Cloister Commentary, Day 28: “Between Scylla and Charybdis”

One month down–we really started observing different habits on March the 17th.

Checking up on a friend yesterday, I watched a phrase come out of my thumbs, though I can’t remember it perfectly now: “the tug of war between public health and economic prosperity,” or something like that. In straits like ours, one roots for both, but also can’t possibly be blind to the Scylla and Charybdis nature of the bind. When I think about it, my gut churns. Nicole showed me a viral pic of angry Americans in pitchforks-and-flambeaux mode demanding a return to normal doings, in Michigan, I think it was. I’ve also read public figures argue that a few (?) deaths (of seniors, of students) isn’t that high a price to pay for a re-opening. One tries to keep one’s feet on the ground and maintain a stoic visage, but that sh*t is far too real not to feel one’s mask crack.

Sometimes one doesn’t want to get up in the morning to confront the freshest hell. My particular absurd motorvator to rise, especially on a Friday morning, is to check out the freshest musical glory. I chased away quite a bit of anxiety yesterday knowing new records by sui generis hip-hop act Shabazz Palaces, innovative jazz cellist Tomeka Reid (teaming with pianist Alexander Hawkins), (relatively) young god of the saxophone James Brandon Lewis, old god Bob Dylan (another weird, somber single) and Fiona Apple would be waiting for me this morning. I’ve never been a huge fan of the latter, but the advance buzz for Fetch the Bolt Cutters has me cranking it up as I type and wait for Nicole to emerge from Moser’s, and I’m chanting along, at least: “Evil is a relay sport / When the one who’s burned / Turns to pass the torch.”

We finally set up a family Zoom with my parents (in Monett, Missouri) and my brother and his lady (in Dickinson, Texas). Can you play Five Crown remotely? We shall see.

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

Classical music and African-American culture fans, unite to celebrate one of today’s birthday boys!

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