In search of story


June 9.20: Coping

Yesterday I had a moment in a paint store that sent me into laughter which almost suffocated me because I was wearing a mask. Afterward I thought about it.

A man was buffing the floor, likely enjoying the sauna behind his mask as much as I was enjoying mine while I maneuvered with my usual grace amid shelves and social distance markers. The COVID pas-de-deux.  As it happened, I ended up apparently in his path: my assertion that I was trying to not be in the way was met with his “Well, then, MOVE!” This hit my funny bone hard. Thus my suffocation.

We all have our gifts. Mine is to be in the way. My dad had variations on “you’re in the way,” the best of which was “go tell your mother she wants you.” The man with the machine yesterday would have fit into my family perfectly.

As I chuckled my way home, I reflected on the mask as a new wrinkle in such a moment (pun intended). He was wearing a baseball cap so all I could see was a bit of grey hair and his eyes. Maybe MOVE! was grumped at me. I don’t think it was, but how would I know? We did not see each other’s faces — this should be remarkable. It isn’t! What a weird world we have landed in.



April 4.20: Coping

There’s magic in a daydream;

it conjures up a wish

and makes it seem achieved

though it’s only real-ish.

 I dream I’m leaning in

as far as I am able

amid the light and color

with my elbows on the table.

I add some blue-leg’d roosters

who don’t need social distance

and people without masks,

and I summon up resistance.



More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg

and to this bright cafe in pre-COVID Dusseldorf.

Family update, dear reader: my son is not worse and this is good!