John Clark sharing recent contemplations in this strangest of years. Like most of those blogging on MCW, I’ve had to look at events and circumstances on almost a daily basis in order to stay safe and sane. Unexpected changes have resulted from some of my realizations and not all have been comfortable. Activities that occupied good portions of my time became unsafe or unrealistic, necessitating my coming up with things to replace them that were safe and low stress. Here are some of the adjustments I’ve made.
Daily aquatic exercises in a heated pool with a good bunch of people stopped early in the pandemic. It was truly the only exercise I could do on a regular basis and my body soon let me know it wasn’t happy. Fortunately, that activity resumed two weeks ago, but under fairly stringent conditions. Instead of the 12-18 we had back in February, there are four or less most mornings, oddly enough mostly men.
AA meetings also ceased around the same time. I’ll be the first to admit my trepidation about not being able to attend after 39 ½ years, but was able to maintain an even keel. Sadly, most of the meetings that have started back up are crowded and very few wear masks, so I’ve made a decision to remain away until masks are prevalent or here’s an effective vaccine available. Frankly, I’m shocked and saddened that so many people who worked their butts off to get and stay sober, don’t feel masks are necessary.
Two months ago, I realized that social media, particularly Facebook, wasn’t good for my mental health. When I started arguing with people I liked and cared about over trivial stuff, I realized it was time to back away. I miss many of the people I’m friends with online, but it wasn’t worth the emotional churning that accompanied it. I may think about going back after the election.
Some of the time and mental energy freed up by the above factors has gone into local political activity. I’m an active member (via Zoom) of the Waterville Democrats, playing the role of the opposition mayoral candidate in a mock debate to get our candidate ready. In addition I helped edit and polish his platform and campaign literature as well as brainstorm what should be on the Waterville Democrats website.
My latest endeavor has been volunteering at Waterville City Hall to assist in processing absentee ballot requests, in-person absentee voters and help file much of the accompanying paperwork. I can emphatically state that the entire process is professional, triple checked and completely above board. It’s very satisfying to see how many people, particularly college students are coming in and registering.
While I’m on the subject of absentee balloting, I can’t emphasize how easy and hassle free the process of in person absentee balloting is. Until a few weeks ago, I was completely unaware of the concept, but I’m here to tell you that if you want to avoid the crowd on November 3rd, in-person absentee voting is the way to go. If you’re already registered, simply check where to go and what the hours are in your town or city. Most people are in and out in less than five minutes. All ballots are sealed in an envelope, placed in a safe and will be counted (at least in Waterville) the Saturday and Sunday before the election.
Vote here 8-4 Mon-Fri in Waterville
In addition to reading lots of books and teaching my granddaughter to bug stomp(that’s a story for another column), I’ve been selling stuff on Ebay in addition to my selling books on Amazon. A friend of Beth’s wanted to get rid of a lot of books, so I drobe up to her place and picked them up Some went on Amazon, others on Ebay. Last weekend, I went (with a mask on) to an estate sale in Waterville. The very nice older couple were obviously moving to an apartment or assisted living. I bought a couple boxes of music books and sheet music, another box of books and yet another full of music videos and CDs (all gospel stuff). I spent $32.00 and made it back in three days, with sales still happening on Ebay.
The absentee ballot box at Waterville City Hall, opened by one person only on a frequent basis.
Like the birches during the 1997 ice storm, I may have to bend, but thus far I’ve managed to spring back whenever necessary. I’d love to hear how you’re dealing with the extended and the unexpected.