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Day 147

Obsessions!

I’ve got two obsessions on my mind today.

Obsession Number 1: Did you know you can get custom M&M’s with photos on them? I knew you could get custom messages on my favorite little color candies, but photos? How funny! How bizarre! Is this an example of not-so-passive aggression toward your loved ones? Or just candified, commercialized cannibalism?

Obsession Number 2: If you’re in need of a little renewed inspiration in mankind (and who isn’t?), then I recommend reading Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World. Written by Pulitzer-prize winning author Tracy Kidder, this makes-you-believe-in-heroes-again biography tells the story of physician/anthropologist Paul Farmer with an emphasis on the doctor’s pioneering work fighting tuberculosis in Haiti, Peru, and Russia.

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And check out my Muddling through Middle Age blog tomorrow. I’ve got more obsession-confessions!

Meanwhile, that’s it for Day 147.

Day 126

My Friends

I hate to say it, but my friends are a little boring. They have nothing new to say. How can they? They’re all living in a pandemic-enforced rut, repeating the same routine day in, day out.

Ask what’s new and the replies are the same. “Oh, I hate Zoom.” “The Internet is slow.”

Many of my friends have taken to drink to mark the end of the “workday” and the start of the official “at-home” portion of their sheltered-at-home day.

They’re all “sorry to complain,” adding apologetically “I know I have nothing to complain about.” They’re not sick. Nobody in their family is sick. Nobody is unemployed. The bills are getting paid. Everybody has a roof over their heads. They’re grateful. But still …
My friends all say the same things about politics: They’re “outraged,” “filled with despair,” “can’t believe the state of our country.” They’re angry that people refuse to wear masks. They’re heartsick about racial and economic injustice. They’re right, of course.
Yes, my friends are kind of boring.

But it’s OK. You know why?

I’m boring too.

How Boring am I?

I spent Sunday handwashing Lego creations, built decades ago by my children, and still displayed on my bookshelves. Yes, I laboriously filled basin after basin with soapy water and gently dipped Legos replications of the Taj Mahal, New York City landmarks, the Death Star — to name just a few. It took all afternoon and I did it contentedly, until I broke my favorite, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, on the last rinse. The real Fallingwater has withstood 85 years of the natural elements, but my child’s creation could not withstand my handling for one minute. I cried out in actual pain. So, who am I to judge who is boring? Who am I to say who needs to get a life?

Still, it is fair to say that my friends and I are all the lucky ones — the immensely lucky ones — living sheltered-in-place lives of remarkable ease amid terrible times. Sure we’re “inconvenienced,” “bored,” “restless,” and “listless,” but we’re OK. We’re more than OK. We’re fine.

And so goes Day 126.