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

That Time The Oscars Turned Into The Slap

I have watched the Oscars every year since Out of Africa won for Best Picture. Despite this storied history, I think my love affair with this event is over. I felt the show tonight was going well at first. I liked the amount of diversity I was seeing and was especially pleased with the lack of playing-someone-off music. I thought for a few, brief moments that we were seeing what I wished for the rest of the country, some inclusion, some empathy, some gentleness, and some unity. Then, Will Smith happened, and the Oscar broadcast suddenly felt like ABC’s The Slap.*

I know everyone and their dog, as well as the flea on their dog, is going to have an opinion of the incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock, so I will keep my four-cents (yes, 4 cents…inflation) brief. First, Chris Rock is a comedian. He cracks wise for a living. His comment referencing Jada Pinkett-Smith’s bald head was, at best, tasteless, and at worst, if he was aware of Jada’s alopecia condition, cruel and gross. That said, Will Smith’s physical assault on Rock on live television, followed by his shouting an obscenity-laced comment at him twice, was wrong on every single level I can imagine.

Let me break this down in kindergarten terms. You don’t hit other people. You. Do. Not. Hit. Other. People. Full stop. You just don’t. It’s wrong. Smith had every right in the world to be angry at Rock’s comment and to want to stand by his wife. I get that. He did not, however, have the right to haul off and hit the man. That he was allowed to remain in the theater after he physically assaulted another man in front of millions of viewers is wrong. That he received the Oscar and was allowed to stand there and talk about “love” while a crowd gave him a standing ovation is scary. That he tied his actions to Richard William’s fierce love of his family, stating that “love will make you do crazy things” was sickening. That Smith didn’t start his speech by apologizing to Rock for hitting him is a sobering example of what is wrong with this country.

I give credit to Chris Rock for being able to withstand that attack with some semblance of composure and go on to give the award for Best Documentary Feature to Questlove and friends. He handled that situation with some serious restraint.

I told my husband that while Jada may have appreciated Will’s show of misguided chivalry, I would most certainly be angry as hell if he ever “stood up for” me in that manner. (I know he knows this and I know he would never, but I said it anyway.) I can handle my own battles. I wouldn’t want anyone else speaking for me without having spoken about it with me first. I wouldn’t want anyone hitting another person in my honor. It all felt so middle school. I’m surprised we didn’t hear Will say, “Meet me behind the jungle gym at recess.” This antiquated notion that some men have, that chivalry means defending someone, needs to go. Chivalry is supporting someone. If Will had turned to Jada, asked if she was okay, asked what he could do to be there for her in that moment, and then she told him she wanted him to go defend her honor, then maybe that slap would equate to a show of support. But instead, he made it all about Will by displaying his anger and his appalling lack of situational awareness and self-restraint. Not cool.

At any rate, now that the Oscars have become The Maury Show, I’m finished. I’ll find out who won later. If next year’s Academy Awards devolve into a melee and seats get tossed around, I won’t be surprised. It seems like that is where we are headed.

*I have never watched The Slap, so I’m not really sure how it plays out, but I’m pretty sure someone gets slapped and a bunch of people have reactions about it.