You know, some weeks it’s hard to get a handle on whether this crazy mixed up world of ours is going totally to the dogs. Or not. Some weeks I despair. I really do. Like earlier this week when I suggested to Hubby that we sell the house and buy a cabin in the woods. Far, far away from people. With no TV and no internet access.
Sometimes this kind of thing, the desire to run away, happens to me when I have been watching too much news. Hubby watches a lot of television news shows, both American and Canadian. And because we live in a small house it’s hard NOT to be conscious of what he’s watching. I mean, I can’t spend all my time on my exercise bike with my headphones on. And what I saw in my brief forays into the living room this week when he was watching television news was enough to make me weep with despair. Or with anger and frustration. Followed by despair.
This week the controversy in certain American states with respect to wearing a mask or not was front and centre on our TV. Particularly the mandates passed by some school boards in which all staff and students are required to wear masks in schools. When I first heard this I didn’t think anything of it. Our teachers and kids are still wearing masks at school, and have been (when school is in session) since the beginning of the pandemic. So masks in school, no big deal anymore. Right? Ha. Apparently for some it is a very big deal indeed.
In fact I was shocked at the violent reaction of some parents of children who are required to wear a mask at school. The noisy protests, and the seemingly out of control anger of these parents was unbelievable to me. The verbal and, in a couple of instances, physical abuse, and sometimes downright crazy behaviour all seems a bit surreal. In some places, school staff have been accosted, school board members threatened.
“What the hell?” I said to Hubby when I saw one news story on TV. A school superintendent who was interviewed said in her school district they were doing their best to cope with the chaos. And they had decided to try to reach out to parents, to speak with them individually, to educate them on the issue of wearing masks. I turned to Hubby and said, “Bloody hell, now on top of all the other stresses that go with a job in education these days, teachers, principals, and higher-ups are being forced to “educate” the parents with information that is readily available to anyone if they care to access it.” What happened to education being all about the kids? Simply teaching kids stuff like reading and math and how to be a good citizen?
And by the way, by “being a good citizen” I don’t mean just being dutiful and following the rules. Although following rules and laws is important. I don’t mean simply accepting what is wrong in society. I mean knowing and understanding our rights, understanding how democracy works, exercising our right to vote. And also using peaceful protest, and civil discourse when we believe things have gone awry. The operative words here being peaceful and civil.
Doesn’t all this anger and hatefulness remind you of another time? Perhaps of those black students caught in the cross-fire when they attempted to attend recently de-segregated schools in 1960? In particular little six-year-old Ruby Bridges. I don’t think that an issue as important as the desegregation of schools should be equated with whether or not kids wear masks at school to protect their friends and their teachers from Covid-19. I think wearing a mask or not has little to do with civil rights. But it certainly seems as if some parents would not agree.
I tried my best today to get a bigger picture of this issue. But it wasn’t easy, and eventually I gave up. In all honesty, I was turning in circles reading about mask mandates, protests against mandates, state governments punishing school districts which pass mandates by threatening to withdraw their funding (can they do that?), anti-mask groups taking schools districts to court, pro-mask groups taking state governments to court… enough already. Jeeze Louise… everyone needs to calm down.
And then I saw this little video in my Facebook feed. Have a look.
Such a cute video. I needed that chuckle. And I love that girl. She reminds me of my friend Krista, who has such an expressive face. I’ll bet you didn’t know all those important things that teachers need to learn before they step in front of a class, huh? I particularly loved the course on perfecting “the look.” When I was still teaching, I had a “look.” I inherited it from my mum. And wow… does it work. Combine “the look” with a sigh and you’ll get instant results. Ha.
It makes me unbearably sad to think that young, fresh-faced, and idealistic teachers, like this girl, find themselves right in the middle of a whole lot of anger and nonsensical political wrangling. Teaching is stressful enough, especially during a pandemic. And it saddens me that, despite the best efforts of teachers and administrators, kids in classrooms, who are also under stress, may not be getting the education they deserve.
I know I overreact when I see people being… not to put too fine a point on it… stupid. And careless of the needs of others. I just want to cry, or yell at someone. Or escape. Hubby is much more capable than I am of distancing himself from these sorts of things. Is that a man thing, do you think?
Or maybe it’s simply that I am trying desperately to keep my rose-coloured glasses all polished up so I can see the world the way I want to see it. And not the way it really is.
I need to keep in mind that the stats show many parents in the districts where all the controversy is happening support the wearing of masks. Apparently they are by far the majority. It must be frustrating for those parents who just want their kids to go to school and be safe. And who trust that school trustees, administrators, and teachers DO want what’s best for their kids. For everyone’s kids.
Okay… I’m done with that. I promise.
On another, more light-hearted note, it appears that I am not quite done with wearing this springy outfit combination. I so love my Club Monaco green cashmere hoodie under my navy Veronica Beard jacket. And I hauled this out to wear running errands earlier in the week.
But you know, this outfit felt way too springy to me when I wore it. Even though I wore my Paul Green ankle boots to give it more of a fall feel. So in a day or two, the navy jacket will disappear into the storage closet until spring. The sweater, I will keep out for a while. I may be able to wear it under my dark green tweed Max Mara blazer. I haven’t finished turning my closet for fall. The rest of my tank tops, light skirts, and sandals need to be packed away. And my tweed jackets and heavy turtlenecks still need to be unpacked, shaken out, freshened up, and hung in my closet or folded into my sweater drawers. I love this seasonal packing and unpacking.
Okay, did you see what I did there? I just changed the conversation completely. There may be big problems in this crazy mixed up world of ours. I am not denying that. I’m not actually running away from them. The plan to buy that cabin in the woods is just a metaphor. I intend to stay informed. I have an opinion, which am not afraid to express. But on those days when I’ve had too much reality, when the world seems way out of kilter, when it seems that chaos reigns everywhere, I establish order where I can. And sometimes that is all about my closet.
What are you up to this week, my calm and intelligent friends? Any strategies you can share for coping with this crazy mixed up world of ours? Gentle reads that work for you? Favourite soothing television? Best calming wines? We’ve been watching old episodes of Morse which seem to go well with a lovely Canadian Pinot Noir from the Niagara region. 🙂