Thursday, July 23, 2020

From a Different Perspective

Perhaps the worst part of shelter in in place is the lack of novelty.  I love my house.  I love my views.  I love my pool and my shelves of books and my kindle and my television and my closet of crochet projects and I wish I could see anything but all of them right now.

The same old same old is getting me down.  Perhaps that's why I was so pleased on Monday to discover three new ways of looking at three different subjects.  My brain was surprised.  I could feel it expanding to include the new perspectives; my smile reflected the joy inside.

Two of my moments came during Nicolle Wallace's MSNBC afternoon hour of what the f** has Donald Trump done now?  Usually, she amplifies my feelings.  On Monday, I turned two corners.

First, Richard Stengel, former editor of Time, was talking about Portland and the unmarked camo wearing police detaining protesters.  "The President has it backwards.  The States provide policing.  The Federal Government provides pandemic care.  Not the other way around."

It was the clearest way of stating what has been bothering me about the situation.  It's concise, it's honest, and it's understandable even to the most close minded....... I hope, since I plan to use it widely and often.

Next, came Maya Wiley, she of the fabulous grey dreadlocks, potential candidate for Mayor of New York City, professor at the New School (where, if I lived my life over again, I would study ), and snarky regular commentator on MSNBC.  The conversation turned from terror in the streets to Alzheimer's disease; Maya cared for her mother as she declined and died.  She reminded me of what I already knew - taking that mental status test is a stressful experience. 

The Look At Me! I Aced It!! response of our President reminded her, and me, of our mothers' responses.  It's a stressful experience, wondering how much of your brain is no longer able to distinguish an elephant from a rhino.  Doing well is confirming that you aren't slipping.... even as you know, in some corners of what remains, that you are. 

I spent a while remembering G'ma.

How did I do?  She wasn't asking about the results, really.  She was wondering, in real time, how much of herself was left.  Trump's excitement over doing well is, as Ms Wiley pointed out, familiar to anyone who has had the pleasure of caring for someone who is in decline.

The fact that the conversation went on to discuss how much of DJT's brain is actually working.  I couldn't listen.

And then there was TBG, the one who knows me best of all, who said something that should have been obvious to us all along.  I was noting that my walking has improved to where my gait is nearly symmetrical.  I'm still not fast, and I can't maintain it for long, but I find myself, more often than not, engaging my back and my outer thigh and my lower abs as I walk, upright and not bent forward, hips swiveling but not jerking from side to side.  I'm not Lauren Bacall sashaying to Hoagy Carmichael in To Have and Have Not, but I'm not Frankenstein just up from the operating table, either.

I told him that swimming was awakening muscles that had lain dormant for years.  I'm aware of the interactions of different parts of my body as they are used in an active, prone postiion.  I can isolate the weaker parts and work on them i the poool in ways I can't on land.  I attributed my walking progress to my swimming progress (I'm up from 6 laps to 50) as TBG cocked his head and smiled.

Your dad loved swimming too, y'know.  He was good at it, too, almost all the way up until the end.  He always said it was the best exercise for him, and you have his body.

Duh.  Of course.  Daddooooo swam every day in Sen. Alfonse D'Amato's pool in Island Park, thanking the Senator on his way out of the community center every time he left.  Though his physical structure was crippled by arthritic hips, the rest of him was strong and powerful.  His only exercise ws swimming. 

Why I never thought of that before is a mystery best left for the sages.  All I know is that I now have a renewed commitment to the pool.

Three new ways oflooking at the world, all discovered in one day.  My brain was very very happy.


  1. How does one account for:
    1. A self-proclaimed germaphobe who eschews the wearing of a mask,
    2. A self-proclaimed "stable genius" bragging on being administered a test for dementia (whether he passed it or not, the fact that it was necessary is concerning enough in itself),
    3.A self-proclaimed supporter of law and order and local police sending in gestapo-like force to undercut laws, order, and the integrity of local police?
    Makes NO sense to me on any level.

    Thanks for sharing the Richard Stengel quote. Yes, exactly!

    And good for you for the swimming!

    1. You are welcome. It was so obvious and so simple that even a Trumpian human might relate.... one can always hope.
      Yes, the fact that the test was necessary is frightening. And the words he's repeating today - Man Woman Person - are suspect. I have a hard time believing that the test would use three words in the same cohort. I copied this from the MSE document on line: “I am going to ask you to remember three words (color, object, animal – e.g., blue, table, and horse).
      Now, if the lightning would stop I could get into the pool right now!
      Stay safe!

  2. Congratulations on your increased swimming capacity, and improved gait. I envy the swimmers, never could do it. Can't do it now, since there is a hole in my eardrum. However, I can do a magnificent dog paddle, which is very inefficient and very tiring.

    1. I have never thought of myself as a swimmer, but pandemic forced me to it if I wanted any movement at all. TBG swims beside me and we motivate one another. The dog paddle is no fun at all, I agree :-)


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