Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Nails on a Blackboard

"Wanna hear my new song?" asked the kid in the car, making a lot of noise. "It's called 'Nails on a Blackboard'."

I did not want to hear that song, as it turned out. I had just taken two of the most-recovered children (not the two youngest, incidentally) through the store, where the uncouth monsters had touched everything against my express commands, and then touched their faces because they were raised in a barn. In the soap aisle we passed a teenager earnestly discoursing with two employees on internet facts about the coronavirus, and I shook my head at how oblivious he was to the real germ risk passing within feet of him.

I am tired of being sick, tired of being touched, tired of people wiping their noses on me or trying to wrap their heads in my sweater while I'm wearing it. I'm tired of taking care of people while I'm recovering myself. And I'm tired of being cooped in the house with these people, and I wish they could just go back to school. Ha ha. That's a little joke, see, because we don't go to school and are all in the house together all day anyway.

Contrast this with my drive last night, in which I had half an hour by myself cruising through dark farmland, saying my rosary, because at that moment I knew that the frustrations of this world are nothing compared to eternity. The circumstances were rather more dramatic than a jaunt to the store for more tissues. I'd been chatting with Darwin while he drove home, when suddenly his car, at 70 mph on the highway, started losing power to the engine. He had to pull over on the left side of the highway and call a tow truck to take him and the car to the mechanic, and I had to leave the kids tucked in the library watching The Trouble with Tribbles and run down to pick him up. And it was easy to be good-natured and patient and take the broad view without anyone breathing down my neck.

Welcome to our 2020. This makes the third car this year to need sudden work, and the other two haven't been inexpensive. I look back to the halcyon days of any other time but now, when the automobiles ran unobtrusively and effectively, and cheaply. I look back to a few weeks ago, before the sudden ice storm when the minivan, in park, inexplicably slid itself into the side of the house and crumpled the front panel, and now we can only open the driver's door about 15 inches before it sticks. We haven't fixed it yet because the car runs fine, and because money -- the same rationale behind living without a microwave, and living with a dying washing machine.

These are all survivable things, but they do wear one down after a while. So does recovery. We're surviving, obviously, but we're hitting a point where the equilibrium is definitely maintained more by grace than by human forbearance and cheer. People are beginning to feel like the obstacle instead of the opportunity.

In a few moments I'm going to bundle up the recuperated noisemakers and pack them off with me on a walk, to disinfect in the sunshine and to work out some of this obnoxious energy. Hopefully we can stroll unaccompanied by the dulcet strains of 'Nails on a Blackboard'.

1 comment:

mandamum said...

I was thinking of this re your dying artist thoughts - I can't speak to actual dying, but I know when I am able (ever so rarely) to convalesce by MYSELF in my own space, with what I choose to surround myself with, it can be a very fruitful time for mind-work (as long as I'm no longer running a fever). I did an amazing amount of useful school planning the year I had a baby in May - I had all this time set aside for me to lie around and rest and nap :) and think and type plans up on the laptop. But when I'm being climbed on by sick or well children, or being "hung out with" by others who seek to "cheer me up" while I'm under the weather, it drives me up the wall and my brain out my ear.

Still praying for you all :)