Like most people I know, I’m in a state of pre-panic. Just because the awful reality of lockdown and a Trump presidency have happened before, it doesn’t make them seem any better. I wonder if, knowing everything we went through the last time, they might even be worse.
And here we are, teetering. Grabbing snatches of freedom before going back to be confined to our four walls. Even if you do get to leave, it’s only to go to work. Hardly much fun. We’re also refreshing our web pages, looking in horror at the percentage of women in the US that have already voted for him (how? Why?!). In times of impending calamity, what are we to do?
I’m certainly not one to suggest that having children gives you any sort of one-upmanship on anyone else, but they can help to keep you in the moment. It’s hard to slide into fevered imaginings of yet more Zoom quizzes (who am I kidding, I love them) and staring out of dark windows when you’re being instructed to, ‘come here, Mummy,’ to look at a rather interestingly-shaped stick. I also had the very contrasting experience of staring in horror at the results of the election so far this morning while my daughter kept saying, ‘balloooons, Mummy, happy birthday!’ when she saw the decorations we’d put up for her after she went to bed. And then she wails like the world is ending when she stubs her toe on the stairs.
In her small way, I feel she sums up the crashing horror and beauty of humanity. On the one hand, the conveyor belt of time is dragging us forward and we are living through things that will undoubtedly wind up in a History textbook one day. On the other, the sky is blue and the sun is shining. There was a crispy frost when I left the house earlier which finally gave me the reason to dig out my blue woolly hat with a pompom.
It’s not going to be easy. I’m not sure what hope I can offer to myself or to others but to remember that, in the end, it’s always the little things that keep you going. Be it a chat over the wall with a neighbour, the feel of your sheets when you’ve just washed them, cheese and pineapple on sticks or a cake shaped like a wolf, we’ll all need to do what we can to keep that spark of hope and humanity alive.
Hang in there, guys.
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