In Which I Try Not to Be a Small, Mean Person

Welcome to my random musings about the world, on a weekly-to-occasional basis.

Where we are: Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands. Snorkeling. Sea turtles. ‘Nuff said.

In which I try not to be a small, mean person

I think I had an emotional breakthrough in an airport lounge: maybe it’s just temporary, but my anger seems to be receding. There’s a guy sitting near us, a little older than we are. He’s just trying to grab a nap on a couch, no mask. He coughed, and I flinched, so I got up and went to the bathroom, to put some distance between us and give myself space in which to consider my flinch.

I’m wearing a KF-94 mask. Statistically, there’s very little chance he’s infected and/or contagious.

Why did I flinch? I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror, and scouted around in my head, looking for the familiar, comfortable groove of anger and resentment that sometimes burns there, filling me with righteous indignation.

I thought about his carefully groomed mustache, and the cautious way he placed his feet when he stood up, being careful not to slip on the shiny floor, and sent him the strongest good health vibes I could.

I meant it, too.

For the first time since this pandemic started, I realized—on a visceral level, not just in the pro-forma sentences that I practice in polite company—that I can’t possibly wish anyone ill.

Never mind that it’s not who I am (and it’s not) and it’s not the energy I want to put out into the world—I just don’t want more people to get sick, for incredibly selfish reasons.

I want this stupid pandemic to go away.

Thinking small, mean thoughts (like, asshole—he totally deserves the Covid) does nothing to hasten the end of this misery that we’re all living through.

I know that’s magical thinking, but surely it’s better to go through the world with peace and perhaps a little acceptance in my heart, rather than anger, right?

He’s napping again. Still no mask. I feel for you, my friend. The mask exacerbates my hot flashes like nobody’s business.

Be well.

From my writer’s notebook:

A cousin tipped me off about the recovery of a very special cello that was stolen in LA, in 1976. I had to do a little bit of Googling to access the article (it was originally in the Los Angeles Times), but if you can find it, it’s a really good read. The writer in me desperately wants to know who stole the cello, and why—I find that the why of a whodunnit is often the most compelling piece of the puzzle. But I was also struck by the language used in the article to describe the instrument and the music that has come from it, and I am inspired to work harder to get my main character’s voice just right. She is a curator, and her passion for the art in her care will need to be reflected in the way she talks about her work. Like all other specialized endeavors, art has its own vocabulary. Digging into that language is my task of the moment.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me articles and links about art theft—I read them all, and put them in my ‘future ideas’ file. They’re all interesting. Who knew there was so much art/artifact crime?

Take care,


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