One of the things that is distressing these days, and there are a few to chose from, is the snap judgments of strangers. We all have strong and instantaneous opinions about what is smart and what is reckless and what is motivating people we don’t know to do things we don’t understand. Oh, the humanity!!

I don’t expect to persuade anyone with this story, so feel free to relax and just come along on a tiny journey to where you are.

Christmas was lovely and also a bummer. A small clutch of online family here and there, radio silence from my dad for no particular reason, and no tree in my house. Well, there are technically two trees, but they were cast offs from Clearance Clarence and only intended to make the cat feel superior.

the boss of Christmas

The day after Christmas was vaguely awful. The 26th is often a letdown of sorts, when the winter looms larger and January is just sitting there smirking in its own cold enormity. These are the times it’s helpful not to be an introspective sort, to bake a few more cookies and concentrate on the pleasures of whatever.

Instead, I turned on the news. The numbers of air travelers were horrifying. HOW COULD THEY? I thought, as so many others who have hunkered and worried their way through month after month of this mess. One of my daughters reported that she was in an IHOP in a city and I shuddered and stayed quiet.

To be fair, however, I have not been a model citizen. I went to Mardi Gras, after all. Wildly irresponsible, even if we didn’t know exactly how irresponsible it was at the time. I went because it felt momentous and important, as if I might never get another opportunity to go, and on top of that, the ticket was paid for. I may have been a vector, it’s impossible to say. I remember having one day when I felt ill and not at all myself, a problem that is as easily blamed on an excess of fried foods or international viruses.

Still. I wouldn’t get on a plane to visit family now. Probably. Maybe. Probably not.

It would be different if I were twenty-two and hadn’t seen my parents for a year and had no local family, or if all my favorite relatives were piling in together anyway and it felt momentous and important and the ticket was already paid for.

It might be different if I was in such fragile emotional condition that the mention of Alex Chilton’s birthday coming up made me cry in an impossible nostalgia tsunami, and I just could not stop myself from catching a bus to a Big Star Rodeo. This did not happen, only because it cannot happen due to the lack of any actual Big Star Rodeo.

Twice in the past month we’ve been on the phone with depressed friends or relations and just said, “Come over.” It didn’t matter what other reasonable precautions were in play, not really. The humanity of reaching out and pulling together felt momentous and important and paid for.

It’s not up to me to scowl at your IHOP visits or frantically insist you are trying to destroy elderly lives by bellying up to an elderly bar with your elderly neighbors.

Humans gotta human, every damn time.


Tired of the usual fun? Have a cup of tea and buy my book! Or subscribe to my piebald newsletter. You can read it with a mask on or mask off, but you cannot read it with a mask on your eyes.

Feed my cat, LLC

She is dependent on prescription cat food, because of course she is. Do I buy her toys I cannot afford? Of course I do!!


2 Replies to “A Tiny Peace Offering”

  1. “Humans gotta human, every damn time.”

    A line worthy of Vonnegut.

    I’m waiting for the new books and until then continue to drown myself in tea. One of the downsides of working mostly within a biscuit throw of the kettle.

    Best wishes for 2021


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