Rabbit Rambling: Hoping and coping


bioline_Chizu Omori

I’ve taken some time off from this column because it was hard for me to feel that I had something sensible to say about what we have been living through. It’s as though we’re experiencing a slow, rolling earthquake that sends periodic shakes and shudders. We can’t tell when the next jolt will come or how severe it will be, and we don’t know when it will end.

I know that I am lucky in that I don’t have small children to take care of and that I’m in relative good health, I haven’t lost a job and I have family and friends who look after me. Still, I feel uneasy because I, along with everybody, have lost control over my life. Adjusting to staying home for long periods, always wearing a mask when stepping out the door, washing my hands all the time, trying to stay semi-cheerful when so much bad news keeps bombarding us, all of these things are getting harder and harder to handle.

And then, there are these signs of hope and the possibility of change, of reform and a restructuring of the status quo that could result in a different country, one that is more just, more helpful to all of the people, providing more security for even the poorest among us. The pandemic has exposed so much of the dysfunctional aspects of our society and we can’t ignore the facts of our history any longer. We can’t dodge the major role that race has played in our history.

There was something almost thrilling in the reaction that took place to the horrendous killing of George Floyd. In spite of the recommendations that we should stay home, thousands took to the streets to protest, and it went on for days on end. I was just itching to get out there, marching down Telegraph Avenue to downtown Oakland, but being an old lady meant that I would be exposing myself to possible infection, so I watched it all happening on TV. I figure I wasn’t the only one constrained by the circumstances and had we not had the virus to worry about, the crowds would have been even bigger.

I gasped and clapped my hands when I saw “BLACK LIVES MATTER” being painted on that street near the White House. In fact, I was delighted to participate in the repainting of the same words in San Francisco on Fulton Street. We did this with all the precautions and distancing, and had a good time being out with a lively group. This was done under the auspices of the African American Art and Culture Complex. I went to Tanforan to participate in the Tsuru Rising demonstration on June 7.

And, in spite of all my technological incompetence, I have learned to use Zoom with the help of my kids and friends. My Mac Mini does not have the capacity to use Zoom, so I needed an additional gadget. I now have Netflix and can watch all kinds of TV and movies. My kitty is delighted that I am home so much and she demands my attention much more insistently than before.

I watched part of “Hamilton” on my computer yesterday and will watch the rest today. So, in some ways, making adjustments in my life is forcing me to expand my mind and abilities more. I’m contacting old friends, and interacting with people who live in my building more. I did a “check-up” with my doctor on my computer, and that felt odd, but we had a nice exchange.

So, I hope that all of you are also learning to cope with this situation. We have an election confronting us, and so we need to pay attention to this major event which will matter like no other election. My hair is getting straggly, I sit in front of my computer in old worn sweatshirts, and I more or less eat when I feel hungry, but eventually, I’ll get my hair cut, I’ll dress more nicely, and I’ll start eating bacon and eggs in the morning. I’m not sure when that will be.

Chizu Omori, of Oakland, is co-producer of the award-winning film “Rabbit in the Moon.” She can be reached at chizuomori@gmail.com. The views expressed in the preceding column are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

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