Archive for April 2020

A Place without People

April 5, 2020

The barren heart of San Diego State.

I’ve worked on the campus on San Diego State ever since I moved to San Diego. And during the semester it’s a place that’s filled with people. When I got here it was full of kids walking and talking on their cell phones. Now it’s full of kids walking and staring at their cell phones.

But I shouldn’t say “now” because, once the great sickness spread across the world, SDSU students were sent home. So were their professors and everybody else who worked on campus. This place has the same shape with its paths, hills and buildings. But it no longer has a human spirit.

A place isn’t a place without people. Even in the summer, when class numbers shrunk to a minimum, there were still people in transit from the bookstore to the ATM’s and the food court then to some mysterious activity they had in some academic hall. You still heard the SDSU students who’d gathered to form an ensemble at the music building, on the edge of an open athletic field.

A couple days ago I stopped to take a photo of an empty campus (the one you see above) that I would have never been able to take in the daylight before this.

Nobody seems to know when we’ll be able to meet and touch each other again. Now we’re hiding from others to avoid infection. All of this virus avoidance makes me I wonder how we will be able to build up immunity and ultimately be protected from COVID-19. From what I hear a vaccine is years away.

Anyway, I’ll look forward to seeing you in the line to enter the grocery store, though I probably won’t know it’s you unless I can recognize you behind a medical mask.

Knowing that it’s Over

April 4, 2020

My parents were married until death came, just like in the wedding vow. I have wondered whether people remaining in long marriages made perfect sense or required a huge act of will. My marriage has been a long one, 29 years, but now it’s breaking up.

I got married to a woman I fell in love with and we seemed very compatible. We were together for a long time and I was happy. I didn’t ever give much thought to whether I should get married to somebody. I just assumed that I would, and I did. In the same way I assumed I would have children, which we did.

Now that the marriage is done I still have two wonderful kids. They’re not little anymore. But the memories of holding their hands, throwing them up in the air and being greeted by them when I picked them up at daycare are like stones so precious I could never trade them or lose them.

I have never been a guy that made many friends. I don’t have a group of buddies I hang out with.┬áSure, I’m social. Great at parties. Great at striking up conversations with people I don’t know. But forming strong friendships? For some reason, I’m not good at that. After I got married, my wife was kind of it for me. She was my lover and my best friend and I thought that she was enough. And now that’s over.

I guess what we think of marriage is a transitory thing. Maybe it’s crazy that I ever thought otherwise. We used to think marriage meant starting a new family. No longer the case. We used to think a marriage was a union between a man and a woman. No longer the case. I guess marriage means whatever we decide it means. If we decide marriage is a ham and cheese sandwich, then that’s what it is.

As for that “til death do us part” thing, you gotta admit that was a lot easier back when we didn’t live so long.

The woman I married is still in my life. When you have kids there’s no other choice, really. The divorce, which will soon be a reality, was not my idea. And for a long time all I wanted was to get her back… to somehow turn this ship around and make things the way they were, only better.

But I’m tired of wanting her back. The marriage is done and now even I know it’s done. And, you know, maybe that’s not so bad.