Friday, March 27, 2020

May you live in interesting times

And school's out early and soon we'll be learning
And the lesson today is how to die

~~ "I Don't Like Mondays" by The Boomtown Rats
So '80s, so wonderful!
Man, that's dark, isn't it? 

It's hard to find a lot of cheer in the world right now. Ken and I still find the humor in things and still have plenty of laughs, but fuck, things are grim right now. Even the biggest sense of humor in the world—and we both have very healthy ones—is taxed at times. 

I find myself very emotional lately. (Ken will be like, "What's new?" when he reads this.) Yes, I am usually that way but I find myself losing it to things like songs (like the one I'm posting here) but more so to watching videos from hospitals in Italy and around the world as they try to handle this outbreak. 


I started writing this last night and found that I just didn't have the stomach to finish it. I felt very disheartened. I felt better today and I'm not in despair or anything. But shit, this is messed up, man. It is dismaying to hear reports of the lack of equipment both on the news and from friends and family. 

And I can't even talk about the so-called "president's" response to it all. He's either preening about his beautiful, amazing response to this or whining about how certain Governors aren't kissing his ass enough. I'm just done with that for the night. He is unfit. That is all I'll say about it for the moment. 

I've been thinking about it and about how I feel so emotional at certain times. I'm not kidding, I'll listen to a song and end up with tears running down my face. I'm always kind of bad that way, but I'm a little off the rails right now. I've decided to be okay with that and just accept it. We're all plenty scared right now and worried about people. It's a natural reaction. It's okay to feel deep emotions. In the face of dire situations, I can shut it all down and let my rational brain take over. I can be quite stoic and not lose my shit when all around me are losing theirs. While we're staying at home and watching this all unfold, I give myself full permission to get as weepy as I want. It's not's just certain things hitting me at certain points. (I'm looking at you, "Star Trek: Picard"!)

I've had friends message me asking how we're doing and we try to encourage each other. Do this, as often as possible. Reach out to people and if you need a little encouragement, don't hesitate to reach out to others. We're all dealing with this and we're all weirded out and wondering what's going to happen. Sometimes hearing a simple word of love and friendship can do a lot to make us feel better. Dick jokes are always funny, too! The world could use more dick jokes right now. 

Stay engaged, stay connected, and yeah, there's probably a dick joke in there somewhere. Grab it! 

Life, I mean. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Salt and Pepper Take a Walk

We're on a road to nowhere
Pepper tossed the magazine he'd been reading onto the table. He sat back and looked at Salt, who returned his gaze calmly. Salt said, "What is it, baby?"

