Pandemic journal: Week 11

Week 11: May 25-31, 2020. Theme of the week: rest. 

Wednesday, 7:23 AM. 

I’m writing with AS & HB. Supposedly it’ll be cooler today, but I’m wearing a very small, backless shirt that almost doesn’t have any sides either, and shorts, and have windows open, and am drinking my first cold-brewed sencha of the season, and I’m super sleepy but I feel very summery. I just feel vital and present, and enjoyed sharing this outfit with my friends, we had some spontaneous singing, H read us a Neruda poem, we discussed our parents’ sex lives (or invisibility thereof) and I just don’t feel so much like writing — I feel like riffing, being silly, bouncing off friends. Which I guess is one of the losses (and gratitudes) of what AGB has been calling the quarantimes: that we don’t get to have this in the beautiful way we could in-person, but that we do still get to have it at all, in any form. 

Short-haired person wearing a minimal black top and olive short shorts

I smelled bacon from the neighbors, and said so, and A said, is there anything better than bacon for eating outdoors? And I said yes, and she said I should write about that.

I was a small child, and we’d gone to the beach in Carmel as a family, our car parked in the shady lot with the wind-blown cypresses all around. The sitting in the sun all day, the fringed Martini & Rossi umbrella skewered deep into the sand, the old cream polyester quilted blanket our rest for hot feet and bottoms, someone smearing sunblock on my back, the waves ever coming and going as I stood there digging in my heels and then my toes, letting the wet sand hold me anchored until another wave faded the anchor away. All day, the lugging of sloshing plastic buckets, the sometimes successful castles, the burying and being buried, the assiduous hollowing of a pit big enough to hold a couple of us (we hoped), realizing the pee wouldn’t wait any longer, the long walk to the dim dank restroom and the 1-ply sticking to my damp skin, the sink that never offered any soap nor towels, the long walk back, shifting footfalls across the expanse of dry sand, going always a little too far in the wrong direction until finding our blanket. The packing up. The last empty and rinse of the brightly colored shovels, the buckets, the crab-shaped mold. Releasing the tiny crabs we had caught. The shaking out and folding of the blanket, the opened bags of chips back into the paper grocery sacks, the impossibility of stuffing everything back into our beach totes. The long walk back to the car, the shaking and brushing of sand from my flip-flops, my feet, sand still in my butt crack until home and shower. The slightly damp towel wrapped around my waist. Waving to aunts and uncles and cousins as their cars pulled away. Buckling myself in and then, before leaving, the lid lifted off the big Corning Ware, and being given a lu drumstick and an egg to eat on the drive before we fell asleep, this food we’d been fed all our lives and also earlier on the blanket, suddenly the very best thing I’d ever eaten, no sand gritting my teeth now, my napkin staying just where I put it, the drumstick tender and toothsome, the yolk of the egg breaking in my mouth, perfection. 

Sunday, 7:53 AM

The uprisings continue across the country; many cities have declared a curfew; the National Guard is in Seattle. The sense of apocalypse reminds me of the way we followed events in Ferguson in whatever-year-that-was — but there’s been so MUCH apocalypse since then, it also feels familiar and… manageable is not the word. We’ve learned, I guess, how to cope with it in our own selves: how we respond, how we take action, how we practice self-care, how and with whom we talk about it, where we give money or make calls or march, who we read or listen to. We’re getting practiced: that’s what I’m really saying. We’ve formed habits or routines to reach for, though the moments that feel particularly intense — like this one — still can jar us out of those and force us down new paths, which is what happened to me yesterday, when I spent 1½h of the evening listening to a panel discussion with 5 anti-racist educators who are also parents. I’ve shied away from “how to talk to your kids about race” articles because the assumption of a white reader is a microaggression of its own, but it turns out the mixed Black and white panel was a reasonable perspective for me  — just taking a single default out of the equation helped a lot. And there have been multiple threads in my moms of color group about how non-Black POC can be anti-racist, with resources specifically for Asians. The panel reminded me that raising an anti-racist kid and creating an anti-racist family is actually very important activism, and we can start wherever we are . I should talk to Owl, and make a sign for our front window, and I think it needs to say Asians for Black Lives because (and this comes directly from hearing the panelists) I need to situate us and our identity in this fight. 

Sending loving thoughts to everyone waiting for their federal assistance to be approved.