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Are We There Yet? Week 10

I think some people think we have arrived, but if we have, I have no idea where we are. Now that states are re-opening, all of us face the challenge of what to do next. As I noted last week, the prospect of venturing out will lead to different stress levels for all of us.

This week was fairly uneventful for me. As I was talking with a client, she asked me if she would end up “mendicant and discalced.” My immediate answer was, “of course not.” Then I asked her what that phrase meant. According to the New World Encyclopedia, the term mendicant (from Latin: mendicants - “begging”) refers to religious ascetics of various backgrounds who rely primarily (or exclusively) on begging and charity to survive. The term discalced means unshod or barefoot and generally refers to religious orders. Essentially, she was asking me if the crisis would leave her begging without shoes.

Luckily, my original answer was correct, and she will not be begging without shoes. As I had never heard that phrase or words before, I researched to find out the origination of that phrase, but there are many everyday phrases that I suspect we all use without knowing how they originated. In fact, the other day, I asked my wife what we should do for dinner, and she said, “how about catch as catch can.” I knew what she meant but had no idea where that phrase originated. It refers to wrestling where all holds are permitted or in modern terms, using anything available. If you have phrases you would like to share, send me an email.

The only excitement for me this week was that I had to make a trip to my office in Fairfax to pick something up. My house is about 20 miles from the office, and with everyone in lockdown, I hoped to be there and back in 45 minutes. My hopes were dashed as soon as I got on Route 66 and was stuck in traffic. The traffic was caused by two different accidents, and I encountered another delay on the way back from my office. So, back to normal may not be all it is cracked up to be.

This week’s offerings:

READING
  • Yellow House—by Sarah M. Broom is a story about a woman growing up in New Orleans with her 11 siblings and her decrepit yellow house that gets destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. It is the story of her family but also about New Orleans and being black in America.
  • Nickel Boys—Colston Whitehead is about a boys’ home in Florida. It is a novel but based on an actual boys’ home and the abuse that happened there.
TELEVISION
  • Beforeigners—HBO, Norwegian sci-fi/detective story. People from the past are appearing in the harbor in Oslo. They get integrated into modern life there – sort of.
  • When They See Us—In 1989, a jogger was assaulted and raped in New York’s Central Park, and five young people were subsequently charged with the crime. The quintet labeled the Central Park Five, maintained its innocence, and spent years fighting the convictions, hoping to be exonerated. This limited series spans a quarter of a century, from when the teens are first questioned about the incident in the spring of 1989, going through their exoneration in 2002, and ultimately the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014. 
PODCASTS
  • Hidden Brain—uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices, and direct our relationships.
  • Dan Carlin Hardcore History—multi-hour history podcasts on specific topics. You need to like history, but if you do, this is fascinating