The world is at least fifty percent terrible,
and that’s a conservative estimate,
though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
–excerpt from Maggie Smith’s Good Bones
I was reminded of this the other day.
I’d been doing pretty well with our very long– almost two-years of — isolation. Not total isolation. Still, mostly. Compared to what our world was like before.
But I have friends who aren’t doing well at all and their recent plaintive discussions are all about how tired they are of not going anywhere. Not being able to do anything out in the world without feeling unsafe. Maybe these discussions have finally gotten to me.
The next day I happened to see at least half a dozen friends’ posts about their trips to far-off places where masks are not seen as often as we wear them. Meanwhile, M. and I and the dogs cancelled our trip to our hometown last month because we want to remain safe.
I am trying hard to understand their thinking.
Are they not afraid of a breakthrough infection? Do they believe vaccination protects them from anything more than the symptoms of a bad cold? Does it not worry them that they could get sick in a country that might not have the same medical care they have at home? Do they not see the posts and news stories I do about how sick people are getting, even those who are vaccinated?
I want to do what they are doing. But I’m afraid to.
We’ve talked about splurging on a two-night stay at a fancy hotel on the coast. We’ll probably do that.
Also under discussion is a Christmas trip post-booster to our home on the east coast and staying a few months. Even if it means not seeing anyone.
But then again, it’ll be winter in upstate New York. Cold. Probably snow. Is this even smart?
But there’s a macro view, too.
Our world is a real shithole right now. Yes, it has good bones. And could be beautiful. Once again.
I’m not sure we have what it takes to make this place beautiful again.
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