Conversations are taking strange and unexpected turns with such regularity that soon none of it will be strange, nor will it be unexpected. This morning, on a call with my boss, I ended a conversation thusly: “Well, uh, I’m going to stop holding up pieces of my brain to share now, and hang up.” Time may not be linear, but conversations in real time probably should. Just for the sake of our collective sanity.
There are good days and bad. I worry about everything until I’m sick with it, and then I retreat into my head. We probably all need to upgrade our coping mechanisms, but is this really the time?
That’s a question I’m asking a lot lately, both literally and figuratively: is this really the time? Looking out at how we’re speaking to each other, how we’re spending our days, what we’re considering important, I hold up that frame and I ask those questions. And I think that probably yes, this is the time. For all of it. For any of it. We need to let people react however they need to react. We’re hurting in different ways, we’re wired in different ways, we’re isolating in different ways. Each of us requires all the patience the in world right now. I’m experimenting with that by not reacting when I see something or hear something that would offend me under normal circumstances. (If you know me in person you might imagine how colossal a task it is that I’ve set for myself.) I remind myself that right in this moment, that’s what’s needed. And I move on. Honestly, I lack the energy right now, anyway. If my tiredness can can be a contribution toward something useful, that’s not bad at all.
Have we all started having That Conversation? It’s one I used to read about a lot, since as a kid I enjoyed tales about people who were far from home for a variety of nefarious reasons: they’d been wrongly jailed, or an expidition had gone awry, or their parents had sent them to boarding school.
There are endless variations on That Conversation. What’s the first thing you’re going to do when [you’re home / you’re free / you can eat something besides seal meat and hardtack / etc.]?
This is a recent version between friends. Its focus is visiting Trader Joe’s.
So, tell me: what does That Conversation look like for you?
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