Call Me Looney
I find myself waking up in the middle of the night and going to the bathroom to wash my hands. Then washing them. There has been no activity other than sleep since the last hand washing. Perhaps this is a sign of the new world order. A new world order. Out on a walk yesterday – the residential streets filled with walkers and bikers, a somewhat sci-fi imagery – I called my son Cameron in Florida. He was at that moment exiting a supermarket (Publix) after purchasing essentials for his family, a wife and four children. He needed to tell me that the supermarket now had directional arrows in the aisles, indicating which direction you must travel in this aisle, then the opposite direction in the next aisle. And no cheating, this is for your own good, our research indicates most people are not capable of doing the social distancing thing while buying groceries, it’s just too DNA-memorized to turn around and get something else you just thought about, you forgot it and were stimulated by what you’d dropped into the cart, and there could be bumping into someone who’d come up behind you – which our research indicates is happening all sorts of times – so the supermarket created and instituted a new policy which is walk this way in this aisle and that way in the next.
And I had a vision, after the fact of the phone call and the walk, that in the new world order stores will be installing electric eyes in the ceilings above every aisle, to keep an eye on the directional flow, and when one of these eyes beholds a shopper disregarding the mandated direction, well, also in the ceilings would have been installed something on the lines of a Taser, and it won’t be Buzz Lightyear sending a jolt of both reminder and enforcement to get back with the program, fool, and come to think of it, I’m pretty sure it was at a University in Florida where the somewhat famous “Don’t taze me, Bro” bit of Americana took place. I don’t know, that interests me, but the point is stores not only in the Sunshine State but around the country (and for all I know perhaps other countries as well) are ordering their customers to follow a one-way-aisle policy (the Prince in “Romeo and Juliet” here might warn, “On pain of taze.”) and meanwhile I am waking in the still of the night and automatically washing my hands and the streets are clogged with people out getting air and sun while keeping their now-never-forgot-virally-determined distance, and my son Cameron and I got to talking about how it feels real possible that when, assuming it ain’t an if, the virus finally goes away, or maybe we’ve learned how to keep it from scaring us in the first place, well it is just possible that people all over the planet may do one thing or another, this or that, just a little differently than they have their previous living days, and someone might describe that as a new world order.
What do you think? Who doesn’t root for a happy ending? Who isn’t wishing for the proverbial silver lining?
Some might suppose we will come out of this as a kinder race, kindness floating higher in the hierarchy of human interaction moving forward. Here, there, and everywhere. My wife, so genetically inclined, likely will think that. Barbara Streisand, who’s people need people, might think that. Personally, I lean more toward “Nah.” Be nice, be a dream come true for me, a world where kindness is the primary activity and energy of and on the planet. Involving every member of the species. But I don’t bet on it. Everyone looks out through their own shaded glasses. Everyone, well, most everyone, walks through their day with expectations of how the next minute, the next hour will play out – a same as it ever was. Who will cut me off in traffic? Who will continue going out to party every night when I stay at home. Who brings the word “asshole” to mind.
Stop me please. My friend Gay back in the Clamshell Alliance in 1980 suggested I take strips of duck tape and form a large “BA” on the back of my green army jacket – “Bad Attitude”. Guess I haven’t come a long way Gay. Yes, I still believe in Santa Clause and witches and Goblins on halloween night. I continue to endlessly daydream of a never-ending life in the warm, marine sunshine on the California coast – cause I deserve it. I never end rooting for kindness – even when I don’t always practice it – and I regularly envision myself having a coffee with the Buddha every afternoon. Alway old school here, adrift in the cosmos of possibility there. Cynical and hopeful, on my knees each morning asking for help to be decent, and spending way too much time with the idiots on Twitter.
So, yes, I believe it is in fact likely we will see some degree of a new world order when all this gets said and done. My hands will be virus-free around the clock and usually I’ll walk the right direction in Trader Joe’s. Or the local Fred Meyer. Who knows – maybe we, as a species, will begin to dream collectively. About being a little bit better. A smidge kinder. Actually love the planet. Put our arms around a pine or a beech or maple while out on our walks. Maintain a consciousness throughout the day of the sweetness of just getting another one.
Call me Looney. Here amidst the just maybe of a new world order