Such dreams. Every morning when I open my eyes I have to come back to myself, to whisper that these apocalyptic visions aren't real. The nightmares, for me, are usually about being broken in body, bloodied and wracked with pain, the physical structure of me, not the spiritual, because despite the pain I am doggedly trying to get somewhere, always trying to reach some mysterious grail, the what and the where of it not so clear.
I rise and dress myself, or not, then make coffee and go straight to my laptop, ready to make edits to the manuscript based on comments sent on a tape to my Dropbox the night before. We're going chapter by chapter now, my subject and I, and today I will listen to the tape for chapter 6. I always brace myself for what I will hear, yet so far, the changes have been minimal, with doses of appreciation mixed in. I think she's making peace with revealing herself. Yesterday, on tape, she said, "These chapters are so well done. I read them and cry." It was everything. Still, I know from the "overall reactions" tapes that later chapters, the ones covering her more recent past, might be more complicated. We shall see.
I want to write about the people who have died. I read in an article in The Guardian that 1 of every 200,000 black people in this country has already died. I know that as soon as the president discovered that the new corona virus takes the poor and marginalized in greatest numbers, the people who fill the ranks of essential workers, the ones who can't afford to shelter at home at watch their paychecks hit their accounts every two weeks, he ceased to care. But 95,000 dead Americans should give us pause, no matter who's doing most of the dying. Our nation accounts for one third of the 333,000 counted dead in the world. How do you make sense of such numbers? I remember hearing someone say that when it comes to mass death, the bigger the number the less real it is.
In New York, the curve has been effectively flattened, though some 23,000 people died before that happened, and hundreds still die every day. Studies show that literally all the cases in New York can be traced to people arriving on planes from Europe in January and February, when some three million visitors from that continent flowed through our airports. The idiot president keeps calling it the Chinese virus. He shut down flights from China but didn't have the brain cells to realize that the invisible plague was already out in the world, and he should have sounded the warning back in December, when scientists tried to tell him what was coming.
My niece and her husband, who got married in Jamaica at the end of December, had their grand beautiful wedding just in time. My son and his fiancee have stopped looking at wedding venues; they've begun to think of something simpler. Three couples of their friends, whose wedding dates were set for this year, have postponed their ceremonies.
Meanwhile, I'm working by day and streaming by night, as I don't have much concentration for reading. I began watching Normal People on Hulu yesterday, a story of first love set in Ireland. I am enchanted, also haunted, by the lovers.