Cloister Commentary, Day 116: Just Being Still

A kind of quiet day in Mask Ordinance USA.

Riding back up to Columbia, we listened to the audiobook of Marjorie Spruill’s Divided We Stand. You’ve heard me mention it while enthusing about the Hulu series Mrs. America, for which it served as somewhat of a guidebook for the series’ writers. In it, Spruill makes a great case for the seeds of today’s paralyzing, aggravating, and flat-out miserable division having been planted by the ’70s struggle over the Equal Rights Amendment. While the book is enlightening, it does not serve to lift much pre-existing dread with which one might be grappling.

In other highlights, when we got home, I lay next to Nicole on our bed in the dark while she napped, just being still, conscious, and calm. It was very nice. Also, there was a cat on my chest.

Later, I had a peach popsicle and again fell asleep exactly for the key moment of Episode 8 of The Great. As always, I awakened right after the key moment.

I did not listen to any music, but I heard much of the following in my head.

Streaming for Strivers:

Thank you for the nudge, Michael Corcoran. It’d been awhile since I’d been down to Marlin, Texas.

Cloister Commentary, Day 12: “Zoom Bomb” (March 31, 2020)

Well, March is gone. Take a deep breath, friends.

Yesterday, I bombed my first Zoom class. Must have been something in the settings, but everyone received the invite, only one showed up as intended, I had to re-invite the rest, then only three more showed up after that, then I had to create a new session for the remainder, and only one made it to that (I only have six–it should have been a breeze). Plus, though I’d prepared them fully, my Bluetooth headphones wouldn’t stay connected (?), it was colder than a welldigger’s ass in the mancave, the cat kept interrupting, and…well, these kids aren’t exactly balls of fire at 8 am IN PERSON, but they were mos def cazsh on screen. At least I tried everything I could think of! Back to the drawring board…

I don’t take many naps, but–it must have been the stress–I went down like a controlled detonation in the afternoon and woke up feeling drugged. It took me two hours, a disc of a Springsteen bootleg (“Roxy Night 1978”), Nicole’s incredible red beans and rice with tasso ham, some ice tea, the news, and a neighborhood walk for me to fully return to the land of the living. While asleep, I dreamed (like I frequently do) of very mundane, everyday labyrinths. Does that make sense?

I am wondering what my Facebook friends are watching during their own sheltering in place. First episode of OZARK, Season 3 was better than I expected; I go back and forth with HIGH FIDELITY, mainly because of (plus) the lovably downbeat and charming performance of ZoĆ« Kravitz and (minus) her character’s/the show’s weird idea of desirable men (Clyde’s OK but in reality would a woman like her give him a sustained glance?). The show also gets points from me for shining some brief but well-deserved light on Jerry “Swamp Dogg” Williams.

I was also delighted to be recognized as a good influence on a former Hickman student (early 1990s) who is now an outstanding school principal. Over 10 years later, I served as his subordinate in the short-lived Kewpie Tardy Office, where we laughed a lot but frequently bitterly.

Streaming for Shut-Ins: here is a good way to get to know (if you don’t) the music and mind of the sorely missed Gil Scott-Heron.