And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
I’m afraid this one might make some people angry. But I figure the majority of us are angry these days anyway, no matter which side of the divide, so I might as well plow ahead and be truthful about what made me laugh this week and feel hope.
Since March, I’ve sat relatively quietly and watched or listened as:
*people without masks stood shoulder to shoulder on the side of a busy road and held a protest against mandated mask-wearing;
*potential shoppers were escorted out of a variety of stores for not wearing masks, even though there was prominent signage saying it was required;
*videos of maskless people shrieking, yelling, wailing, knocking over store displays and people, deliberately coughing in strangers’ faces, including children;
*anti-maskers ranting about loss of civil rights, and the belief that the government is trying to control them;
*people without masks claiming masks are ineffective anyway, even as the CDC, the medical industry, and scientists showed study after study that shows they not only protect people, they can flatten the curve and we can start getting out of this mess;
*Wisconsin’s legislature, which has only met once since March over COVID concerns, only gets off its collective ass and does something when trying to block every proactive move that our governor makes;
*Our president, after having COVID himself, returns to the White House, pants up a flight of stairs, rips off his mask and says, “See? It’s not so bad.” Despite 216,000 plus deaths in the US alone.
This week, in the middle of Wisconsin being the hot spot, making the news, and being the subject of several news articles on how one state could get it so very wrong, simply because of politics, I watched a news break that showed our vice-president holding a rally in my hometown. In hot spot Wisconsin, he didn’t wear a mask, and the participants stood in a crowd, shoulder to shoulder, and they didn’t wear masks either. Afterwards, looking at comments on a post on social media about this visit, someone rhapsodized, “Oh, I wish I’d been there! I love him! He cares about us so much!”
I stopped reading.
Since March, I’ve stayed at home. I’ve given up going to the mall, to flea markets, to Goodwill, to the movie theater, to restaurants, to the gym, and put the kibosh on any travel whatsoever. The launch of my newest book this week was done virtually, not face to face. The infrequent times I have gone out, I wear a mask. I have masks in both of my cars and a spare hanging from my purse strap. One awful time, when I had to run into Target, I realized right as I parked that all my masks were in the wash. Pressing both hands over my mouth and nose, I slunk inside, stood six feet away from a Target worker and asked if they had masks. She ran, fetched me one, and then said, “Thank you for being so conscientious.”
I’m doing this for me, of course. I’m in my third year of recovery from breast cancer, and I would like to continue on with my recovery, thank you very much. But there’s another reason I do it too.
For others. Just in case.
For the life of me, and possibly literally the life of me, I don’t understand the fuss over this. After seeing the Pence rally and reading the “He cares about us so much!” comment, I was pretty much ready to give up on any hope that humanity is still, well, human.
But then I had to run a few errands, which necessitated my leaving home. I made sure I had a mask and I left. The first thing that hit me was simply the brilliance of autumn. Trees that were green just last week are now the most vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. It is just so pretty right now.
And then I saw a sign posted in front of a house. I expected it to be a political sign, but it was purple. So I looked closer as I drove by. On the sign, bold against the purple, a pink heart. And the words BE KIND.
I heaved a sigh of relief.
And then I approached Waukesha’s giant fiberglass cow. On October 26, 2017, I wrote about this cow in my Today’s Moments, when I was doing this every single day. I’ve known this cow since I was sixteen years old. Some facts about her: the cow is made of fiberglass and she stands twelve feet tall and weighs around five-hundred pounds. She cost $3000 when she was originally purchased around 1970. According to an article, her name is Gertrude Basse The Cow. But to me, she’s always been Bessie. Another thing about Bessie is she is dressed up in costume for Halloween, and she is dressed up for Christmas. The rest of the year, she is simply a large brown and white cow.
But on this day, when I saw her, I hit the brakes. I pulled over and stared and then I laughed out loud.
Bessie the giant cow was wearing a purple mask. It was tugged just right over her nose and mouth. Loops over her ears held the mask correctly in place.
Be kind, I thought. Then I added, A twelve-foot tall fiberglass cow in the middle of hot spot Wisconsin understands. Someone understood it for her. Someone took the time to make a mask for this cow, and put it on her, because it’s important. Because it’s essential. And oh so necessary.
There is hope for us all.
Be kind. Moo.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.