrums over wearing a mask. If we weren’t all on board with covering our noses and mouths to suppress a transmissible, deadly virus, how willing will we be to suffer financial hardships for the sake of protecting democracy on a continent across the Atlantic? Are we smart enough to recognize that our peace and freedom are tied to the peace and freedom of citizens on the European continent? Will we be able to channel the ghosts of our American predecessors and adopt the WWII war-effort mindset of “Use it up – Wear it out – Make it do – or Do without”? Will we withstand financial hardship inside our own households and country, however long it takes, to protect the freedom and peace we have taken as a given for three quarters of a century? Man, I hope so. I would like to think we still have better days ahead.

We are a global people now. We need to act in the best interests of others to maintain our own best interests. As long as the majority of us in free nations are able to comprehend and live with that fact, we might be able to vanquish Putin, return Europe to peaceful homeostasis, and avoid nuclear fallout. The question remains, though, do we have it in us to continue living in an uncomfortable and perhaps increasingly painful holding pattern until better days arrive or are we just too soft now?

Lights Out

At this point, I feel like a prayer to these giants might help

We are getting the electrical panels for our solar installation today. The company rang our doorbell about 3 hours ago and told me it would be off for approximately 40 minutes. I had just popped tomatoes into the oven for roasting for soup for tonight. I just pulled them out of the cooling oven and placed them into our rapidly warming fridge. Guess we will be getting take out for dinner.

It’s a little crazy how much our lives have changed in the past 100 years. In 1925, about half of US homes had electricity. Now our entire lives are dominated by it. So consumed are we by our need for it that we are lost when it goes out. I’ve been wandering aimlessly around my house wondering what I can do. Laundry? Nope. Dinner prep? Nope. Make a smoothie? Nope? Vacuum? Nope. A storm is moving in and the house is dark, and I keep absentmindedly hitting light switches that can offer us no light. My husband told me I could use the shower, but then I reminded him I need to use a hair dryer right after that, so that is off the table too. At this point, I have determined I could read a book, do a puzzle, or take a nap, and I could only do the first two things if I found a flashlight. I am actually writing this blog post on the WordPress app on my phone, but will only be able to continue doing so as long as my phone battery holds out. I can always go for a drive to a locale with a functional power outlet, if I can open the heavy-as-sin garage door manually since the opener won’t work.

People lived for millennia without power to their domiciles, but I wouldn’t survive a day without it. I miss it already and it hasn’t even been half a day yet. I can’t decide if we should dial back our reliance on electricity or double our efforts to find ways to keep us powered all the time, even when the grid fails us. All I know for sure is that I would not want to go back in time. I would miss my ovens that require no firewood, my lamps that require no kerosene, and my refrigerator that requires no ice blocks.

If it’s this difficult for a Gen X-er to go a few hours without electricity, it would probably kill my Gen Z sons. I’m not sure how they would survive if they had to write out their homework by hand. At least I know Luke would curl up with a book. I think Joe would be on his phone until the battery ran out and then he would ask me to drive him around so he could chat with his friends while his phone charged.

Technology is a marvelous thing, until it isn’t. And then it leaves me wondering how on earth we would survive if things really went sideways and we had to abandon our modern conveniences. I mean, I try to picture myself pulling rugs out of my house and beating them with a broom while they hung on a clothesline, but I don’t see it. Let’s just hope the power gets turned back on before it comes to that.

Don’t Look Up: The Reality Of Our Present Condition

(Warning: Spoilers for the above mentioned film exist below this text. If you haven’t viewed this film and think you might want to in the future, you might want to skip this post for now.)

Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

A couple nights ago, my husband and I finally got around to watching Adam McKay’s satire Don’t Look Up on Netflix. When I first saw the movie trailer a while ago, it intrigued me. Then I happened upon myriad reviews by professional film critics and, based on their nearly universal panning of the film, I almost skipped it. I am glad I did not because it has been turning over and over in my head since I watched it Saturday night.

Don’t Look Up is a satirical film about American scientists who discover a planet-killer comet on a collision course with Earth. Try as they might to inspire the government and the American public at large to take this threat seriously, no one really seems to. The messaging just isn’t there, and people are too distracted by noise (social media, famous personas, politics, faux news, and their own biases and self-absorption) to check in long enough to realize this is the end of the world as we know it. They are so busy looking down that they don’t even see the comet hurtling towards earth until it’s too late.

McKay has stated that the film is about our lack of response to the scientific evidence behind climate change (Al Gore would agree this is a problem), and if writer/director McKay says that is what is about then I guess that is what it is about. And while it had to be cathartic for climate activist Leonardo DiCaprio to embark on a thinly veiled, paid, unhinged rant in the film about our combined ignorance and lack of action on the comet (climate change), I still only vaguely felt that was the true impactful message of the film. Sorry, Mr. McKay.

What I took away from the film, if you strip away all the comet nonsense and/or any topic you want to insert in its place (like the pandemic), is that Americans are lost. Like, literally unable to see what is happening right in front of our faces, running-around-blinded-to-reality lost. Why are we lost this way? Because our heads are always downturned towards the phones in our hands. This is the irony of the phrase and the movie title “don’t look up.” If we were able to unplug ourselves from our phones, social media, the siren’s call of the text message alert, Google in all its iterations, and all the myriad other distractions we hang our lives on in the palm of our hands rather than paying attention to what is happening in our immediate surroundings, then we might be capable of fixing the broken planet. As it is, with our acquired inability to focus on the present and our acquired ability to check out of reality constantly, we really are doomed. Distracted by shiny objects in the film, a comet wipes out the planet because people literally can’t, or won’t, look up and see it approaching. Distracted by shiny objects in America today, we have ignored climate change, bickered about personal freedoms rather than focusing on public health during a pandemic, and concentrated more on the romance between Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck than on the crisis happening in our democracy. We seriously are our own worst enemies. The film drives this point right off a cliff like Toonces the Driving Cat.

I have to say that by the end of the movie, I was rooting for the comet to wipe everyone out.

I know there is still good in the world. The only way to find it, though, is to step away from our screens and get back to the work of being human, of interacting with each other in person and not through anonymous mean-girl comments online, of recognizing our shared humanity and acting like adults. Yes. It’s hard work. And it will be even more difficult now that we’ve grown accustomed to our distractions. We are out of practice. But if we’re to stem a climate change meltdown or pull ourselves out of this pandemic or restore faith in our fellow citizens and our democracy, or maybe even destroy a yet unseen comet heading our way, this is what we need to do. We need to step away from our devices, read more, and brush up on our interpersonal communication skills. The dinosaurs lasted approximately 165 million years. Modern humans have only been around 200,000 years. I’m no longer sure that homo sapiens were named correctly. I don’t think we’re all that wise.