Monthly Archives: September 2022

Anxious? Isn’t Everyone?????

The Scream –

Maybe you saw the study that came out a few weeks ago. About how anxious we all are? That we’re so anxious doctors should screen us when we come in for a checkup? I mean, this is news?

Think about it. COVID is still a threat, even though countries (except China) have mostly given up enforcing even basic efforts to contain it. And because people don’t seem the least bit interested in getting additional vaccine shots for winter – we’re probably all going to get it. Then there’s Putin’s war against Ukraine. And his repeated nuclear threats. And I’ve only just begun.

The stock market is falling with many stocks back in a bear market – down more than 20 percent as they were in June. Mortgage and credit card rates are soaring. Inflation – except for gasoline prices – remains stubbornly high. Rents are beyond crazy. Food prices are absurd. At the supermarket or even in a lowly diner. The Holidays are coming. What about the Thanksgiving turkey? Christmas toys for under the tree? Ye gods – what about the TREE???

And if all that isn’t enough – The Federal Reserve – and national banks of most advanced nations apparently intend to keep raising interest rates until the whole world slides into recession. Yah – THAT should help cool inflation – when only the rich can afford to eat. Do you think THEY’RE anxious??? Did they even ask any rich people in that study? “Oh hello! Are you anxious about your hedge fund today?”

And if all that isn’t enough – oh wait – I already said that. Well I may have to say it a few more times. Because there’s a soon to be HUGE hurricane bearing down – at this writing – on Florida’s Gulf Coast. And from there – who knows. The hurricane before – Fiona – ripped up Canada’s eastern seaboard last week. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland? Labrador? A hurricane???

Anxious??? We’re all out in front of our homes at night – baying crazily at the moon.
Most of us would be down at the local pub having a few cold ones, and then maybe a few more. Except who can still afford even one? Oh – yes. Those rich people who might be anxious about their hedge funds probably could still afford one. At least one.

Reading about that study did one good thing for my communal anxiety. After I stopped screaming, “Whaaaaaat??? You’re spending money studying WHAAAAAATTTT?” I started to laugh. A very loud laugh. And isn’t a good laugh perhaps the antidote to anxiety? I mean if we’re ALL anxious about – mostly – the same things — maybe we should just start passing that laugh around. You know – to the guy who is anxious about crossing the busy street. Or the woman who is anxious about having to go back to the office 3 days a week. Or that rich guy again who is anxious about taking the elevator up 45 floors to his pencil thin penthouse.

Maybe if we realize we’re pretty much all in this anxiety mess together – and we started a laughing chain – we could help each other a little. And then maybe we wouldn’t be yelling at each other so much about some of those really, REALLY big political issues. We might EVEN be able to get together to fix some of the stuff that’s making us so anxious in the first place.

I’m not sure the laugh would work for Vladimir Putin though. He’s so anxious about losing his hold on Russians that he still might nuke all of them along with the Ukrainians and the rest of us – just to be the last man standing. For a split second anyhow. But then again — does anyone know one of his henchmen? You could try…..

Queen Elizabeth Is Gone

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

Most Americans are probably quite tired of so much media coverage of Queen Elizabeth. And her somewhat unexpected death at 96 when only 2 days earlier she met with the UK’s outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to accept his formal resignation and then the new Prime Minister Liz Truss –  “asking”  her to form a government. All according to British law and custom. Both Johnson and Truss traveling to Balmoral Castle in Scotland for the nearly back to back meetings. Which of course were private. But we all saw the photos with Truss and the Queen’s trademark, delighted smile.

Since I wrote that first paragraph late last week, there have been memorial services in Scotland after the Queen’s Royal Standard draped casket traveled slowly through the towns and countryside to Edinburgh. Large crowds paying their respects along the route. After a flight to London, the Queen was driven slowly through the streets of London to her official home at Buckingham Palace. More mourners from all parts of the UK and beyond lined the way. Then – just a day later, with her children and grandchildren walking behind her casket – her final ride from the Palace to the oldest part of the Parliament Buildings – Westminster Hall. Which dates from the 11th century. Where ordinary people from all over the world can file by Queen Elizabeth’s casket 24 hours a day until the state funeral on Monday. As I write this – the online Queue Tracker Live estimates the line extends 4.9 miles. A wait of at least 9 hours. Update going into the weekend — the Queue Tracker Live warning of 24 hour waits and a cold night.

September 16, 2022 London time

I’m an Anglophile so if I could – I’d be in that queue. But I’m supposed to be working on my soon to be launched podcast. So here I am at home – watching BBC, Sky News, and CNN coverage wall to wall. Watching the BBC ‘s live international stream now and then of the Queen’s coffin lying regally in that ancient hall while so many of those ordinary people – old and young, some tearful, some bowing or curtsying – walk quietly by. Hard to turn away when my heart is in London. I’ll pay my own quiet virtual respects over the weekend.

The first alert that the Queen had died came over my iPhone. From Sky. The print looking very small and lonely on that screen. It said simply, “Queen Elizabeth has died”. I said quietly – almost viscerally  – “oh no”. There were no other alerts. For more than 5 minutes the screen was quiet. I was watching BBC. Nothing. I quickly began streaming Sky News on my iPad – in time to watch the reporter at Balmoral read the announcement which had just been handed to him. He almost couldn’t get through it. It took BBC at least 5 more minutes before the anchor read his own, halting announcement. Perhaps the delay was to give the on-air people a moment to digest it. But they couldn’t.

I had an overwhelming feeling that everything familiar had just ended. That the sky was falling. A feeling some of the reporters later said was common among older Brits. She was their queen yes. But at 96 she had become the world’s grandmother. A constant in a world changing so rapidly that when we went to bed at night we no longer knew what it would look and sound and taste like when we woke up in the morning.

I don’t think my husband – who grew up in a small New Jersey town – has the same relationship as I do to the British Royals. He didn’t grow up in Boston. Where so many of the stately old brick and cement homes in Back Bay and on Beacon Hill were built to resemble the London neighborhoods many early 19th century Americans once knew. Where the streets I walked on had the same names as those in London. I doubt my husband read the same historical novels in school. And I know he never wanted to live in London. As I always did.

The historical films and tapes of Queen Elizabeth from her girlhood have been fascinating. Her grainy black and white coronation is the first nearly live international TV many Americans can remember. I always thought it was live – actually the first live international broadcast. So did my husband – who also recalls the grainy shots. But more important – it was my first personal memory of Queen Elizabeth and the modern British monarchy. In Boston we studied tons of British, Scottish and Irish history but never, seemingly, anything current. At least I don’t remember it. (Or much of the history).

There’s been lots of discussion during the coverage this week about the future of the British monarchy. Even though so many young people have come out to honor the Queen. But of course they are honoring a person. A special woman who seemed part of everyone’s family despite being the Queen. Will they also honor her son?

I’ve heard and read many more eloquent words about the Queen than I can ever write. But – like so many other people – eloquent or plain spoken – I feel the door closing on an era. MY era. Life will go on. Charles will be the King he was raised to be. William will succeed him if the monarchy survives. But it won’t be the same. There will be no delighted smile on our Granny’s face. No one dressed in bright colors who always does and says the right thing. No constant in our spinning ever faster world. Queen Elizabeth is gone….