If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m reading Lucy By the Sea and share how the fictionalized story about the early days of the pandemic is like reliving our collective trauma all over again. There are many parallels between Lucy’s early interpretation of the virus and my own. We both thought it would be over in a few weeks, until the images of refrigerated morgue trucks, bizarre presidential briefings, charts and graphs depicting steep rises in cases followed by even steeper rises in deaths on the evening news hit like a slap across the face. The impending isolation and despair is so relatable and easily relivable–it all lands a little too close for comfort. I do remain hopeful though that the ending of Elizabeth Strout’s novel is more cathartic than dread-filled.
If we were having coffee, I’d declare my 2023 summer goals: 1) strengthen my core; 2) improve my mediation practice; 3) schedule more time to read and write; and 4) spend as little time as possible doing school stuff. I’d then explain my reasoning behind my fourth goal, like sticking to the tenets of what contract employment means–teachers are not typically paid for hours worked outside of contract hours. The illusion of teacher-work accomplished between 7:30 and 3:00 pm each day is not reality. Only when teachers stop carrying so much of the workload into their weekends and summers, will the systemic problems associated with teacher pay inequity and burnout be addressed.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my daughter plans to move to New York City this summer to pursue the next chapter of her life. I would tell you how proud I am of her willingness to jump into new experiences with gusto and optimism. And how excited I am to have more reasons to visit NYC.
If we were having coffee, I’d talk about my aging pets and the exorbitantly high bills we pay to keep their systems running. We would laugh about how a simple pet check-up often reveals some new malady that needs long term treatment.
“You can put your cat on an inhaler for that,” I’d repeat to you in the voice of my veterinarian.
And you’d say, “Better your cat than you.”
Thanks, The Dirigible Plum for the inspiration.