Day 40: Light at the End of the Tunnel

Shower Thoughts: No other species is watched more while pooping than dogs.

Oh my goodness, day 40 has arrived!  It’s been 40 days since the official declaration from our governor to Shelter in Place, March 24th. We are in the middle of our 5th week. We learned on Friday, May 1st, the lockdown will be extended to May 31st.  How are you holding up?  Hope you are healthy and adjusting to your new normal.  As soon as we adjust completely, perhaps, going through all the stages of grief and loss, at some point we’ll be thrown back into the fire.  This morning I am thinking about the working class returning to dead-end jobs. I’m wondering what factors make a job a good job.

The 5 stages of grief and loss are: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.

Many Americans will return to their jobs to face a brilliantly obvious discovery, a very REAL tried and true FACT- they are underpaid.  Their previous jobs were unable to prepare them for regular emergencies such as a new transmission much less a pandemic.  Middle-class life is now 30 percent more expensive than it was 20 years ago.  Meanwhile, salaries, which have stagnated for decades don’t go as far as they once did to cover the necessities.  Do we really want to go back to “normal”?

Michigan

People with guns are starting to freak out.  Last Thursday, April 30th, hundreds of well-armed citizens waving MAGA signs crashed the state capitol of Michigan demanding that the country reopen.  They wanted to get to the House floor where representatives were in session but were blocked by state police and sergeants-at-arms.  In Michigan, it is legal to carry firearms as long as it’s done with lawful intent and the weapon is visible.  Lawful Intent?  hmmmm… In my town, if this lockdown extends another two months, my biggest concern is folks might just start biking naked or something.  But, there are many parts of the US where the breaking point could result in converting Doug’s Toyota Tacoma into a freaking ISIS tank and start patrols!

I’m wondering about the demographic that stormed the capitol.  Are they the same that was studied in various reports over the last two decades?  Did you know that the suicide rate for white middle-aged working-class men has spiked?  This group of Americans appears to be the most pissed off and depressed.  Why?

For white men without a college degree, the average growth in median wages between 1979 and 2017 was a negative number (−0.2 percent a year), even as median hourly earnings for all white workers grew by 11 percent in the same period. This wage deflation has had well-documented cultural ripple effects, depressing marriage rates as men’s appeal as partners fell along with their earnings. Without a stable family life, these men are more isolated, with fewer of the sorts of social buffers that might inoculate them against suicide or drug abuse. As a result, the rates for both have gone up.

For what it’s worth, I was raised in a working-class neighborhood in South Seattle and my folks had small businesses.  A part of me recognizes these men.  They are the sons of my neighbors.  My personal interpretation is that these suicide rates reflect a group of men unwilling to seek self-improvement in the form of therapy or education. Perhaps in their culture it is a sign of weakness, or maybe they do not believe they are wrong, mentally injured, or perhaps it is a simple financial barrier.  Adaptation to our changing world is difficult but necessary.

So, let’s move ahead a few months.  We have a Presidential election coming up.  Is Biden going to go the way of Hilary or Barak in his campaign outreach?  Will he be able to identify, and connect with the majority of voters?  …also could folks start voting out the sellouts in the Senate?  Seriously.  Otherwise, in my view, Trump will simply be more fuel to the unpredictable, unstable, despair bonfire.
F*ck Trump!

 

Here is my current mood expressed in a meme.  Thanks for visiting.  Be safe, stay healthy.  -Shannon

 


https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/14/heres-how-many-americans-are-not-saving-any-money-for-emergencies-or-retirement-at-all.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/hundreds-protest-michigan-lawmakers-consider-extending-governors-emergency-powers-n1196886

https://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/april-may-june-2020/white-death/

My book of poetry:
https://www.villagebooks.com/product/fallen-shannon-p-laws

Day 24

The Twitter account “Shower Thoughts” has a good thought that is working for me.  It reads: “Go to bed, you’ll feel better in the morning” is the human version of “Did you turn it off and turn it back on again?”

Sleep is a marvelous reset, isn’t it?  I am thankful for my little bed.  In this day and age, having your own place is a luxury, no matter how small the slice of pie.  While checking out my groceries at Fred Meyer today I asked the check out person why they haven’t had large shopping carts for over two weeks now.  She said these words exactly, “the homeless took them!”  That’s about 30-40 carts!  I wonder if there are fewer beds for the Bellingham homeless during the lockdown. When the shutdown began the Lighthouse shelter closed and was moved to the High School.  The city refit the school into a homeless shelter.

