Still not sold? Keep watching this space for news about the audiobook, the graphic novel, the upcoming big-budget movie! (Not that I’m sure any of those things are happening, but, if they are, you’ll hear about them here first…)
My friend Paine, on the autism spectrum and on the frontline, continues his observations on our peculiar times:
It’s strange, there’s all this glum stuff being said on the news, so much in fact that it would make someone want to give up on our country and head for Canada.
There’s two problems with this though, 1) Canada won’t take anyone trying to cross the border and 2) running away won’t solve any problems, either nationally or individually. Yet I still see a lot of things that give me hope.
I saw a lot of people shopping at Wal Mart the other day, a majority of whom were wearing masks and gloves. There were even lines on the floor either telling people to go one way down each aisle or to stay 6 feet or a carts length apart from everyone else. I didn’t notice what any of them were buying but it was good just to see people out and about.
I also saw kids around my neighborhood playing outside again which is great to see given the current climate. There were even some people sitting on their front stoops outside their houses, some of them talking to some people, from a distance of course, Some of them sitting in a chair having a drink.
I even saw more cars on the road then before, not too much more but more than there’s previously been. There’s even been more people heading to the supermarket, Target, Wal Mart or getting take out from local restaurants. So, things are starting to get back to some semblance of normal, at least they are where I am, I don’t know about anywhere else.
What I do know is that when everything opens up again I hope that both businesses and people act responsibly because the virus is still out there and it’s not going to go away just because everything is open once again.
My friend Paine, on the autism spectrum and on the frontline, continues his chronicle of our strange times:
“Imagine all the people, living life in peace, you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will live as one.”
When John Lennon first sang those words, he called for people of his generation to come together to help make a better world. I think that those words ring true now more than ever.
I’ve said many times that things were going to get better and I stand by those words but the way they get better is if we make them better. We cannot just sit around waiting for someone to find a way to get us out of our current situation with this virus, we ourselves need to get up and help make things better, then we will not only advance as a nation but as human beings.
I know things seem bleak now and some people might think that it’s hopeless but it’s not, now more than ever we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and face this challenge head on.
This virus has dealt us a huge blow, now is the time for us to get up and fight back against it in whatever way we can, whether it be by practicing social distancing or by giving to charity or by simply thanking all our first responders.
My friend Paine sends another dispatch from his unique vantage point, on the spectrum and on the frontlines, watching this strange new world play out:
Since I started writing these notes, a lot of things have happened, not just in the world, but in my own life.
I managed to find another job that pays well and I’ve heard a lot of good things about people coming together to raise money for and awareness about the virus. This is great, this needs to keep going if we are to get out of our current situation.
Our leaders need to put aside politics, put aside egos, do what they were put in office to do and help the American people.
The media needs to stop spreading fear of the disease and tell us what is being done to help contain and eventually cure it, but most of all, we as a nation need to come together and help each other get through these dark times and not just by getting together via Skype or FaceTime or whatever webcam service people use to talk to each other or have a singalong.
We need to do our part to fight this virus, whether it be washing our hands, wearing a face mask and gloves when we go out or even donating to help with the effort in combating the virus. This situation will get resolved, how long and how fast it takes for it to do so is up to us.
My friend Paine is bright, articulate and on the autism spectrum. He has a unique take on things and continues to share it with us here:
During the week I heard that a scientist said that people in our country might have to practice social distancing until the year 2022.
When I heard that, I thought that people would really start panicking, I also thought of all the things that happened to cause all of this to happen and of what needs to be done to make sure we get through this.
If our government hadn’t kept downplaying this virus then chances are, we probably wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in. As it is however, we are and we need to come together to help each other get through this tough time.
I’ve seen people on social media doing some good things such as Broadway stars singing songs from their homes. There’s even been TV specials where people sing songs from their homes, sometimes even encouraging home viewers to sing along.
This is proof that we’re all in the same boat and that we can and will get through this very tough time. I don’t know how long this will last but I do know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it might take us a little while to get there, but we will get there.
My friend Payne is on the autism spectrum and therefore sees things far more clearly than most of us. This is what he has to say:
I heard on the news the other day that a health official was being interviewed. In the interview he said something along the lines of that people would listen to Kendall Jenner before they listen to someone like him, which is why people on social media need to talk about how important it is to shelter in place, wash your hands, use a face mask, all the stuff everybody has been saying to do.
I agree, while I know that not everyone will do these things, we still need to take precautions and do all the things health officials tell us to do to slow and eventually stop the spread of the virus.
I also think that if our government had taken this virus seriously from the beginning, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in right now and have to do these things. The government has downplayed this virus for so long and that has caused our country to almost come to a standstill. If they had taken this virus seriously we would be safer and less panicked as we are now, but this is the way things are at the moment and because of that we need to come together.
We need to listen to what health care officials say and do what we can to slow and eventually stop the spread of the virus. I know it can be tough to do all these things but the more people do them, the healthier we can get.
When this pandemic is over however, we cannot forget this virus and all the suffering it caused, otherwise we won’t be ready for when and if the next one hits
Fred Rogers once said “Look For The Helpers.”
It seems to me that people are looking for more negative things to say about this situation than they are positive things. I get it, these are scary times and it does seem that every other country in the world is taking care of the virus situation before we can, but there are many things that are happening in response to this virus.
I heard about professional athletes organizing drives to get food to help victims of the virus and celebrities and other people getting together to help people through this time. Yes we are going through some bad times right now, especially with China and South Korea seeming to get a handle on this situation faster than our country can, but even in the darkest of times there are glimmers of hope to be found, we just have to know where to look for them.
Now more than ever we need to “Look For The Helpers” and perhaps even become helpers ourselves, because when we work together and help each other we can get through any panic and any dark time like the one we are currently in.
