Friday, April 17, 2020


Should I mean to do this, another entry is required.

I've slipped into malaise, or at least a physical disinterest in motion. Although I have headaches almost daily, my mind keeps up hope my legs will give in. I'm cooking more than I have in ten years; breakfast and dinner, as I believe was my goal at the beginning of the year. K— and I talk about combining our resources to fund a weekly menu of dinners to feed her, myself, and my son, B—.

There is lots of talk these days.

K— is invested in her political party, taking part in phone calls with local chapter members, and weekly online meetings with national leadership. As she has observed, I am not a Marxist, but I do support her in the socialist cause. So many in my social circles are hopeful for a new social structure come the ebbing tide of this pandemic. Defining exactly what they want that new structure to look like is difficult. I think, in a word, K— would submit justice. I don't share her penchant for authoritarianism, but we do agree on a leveling of the social classes. I suppose it is not safe to speak openly of these hopes. I suppose class strife and civil unrest is on the horizon regardless of what I say or hope. I watch press briefings from the White House and find myself alarmed at what the US has become. There is no certainty, no shared vision of how the future will unfold. Leadership in this nation has been quick to point fingers at past administrations for as long as I can remember, and save a few the ruling class has always had a vested interest in keeping and accruing personal capital.

I've been skeptical of the American Dream since my youth. I watched parents work and save, and even now my mother and her husband are unable to retire. My father died twenty-six years ago disabled and penniless. As the thirtieth anniversary of his death, and the point in our lives where our ages meet and then, fate willing, mine surpasses his and my body unwinds into my fifties, I am in no better financial position than he.

The federal government has dispersed funds for $1200 stimulus checks to prop the devastated economy. This is nearly $300 more than I live on each month. I am in a situation where I cannot save money without losing public assistance, and so I'm uncertain how to spend my allotment once it reaches my bank account. I long to see the ocean again. I want kitchen appliances that most middle class women enjoy—a Kitchenaid mixer, a good set of knives—that I have never owned. I'd like to replace the electric griddle that I've had since B— was a baby. The pans I have now, all purchased secondhand, are more than sufficient. My dinnerware is twenty-five years old and going strong. It might be good to get a new tea kettle. The one I have now was gifted to me by my first husband the Christmas before we married. It is wholly functional, but is lined with mineral deposits that fall into the sink each time I drain the unused water. B—'s fifteenth birthday is less than two months away. He's grown two inches since the pandemic hit the States. He needs new clothing top to bottom. Then there's the possibility of finally indulging in new bath towels. I can't remember how old mine are, but the edges are fraying. They still do the job of drying the body, so I haven't found justification in the extravagance.

Full disclosure, I pride myself on being able to go without. I think that's the luxury the poor conspicuously consume the best. It's not so bad. Whenever K— frets about possible shortages and loss of resources, I assure her that she can rely on me. I know how to survive.

Tomorrow is the five year anniversary since my fourth husband's stroke.

I know how to survive.

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