June 26, 2020

A collision, a reminder

Two weeks ago, while I was waiting at a red light, another driver decided to ignore everyone else stopped around her and drive right into the back of my car. Her speed was significant enough that my car was propelled a few meters forward and right into the trailer hitch of the car in front of me.

The bad news is that we had almost $10,000 of damage to the car, all just weeks before our baby was to arrive. (Thankfully, I was alone in the car so no harm came to Mom or baby.) The subsequent repairs and paperwork all took away time that we had consecrated for baby prep, so things feel a little more rushed now than they had before.

The good news is that our insurance company is excellent, and acknowledging that it was entirely the fault of the driver who decided not to stop, we won’t have to bear any unforeseen financial costs. The better news is that, besides some minor whiplash which is mostly an annoyance more than anything serious, I was unhurt and emerged from the collision safely.

The collision was another reminder—in a year full of reminders—that not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes, the world leads you down a path that departs from what you had envisioned; unforeseen changes of plans force you to look at things with a different perspective, make decisions you hadn’t thought of making before, and express gratitude for small graces that are often forgotten.

At the start of 2020, we had plans that included travel, visiting family, shopping for baby supplies, and hosting friends for dinner parties. None of these plans have come to fruition, at least not how we had expected them to. The year has been an exercise in learning to adapt, to roll with the proverbial punches, and to continously reassess what is important.

I’ve come to realize that I perhaps lean too heavily on my propensity to plan—that I feel most comfortable when I am able to control the eventualities on the horizon. This year has reminded me that I need to work on letting go. There is no way to plan for a collision—literal or metaphorical—so the best thing I can do to prepare is to remind myself that, in the end, all I can do is be present in the here and now and relish it for all that it is.

Two poems

One Art
Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


Rita Dove

Photo of Rita Dove’s poem in Poetry magazine

Although many are becoming comfortable spurting out phrases like systemic racism,’ the solutions proposed remain mired in the system that is being critiqued.The game is fixed against Black people in America.The damage that white onlookers inflict.Police reforms we should always oppose. —”We make racism, the American virus and the underlying condition of black woe.This time is different. Here’s why.The time for slow and steady action to tackle anti-Black racism is over. Perhaps that’s the point of systemic racism: to exhaust, distract, derail and dehumanize people who are inherently worthy of living with the same peace and prosperity as their white counterparts.” — How apples go bad.Confessions of a former bastard cop.POC communities can not stay silent about anti-Black violence. A nightmare is essentially a horror story of danger, but it is not wholly a horror story.A map of almost 3,000 cities with Black Lives Matter protests around the world.Policy options for defunding the police and creating alternative services of safety and support A thin safety net, an expansive security state: This is the American way.Juneteenth exists as a counterpoint to the Fourth of July.My body is a Confederate monument.

And some more:

Going to restaurants is more than just a meal.What happens to all the un-hugged hugs?Swimming cultivates imagination.I never really understood the sheer scope of QAnon until I read this.Sarah Cooper’s impressions of Trump are like a live-action editorial cartoon.Hugs to look forward to.How to make a bodega sandwich.Boring postcards from Portugal.

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