It is that brief interval of time at 4:37 AM, between laconically tossing a peanut butter pretzel in my mouth and the first satisfying, ultimately ephemeral crunch, the mysteries of the world unfold themselves to me. Sadly (for purposes of my own enlightenment), this reflectory period lasts but an instant before I nosh the pretzel into the verisimilitude of mastication and metaphor.
I wrote yesterday about my partner, my wife, an extrovert in exile during this period of revelatory self-distancing. It is with great patience, a master’s degree in early childhood development and developmental risks, two years of teaching early childhood special ed, five years of teaching elementary ed, and two years of being at home raising the munchkin, that Anna finally reached the point of taking a razor blade to her bumper and the sticker that said “My child is an positive citizen.” I cannot say that I blame her.
Children, on the whole, are enigmas. Take for example, my firstborn. Although I graduated from college, law school, and a post-doctorate program with pomp and circumstance, this little imp is smarter, by measure, then I ever was. If and when he discovers nuclear fission, I pray that he uses it for good and not to get back at the three-year-old girl who dared to challenge his story that he discovered gold in North Carolina.
Our mayor has issued a conditional lockdown order, that those who could work from home must work from home. Eager to initiate my obedient, pajama-clad workdays, I was soon informed by the Man that, much to my disappointment, I was not “dispensable” to the team. Given my history with law firm politics, the fact that I am indispensable should give me the ultimate reassurance. Nevertheless, I found myself seeking out the hypochondriacal assistant who works at the other end of the office, in order that I might expectorate (with some gusto and propinquity to her) the post-nasal drip that has developed from all of this damn oak pollen. Sadly, she had heeded the order, and was working from home. My throat is tickly, and my spirit is spurred to action—which action, I might add, inevitably culminates (in my mind) victoriously, whilst I am in my pajamas.
Never one to be considered in apparatchik, I find myself in an uncomfortable situation. On the one hand, I want to continue at work until the City shuts the power off (a threat that the Jacksonville Mayor actually voiced). Yet, on the other hand, which hand I have carefully and diligently weighed, I want a good, long, peaceful nap. I am not sure whether I am better served to try to sleep under the hollow in my desk at work, or in the loft at home. Something, well, two things (children) really, tell me that the hollow was good enough for Mr. Toad and is good enough for me.
I hope everyone here in America and across the pond is doing well and are happy and healthy, albeit malcontent and ever so slightly disgruntled. (For my Yorkshire readers, I am not quite sure of the kind antonym for “well chuffed,” but I imagine that is where you are right now.)
Good luck, Godspeed, and if you need lessons on social distancing, I am offering a master class tomorrow evening with a concentration on using biting sarcasm to establish a safe personal distance between you and your antagonist. Attendance, as you may imagine, is severely limited.