A Look On The Lighter Side: Happy weird New Year


As I sit and write this, I am in the last of the Days of Awe, the time of the Jewish New Year during which we are supposed to ask forgiveness from those we have harmed, be they other people or God.

I could start by asking forgiveness from other people: for being obtuse with them; short-tempered; a bad friend or family member.

Granted, I’ll be a little past the official deadline — I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to start this, since most of the people I need to contact are fasting, or in services, or otherwise not to be bothered. Maybe I can get an extension like I did for almost every paper I wrote in college!

It cannot possibly be time for the High Holy Days, anyway. Aren’t we still in March?

This pandemic thing goes on and on, the sun comes and goes, but it is still one endless everlasting moment in time. As somebody said — I can’t remember who — it can’t be almost October, because isn’t it the 190th day of March?

Another problem I am having, this year in particular, is sitting still for all the prayers where I’m supposed to beg for forgiveness from God.

It’s not that I’ve been particularly good this year, or dutiful, or reverent. I haven’t. I’ve been quite terrible. But this isn’t about me. This is about a whole world which is suffering, and I just can’t see asking forgiveness from a God who — if you believe His own press — has sent us this terrible thing: “On Rosh Hashanah it will be written and on Yom Kippur it will be sealed …who shall live and who shall die; who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation and who by stoning.”

Stoning. So old school! I’m much more likely to die choking on a sip of coffee that went down the wrong way because I was also at the same time interrupting somebody…but that isn’t on the list, so I think I’m good.

But we can’t ALL be deserving of this pandemic. That’s why, whenever it’s over, God and I are going to have to sit down for a little “chinwag,” as my favorite character Rumpole used to call it … after which we shall see who needs to beg forgiveness for what.

Right now, all I can do is sit and doodle two lists: Things I Have Started doing, Thanks to the Pandemic, and Things I Am Leaving Behind, Ditto:

Things I Am Leaving Behind Thanks to the Pandemic:
– Shoes. Especially, uncomfortable shoes.
– Uncomfortable pants.
– Uncomfortable anything!
– Exercise. (See item immediately above.)
– Calories, or anyways counting them.
– Watching or reading anything “because I should.”
– Expectations.

Things I Have Started Doing, Thanks to the pandemic:
It is actually rather unbelievable that I have started anything new, but that’s just how weird things are these days.

I have learned Not to Procrastinate!

It started with the realization that I needed to eat the fresh fruits, and cook with the vegetables, the first day they came into the house. Aside from the fact that some of them lose sweetness over time (case in point, oranges), every day you wait is an invitation for mold to beat you to it. Most heartbreaking were the dozen fresh figs that we ordered, for a dinner celebrating that our younger boy and his girlfriend could join us for the High Holidays.

Ack! It had only been a few days, but when I went to put the figs on the table they were just a hairy nest of mold, with dead figs somewhere at the bottom.

Lesson learned. This not-procrastinating idea is such a radical change for me, I’m taking it everywhere, even to my heretofore-unused subscription at ancestry.com. Until now, it’s been like the gym memberships I used to renew but never use. This year I’m using it!

I may even write a novel with all the spare time I’ve got! It might stink worse than the figs. In fact it probably will. But I will at least have written it!

The biggest change of all is that I have learned to be grateful for Zoom, and email, and all the other technologies that I used to happily sneer at. (Well, not Instagram, I still don’t see the point of that.)

But without them, I would really feel much more like a prisoner in solitary confinement. So I am grateful.

I can use them for this wish: A Happy Weird New Year to you all!



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