The verb “collaborate” is popular today. It’s primary definition, according to Merriam-Webster, means to “work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.” Yet according to a search engine “use over time” chart, the word is approaching “peak word usage” and may be in decline. Thank God for that. If I am asked to “collaborate” one more time, I may lose whatever is left of my COVID-clouded mind.
I prefer the secondary definition of the word, “traitorous cooperation with an enemy.” It has a delicious Cold War feel, reeking of espionage, well-coiffed women in carefully fitted clothing, and vodka. Remember the Cold War? Pour me a glass of that, buddy. Those were good times.
While I’ve been staying home and saving lives, I’ve given some thought to “living like it’s the Cold War.” I’m sometimes a throwback, drinking my coffee from a cup and saucer, not a mug. I wear skirts and sweaters to go to my virtual office, too, and I always wear an apron when I make lunch or dinner. It doesn’t cure the deadening suffocation of the national fear-fogging, but it helps break up the day into manageable pieces.
One bright October day, while not staying home and saving lives, I stopped in Bath, Maine. I sat on a park bench outside the Patten Free Library and read my brother’s blog on my phone. He ruminated on the coming winter. “Six months into Covid, with little abatement in sight, the looming darkness and colder days don’t bode well for anyone preferring light and summer breezes…what’s coming, I’m afraid, is a dank, Dickensian dystopia to be endured over the course of the winter.” Exhausted from isolation and sharing his concerns about the dimming of our days, I looked up from my phone and into the blue October sky. A young man was walking towards me.
It was the strangest thing, to be filed under “you cannot make this stuff up.” A kind young man, he tipped his hat and unabashedly answered my curious questions. He was a “historical costumer.” He said he and others happily walked the earth like the Ghost of Christmas Present, spreading joy and good will by wearing garb from another time and place.
It warmed my heart and I’ve thought about this man’s spirit many times as October’s bright blue weather dwindles towards the Halloween full moon. I’m so glad he chose not to stay home and save lives. If only for a brief moment, the world seemed bright with light; I felt alive. It warmed my heart.
Pour me a glass of that, buddy.