Little By Little, Working On It.
So I don't think I'd be alone in saying that this has been a bizarre, terrible year. I have the unique talent of being simultaneously pretty upbeat about almost any of the crises in my life and terribly depressed in general. It depends on the day. I was raised in constant crisis and I became comfortable with that. That is both a blessing and a curse. I will be there to help when people ask me. I will not panic when things are going horribly. I will deal with the situation and then feel it much, much later.
For instance, I lost my beloved pet of 13 ½ years this summer. She was a little cockatiel, named Jim, that most of my friends already know all about. Most of you read her obituary in Literate Ape. I dealt with her illness, finding her little body at the bottom of her cage, and breaking the news to my all-too-in-touch-with-her-feelings wife. I spent 2 days being very sad but not really crying much.
Then when I tried to get back to work at my desktop, I started blubbering uncontrollably because the crisis was over. Nothing was expected of me. I could be alone with my emotions. And this moment, at my desk, was the first time I was living a real life situation differently than I had for years. Jim was supposed to be in my lap, or attacking the keys of my keyboard, or walking over the bongos, or trying to find a place to hide, or throwing stuff off my desk. She was supposed to be distracting me and she wasn't. So I finally cried.
This year has been like that from beginning to end. I didn't worry about lockdown or masks until months into it when I finally started getting a little depressed. I haven't been concerned about my filmmaking prospects because I know that I know how to make something out of nothing most of the time. I like limitations. They give me something to work against. And I don't fall apart when bad news comes, most of the time.
During the lockdown a bunch of stuff happened. Right at the beginning of this whole thing, my mother who is 79 now, ended up in the hospital with a severe infection that left her having difficulty speaking the words she was thinking, eating, or really taking care of herself in any real way. I don't live in the same town as my mother and siblings. They all live in the Kansas City area. I was able to not panic, to make the decision to go down and help a little when I had time, and really not feel anything but the good stuff.
Mom is getting better now...finally. It took a few missteps and a lot of advocacy from us to keep her on the path to recovery. The good thing about her being in the hospital was, at least in a hospital she could have visitors, unlike in her assisted living facility where they were being warehoused like meat in cold storage for months until they decided window visits were okay. So I took the opportunity to go down and spend a couple days with my mom. That was nice.
The other thing that happened during the beginning of the lockdown was that my Aunt Revé, who had been struggling with Alzheimer's Disease for more than 10 years, fell in the shower and died a few days later. We couldn't bury her right away. We had to wait until it was safe. We finally buried her ashes on July 4th. By the way, we literally buried her ashes. Family cemetery on a holiday means, bring your own shovel.
I've had some lung issues during this time, but for now all seems pretty good with me health wise. My wife and I briefly had some flu-like stuff going on but we got tested and we didn't have the dreaded disease.
We have all watched (or in many cases participated) in the protests against police brutality and white supremacy all summer long. I had some guilt about not jumping out into the midst of the chaos to lend my two arms, two legs, and loud voice to the crowds crying for justice, but I look at the summer I've been having, the life I have had, and that I'm kind of an older guy now, and I realize that it would not have been a good idea to help in that specific way. Especially, considering my generally bad lungs and that I didn't want to bring any viruses back to my wife or to my mother, if I ever got the chance to visit her.
So this post is kind of a recap of a tough summer through my own specific lens. If you haven't looked at my "Mystery Video For Free!" page on this site, maybe do it. It will lead you (as of today's date anyway) to a fifteen minute video on the first two months of the lockdown from my perspective only. It's not a broad, general overview of America in these troubled times. It's just about me and my experience.
I have been filming all the time, all summer long, picking up enough to create the story of this whole year by the time it's over. I'm a good writer. I've become a pretty creative visual storyteller. I expect that, along with projects involving my good friend Freddy and the history of the Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Company, there will also be a completed, feature length, very experimental version of this nutso year from my unique perspective. I can't wait to share it all with you.
So that's what's been on my mind.