"I'm tired of being cooped up in this house. Let's take a walk."
Salt nodded. "We can do that. Let me finish this chapter."
Pepper said, "Okay." He got up and paced around the room, sighing heavily.
Salt closed her book, despite not finishing the chapter, and looked up at him. "I sense your impatience."
He glanced over at her. "I'm not impatient."
"You're about ready to catch on fire."
He shook his head. "Ready for a walk?"
Salt nodded and got up. She could use some fresh air, too. She could also tell when Pepper was ready to blow his top and she sensed that he was on the verge. Better to do as he wished. She was getting a little tired of his volatility, though.
This mandatory isolation had weighed on them both. She was well-suited to this sort of thing. She was an introvert to begin with and had never lacked for something to keep her occupied. She was as content to stay in and read as to do anything else.
Pepper was a different story. He was definitely more fiery and full of energy. He got restless easily. Their relationship had been a little uneasy for the past year. This isolation had really heightened it and Salt was feeling unsettled. But she decided to take a walk with him in hopes that it would alleviate his restlessness. She put on her beret because the day was a little moist and she hated to get her head holes wet. When that happened, she really had to work to clear them. Pepper had fewer head holes so it wasn't much of an issue for him.
They went outside and headed into the woods. The nights were still cool so the full foliage in the woods hadn't sprung to life yet, and the little path was clear. Salt tucked her hand into Pepper's arm and they walked along quietly, listening to the sounds around them. Salt thought a little more about where they were at in their relationship. The difference in their color wasn't an issue. Salt's family had embraced Pepper as one of their own. Salt's cousin Chive was a registered Unitarian minister and had once whispered to Salt, "If you two ever want to get hitched, just let me know!"
Pepper's family was a little more reticent with Salt, but they had come to accept her.
No, she thought. The real problem is that I'm too mild for him.
As if to echo her thoughts, Pepper spoke up. "Salt...can we talk?"
They were under a large evergreen, sheltered from the mist. Salt stopped and looked at him. "About what?"
He looked away from her. She didn't like the looks of that.
He finally turned back to her and said, "I...I'm not entirely happy."
"What is it?"
He shrugged. "I don't know."
She stepped back from him. "Don't give me that. Don't tell me you're not happy and then say you don't know why. Tell me."
He sighed. "I'm bored."
"I see. Go on."
"I need a little spice in my life! You're great and I love you, but...."
"But what?"
"Do you ever think there's more?"
She was starting to feel a little defensive and to be honest, a little pissed off. He thought he had the market cornered on 'spice.' Well, if it weren't for her, their life would be utterly bland. He didn't seem to understand what she brought to the table.
She crossed her arms. "What more do you want? A little more heat? Cayenne? Chipotle? Habanero? You know that's not me, Pepper."
He ran a hand over his head holes. "Dammit. I know."
"Then what is it you want?"
"Fuck! I don't know. Could we at least add a little...I don't know...some garlic to the mix?"
"Dammit, Pepper! I've told you over and over that I am not cool with a threesome! Jesus, what is it with you hot spices?"
He turned away and muttered, "Shit!" He turned back to her and said, "I'm sorry. I know that. I don't really want that. Maybe just a little more adventure."
She looked at him and uncrossed her arms. She took a step towards him. "That's reasonable."
He leaned his head rim against hers and laughed. "Always the pragmatic one."
"You know I am."
He put an arm around her and said, "Let's go back."
She nodded and they walked back down the path. They were almost back to the house when she tripped over a tree root and went down hard. Her beret flew off when she hit the ground, and she hit her head on another root. She felt something come out of her head holes and laid on the ground as she tried to get her bearings.
Pepper knelt beside her. "Salt! Are you okay?"
She blinked and put a hand to her rim. She felt something there and when she pulled her hand away and looked at it, she saw crystals.
Pepper said, "Shit! You're leaking!" He put a hand on her head holes and muttered, "Shit!"
Salt put a hand on his arm and raised up. "I think I'm okay. Just help me inside."
"Okay, okay. I got this." He gathered her up and held onto her as they went into the house. He took her right into the bathroom and sat her down. "Oh, shit, Salt. You're leaking everywhere!"
Salt felt her head holes again and came back with crystals covering her hand. She felt a little faint but knew what had to be done. She grabbed Pepper's hand. "Listen. You're going to have to tape me up."
Pepper said, "No way! I'm taking you to Spice General!"
She said, "Stop it. With this mandatory isolation, the last place either of us needs to be is in a spice house. You need to do this."
"I can't."
She smacked him on the side of his canister. "You can and you will! I need you now, Pepper! Do this for me!"
He took a deep breath. "Okay. What should I do?"
Salt wanted to ask how he'd made it this far in life but held her tongue. "Clean it off first."
"Okay." He got a towel and ran it under warm water. He started to dab at her head holes and Salt winced and hissed in a deep breath. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." He cleaned the crystals off and said, "Now what?"
"You need to put some tape over a few of my head holes or I'm just going to keep leaking."
"Ahhh, shit. Okay. I got this."
She looked up at him. "I know you do. You're doing fine."
He laid a little tape over three of her head holes, and to his credit, he was very gentle. When he was done, he knelt beside her. "Did I do okay? Are you okay?"
Salt nodded. "You did great, baby."
They leaned their rims together.
She pulled back and looked at him. "Listen. I get that I'm mild. I know you burn a little hotter than I do. But we can still be a pretty good team. How often do you hear just 'salt'? How often do you hear just 'pepper'? Nope. It's always Salt and Pepper. You know it, baby."
He nodded. "You're right."
Salt said, "But I also get that maybe I can make an effort to be a little more adventurous. Maybe we'll go to the sea. Maybe I'll dye my hair pink. I don't know...but maybe something different."
Pepper laughed. "It's all good, baby."
Salt said, "Now, come on. Help me out to the couch, because I'm going to lay on it and you're going to take care of me."
"Yes, ma'am." He helped her up and got an arm around her and held her as she walked gingerly out to the couch. He settled her in and said, "I'm going to make you some tea."
Salt nodded and as she watched Pepper in the kitchen, she resolved that even if she didn't get as adventurous as he wished, there was a lot to be said for the flavor that she brought to their life. She might not be especially fiery, but she worked hard and knew that she was indispensable. She might be subtle but she brought a lot to their relationship and she was confident in that.
She leaned her rim back against the couch. But she could certainly spice things up in their bedroom. Not tonight...but definitely tomorrow. She drifted off to sleep with a smile on her face.