Monday, May 11, 2020

Nurture and Control

I was reminded this weekend of two things.  I listened to someone say that there is nothing like becoming a mother to convince you that you have both been handed an immense responsibility, and that also that control is an illusion.  Because I am a person of a certain age that reminded me of the scene in "Days of Thunder".  "Days of Thunder" is a movie that is theoretically about testosterone and car racing, and like a lot of other sports movies is about raw talent versus practice, putting the time in versus being naturally great, and oh yeah, by the way this thing could kill you. There is of course a very attractive neurosurgeon, and of course at one point she asks the racer why the hell do you like risking your brain to run a car in circles?  (I may be paraphrasing, but not by much.)  He says, oh well, it's so fun to control a thing that is out of control.  And she responds with a tirade I loved so much, I recorded on an index card and kept it in my file of amazing quotes.  (Yes, I was that person.  Look y'all, before tumblr, we had our own methodologies.)  
She says: 
Control is an illusion, you infantile egomaniac. Nobody knows what's gonna happen next: not on a freeway, not in an airplane, not inside our own bodies and certainly not on a racetrack with 40 other infantile egomaniacs.  
And it seems relevant to this moment.  I can wash my hands more, I can wear a mask.  None of this guarantees I won't get sick or infect others, but they are two things that are within my control to do, so I will keep doing them until we have a better plan.  
I've seen that there is evidence a lot of folks were really hanging on to that initial no groups for eight weeks, and figuring it would be back to the status quo by then.  The challenge, as someone who tries not to harsh people's mellow, is that I know some folks needed to believe that.  But here we are, still - where possible - needing to stay at home.