Here is a poem by Wallace Stevens, published in 1923, the last two stanzas

Tea at the Palaz of Hoon

Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
And my ears made the blowing hymn they heard.
I was myself the compass of that sea:

I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.

1) an observed joy- I saw these flowers today. SO perfect! I thought they were plastic.

2) a real concern- There are so many on a national scale.

3) a personal challenge- the challenges are the same, walk every day, keep to a regular work schedule, eat well.  It’s getting boring

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- I’m finding myself more truly, more strange.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- When I walk around my neighborhood I think it is funny how we give each other plenty of distance, crossing the street, moving to the middle of the road.

Here is my current mood illustrated in a meme.  Be well. -Shannon

 


As of this post, the USA leads the globe with 34,522 COVID-19 deaths.
Next is Italy 22,170, then Spain with 19,315.
https://ncov2019.live/data

Day 23: Is It Warm In Here…?

Are Medusa’s leg hairs tiny snakes?

Here is another poem draft.  It is the middle section of a longer poem.  I think it can stand by itself.  What do you think>

After the Evening Shift

The cat jingles behind us
awakes an owl perched
on a thick branch above
prey
prays
quickly breaks pass the
mill street corner lamp

 

1) an observed joy- The chickadee birds in my neighborhood make me so happy.  A great joy about working from home, I hear them all day.

2) a real concern- I’m hoping the president doesn’t get in the way of the nation’s efforts to rebound from the virus.  The west coast is coordinating the reopening of the towns, county, and states.  Science, not ego, will save us.

3) a personal challenge- So many challenges.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- Everything on my to-do was checked off.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- Where is my upstairs neighbor?  She’s been gone for a week.  It’s not my business, but WHO is traveling and why?  Just wondering.

I’m pretty tired tonight.  Feeling fatigued.  Here is my mood illustrated by a meme. I hope you have a super day.  -Shannon

 


Like my writing? Want to hear me read my poetry?  Of course, you do.  Please visit https://chickadeeproductions.bandcamp.com/releases   and download some today.  Only $1.00 a poem!

Day 14: It Gets Real

This is Monday.  Normally I turn on my cell at 7-7:30 am and within 60 seconds various tones notify me of new emails or texts.  Working a Saturday to Wednesday shift, Monday is when most of my contacts respond to various communications from the previous week.  EVERYONE is in the office on Monday.  Today, all the organizations I work with are sheltered in place some since the week of 3/16.  The flow of work and communication is showing a noticeable difference.  It’s no longer a racehorse jumping out of the gate at 7:00 am.

This morning my silent phone feels a bit eerie.

1) an observed joy- Enjoyed the Palm Sunday live stream with the church; many of the parishioners displayed clipped fern leaves, a palm-like stalk found in almost every Northwest yard, for the occasion.  Later that evening Zooming with my family, a phone call catch up with a writing friend, was touching as well.

2) a real concern- Two of my friends believe the lockdown will be extended into June or July.  I REALLY hope they are wrong. As a social worker, I understand that people and families in crisis live in a pandemic-like state constantly, with no foreseeable end.  The common suburbian- in crisis -is an unstable animal.

3) a personal challenge- I want to increase my walks from 4-5  a week to twice a day.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)-I’ve tackled my file cabinet, and I’m doing better about leaving a pile of dishes in the sink.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- How long in lockdown before I vacuum behind the bookshelf? There is a spider web back there amongst the dust bunnies and a forgotten hair tie. It is a guardian of all things hidden and forgotten.

Here is my current mood expressed in a pandemic meme.  It’s a shout out to all the ‘effin’ people over 70 I see in the grocery stores rocking the isle without a mask with a “death can not touch me” attitude, meanwhile…

 

 

Poem: Susan’s Monsoon Afternoon

A Tucson Arizona monsoon

 

Susan’s Monsoon Afternoon

By Shannon P. Laws

The window did not care
that it was open
Neither did the curtains
concern themselves with being wet
The wind was indifferent
it blows where it wants

But Susan’s hand cared
as it slapped the window shut
That hand connected to the arm
the arm to the shoulder
shoulder to torso
carrying the head

the head that sent the
electrical currents and
held the soul of Susan
Those bits cared

that the new curtains were
dripping with the afternoon monsoon
blowing in the open window
behind the red couch

They forgot to set the alarm again

Someone was going to be pissed
about the puddle on the hardwood floor

But neither the wood, the glass
or the sheer of the curtain screamed

The cat is outside crouched under her car

The figure on the coffee table is tipped over
—and the TV is gone

The kitchen light is on

A shadow runs towards the back door
and someone is upstairs in her bedroom

 

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