Monday, June 8, 2020

The Absurdity of It All

I'm really leaning into the absurdity of everything, Friends!

Friends, I'll tell you what.  Once I get past the immediately rotten things that have been about 2020, like the uncertainty and anxiety and anger and depression, I can't help but notice that there's a good bit of absurdity.  

Take wearing masks everywhere and maintaining six feet of social distance.  That's absurd.  Not in an "I don't wanna follow the rules" kind of way, but in just a practical way.  We all look pretty silly in the masks.  Most people don't wear them right.  And then, I think we're all fairly awkward anyway, but add the directive to keep 6 feet away from each other, and it's even more comically absurd.  It's like when you're passing someone (in normal circumstances) in an aisle or another place where there isn't really a lot of room.  And you're heading in opposite directions, and you both know you need to get out of each other's ways, so one of you cut to your left and they cut to their right, and you're still heading for a head-on collision.  So you try again.  They cut to their left and you cut to your right, and... same collision, just on the opposite side of the aisle.  

It's at this point, I usually say, in my Enhanced Indoor Voice, set to Full-on Cheerful: "Wanna dance!  hahahahahaha!" and we laugh and laugh and get past each other.  

Now it's like that with the distancing.  And also with trying to pass by someone from whom you're also trying to distance.  But with the masks on, you don't see the awkward smiles or grimaces, so it's hard to tell if it's absurdity or aggression or something else. 

I still default to absurd.  

Then there's all the things that we've endured this year.  I can't even think with enough clarity to go back and list them all, besides the Pandemic and ensuing joblessness and being homebound and in sparkling isolation.  People have invented Bingo Cards of Misery for 2020.  Asteroids have had near-misses with Earth.  We were supposed to get murder hornets here at some point.  Not that I'm complaining.  I'm really pleased that an asteroid didn't hit the earth, and I'm not disappointed at the lack of murder hornet swarms.  But it has been kind of cathartic to cream up other calamities for 2020.  

It's gallows humor.  A lot of the people I used to know over at the airport employed gallows humor.  I was always way better at the gallows humor than I was at being a pilot.  It was a way to kind of speak in a wry way the most ridiculously unlikely thing that could happen to you in the sky (or was it so unlikely?) and then you'd say it out loud and it would sound just as absolutely absurd as it really was.  And then you'd move on and pre-flight and off you'd go.  

We can either laugh or cry in this life, especially in the Calamitous Year of 2020.  And I definitely do cry a lot.  But lord, if I see something even a little bit absurd that I can laugh at right now, Friends, I'm going to grab it and run with it for a little while.  Laughter gives the spirit a little lift, even if it's only temporary.  We need all of it that we can.  We're all dealing with some emotions.  I bet a lot of us cut our own bangs during quarantine.  That's how you know somebody's going through some stuff.  Bangs.  Actual bangs or metaphorical ones (which is pretty absurd, too).  

So I'm not going to sigh and pat you on the head and say that it's all going to pass and this will all be just a story we'll tell someday.  Who knows when that day will be, and until we get to that day, here we are, dealing with our cosmic bangs in all their too-short, jaggedy, self-cuttedness.  We have some big, unpleasant emotions that maybe need wallowing in before we can get to the point where we can say "this too shall pass."  It could be a while before we get there.  

But instead of getting too entrenched in wallowing, I'd like to keep at least part of one eye open for things that are just too absurd to ignore and not take a moment and laugh at them.  Point them out and share them with my friends. Just because we laugh in a moment doesn't mean we're stuffing the big, bad, and ugly stuff we're dealing with into a place where we can forget.  But in a laugh, there bubbles hope and light.  

And we could all use a little more hope and light these days, even still.  Thank the heavens for the Absurd in dark times!

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