When it is over and this virus is gone however, we cannot forget what happened because of it, how many people have suffered, gotten sick or died because of this virus because if we do, we won’t be prepared for when and if this happens again.
Another post from my buddy Payne:
When the week began I felt depressed, I miss hanging out with my friends, going to the movies, going out to dinner, all things that can no longer be done because of this virus.
On top of that I heard that the president wants to open up everything in two weeks, which is honestly the most irresponsible thing that could be done. Opening up everything after two weeks would cause the virus to spread almost to the point that we couldn’t be able to contain it, but I guess we should expect nothing less from a man who prioritizes money and ego over the health and safety of the people he’s supposed to be governing.
As usual the media’s reporting on the situation isn’t helping, it’s only making people more scared. We need to stop panicking and start using our common sense, this is a time where we need to come together and help each other through these tough times and I know these are scary times and it is okay to be scared but we need to stop letting fear guide how we make our decisions.
I’m not saying these things to back a political candidate or to impose my opinions on people, I’m saying them because I love my country and I hate to see it’s people suffer whether it be from the virus itself or from the panic this virus is causing.
I heard from my friend Payne, who’s passing this on for us all to consider:
My name is Payne, I am a concerned citizen of these United States with mild autism, at this moment the country is in the middle of a pandemic that seems like it’ll get worse before it gets better, on Monday I got told that I wouldn’t be able to come to work until this whole thing blows over, It doesn’t help that I keep hearing scary headlines about this situation, setting off a bunch of irrational thoughts in my head and on top of that I heard that our president is considering a national lockdown which will really get people panicking, I know that China is where this virus first came from but the person I blame for all this is our president, a selfish, entitled jerk who thinks that he can do whatever he wants and there won’t be any consequences for his actions, he should’ve put measures in place to prevent, or at least contain this but instead he blew it off and as usual didn’t listen to anybody about it because he knows everything and he’s always right and everybody else is always wrong, meanwhile people are dying from this disease and even the people who aren’t sick are suffering because like me they’ve been essentially laid off and can’t make money and other people are panicking and buying up a bunch of stuff from the nearby supermarket, it just makes me sad how much the irresponsibility of a few can lead to the the craziness of many, it seems like we’re all going crazy and falling apart when we should be coming together and helping each other get through this time even if we’re not making direct contact with each other, I don’t know how long this will last but I do know we need to stop being afraid and come together to help each other through this really dark time and actually take action against this disease even if it’s only by washing our hands with soap and water.
Go see it.
If this movie is somewhere nearby you, don’t read this, just go see it yourself. That’s my first advice.
If you can’t, it’ll be on Amazon or Netflix or something eventually but I doubt it’ll be the same. I think you need to be in a big room with a big sound system, even if nobody is dancing in front of you (shameful and unthinkable as that would be).
This movie puts the lie to every concert film and maybe every concert produced since. The cameras roam, they’re still searching for focus in big moments. Big moments come without warning, without a lead-in or introduction. There’s no contrived big ending number. Mick Jagger’s in the audience and, really, who cares?
Some of the most exciting stuff comes early on. Songs end and then swell up again because Aretha or the Reverend James Cleveland or the choir don’t feel like letting go just yet. There are moments where you can see the musicians searching for the timing and the key change, when exactly to make the change, feeling for where the other musicians are going to be in the next split second.
One of my favorite shots is when one of the cameramen wheels around and you see Sydney Pollack frantically pointing to him to get the audience, which is going fucking crazy. And so are you in your plush theater seat, which feels like it needs better springs because it’s not used to the patrons bouncing up and down quite so much.
It feels real. It feels like music ruling, not the camera, not the theatrical exploitation, not the money. Just the music. And the fact that that feels like so long ago is really sad.
The other thing I realized, watching this film, is about America – that the thing that made people around the world feel sympathetic to America, even when we weren’t always acting in their (or our) best interest, was that America has always been about the struggle for liberation of the people who came here.
America’s charm – at least to the white people who chose to come here – was that, in America, you could seek to become something new. Like my maternal grandfather who escaped the pogroms and the Russian draft and the paternal one who escaped working in the Scottish mines (to come work in the Illinois mines but get his kid into college).
And in this film, in Aretha and Reverend Cleveland and that choir, I saw reason to believe that that struggle was even more powerful to people who didn’t choose, who were dragged here against their will and somehow managed to make something beautiful and powerful and defiant out of that pain.
Which is why this film feels so resonant today. In our petty politics now, either you buy our President’s message, that America is about being the big bully, the guy with the big muscles and the big bank account and if you get in our way, we’ll squash you – or, if you don’t buy it, you struggle to figure out what the other message, the alternative, is.
And I think, here it is, in this film. America is that place where you struggle to become what you want to be. Nobody can guarantee you’ll succeed. The struggle itself is the point, the beauty and power and dignity. That attempt to improve – our individual selves and our collective society – lies at the heart of American identity. Uniquely among nations, America is not so much about who we are as who we are trying to become.
When you look at it like that, you see how petty and small Trump and his like are. They offer nothing worth wanting. The good fight is the fight for the opportunity to keep struggling, to try to keep making something better, instead of doubling down on the worst of what we already are.
Aretha and the Reverend Cleveland and Sydney Pollack – all of them gone now – send us a different message. I recommend it highly.
I once was blind but now I see. Go and do likewise.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Couldn’t put it down!
January 24, 2019
Krever’s novel is smart, energetic, wryly funny, and full of delightfully unexpected plot twists. Nicky Sandler, the narrator, is thoroughly sympathetic: humble, mad-brainy, loyal, and a ninja-master of getting over. He even has moments when he borders on WISE. I loved this book from the first page to the last.