A restless time

My cats go through personality changes whenever they step outside together. CP, who’s scared of everything and tends to get bullied when in the house, starts to strut and find the high ground. Starky, who attacks CP relentlessly indoors, becomes the scared victim once she hits the open air.

“Are we going to have a normal summer?” my son Milo asks. We’ve been inside, except for daily drives, for weeks now. “You think we’ll be able to hang out again?”

Camps have been canceled. It’s hard to imagine concerts, parades, firework displays, big barbecue picnics.


We note the people not wearing masks now, and see whether they get accosted or talked at by mask-wearers. In the back seat, our dog Berry’s drooling out the open window, crying at every dog on a leash that we pass.

Milo agrees it may be a while before everyone’s fine with sleepovers again. Or the basketball hoops get put back. In the meantime, a few friends have yards to play in should that time ever come.

“Can you imagine if we had to put a mask on Berry or the cats?” he asks.

Fawn’s been on the phone all day working with those with various health and economic challenges to find the help they need. I can tell she’s worn out. “It’s never going to be the same,” she says.

The day’s endless headlines from various aggregators are on our phones. Our news has become single-focused. Even the local fits into the national and international. There’s no “other” news any more.

I search out old screwball comedies on our stream. The chatter’s too fast, the plot too slow. We switch to comedy specials. At one point we laugh so hard I have to turn the television off until we can see it again through our tears.

Veils of endless deadlines and related stress have lifted for me. I seem to be noticing the pace of spring more this year: wind, rains, blossoms, sun. My wife says she wishes she could see it as I do, but her work’s been more harrowing.

We close the curtains. It’s quiet. Rain touches the windowpanes like cat feet trying to tiptoe.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.