Cloister Commentary, Day 165: Bakin’ That COVID Lasagna

Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to be a challenge to comment on, as–at present–I am not working on those days of the week. Yesterday, I made a futile trip out to the USPS Pickup location, caught up on some new music, read a bit from three different books, helped my mom with a equipment return issue (AT&T does not make that easy if you live in a small town), talked to my cousin Jim on the phone, ate delicious leftovers for two meals, talked to Nicole about her day at Battle, had a kitten attached to my lap for several hours, and watched a fairly exciting 80-78 NBA playoff 7th game–these days you have to really work at a score that low.

However, the most interesting thing happened at 3:15 this morning, which I’m going to count as yesterday because it feels like it. At that hour, the same kitten mentioned above sat in the hallway repeatedly “asking a question”: meowing with an upward inflection. Junior also has a very distinct whine to his meow that grates, so I was forced to get up and see what the issue was. Turns out that, since I’d WD-40’d the door to the basement stairs, it was slowly easing shut on its own, so when I swung it back open, Junior disappeared down the stairs like he was shot out of a cannon. I guess he really was making an inquiry.

But–the point is, Phil?–when I tried to go back to sleep, I encountered what I call COVID lasagna: layers of psychological stress that press down with a combined force that denies the ease required for shut-eye. I’m the layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of the pan, underneath dread about November 3rd, worry about my family and friends and us as we continue to wrestle with grief, horror at what atrocities have become commonplace, even accepted, more worry about the health, safety and success of teachers, students, parents, families (other than my own), and those protesters indefatigably striving in this truly historical moment for social justice.

Just enumerating the topics on my mind took twenty minutes–at the end of which Junior had arrived back upstairs, hopped up on the bed, and positioned himself between my legs in such a way that, in order to get comfortable, I would have to have disturbed the young prince…which would only have added another lasagna layer.

Resorting to a technique that should have been my first resort (I always forget), I engaged in some deep breathing and fell back asleep in the midst, for about 15 minutes before the alarm dawned.

Maybe that isn’t much more interesting than the rest, but I suspect I am not alone at the bottom of the pan.

Streaming for Survivors:

Morning meditation music.

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