The new sheriff in town teaching new and better ways of avoidance

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Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash

If I had to, I could probably count on my toes and fingers the times I’ve spoken masked face to masked face with another human in the last eleven months (quarantine started for me on February 29, 2020).

And I bet I’d have a few digits left over. But, yeah. Who’s counting? Especially when you have texting. Which is the way I keep in touch with my daughter every day.

From the volume of texts and Tweets we send each other, starting at the crack of dawn, you’d think we lived on opposite sides of the planet and were desperate for connection. …

For a stone-cold killer maybe but not for a crime writer.

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Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

I’ll bet they think, isn’t she sweet, the younger San Francisco demographic watching me hobble up the California hill, one hand on my cane, the other pulling my rusty cart behind me on my way to the senior shopping hour early on a Sunday morning.

There she goes, that little old lady, smiling mindlessly at everyone, probably with a few screws loose at her age, but we humor her as she buys her milk and mush for her dinner. …

A morning that tests which is stronger, an earthquake or a poem?

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Photo by Sunyu Kim on Unsplash

I live on bedrock.

That won’t mean anything to you unless you live near the edges of the tectonic plates that cover our shifting earth.

After the Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked the San Francisco Bay Area with a 7.1 temblor, when I also lived on bedrock, but not by design, I vowed to never live on earthquake jelly, no matter how charming the digs or enticing the view.Think the Marina and Richmond Districts.

Before 5 pm or thereabouts, on October 29, 1989, I greeted earthquakes with interest, if not glee. To me, they resembled roller coaster rides, of which, as a child, I could not get enough. Nor could I find enough friends or adults to accompany me on the breathtaking rides at Rockaway and Coney Island. …

It’s not the lottery or Top Top GOAT writer award. Better than that.

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Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

They laughed when I sat down to play the piano.

And with good reason. I only know the first three bars of Blue Moon. It gets old fast.

But they also laughed when I locked myself in my apartment for four solid months beginning last Marach. I’d still be sequestered with my only window on the world, the one that looks out on the homeless in front of my building. Lucky for my neighbor but sadly for me, she had minor surgery in early summer. She’d been doing everything I needed to stay quarantined, from getting my mail, to emptying my trash, to buying me my favorite milk at Trader Joe’s. I didn’t have to budge from my safe abode and risk infection. …

A saga of life on the street where I live. Not a Julie Andrews song.

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

You’d be surprised at the number of household goods that fit in a trash can. Well, not my household goods. You’d never get a seven-foot couch or double-mirrored, antique German armoire in one of those rolling bins the street cleaners use to clean up after the homeless camps pick up and leave.

I don’t know the guys patrolling my street by name, but I recognize them by their neon-yellow vests, comfortable walking shoes, larger than healthier bellies, and wide brooms they use to sweep up the mess like the one I saw when I rolled up my blinds early this morning. …

You know what they say, when you don’t learn from history…

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Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

My past came back and slapped me in the face tonight.

A guy has been reaching out to talk to me about my experiences as a Shanti volunteer for a book he’s writing. He wants to know about the years I’d devoted to the organization that served people with AIDS.

San Francisco was at war with that virus in its Castro District back in the 80s and 90s, while other parts of the city hardly knew of its existence. Not the existence of the Castro, everyone knew about the home to the gay community, of course.

But if straight people had heard of AIDS, they thought it was a gay problem due to their sexual promiscuity, so it didn’t matter to them.

Tonight, in making arrangements for a zoom call to discuss his project, Brendan (I’ll call him Brendan because that’s his name) enclosed a copy of an article I’d written back in 1988 about my time as a straight volunteer working in the gay community. …

We didn’t prepare for enough waves.

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Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

I finally figured it out. We all hit the wall and at roughly the same time.

But you know that. Talk to any creative, and you’ll hear the same sad tale. Things were going great guns. We were beating this shutdown to a bloody pulp, getting our work done, exercising our bohonkuses off, rocking our quarantines like a boss.

For the first two weeks.

And then, we were like, what the eff? It’s not over yet?

But I need a haircut. I want to go to the gym. Have you seen my toenails? How long do you expect me to go without a pedicure?

Need proof? Read the comments on the very first article I wrote for Medium.

I don’t write porn or erotica, but sometimes I talk about one of our most basic needs.

People get it.

You’re never too old for love or touch.

You’re missing the best part of Medium if you don’t read them.

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Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

I’d been on Medium a while before I figured out Notifications. Because I lug around a massive guilt complex thanks to my Catholic upbringing, I was sure the number next to my photo meant Ev Williams was sending me messages that I was doing everything wrong and probably breaking Medium. Would I please stop?

One day, I rustled up the courage to actually click on the little bell and read a message from a reader. OMFG. Someone actually liked one of my articles. …

Didn’t get COVID-19

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Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Dr. Joseph Varon expects an influx of patients after Thanksgiving: “If we don’t do things right, America is going to see the darkest days in modern American medical history.”

A few days before Thanksgiving, I had an uncomfortable call with my daughter. Her celebration was already pared down. Instead of the usual seventeen to twenty minimum invited to enjoy her husband’s 3-day brined turkey and collection of wines from his celebrated cellar, the gathering would include his two daughters from two different counties in the state and me. …


Helen Cassidy Page

Writer, editor, researcher, aging expert, life coach, sand tray coach. Read one of my 55 titles on Amazon:

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