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Chatterbox: That annoying tick


That metered tick of a metronome is the sound all things make somehow. It can be wonderful or maddening, training or torture. Whatever the metronome ticks for, it ticks with equity and total impartiality. It performs a singular job and, once activated, it will tick whether we see it, hear it, or not; it’s the sound of time and life itself.

The metronome of our nation is maddening right now. Whether we’re voracious about, or disgusted with, constant updates on the virus and politics, we can’t seem to avoid the annoying tick of their impact on our daily life and relationships. Some of us take to our neutral corner, regardless of which corner that is, and avoid topical discussions with anyone we want to keep our relationship with.

Chatterbox once talked about the clutter in our lives becoming the clutter in our head; it was about organization. Today our clutter is far more consequential and a double edged sword. This virus affects our actions and our actions are all we have to control the virus. It’s also far harder to deal with – tidying our closet is one thing; clearing out political and corona debris is a whole other ball of wax.

In terms of America’s political scene, whether on the national or global stage, many, maybe most, of us are burning out. We can’t stop the metronome from continually ticking out the beat, but that doesn’t change our desire to give its ubiquity a hard swat with a Louisville Slugger.

In terms of the virus, everyone is truly fed up with all it brought but, still cognizant of its random cruelty, taking precautions. While so many deal with it up close, we all shake our fists at our questionable luck and timing. Still, like those before us, we carry on as they did; it’s all we can do.

We can’t know the path or ultimate level of devastation resulting from this indiscriminate virus or our raging political mechanics right now but, though timelines are debatable, we do know both crises present the promise of an end. Both have precedents that make us hopeful.

In the interim, there are those professional mouthpieces who can’t talk enough about the endless minutiae of the political circus, and present every tidbit on the virus whether fact or conjecture. There are also news addicts who can’t get enough of it all. While we all should stay updated and are grateful that hope remains constant, most of us are also very grateful for the remote control – one click stops the tick, and you’re outta here. We can’t bury our heads in the sand for long, but a brief hiatus doesn’t just offer necessary solace, it’s one of very few reprieves we have, and something we feel we’re still in control of.

While too many people struggle to survive on so many levels, we wait anxiously for a cure for both our political discord and the virus, never forgetting that each now drives the other. We also try to find balance under the new conditions, maintain some normalcy for the children, and retain some level of sanity for ourselves, commiserating as we stare down this foreign lifestyle together. We’re bleaching our mail and our egg cartons, detoxing grocery sacks in the vestibule, stalking websites for disinfectant wipes, buying toilet paper at a speak-easy and having drive-by birthday parties.

The immediate and positive response to our confinement by our planet’s air, atmosphere and water concretely proves that we can do better for Mother Earth. The patience, endurance and tenacity of the human spirit around the world have impressed us, and most leaders around the globe have displayed courage to do the right thing, even when it didn’t seem popular. Unfortunately, others remain obstinate and implacable in the face of obvious and perpetual folly.

Though we can’t forget that many people around the world are still battling other major crises during this pandemic, we’re fairly certain humanity will survive – sadly, not all of us, but most of us. We’ll gradually return to something we call normal but, hopefully, these hard lessons on the fragility of both our planet and us will enlighten the people and leadership around the world and make us demand and do better for both.

We keep muddling along, helping, sharing, struggling, innovating and dealing with things that happen at us, as well as well as things that happen because of us. While it’s true that the former can’t be avoided, it’s also true that the latter can be.

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