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#75 Family Matters - Oh the Places I will Not Go


In These Times, by Dr. Jody Kussin July 23, 2020

It has been a minute (or month) since I last wrote. So much of nothing has happened and my muse got tired of it, got up, and left me. Just another loss in these times. I had become quite fond of her, however. I’m hopeful this is her, word doc bombing me today as she cannot find her way into a photo or zoom call. Welcome back if this is you and if so, please stay a second.


I am feeling lots of feelings – some are mine, and some I take in and share with/from my patients. Loss, for sure. Anxiety. Fear. Ennui anybody? That’s the worse, truly. When it hits, oy! “A feeling of listlessness.” Like living in a black hole or a void of some kind. Luckily for me it is fairly unusual, but I know it has become a constant companion for many among us.


Y’know how we thought ‘we are all in this together’? Turns out, we are not.


At the beginning, I held on to science and data. That is still my go to, but it is increasingly hard to find it and decipher it and figure out where it came from and who funded it. What is clear, is that LA County is currently more dangerous than it was a few months ago. Who knew we should have gone shopping in April if we wanted to take a risk and see the inside of the new Trader Joes? Meantime, we are so desperate for things to seem ‘ok,’ the announcer at tonight’s opener Dodger’s Game said, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE RAISE FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM.” With no one other than cut out dolls in the stands, it was one of the more bizarre visuals to date.


Sometimes, though, we really want things ‘like they were.’ Earlier in the week I decided to throw caution to the winds, take a full day off, take my life into my hands, and meet a friend and her daughter at Descanso Gardens. This seemed like a low risk plan for someone who has not left the house in weeks, and it would meet my social needs as well as ‘change of scenery’ needs. I decided to do it on the same day my husband, who also basically is not leaving the house, decided he’d go into work and pick up mail and sign some documents, etc. Can you predict where this is headed?

I have not driven my car for many weeks. My helpful and lovely husband, however, has.

After I got myself covered in sun-screen and squiggled into JEANS and a hat and a mask and put gloves in my pocket, I realized – no clue where my keys are. None. As the (now minus Dixie) Chicks sing in “Earls Got to Go”, I searched the house high and low. Could not find them. Finally reunited with my ‘spare’ set – and actually, to clarify, there is no such thing as KEYS anymore, they are ‘fobs.’ Well, apparently, fobs run out of juice or batteries or whatever makes them unlock your car, just an fyi. Because neither back up fob would open the car. I called my husband who said, ‘oops, I think I threw your keys into the back of my car.’ He felt horrible and offered to turn right around, but that seemed silly.


So in these times – what to do? What are the options? This is clearly not a life or death dilemma, but, it stumped me for about 20 minutes. Do I get in a car with a friend? A dear friend, but someone who has been out and about in the world, cautiously, yes, but, out and about. Or, do I borrow a neighbor’s car? And if so, how contagious is a car interior if the person last drove it yesterday? Probably not very, right? Or?? What about calling lyft or uber? Hmmmmm. I pondered this and more. By then the jeans felt suffocating and oppressive. Ponder, tug pants, ponder ponder ponder.


I think about all the positive life changes I’ve made of late. I now brush my teeth EVERY time I eat. I even use the water pik each time. I put lotion on my heels and wear sock-ies and my feet have never been happier. I take a shower after each fight I have with my rose bushes, who do not seem happy to have me pulling weeds a few times per day, and, what’s that about anyway? I take my vitamins as well as my prescribed medications and have been more compliant than usual. I walk. A lot. My dog could not be happier.


On the other hand, I also am more neurotic than usual. My worry wand is way high and mostly I use those powers for good, protecting family and friends and loved ones with it and trying to remember to take off the backpack of anxiety and give it a rest.


So, I sit and contemplate – to leave the house, or not to leave the house? That question today is similar in design to what Hamlet wondered with ‘to be or not to be?’


There were many possible things I COULD have done this morning, all dressed up with no where to go. And most likely all were in a ‘minor’ risk category. I had that very talk with myself. All the while, switching jeans to yoga pants and putting away gloves and my wallet (which had also been hard to locate!)


I figure, gardens will be there in another week or month or year – whenever there is an all clear. Same is true for my friends, hopefully, assuming they all stay safe and sound and do not take undue risk.


Deep breaths. Dental hygiene. Soft feet. Weeded front yard. Check. Check. Check.

My mental health? Not bad, all things considered. Me and my imaginary friend the muse had a nice day together.

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