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Pickle Me This

July 21, 2020

Measure

I haven’t paid much attention to the numbers, at all, unless they’re good (just 102 cases in Ontario last Wednesday!), but when they’re not, they don’t concern me. Because my concern doesn’t help, I mean, neither me nor the province, and there are actual people who get paid to know about these things, so instead I wash my hands, wear a mask, and focus on the things I can control. Like remaining calm, which is to say measured.

“Carefully considered; deliberate and restrained.”

I would like to call a moratorium on the word “surge.” I would like to call a moratorium on headlines. “It’s not a linear path,” says a person who actually knows what the measurements mean in an article whose inflammatory headline runs counter to the message. “Periodic outbreaks, periodic reopenings… It’s going to happen. It should happen. I think the key thing is communicating that and normalizing that.”

“an estimate of what is to be expected (as of a person or situation)”

How do you measure risk? I wrote about this in May, which in retrospect was a really hard time, and I was frustrated by other people’s demands for certainty and clarity, which seemed impossible. I continue to be frustrated by a lack of regard for any middle ground between ordinary life and lockdown, a middle ground that is possible (although less so with our provincial government’s dearth of vision and unwillingness to invest the money to make this possible). But then we all measure these things differently, don’t we. Slight odds mean something different and dangerous to people who have been outliers before, whereas to me they suggest safety. And neither of us is wrong.

“to estimate or appraise by a criterion”

I am thinking about how to connect all this to music, the measures that make a song as days make a week, weeks to years. How an archaic definition of “measure” is synonymous with “dance,” albeit one conducted with gravity instead of abandon. This is not the mashed potato, is what I’m saying, neither the latest, nor the greatest. But still a dance, a navigation in time and space with others.

“You know, sometimes we’re not prepared for adversity. When it happens sometimes, we’re caught short. We don’t know exactly how to handle it when it comes up. Sometimes, we don’t know just what to do when adversity takes over. (chuckle). And I have advice for all of us, I got it from my pianist Joe Zawinul who wrote this tune. And it sounds like what you’re supposed to say when you have that kind of problem. It’s called mercy, mercy, mercy.”

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