Thought the looking glass

After the first week of quarantine there’s an interesting emotional dichotomy at play.  But this is about more than Covid 19 and quarantine so let me back time up a few weeks, to a morning I woke-up, completely disoriented, crying my eyes out.  


The kids were only a few year old.  Ester was maybe 5 which put Elliot at 7 and Ella at 3.  We were baking in the kitchen, cookies I think because I had on this apron that my mother made–a real 50s number with bold patterns, a susie-homemaker-shape and lace on the straps.  The whole kitchen counter was covered in flour and I had smears of butter and crusty dried sugar all over the tops of my hands, face and apron.  We had just slid the baking tray into the oven, or 5-year-old Ester had just slid the baking tray into the oven when she turned to me and said, 


“Pick me up!” 


Which of course I did and hugged her tight for maybe a second too long–taking a moment to smell her.  Any parent will tell you that they love to smell their children.  They don’t always smell great but there’s something about their smell that binds them to you.  A familiarity and a ritual from when they were just little babies.  Anyway I took a deep whiff of her batter streaked hair and then pulled back to put my nose against hers while I held her in my arms, staring into those deep green eyes. 


And that’s when I woke up and the tears came instantly–so much so that I couldn’t catch my breath.  No-one tells you when the last time will be that your child wants you to pick them up and hold them.  You never know.  One day just realize that you haven’t done it in a while and that while becomes and even longer while until you realize that it will never happen again because they’re 15 and they don’t want you to anymore.  So I cried my eyes out in bed–literally sobbing and choking because time is slipping away and I can’t catch it, can’t stop it, can’t even slow it down.  I am helpless and and I am scared and I am sad.  I look over to AM for some emotional support but she’s out cold.  I could kick her in shin and she would just roll over and mumble something about me stealing the covers.  


As quickly as the sobbing washed over me, it recedes and the shallow breathing subsides.  I get out of bed, put on my Birkenstocks, the black hooded jacket I always wear and head to the kitchen to make coffee.  I open the squeaky kitchen door carefully not wanting to wake anyone and immediately glance over at the oven triggering a second wave of intense sobbing.  I force the crying down down down into my core before wiping the snot dripping from my nose (and onto the floor I would later find) on the sleeve of my poor jacket, further solidifying it as my security blanket of choice.  Yes, I am a forty-something-year-old-man.  


Time has passed too quickly.  They kids are so much older now and while AM and I will always have Elliot, the same can’t be said for Ester and Ella.   Ella’s already trying to figure out way to ditch us so she can hang with her friends and in two years from now Ester will be heading off to college.  The rest of us will be trying to understand how we can continue to live a normal life after one of us is no longer with us every day.  The though tears me apart.  The unfairness of childhood going so fast.  The unjustness of having so few years with your children while they are actually still children.    


So when I got the news that we were being ordered to shelter-in-place, a feeling grew inside of me that can only be described as pure bliss.  The idea that we would all be together through this crisis–regardless of how dangerous and how lethal this virus is–made me happy.  Despite how incredibly difficult it is for five people to be confined to 1400 square feet for weeks on end, I knew that we would be together and for that I feel truly blessed.  Blessed because I’ve been given a chance to be present and available for all the hugs and kisses and fights and moans and groans that my family can collectively throw at each other during this quarantine.


Blessed to not be alone, passing through the looking glass of time, leaving behind a world that will only ever exist in my dreams.   


Shot on a LeicaM7, Kodak Tri-X pushed +2 at the Icon.

 


My love, my life

Valentine’s Day has come and gone and while I write about a lot of different subjects here I rarely, if ever mention how much my wife means to me. Anna Maria and I have been connected at the hip since 1998.


Those 20 years have been anything but easy.  During that time I’ve made mistakes that have made her feel horrible.  I’ve worked way too hard at the wrong things and worked way too little on the right things.  I’ve suffered from all the psychosomatic bullshit male ego can inflict upon a person and I’ve not always dealt with it in a way that I’m proud of.  I’ve spent too much time at work, I’ve bought too much crap, I drank too much, I ate too much, I got too lazy and too mad at the world.    


