Quiet in My Neighborhood, Letter 4

Quiet in My Neighborhood, Letter 4

Dear Someone,

I’ve been trying to avoid the news lately as it becomes sadder and sadder each time I read it. First a pandemic has the world on lockdown and then murderous hate rises and sets the world on fire. But in my house I’m protected somewhat from the virus and the violence. We wear our masks and try our best to maintain the six-foot minimum social distancing. We also live further away from the city centers that tend to attract protests and rioting. Our neighborhood is quiet, although my sister gives the daily reading of how many people in our zip code have the virus and the number keeps going up. It makes me wonder why I still see so many careless people without masks at grocery stores and pharmacies.

It’s as though we’re living in a dystopian world where everything we once held dear is torn away from us. I know I’ve mentioned my broken heartedness in regard to losing coffee shops and movie theaters. Those were my escapes. Now they’re gone and who knows when or if they’ll ever come back. How will we even be able to make movies and TV shows if we must wear face masks and maintain social distancing wherever we go?

In the midst of it all, my mom and I decided to adopt a puppy – a three-month-old pug we named Peggy and she’s a handful but we love her. The beauty of it all is that she’s helped distract me from my negative emotions. Sure I have to wake up at 5 AM each day to make sure she gets outside on time as we’re housebreaking her and by the end of the day I’m exhausted. But yesterday, as I was was washing the dishes, I caught myself singing again and I only sing when I’m happy.

Ok, well, that’s not true. In the hospital I sang to self-soothe too. But at home I only sing when I’m happy, even if the songs happen to be sad.

Deep down, though, I know I can’t turn a blind eye to the world forever. But does that mean I’m expected to say something about the senseless deaths and the protests and destruction from looting and rioting? Then let me just say that I stand with the oppressed. I stand with the victims. I stand with the peacemakers not the peacekeepers (in case you need reminding: peacemakers don’t carry weapons whereas peacekeepers do).

I don’t think I need to name the specific groups of people who fall into these categories. We all see. We all know that it’s not the white, privileged, middle-class that I stem from. I don’t think I need to repeat it. I just wish it weren’t so. There’s just so much baggage rooted way back (more than 400 years) to the beginning of slavery in America that I can’t even begin to fathom.

They call what I suffer from “white guilt” in that even though I wasn’t there, my ancestors were and I, too, have, without realizing it, been complacent in micro aggressions. Where are all my “black” friends, anyway? Even though there maybe a handful on Facebook who’ve yet to unfriend me, that probably doesn’t count, since I rarely use Facebook anymore.

They say the looting and property destruction came mostly from paid protesters. I don’t really know because, as I said, I’ve been avoiding the news and most of what I know comes to me through social media filters and my family. These are not exactly the most reliable sources.

I don’t want this world. But Peggy the pug puppy only lives for the small world around her. She didn’t choose to be born and she doesn’t care about the things that happen beyond these walls and the backyard.

I still have to care, but caring beyond these walls is painful. How do I maintain my sanity while standing in solidarity with those who suffer the most? Words are empty without actions. Didn’t someone else once write that first?

I praise my puppy for peeing in the backyard instead of on the floor. Meanwhile police are murdering innocent, black Americans. People of all colors are defacing property and looting causing the call of the peaceful protestors to go unheard. And the violence continues. People die by other peoples’ hands or they die of the coronavirus. The world is falling apart and my greatest challenge is housebreaking a pug puppy.

Comments are closed.