25 March 2020

0 stay safe! take care! this thing is happening for which we do not have the language!!!

we're all doing this, right? skirting the actuality and finding delicate ways to address what is happening, this thing we are in.

see? i just did it right there!!!

and you all know i am not chicken when it comes to death and disaster. you remember 2015. you remember that whole season of life where i brought everything back to the fact that we will one day all die.

and yet you remain, so, truly. bless you.

it's "weird times" though, yeah? euphamistically speaking, i mean.

i'm currently engaged in an active email thread with a customer service rep regarding a fedex delivery that appears to have been everywhere in DC but my home. pretty sure that, were it just one week ago, all of my messages to this person i do not know wouldn't be ending with "TAKE CARE!!!!!"

today, i had a totally normal phone conversation with my insurance provider. (what a weird time for my medicaid subsidy to come through!) after i confirmed that i understood the change being made to my policy, as we said goodbye, i realized i was actively holding back from expressing a wish that this person i do not know and their family stay safe.

for two years, i have opened all group messages to my students with the salutation "dear people." i find myself CLINGING to this. in today's class video for one of the schools, i opened with a wildly enthusiastic "hi," realized my mistake and super awkward like corrected myself, blushing at my own failure to accurately express my level of care for these people.

these are "interesting times," "unsettling times," "wild times" even, like we're at a fucking rodeo rather than a global pandemic.

i find myself consistently referring to "this moment we find ourselves in."

i think i'm attracted to the passivity of it. the moment is here and we have the misfortune of being in it. voilá.

repeatedly, my "efforts" (by which i think they do not entirely realize they mean my providing copious emotional labor for sixty physically and academically and existentially terrorized young adults) are described as "herculean."


i file this request as someone who once taught "classical and biblical contexts of english literature," so i am uniquely qualified to state that moving a class from a brick-and-morter room to the internet amid "this new landscape of higher education" isn't a feat of physical strength so much as a sacrifice of my self to capitalism... ie. "this strange new road we did not choose but across which we must journey."

it is only in the last day that the administration of one of my schools has revealed a protocol for what we are to do should any of us fall ill or our students or our families (the other has yet to acknowledge this as a possibility). it is only in the last day that just the littlest bit more light has been let in on "this great adventure in new ways of teaching, learning and working."

this is where knowing we will all one day die really comes in handy. 

because i did not transition my class online two weeks ago. no, i did not. i transitioned us, as a group of people in varying states of crises, to a new space. a space of emotional triage, in which we are proceeding slowly, gently. our "strange new road" is one where there is no syllabus and there are no grades and we are free to write rants and write letters to celebrities and ask writers questions and write and write and write and fail and be imperfect and be sad and mad and frustrated and grieve and lonely and write and write and ask questions and wonder and write and write and write and write


i did NOT go see the cherry trees. i swear. i have been tucked up in my little home since 12 march. but they were in bloom when i was here in april 2015, at the height of my "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE SOMEDAY" phase.

and they were beautiful.

as mayor bowser has reminded us, they will be even more beautiful next year.

take care! stay safe!!

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