Contagious Curiosity

March 13, 2020 is when the Covid lockdown started for me. That Friday my kid came home with all her books and schools closed. Restaurants and gyms shut down and we all stood very far apart.

I couldn’t stop watching the news to find out what I needed to know about this scary virus. We were shut out and shut down.

That’s two and a half years back. We are not shut down anymore. Well, not exactly. But we didn’t really have a grand-reopening. And here in California the government sends periodic warnings that it will happen again. I find myself falling into a now-habitual posture of a protective crouch.

In Chapter 21 of the last book I published The Russian American School of Tomorrow, the soviet refugee Alex said he did not come to America to live in Alaska. He wanted to be in the middle of the action.

I want that too. I didn’t come this far to sit it out.

I haven’t been participating in so long I’m afraid. This kind of cautiousness is a virus of its own.

I’ve been afraid to get out of the house and try things. I can feel it like a hundred invisible spider webs, tying back the confidence I felt once.

Monday night was Halloween, when children practice being bad—evil!—and brave. When the sun was down and the moon was up, we walked the streets and admired all the kids with their costumes.

On the inversion holiday, can I turn this unhappy cowardice habit into curiosity again? Is there a witchery I can stir up into wishes come true?

News channels are downers. Facts have limits to their usefulness. Possibilities can pick up where the facts end.