I pulled on my running pants and laced my shoes tight. I removed my wedding rings, the only jewelry I wear, and left them on the counter. This is how I get ready to run in the morning, except I wasn’t going running. I was headed to the office. I grabbed my I.D., leaving all credit cards behind, and picked-up my mace.

I was ready, just in case.

Today is my birthday. Four years ago, I found myself eating at a Chinese buffet and drinking shitty wine, with someone I didn’t want to be with, on a work trip in the middle of nowhere, which was exactly where I didn’t want to be. That was a crappy birthday, but I think this counts as the most surreal one.

Humans tend only to remember the really good times, and the really bad times, and not much in between. When I try and think back to the last great birthday I’ve celebrated, the only ones that surface are the ones I most want to forget. I have to look at the photo of myself sitting on a pony in a Sunday dress, wearing stockings and white patent shoes, as a reminder they used to be fun. That was a long time ago. 

When I woke up the day I turned 40, I was in complete shock I had made it this far. The surprise and wonder quickly evaporated, leaving the stickiness of weltschmertz behind. What had I been doing this whole time, peddling my little legs as fast as they could go, and not getting anywhere like a hamster on a wheel? 

 I need to either up my game plan for birthdays, or cut my expectations by two-thirds. 

Usually I spend birthdays reflecting on my previous year, a little bit like New Year’s Day, just the 2.0 version for this Gemini. This year I haven’t thought so much about my own journey around the sun, but more about the mothership’s, who carries all 7.8 billion of us like a cosmic sherpa. The thought leaves me overwhelmed and fraught. This morning, I woke to helicopters and police sirens in the dark, then stepped out to witness a city, shattered. I will experience a mandated curfew this evening for the first time in my life.

How did we end up here? (Rhetorical…)

If I think about it too long, it makes my head hurt, and yanks at my heart.

I am grateful my family and friends are alive and well today, and every day this holds true. I’m grateful for Russ. He makes my life a lot better, and more fun, and sweeter with cake. For this birthday, that’s enough.

Below are photos taken today, June 1, 2020, in Washington DC.





**These last two photos show this man’s shelter, and what’s left of it now: Nothing.

7 thoughts on “6.1.20

  1. I was touched by the homeless camp gone. There are better ways to deal with the protests/ers than that way. Houston has done a great job! Art Arcevado joined the protesters as they march from Emancipation Park to City Hall and engaged with the protesters…no damage. LA through Catholic Charities set up a homeless camp in a parking lot with social distancing in mind..supplied hand sanitizer and patrols so those who worked at night would come back to their things in the morning. Why are we not hearing more about these approaches.


    1. Lynn, it’s crazy. It feels like anarchy. I don’t know what to say. I’m stunned. And I worry about my safety. That is what we are reduced to. It’s still going strong. I understand the message, but I worry about the delivery. So many businesses are suffering, when they are already suffering, which of course, affects the many people in those businesses. So evenmore people suffering than there was before this. It feels lawless and maybe counterproductive. I don’t know. It’s not safe. I know that much.


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