Lupita the half boat photo credit B. Kay Richter

We’re in COVID-19 College Now

Week 6 of Stay at Home in San Antonio, Texas

Every night for the past couple of weeks, I’ve had disaster-movie dreams in which I am not in control of my fate.

In the most vivid one, I was on a boat trying to escape. I couldn’t steer the vessel at first. All navigation controls failed, and I had to beach it on the shores of Venezuela (a Communist country not friendly to outsiders). The rest of the dream I was on a fruitless extraction mission trying to get out alive.

No surprises what this and other disaster dreams mean. We’re all dealing with the loss of control over our circumstances.

When my son heard that school would be remote for the rest of this academic year, he finally admitted how he missed going to his campus, seeing his classmates, and talking with his teachers.

I am missing all the simple things: Running into people at events I used to attend, talking to shop owners at my favorite small businesses, shopping at open-air markets, traveling anywhere outside of my car’s (and bladder’s) range.

Another painful lesson I am learning is how bad news takes on an even sharper edge in the middle of an enduring crisis.

This past week, I heard about two deaths and one grim diagnosis from three lovely people in my orbit. Other than sending notes or mailing a care package via Amazon, there’s not much more I can do. Usually, I’d bring over a home-cooked meal, sit and stay with a grieving or ailing friend, attend a memorial service, and give my condolences in person.

All grieving now is being done over-the-horizon, with SCUD missiles of sympathy.

I avoid posting about the longer-term implications of COVID-19 because let’s face it; our ability to absorb and process what is happening now is pretty maxed out.

What I’ve taken to telling some who are wrestling with how to save a business, a home, a college fund slowly getting siphoned off to pay bills, is this:

While we were busy with our daily lives, we got enrolled at COVID-19 College. Click To Tweet

There’s no transfers or dropping out allowed.

Depending on how well we do, it’ll either be a two-year term or if we fail, a full-fledged four-year degree or worse.

There’s no escape from Gillian’s Island, either. It means we need to think about how to live over the next two to four years while the pandemic waterboards the planet.

The day after my boat dream, I saw online this half-boat out on the curb for the City to pick up, thanks to a photographer friend who posted the (above featured) photo.

My imagination seized upon the possibility of bringing Lupita home to my backyard. The online chatter included local artist Gary Sweeney who went to see Lupita for himself.

Too big for a truck bed, he shared. It would take a trailer to haul her to her new home.

Lupita is gone, photo credit Iris Gonzalez

Lupita is gone, photo credit Iris Gonzalez.

Thursday was a sunny day here, an excellent day to check on a half-boat across town. After driving empty highways and roads, I got to her spot only to find that she was already gone.

Lupita, I hope you navigated yourself to a new home, one where you will enjoy your second life.

Meanwhile, I drive back along the same empty streets to continue my first semester of COVID-19 at home with no boat and no extraction plan.



Featured image is of Lupita, the half boat. Photo credit: B. Kay Richter.

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