Reawakening and reopening

I got my haircut in an old barber’s chair from which I could see photos of others shorn in the same spot over the 90 years of Depression, war, recovery, Sixties’ upheavals and other generational antics, and finally the Trump and other pandemics. The haircut went fast. It felt good.

We’re planning a small graduation party for our son and a dozen friends in our back yard, to follow a similarly-sized socially-distanced ceremony in his school’s garden. There’ll be a weekend getaway to Vermont for Father’s Day.

My work at the library is restarting on a week-on, week-off basis, masked and gloved.


Though the re-opening’s looking swell, I can see that it’s fraught with unforeseen dangers. We carry masks in the car and our pockets. We’ve become hand sanitizer aficionados after years avoiding the stuff.

Some of us are increasingly wary that many are taking things more lackadaisically. We feel more vulnerable and worry about what’s getting spread in the large protests of recent weeks, especially when we’ve marched within them.

We’re looking deeper inside for ways in which we’ve tolerated racism and other forms of bigotry and power politics in our lives. Do we shame others who make us feel vulnerable, or seem to be appropriating concerns beyond their experience? Do we avoid them?

We’re walking on eggshells, on hot asphalt, on our own dreams of water. Yet we’re walking. We’re re-opening.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.