This week, my family and I are at the beach. Like many of you, we have been in our home since March and had to cancel summer plans but feel lucky to have found a rental within driving distance. I had not fully appreciated how much the change of scenery would provide a brief reset and I feel fortunate that we were able to get away. I know that many, for a multitude of reasons, can’t leave their homes. While at the beach, I was reading an article called “A Return to Normal: How Long Will the Pandemic Last” in the Wharton school’s online business analysis journal. According to Ezekiel (Zeke) Emanuel, vice provost for global initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton professor of health care management, we should be prepared to not return to normal living until November 2021. He advocates work from home, social distancing, mask wearing, and many of the things we all have been trying to do for the last 5 months. He thinks this all will be necessary even if we get a vaccine later this year because the process of immunizing so many people will take time. He also said that “I’m generally a very optimistic guy, and I’m being realistic here.” I can only imagine his thoughts if he were a pessimist.
We also got news yesterday from the Arlington County Schools that the schools, at least initially, will be solely virtual learning this fall. My kids are almost all teenagers and fairly self-sufficient, but I know a lot of families with younger children for whom online learning will be struggle for everyone in the family especially with both spouses trying to work.
As I noted last week, if we can’t change our situations, we can try to change our attitudes and expectations. I’ll continue to hope that a return to normal occurs earlier than 18 months from now but if not, I’ll change my attitude to find the joy or a brief reset where I can during this unprecedented time in our lives.
And, we pick up a puppy on Sunday so that should provide some distraction.
This week’s selections are below:
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
In a sprawling Indian city, three friends venture into the most dangerous corners to find their missing classmate. Down market lanes crammed with too many people, dogs, and rickshaws, past stalls that smell of cardamom and sizzling oil, below a smoggy sky that doesn’t let through a single blade of sunlight, and all the way at the end of the Purple metro line lies a jumble of tin-roofed homes where nine-year-old Jai lives with his family. From his doorway, he can spot the glittering lights of the city’s fancy high-rises, and though his mother works as a maid in one, to him they seem a thousand miles away. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line plunges readers deep into this neighborhood to trace the unfolding of a tragedy through the eyes of a child as he has his first perilous collisions with an unjust and complicated wider world.
Slow Burn: David Duke
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a white supremacist became an American political phenomenon. David Duke’s rise to power and prominence—his election to the Louisiana Legislature, and then his campaigns for the U.S. Senate and the governorship—was an existential crisis for the state and the nation. The fourth season of Slate’s Slow Burn will explore how a Nazi sympathizer and former Klansman fashioned himself into a mainstream figure, and why some voters came to embrace his message. It will also examine how activists, journalists, and ordinary citizens confronted Duke’s candidacy, and what it took to stop him.