Coping with COVID-19 (part2)

Jean ColonomosBy Jean Colonomos      August 7, 2020

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Coping with COVID-19 (part2)
Portrait of the iconic Civil Rights activist & leader, John Lewis. Photo Courtesy Magzster.com.
A Covid Diary
I began writing this daily diary out of a need to keep connected to my family, friends, acquaintances where some have become friends, and to the outside world. It’s a joy to be in contact with people in many states, England, and France. What I write about on any given day is based on what hits me at the moment. I thank all the contributors who enrich my days during this difficult time. July 15 Email from Dede: “Last Saturday I decided to iron most of the day and listen to music. I don’t need that many ironed napkins, but it was soul-calming to know they are deeply pressed for the next dinner party of eight. (Never!)” Poem from Anita M.: Touch Nothing/How are you she asks/From across the road/One foot pointed toward/Her fuzzy white dog/the other toward a quick getaway/Not bad for a/Geriatric liability/possible casualty/I say/I’m holding in place/I do wish I would stop/Washing my hands/Peering through blinds/At the silent street/but I can’t/I have no patience for questions/I’m squeezed tight/There is no place to set my glass/No one to hold my hand. From Mariam manager of Velvet in Brentwood, a clothing store for women and men. She tells me that in Dallas’ Velvet store, it now requires customers to wear masks at all times. People can try on clothes there—though not in Brentwood—but the male manager makes sure the room curtains stay open because face coverings must be worn as this state has among the highest coronavirus cases. Shocked, Mariam asks, “You mean the women don’t mind being naked?” “No,” he replies. July 23 Excitement today was when my hairdresser, Andre, cut my hair outside. We were surrounded by trees and Topanga’s clear mountain air. From L.: “It costs 2.8 billion dollars to develop a new drug. The rate of approval for a new one is less than 12%.” We segue into the fact that there wasn’t a vaccine for HIV, also a SARS virus. “During the cure’s first stage, one of my housemates had to swallow this horrible tasting drink, throw up and have diarrhea for the next three hours, then repeat this regime every day. At some point three pills a day worked and after twenty years of drug development, there’s one pill a day.” July 24 Washington Post has published Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s eloquent and powerful rebuff of Republican House member Ted Yoho’s apology for his verbal abuse to her on our nation’s Capitol steps. The press recorded the assault. Hers is moment of light in defense of male verbal abuse targeting women. I see Icarus in AOC. She takes up the challenge, flies to the danger-ridden Apollo male sun. The taking of the risk is itself a triumph, which is Jack Gilbert’s point in his poem, Failing and Flying. The first line is: “Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.” July 26 A good omen. Jupiter sextiles Neptune tomorrow. These two positive change-inducing planetary connections promote deep reflection. Dreams of harmony and growth take center stage now. It’s a time to revisit our dreams and make them real or make amendments to them. My daughter comes to California in eleven days, this state leading the country in corona virus cases. I’m scared. Sometimes I consult the I Ching for messages. I wonder what it’ll tell me today. Maybe I’ll look tomorrow. Mary Trump’s book sold 950,000 copies the first day. John Bolton’s memoir, “The Room Where it Happened,” sold over 780,000 copies the first week. Some book sellers have objections to carrying Bolton’s book. Bob Lingle, owner of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore in Lakewood, N.Y., who only took pre-orders says: “If people want to give me money for the book, I will take their money. But I’m not a fan of a man who, when he had the opportunity to do something, did nothing and is now trying to profit off his experience.” Two stores in Portland, ME, and one in Rosendale, NY don’t stock the book and won’t accept special orders. These owners echo Bob Lingle’s complaint. From Bloomsbury Books in Ashland, Oregon: Sheila emails: “I won’t stock certain books including Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity but I’ll order anything. I keep forgetting to add “The Splendid and the Vile,” by Eric Larson, to our best-selling books.  It really resonates with readers as he describes a horrific situation (the Blitz) but portrays a unifying and inspiring leader. It just keeps selling.” July 28 We mourn the death of African American civil rights leader, John Lewis, who practiced nonviolence and endured many beatings and jail time. His sacrifices showed us how our country needed to change. Representative John Lewis spent his life fighting for justice, created a better America by invoking Democracy’s better self. Though voter suppression is still widespread, John Lewis never stopped working for it. Wall of Moms is a nationwide collective of activist Moms currently visible in Portland, Oregon. They link arms to form a human barricade between protesters and federal agents. Sometimes they sing lullabies. Some hand out sunflowers. Some wear respirators, gas masks, and helmets, and some carry leaf blowers to redirect the tear gas federal agents have used. They chant, “Feds steer clear, the moms are here,” and “Mama, Mama.” George Floyd’s final plea while white policeman, Derek Chauvin, cut off Floyd’s air supply for eight minutes and forty-six seconds. Praise for Topanga Creek’s General Store owners Helen and Simon. When the pandemic first hit and essentials were gone from big stores’ shelves, our General Store had plenty of these items. When I’m in the store, Helen often shows me a new sanitizing product to check if I have enough sanitizers. The other day I was buying the wrong size throw away gloves and Helen ran back to get the small. I appreciate the store’s welcoming atmosphere. Another shop is The Canyon Gourmet. Owner Peter [Kagan], buys from organic open market sellers, seduces us with fresh produce and heaven-sent breads like baguettes, fruit breads, and whole wheat sourdoughs. They carry meat, American and European cheeses, and the emporium feels like I’m in France. The workers are head manager Cieran (hard C), Rian, Joe, and Karen, among others. When I leave, I love when they open the door for their customers, easing our way back to the outside world
Jean Colonomos
      August 7, 2020

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