First, some official business. This is Raisin.
He’s a good guy. He's living the ideal life. He sleeps about 20 hours per day, and he’s manic about 5 hours per day. That leaves about one hour of overlap, during which he’s emotionally available and amenable to reason.
According to the CDC, he’s supposed to make me live longer. So far he’s just making me sleep deprived and full of puncture wounds.
But I’m grateful to his big brother, Moses, who’s absorbing much of Raisin’s well-intentioned energy.
The two really do seem happier together than they would've been alone.
Okay, enough about dogs. On to a less rational species.
I wrote a very long letter to you this week. I added to it for days. I was about to send it.
Then, as happens with all drafts in which you ever feel somewhat confident, it disappeared into the ether. It was just totally gone.
So, this is an extremely abridged version ...
You don’t need me telling you how apocalyptic things are all the time, anyway. I hope you’re on vacation celebrating the labor holiday—off to some beach or wedding or outlet mall. Or all of the above. Outlet malls are the only malls left. They will survive and dot Earth's barren landscape long after our species is extinct.
Last Thursday, the Supreme Court decreed that CDC must end its moratorium on evictions. Formal processes and procedures are necessary in order to maintain democracy, The Court said. And humans having homes may be seen, by some, as a matter of importance, The Court acknowledged.
However, as an impartial arbiter of judicial matters, The Court decreed, we simply wish to see that all is in keeping with appropriate decorum.
Then, moments later, the most large state of Texas burst in and proposed vigilante mob justice as a manner of arbitrating women's reproductive health. More specifically, anyone who hears the word “abortion” (and this may or may not include fragments of the term, like “ab” or "or" or “shin”) can report it to the state and receive $10,000 in cash and/or oil.
In keeping with the bizarreness of the moment, I continue hearing and reading phrases like “as we emerge from the pandemic” or “back during COVID.”
Some 1,200+ Americans are dying every day. 100,000+ are hospitalized. These levels are the highest since winter. This is the pandemic. We're not emerging from it. We're in it.
I know these numbers can start to lose meaning as we get used to them. We put a lot of emphasis on relative changes, and not enough on absolutes. Even though each number is a real, human life. Problems don't just go away because we're tired of them. I wish they did. There would be no more Wheel of Fortune.
In all seriousness, no one living with diabetes gets to stop taking insulin because of diabetes fatigue.
I deeply appreciate the need to travel for the holiday weekend. It keeps your brain pliable and gets you out of the ruts that pandemic life carves into your frontal cortex. We need to see one another, and to have new experiences. Even if it's not easy. Gas prices are at recent-historic highs. We're out of cars. We're also out of bikes. The subways are flooded, because of climate change, which is because of burning gas, which we use to operate cars that we can't buy because of pandemics. We have no idea how to make or maintain or operate trains. Air travel is chaos, and flights are being cancelled at thrice the usual rates. Demand is soaring, and supply is plummeting. Everyone wants to fly, but no one wants to be a flight attendant—suddenly asked to serve as mask police, dispensing not simply soda but justice, ready at any given moment to incapacitate a person with duct tape. (Some people do want this, but it shouldn't be the reason for taking the job.)
Unlike humans, dogs can't fly unless they're vaccinated (against the virus that causes rabies). And the small, and sleepy dog Raisin is vocally pro-vaccine, but he's still too young to get vaccinated. So, he's stuck here.
Dogs also can't fly if they're too large. This is a totally nonsensical pandemic rule that does nothing to prevent transmission of COVID. (If anything, having a huge dog in every other seat would help space people out, minimizing the risk of viral transmission. And cheering people up.) In any case, I now have one of each type of prohibited dog. Too little, and too large.
So ... walking it is. This weekend, we'll be walking.
(Actually Raisin gets carried in a big canvas bag, and he sticks his head out, and people see him and stop walking and clutch their chests. They act like they can't breathe. I stare ahead and keep walking, because I don't want to mess with the legal issues if they're actually dying.)
But, at the end of the day, it's like the old saying: If you can't go to the lake, bring the lake to you. Possibly the only upside of the tragic tropical storm this week is that it created a new pond, about the size of an Olympic swimming pool, in the middle of Prospect Park. It's manifestly weird. Moses has deeply enjoyed swimming in it with the other dogs, who are all just thrilled to discover it. It's like they realize the absurdity of the situation. There's not supposed to be a lake here. This is very wrong. We were wolves. We trusted you to domesticate us. And this is the best you could do? You ruined the planet. We should eat you.
For now, they swim to keep from crying.
See you next week. Take care.