i'm sure you've heard by now what happened in orlando this morning -- in the wee hours, a terrorist attacked a nightclub, killing 50 and injuring another 50 or more people. what the hell, am i right??
we were watching the news coverage today and at one point, i got up to use the toilet. walking through the bedroom to the lavatory, i saw the bed was unmade. i thought i should make it and then the next immediate thought was who the fuck cares about the damn bed. people have been killed. damn. THEN i thought it would be great to just get back in bed and pull up the covers and not think about shit like people getting shot.
and that's when i realized i had to make the bed.
partially, i had to keep myself from crawling back in, and a made bed is a definite disinvitation to crawl back in. the simple act of putting effort into making something neat contributes to the disinclination to mess it up.
partially, i had to do something normal. the way news coverage today is comprised of reports which purport to be updates but are not substantively different one to the next -- this microscopic examination is not normal. making the bed is normal and doing something normal puts life back into perspective.
not that it's not normal to care about the world or be concerned about horrific violence. of course that's normal. you just can't let it consume you.
you just can't. vigilance against getting consumed by events is the linchpin of sanity.
after planes hit the twin towers on 9/11, i was sitting in my office glued to (then nascent) internet news, mainlining twizzlers. you know, as one does. into the afternoon as normalcy began to peek out around the corners, a coworker sent an email about sign-ups for an upcoming 5k. at first, i was like, what the hell - the world is ending and we're talking about 5k's?!
but that email did perform the valuable service of pulling my brain back from the brink. "you don't want to go there," it said. "and what's more, you don't have to. look, we're all over here, being normal. come be normal with us."
of course, it wasn't that easy. there was a cavernous gap between the morning of 9/11 and normalcy. but just like making the bed, reading and mentally processing that email reset my perspective.
these actions are a mental respite. they could be no more than momentary, like a water station in a marathon. the race isn't over, but it's a wee break, a chance to take stock, and hey look, i'm not ready to quit yet.
i made the bed, and went on from there to do some laundry and wash the cars.
because i'm not ready to quit yet.