Pandemic Portal

I heard a disembodied voice in my kitchen. Last night.

And not just…a voice.

A commercial.

It was an entire commercial.

An entire Cracker Barrel commercial.

An entire Cracker Barrel commercial manifested itself in my kitchen last night.

I don’t even really like Cracker Barrel.

I mean, it’s ok.

Just…it’s not the food I fantasize about.

When it happened, I sat there. As it played out. Kind of staring at my television. That was in front of me. And my computer. That was on my lap. And my personal phone. That was in my hand. And my work phone. That was sitting right beside me.

It wasn’t coming from any of those places.

It was clearly coming from the kitchen.

Which I was not in.

Eventually I got up off the couch to check it out.

Looked for potential sources.

I couldn’t find any…

So…I guess I’m just gonna chalk this one up to God telling me to go on and eat as much as I want? He will make a way for new pants that fit?

I just…I mean, Cracker Barrel wouldn’t be my first choice.

But nah. It’s cool. At least it wasn’t, like, Saladworks.

So, I’ll take it.

Because I’m in the midst of my first juvenile probation on call weekend in a while. Because my FT job has been…engaging enough this year. But also I have to find a new place to live. And money. So, here we are.

And on call weekends are generally stressful.

But this one has been…

It’s been…disheartening.

The kids are not ok, y’all.

And neither are the parents.

Just had an argument with a probationer’s mom. Who told me to stop calling her phone while she was at work. Because…some people have to work weekends to live…


But for real. Our kids are struggling. And I’m tired of not knowing how to help.

Like, I’m kind of feeling like God could’ve manifested a disembodied plan for getting the children and their parents access to things like food and mental health support and social outlets and affordable healthcare and substance abuse treatment and…

Just all the things.

But no. No, my greedy ass gets the “go ahead and just gorge yourself on all the carbs and don’t feel too bad about yourself” message.

But then I called my supervisor. To update her about the children.

Who are definitely not doing well.

And after I run through all of the just really desperate and devastating things that they’ve experienced this weekend.

She gave me a little lecture.

About focusing on the positive. Despite the shit show that 2020 has been.

And. I mean. She’s not wrong.

Ghost and I attended the EdEquityVA Symposium last week.

In it, Dr. Gloria Ladson Billings shared a bit of The Pandemic is a Portal by Arundhati Roy.

“And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves.”

That is powerful.

And inspiring.

And hopeful.

I’m hesitant. To be hopeful.

Because I was hopeful back when OT and I witnessed 2020 being born.

And apparently that resulted in us opening the pandemic portal up to begin with. Up on Dragon’s Tooth.

Our bad.

We didn’t know…

Clearly the hope I experienced up there that morning was…misguided.

Maybe if we go back this year we can close it back up.

That means I’m gonna have to be able to carry myself back up to Dragon’s Tooth, though.

Which means I probably can’t take advantage of God’s Cracker Barrel message as fully as I’d like to.

But I’m only on call for another 12 hours.

And maybe there will be some snow tomorrow.

For, like, a snow day.

So, there’s that.

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