I got it. Rona. Covid. The 19 version. Just tested positive. It’s a scary time. It’s a disease with no symptoms, no medication, no cure, no ramifications, no real down-side (unless you are sick anyway). But, if you stay home for 2 weeks and then wear a mask in public, everyone should be ok. I will follow the rules. Because my children insist and because, as you know, I am generally a rule-follower.
But it got me thinking about Pampy. She was my family dog in the 1960s and 1970s. She died when I was young. She was named after the French word for grapefruit (Pamplemousse), because my parents were hippies and crazy. For most of my childhood, I thought she died because I accidently poisoned her. I carried that weight a long time. Turns out, she was just really old. But I remember this: I loved her. And she loved me.
Tonight, as the pandemic reaches into my home, I cuddled with my dog. Lilly has no idea what is going on. She knows no pandemic or racial injustice. But she loves us. She knows when something is wrong. And for now something is wrong. You can tell that she knows. She is uptight. And unfocused. She is jittery. It is as if she senses things that humans cannot. That got me thinking about the subtleties of sensitivity and awareness. Do we know when our friends are hurting? Do we know when other people are suffering? Do we see injustice and pain if it does not affect us? Do we need special sensories to sympathize with others when they are having trouble? I do not know. I would like to think that I have always tried to empathize with the plight of others, but I am fairly sure I have fallen short.
Here is a sad truth: I know most of your secrets. After 25 years representing or defending this community, I have heard it all. I mean about you. Specifically, YOU. I know what you have done. I know what you have been through. I know what others have done to you. It breaks my heart because every person, every family I know has their pain. Their secrets. Their struggles. I am just a repository of that information. And, no, I will never ever share it. With anyone. But I know. And I have seen you act brave. Or pompously. Or arrogantly. Or callously. And I bite my tongue until it bleeds. Because I know. I know plenty of people who are so self-consumed, so narcissistic, that they could care less about the plight of others, unless it might somehow elevate themselves. But I know THEIR secrets too. It may explain why Corona (and other diseases) do not discriminate. Because there is no difference. Men, women, Jews, Muslims, Christians, blacks, whites, Hispanics, LGBT.
Dogs and Viruses do not discriminate. Because they also know your secrets. And they do not care.
I do not know the answers. But I find myself in a reflective mood. I will have more to say soon. You aren’t going to want to miss it, Fabian.