Shattering 2020

Everything bad in 2020 is directly attributed to COVID-19. Destructive forces conspire to make the year, the very worst it can possibly be. Unanticipated injustice is to be expected in 2020. And yet the response begins with shock and awe and plays out in a variety of very typical or perhaps universal responses.

The very best Christmas Eves of my life have included two things.  A heartfelt Christmas Eve Church service that crystallizes all of the very most important things in life.  And the Annual Diaz Christmas Eve Party complete with an abundance of love, joy, dancing, sangria and roast pork.  This year the only element within my control was the food, so I called my favourite Cuban chef, Armando Sr., for the trade secrets for the perfect roasted pork shoulder. 

My perfected sourdough bread was baked.  I grabbed the handle to open the oven and baste the pork.  The glass door of my very modern, high end oven crumbled around my feet.  Shock. Awe. Memories of the other shattering experiences in my life. 

My mother had finally saved enough money to replace her first car.  The white Maverick had served our family well.  She had learned to drive on it at 30.  She had taught my older sister and my cousin to drive on it, then averted an ulcer by sending me to driving school.  I had gotten to the point where the rattling from multiple areas of the car made it hard to hear the radio and certainly hard for me to exercise my personally perceived, cool persona.  The burgundy and white Sunbird changed all that.  Fresh off the lot, with the brand-new car smell and gleaming in the sun.  I convinced my mother that I was a very experienced driver – a year of driving under my belt in a mere two months!  Windows down.  Radio up.   I picked up Vikki.  Of course, we needed to cruise a little before we headed to the tennis courts.  We spotted our friend, Karen, and picked her up.  Vikki pulled the door closed and the back window shattered.  Completely gone.  Nothing to see.  When I finally got up the nerve to go home and tell my Mom, the response was not unanticipated.  TEARS.  Lots and lots of tears.

Fast forward many years to our house in the suburbs.  I wanted vertical blinds so I could hot tub in peace with my friends.  My very meticulous husband did what is common for me, but a rarity for him.  He dropped the screwdriver during the task.  It just nicked the bottom right corner of the sliding door but triggered a much bigger reaction.  I had time to call the kids to witness science in action, as the entire door shattered.  My husband was furious.

Christmas Eve 2020.  I’m not entirely certain what triggered the shattering of the oven door.  I’ve never heard or seen anything like it.  Did the screw in the handle come loose?  Did that happen when the door shattered, and I let it slam shut?  What is certain is there was shock.  There was awe.  Then there was uncontrollable laughter.  Of course, this would punctuate Christmas Eve and provide another illustration of how bad 2020 has really been.  My experience with shattering glass, parallels the universal experience with this pandemic.  Tears.  Anger.  Incredulousness.  And an overwhelming desire for the year to just end already! 

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