Another Day in the Neighborhood

So, what’s going on?  The Covid 19 pandemic still kills about 500 people per day.  Monkey pox is surging.  The chronicle of the January 6th insurrection continues to astonish.  Hordes of classified documents are turning up in Florida.  Roe v. Wade was overturned.  Inflation is frustrating, and the Fed is trying to cool the economy.  Climate change is in the background, or the foreground depending on where you live.

Every morning I read the newspapers looking for anything positive.  Bill Russell’s inspiring life.  A 13 year old gets accepted to medical school.  Pandas frolicking with their caregiver.  I am an inveterate optimist, but sometimes this outlook is challenging.  The warring tribes cannot seem to compromise.  If they cannot win in the ways they want, they are comfortable with everybody loosing.

Pubs, coffee shops, and restaurants tend to be positive place – as long as CNN or Fox are not on the televisions.  People talking, often laughing.  Heated opinions about sports and weather.  Local politics seem to be a safer topic than national politics.  However, politics is usually avoided because you do not know the tribes of all the people at the bar.

The neighborhood seems like a nicer place than being online with various media.  I know the baristas, bartenders, and proprietors of many neighborhood shops.  I encounter many members from the National Cathedral, a couple of blocks down the street where I am a member.  Our exchanges are usually quite brief, but we acknowledge our belonging to the same community. 

There are neighborhoods at work as well.  Other departments in the same building lead to repeated encounters, at least at the entrance and in the elevators.  Covid has obliterated these relationships.  Happenstance encounters don’t happen on Teams, Webex, or Zoom.  All interactions are planned, totally unlike real neighborhoods.  Interactions in the online neighborhood are almost totally bereft of serendipity.

People need to get out and about.  Have a morning brew at the coffee shop.  Grab lunch at a neighborhood pub.  Walk to the Zoo.  Enjoy the flora and fauna along the way.  Buy some flowers for your kitchen table.  Have a martini at another pub, watch PTI and debate Tony and Michael’s opinions with your pub mates.

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