After this week, I need a good cry, and then a swim in the ocean.
On Sunday, a man was shot and killed near the high school where I work. On Tuesday, the school was placed in “lockdown” while a real-life drama unfolded in a classroom above me. I sat in the dark with two colleagues while we pondered what might be happening, and what we’d do if someone came in to shoot us. Thankfully, after half an hour, the drama was over and nobody was hurt, but one of our seniors was arrested and taken to jail, charged with the Sunday night murder. On Wednesday, and then again on Friday, two more Tucsonans were shot dead.
On Friday night, I watched four back-to-back episodes of Downton Abbey, the Masterpiece series that’s part history, part soap opera, all excellent. As I sat through its wonderfully acted scenes dealing with the horrors of World War I, and listened to its evocative sound track, I shed some tears and thought about the perils of war, and of life on our American city streets.
On Saturday, I beat the doldrums by attending the Tucson Festival of Books. There I met actor/activist Ted Danson, who’s recently published Oceana, a book about ocean conservation. Tall, white-haired Ted, looking both casual and debonair in frayed jeans, brown corduroy jacket, and scarf, graciously accepted our business card as I said hi and plugged Chuck’s environmental ocean song (“Old Man in the Surf”). Looking at the card, Ted kindly said, “Pacific Buffalo – that’s COOL,” with a little laugh. Those words from a "sea star" were just the lift I needed.
On Saturday night, I learned that my mom’s move to an apartment has become a reality. In May, she’ll leave the house that we all moved into 50 years ago. I knew this was coming, and I totally support her decision, but it’s still a big change, and I immediately felt nostalgic about the house. I decided to cheer myself up by watching a video about how the U.S. tax code is rigged in favor of the richest 1/10th of one percent. http://vimeo.com/35039196 Needless to say, this didn’t work to cheer me up, but it did make me mad enough to consider writing a follow-up to our song, “Wall Street Windows.”
This week, I managed to experience shock, sadness, relief, nostalgia, and anger. That could be why I slept eleven hours last night, having a bizarre dream that both of my parents had quit their jobs and decided to work in a liquor store. Maybe they’ll let me fill in for them some time.
Or maybe I just needed to write all of this down in order to see that I could surf these waves of emotion and still be okay -- although a good swim in the ocean would sure be nice. Since I live in Tucson, I’ll have to settle for a relaxing song like “Beyond the Sea,” while meditating about Ted Danson and chanting the mantra, “Cheers!”