You wake up with that minor sore throat, the one you don’t worry about as it usually burns itself off after a cup of strong coffee. Could it be COVID? Naw, probably just the smoke, you check the air quality, 356 this morning, very hazardous.


Classes are cancelled so you are moving slowly. You check the morning online papers, the fire hasn’t progressed but is still 0% contained, and you feel a touch of hope as you read about the president’s taxes and tonight’s debate which you have been looking forward to for months.


How can people still not get it? You think to yourself. Change reality until it works for his agenda. An inconvenient virus: Blame China, lie about the danger, blow smoke, same old story. Financial realities not looking good? Get a soundbite from Rush Limbaugh that you are just good at playing the financial game which is why you pay so much less in taxes than really anyone. Once again reinforcing that you are the smartest person on the planet.


Classes are cancelled but two students show up anyway. You hit your zoom button and see if they are OK. “Just seeing if anyone’s out there.” They explain. Connection is always good. You clean the house and make a plan for the day. Your housecleaner has been out for two weeks with COVID, back next week. Thank goodness the kids are home; cleaning bathrooms keeps their minds off the doom. Plus, there are few greater ways to understand the importance of pursuing your dreams than cleaning a dirty toilet.


Your alternative high school’s grading period ends Friday and the last week is usually quizzes and checking for understanding. You post the following message in Google Classroom.

“Students, due to the unsettled reality of this week, I will be requiring only that you have your git bag ready (this was a lesson during the last round or fires) and take care of yourself. Distance learning will return when the fires come under control. We will get through this time as we always do but let’s also learn from the experience and work on solutions. United together.”


You put some Disco on the Sonos and get to cleaning. The day progresses, you head to Kaiser in Petaluma to get family flu shots. You’ve never had a flu shot before because your immune system is strong. Working in a classroom you are bombarded with little microorganisms all day which builds your immune system. These days with just you in the classroom, less exposure means less immunity means off to Kaiser. Plus, the family time is always nice.


You are also trying to finish writing about Ruth Bader Ginsburg but so much has happened since her passing you’re finding it hard to go back. That’s how news triage works these days, if you don’t like what’s happening, just wait a few hours and some new ugliness will pop up. RIP RBG, may your message live on


The debate is a blatant confirmation that the cult of the flaming shit bag is alive and well. You keep waiting for an adult to jump in and say,


“Just a minute, part of our democratic process is civility and what we are seeing on this stage is not civil, it is bullying and sophomoric and the American people deserve better.” Course that doesn’t happen, first Chris Wallace gets bulldozed then Joe dives right into the sewer saying “Shut up stupid racist clown.” To the president of the United States! Yes, I’m paraphrasing but he did say those things just in a different order.


Your wife leaves after the shout out to the Proud Boys. Your kids are monitoring their social media feeds instead of watching, periodically throwing out millennial reactions like, “Haven’t we learned anything from Zoom meetings, use the Mute button!”


It’s really not funny. It reminds you of parent meetings where the parents and staff are not agreeing and get so riled up that they get personal and get nothing done. The worst part of that equation is the student suffers the most. America is now the suffering student.


Toward the end of the debate you need a break and walk out the backdoor to look at the red glow in the distance. The Glass fire is 0% contained around Oakmont and you think about three years ago when a fire glow seen from the backyard was reason for alarm and possible evacuation.


Now, it’s just Wednesday.





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