Ranting

Living through this, killing time

May 22nd, 2020

Redbud Tree

(published in The Daily Memphian)

I don’t cook. Not really. 

A Keto diet has limitations. For instance, there’s no white or wheat flour allowed, so nothing to sop up all that yellow from all those eggs that are allowed. That won’t do.

I’ve got time so I’ve been reading cookbooks, and today I made drop biscuits with almond flour. Before Covid-19 and 2020, the Year of the Plague, I didn’t know from almond flour. I didn’t know anything about coconut flakes and pork dust either, or air fryers, but last night I made coconut shrimp in the air fryer we just bought. I ground up a bag of pork rinds to make the pork dust to coat the shrimp. I made some tomato aspic, too.

All of that required masking up for a field trip. These days, I look forward to a ride in the car so much I should hang my head out the window like my dogs.

I went to Kroger for the almond flour, right there in the baking aisle among a whole collection of weird stuff. Who knew? Then, I went to Cash Saver for a key ingredient for the aspic – Major Peters Bloody Mary Mix. That’s the only place I know that stocks it. And, sure, it extended the ride in the car.

Seems I’m cooking. I’m drinking gin and tonics and a little red wine while I’m at it. Sugar’s not allowed either, but I choose to believe that what I’m drinking has no sugar. Surviving plague requires some denial. My play list is also helpful.

I don’t make things. Not really.

There’s a small sculpture of a redbud tree on my screened porch fashioned from wire, its blooms made from tiny pieces of epoxy resin painted red – faded red. I can paint that, I thought, and that will require ... a field trip.

Off to Michael’s, head out the window, the second day it was open. Have you ever been to Michael’s? A warehouse of what-not, the raw ingredients of arts and crafts and whimsy. If one needs, say, an unpainted rabbit in a three-piece suit, they’re right over there – in four sizes. I selected a small bottle of red paint, from a universe of red variations, and a tiny brush, from a forest of tiny brushes.

Seems I can make a redbud tree bloom. By my rough count, I think I painted 250,000 of those tiny tips. Again, the play list comes in handy, and singing along is recommended.

I don’t apologize. Not really.

I’m not good at it, and while I recognize the importance of it, I often fail to recognize that I need to be doing it. This morning, I apologized to my wife for biting her head off about absolutely nothing last night. Isolation and misunderstanding and too much information based on too little facts causes stress on all of us, and that’s hardest on those closest to us.

Seems saying I’m sorry now and then might just keep us from being really sorry about what’s left when this is over.

I don’t miss people. Not really.

I miss individuals – friends and family – those who are still here but I can’t see because of Covid-19, and those who aren’t here, and I won’t see again. But those aren’t the people I’m talking about. I didn’t realize how much I miss you. All of you.

Seems I miss talking to you in lines for hot dogs and beer and coffee, and the charming way you hold up lines with complicated orders for ridiculous variations of all of those things. That cute little trait you have of not using your turn signal. How you just can’t park between the lines, bless your heart, or use the crosswalk, or stay in your lane.

I miss you desperately.

You give life to restaurants, buzz to bars, and business to business. You give streets and sidewalks, parks and playgrounds, and the next table over and three seats down personality. You give place to this place.

Much as I miss you, Memphis, I don’t want to see you up close for a while yet. And I’m going to keep finding ways to spend time without most of you so that I can see a lot more of you later. 

Covid-19 isn’t through with us yet, but what kind of city we are when it is will depend on how careful we are in the next few months. For everybody’s sake, ease back into the city, don’t charge.

I’m a Memphian, and this isn’t over. Not really.

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