• Jody Kussin

In These Times #34

The world is getting smaller and smaller, literally, from the pandemic perspective, and literally, from the sharing of space to which we are adjusting. Some of us are adjusting better than others. Some are crawling back into the womb, or mommy and papi’s bed, or forming intense affection to our screens, experiencing separation anxiety when, well, we are apart. Others are finding little crawl spaces heretofore forgotten (the attic, garage, back of the minivan, side yard) in which to seek privacy and solace.

My dog Ginger has taken over the front yard, where her dance card of play dates is full up and her private time is replete with lots of barking at any passersby. In our past, that was a few folks per day. In these times, it’s a constant parade, so it keeps her very busy.

Some of us are developing important skills sure to help us in our next phases of life. Sure, it’s a major loss for me to NOT be at any hotel conferences where I can collect free pens, but, on the other hand, I’m developing other abilities. For instance, with the help of my nephew Michael, I can make almost anything a background on my zoom page, something to add to my resume for sure.

Additionally, my ability to make music and song ‘playlists’ is becoming impressive.

In fact, what is YOUR visual background for these times, and what is your musical soundtrack? Are you re-connecting with comfort photos and sounds, or are you taking time to explore and discover new things? (Japanese anime for anyone over 35?) I’m in the ‘not quite nostalgia but almost’ state. I’m not participating in the high school yearbook challenge, the first photo of spouse and self-contest, or the pet or toddler “see one post one.” I enjoy voyeuristically observing others, but, thus far, I’m not a participant. That could change in a moment, however, based on levels of boredom…we shall see. In terms of music, I am happy happy happy. I am reclaiming this first love and it fills up the well quite nicely. Somedays I choose a theme. Today’s is “my brother David.” My brother David passed away in Fall, 2018, way too young (in his 50s) and way too quickly (cardiac arrest.) He loved music of all kind. I took him to his first concert (Fleetwood Mac at the Great Western Forum) and we sat in the top row, where we could actually touch the ceiling. In return, he spent decades playing guitar and singing with me and for me and with all his pals and for them all as well. He influenced his kids and my kids with his tastes. In his honor it’s a day of Grateful Dead (early and late.) It’s not a hard playlist to develop, and the sounds really do ‘ripple.’

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty If your cup is full may it be again Let it be known there is a fountain That was not made by the hands of men


Tomorrow I may adopt the theme of “Spring.” Or else “RAIN”, depending on what happens. I don’t like to commit until the morning of the day. I could start with “Rain Drops Keep Falling on Your Head” and add in “Singin in the Rain” and finish with “Here Comes the Sun.”

I know we are all wondering about ‘when will this be over’ and ‘when will be get back to being normal.’ Given we have no clear cut answer to either, I recommend choosing a backdrop (Hawaii, perhaps?) and making a playlist (DANCE MUSIC) and attempt to keep your well as full up as possible.

Because, it is true:

No more free hotel pens.

No more kids’ concerts and musical theater.

No more club soccer or park soccer or school soccer.

And it is also true:

No more frenetic drives to get into the carpool line. No more ‘did you leave your backpack at school again?!’ No more ‘wait until your dad/mom gets home!’ No more ‘I will pick you up late at karate because I have to get your sister at her piano lessons and your brother at the Model United Nations first.’ No more hour commute from home to work on a good day. No more competing about which is worse, the 405 or the 101. No more ‘we just don’t have time for bike riding – or roller blading – or picking up trash in the yard.’

In honor of David – an oldie but goodie from Fleetwood Mac:

If you wake up and don't want to smile If it takes just a little while Open your eyes and look at the day You'll see things in a different way

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow Don't stop, it'll soon be here It'll be, better than before Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone

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