But she loves me and she’s stuck with me through all the years and all of my idiosyncratic insanity.  Because I’ve done the same.  


Her impossibly stubborn behavior can take the simplest of situations and turn it into a three-ring-shit-show-circus.  She’s easily distracted, quick to anger and ever so set in her antiquated ways.  She hates technology in a way that is beyond anything I have ever seen and her ability to waste time is literally legendary.  She could sleep a while day away.  Possibly the most offensive, she systematically steals all of the covers every night we go to bed–rolling up in them like a 1200-thread-count-cotton-and-duvet-burrito.


But I love her and I’m stuck with her and I can’t imagine my life without her.  She is my love and she is my life.  She is my parter and my friend, my lover and my fighter and I feel so incredibly blessed to go through time with her.  For every bad time we’ve had a hundred good ones.  For every fight we’ve made-out like horny teenagers in the shower a hundred times.  For every word we’ve yelled at each other we’ve whispered “I love you” a hundred times… just before she rolls over and steals all the fucking covers.  


I love you so my baby and here’s to twenty more years.


Shot on my now failing LeicaM7 on Kodak Tri-X film, push-processed at the Icon film lab here in Los Angeles, Cal-i-forn-i-a. 


Relax

When I still lived in Sweden, this was always the worst time of the year.  Christmas had come and gone.  New Years had come and gone.  It was neither winter nor spring.  It would snow and then the temperature would rise and the snow would melt into a black slushy mess that would freeze-over the next evening when the temps would fall again.  It was light at 10:30 and dark at 3:30.  It was a fucking mess with no end in sight.  


Slowly though the light would return and right when things really felt like they were at their absolute worst, a frigid spring would give way to a glorious (but usually rainy) Swedish summer, all of Stockholm’s residents would flee the city for their country houses and those of us who chose to stay behind had run of the town.  It was always the most glorious time of the year and something that I find myself missing in the internal sunshine of southern California.  


There’s an ease to life here that most people will never get a chance to experience.  The weather’s kindness leaves you to time to fixate-on and bemoan all manners of other bullshit as a fortunate resident of the golden state.  We tend to mainly focus our ire on all things automotive such as parking and routes to get from here to there but mainly focused on traffic.  The small-talk isn’t limited to the 405 however… we also adore griping/discussing all manners of food-related atrocity from the cost of groceries at Erewon versus Whole-Paycheck versus Trader Joes (the latter being the best bang for buck), which nut-milk is best for whatever ailments one suffers from to where the best place to line-up is for whatever the cool-new-hip-food-of-the-minute is.  


The weather is so good we don’t mind lining-up for shit, but we hate traffic.  Let that cook for a few minutes. 


It also allows us Cali-folk time to micro-focus our rage on that tweet or gram or bullshit that we overheard at Kreation while getting our lemon-ginger-CBD shot that proves we are SUPER-WOKE and the offending individuals are neanderthals that should just be extinct.  It gives us time to bathe in how liberal we are, free of all the spirit crushing, socially-outdated modes of racism, conservative christian ideology, binary sexual orientation (and associated pronouns) and climate denial.  We’re free to focus on everything that everyone else outside of our bubble in struggling to come to terms with while we, the enlightened bask in the glory of knowing everything about everything, casting sideways glances upon those who are slowly progressing down the path that we traveled years ago.  


We’re so busy being progressive that we forget the most important part of being a liberal.  Being a liberal means being tolerant and not just of the ideologies you personally adhere-to and live-by but also being tolerant of those people who have views and beliefs that don’t coincide with your own.   That doesn’t mean we befriend the clan or something but every christian conservative isn’t a morally corrupt lost soul because they don’t see eye to eye with you on every issue you feel passionately about.  It means trying to be an inclusive rather than an exclusive even when you have fundamental difference with the other party, person or thing.  Right now I feel like we’re so busy being right that we don’t have time for understanding.  We don’t need to accept hate but we have a moral responsibility to promote understanding and guidance and that starts with really listening to what the other person has to say–not just waiting for our turn to talk and tweet them into oblivion. 


We need to fucking relax.  Shot on my LeicaM7 on Kodak Tri-X and processed at the Icon.

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