At the Height of the Pandemic


A man called my wife a cunt today. It was at the height of the pandemic. She was jogging in the park when she pulled down her mask to take a breather. She wasn’t the only one to pull down her mask today, but she guesses she was oldest. Her gray hair, she guesses, made her an easy target. I said, “He fears the asymptomatic carrier.” She said, “He can’t bear the thought of a woman rule breaker.” I said, “If I could I would have a word with him,” and she said, “Why can’t you listen to what happened without wanting to punch someone?” “I’m not punching anyone,” I said. It was at the heart of the pandemic.


When a man living in and out of a box runs to catch a bus, at the very sight of him the bus driver not only accelerates but is seen to smile. The man running with his box in his hands yells over the traffic, “May your house burn down and all your children in it!”


A sacred pedestrian lies on a hospital bed, a bearded obstetrician reaching between her legs asks her to push. In place of a broken stirrup, a nursing student leans her shoulder into the flat of the foot of the birthing woman. This student’s perspective one place to start, when you look not out, but down a leg to a crowning child.


A child heard a man talking on his phone about fuck-you money. She didn’t know what kind of money this was or what you spent it on, only that this man spoke more and more angrily into his phone while walking his dog in his pajamas at noon.


Morning routine. I drank two cups of coffee. Ingrid and I took our morning walk to greet the angry ocean. The bus was on time. We woke up early but didn’t immediately get out of bed. It looked like rain out our window, or it was the fog spreading grayness. I felt sleepy, yet I was energized by the prospect of seeing my friends. Whenever my wife tells me to hurry up in the bathroom, I remind her of her own slowness. Because my commute to work is long, I make sure to leave on time.


Father Finley talks about grace as openness to the possibility that you could suddenly fall in love with everyone in the world. I used to think about this on crowded buses. I think about it now with empty buses passing.