We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 44.
NOTE: One of our loyal readers challenged us to write about a historical figure. Easy enough! Here’s the catch: we are on lockdown with that historical figure. RDJ is stuck with Trump, and Tina is fortunate enough to be spending time with Nelson #Mandela. RafifJ was going to write about Rebecca Lee Crumpler, but unfortunately had to respond to a client emergency. Deadlines suck sometimes.
At Camp David…
RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon
The Donald and I are sitting on the porch sipping our evening drinks (Melania mixed them so I am not so sure if they are good) as the birds sing and the trees whistle above us. We are spending the weekend here at Camp David while Jared and Ivanka are gallivanting between New Jersey and DC. Someone in DC had dinner with them last week and told me that they claim they are corona-immune. Those Kushners!
The conversation resumes from where we left off yesterday, when we didn’t say goodnight to one another. This morning was tense, but during the day, we kind of let it go.
Donald asks “Hey, you still upset with me?”
I give him a long look, lower my eyes, shake my head, and respond “are you going to remain a self-centered prick while I am here, or will you remain so for the rest of your life?”
Our fight yesterday was about sweeping statements and walk backs. Donald was trying to convince me that everything he says is taken out of context and my argument was that he is totally irresponsible about his words, their outcomes, and the volcanoes that erupt from them.
I pointed about that he should read a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The Donald said he doesn’t like reading what others spew. I persisted by explaining that from the book, he will learn how to be more responsible for the words he says and will stop creating needless suffering. He ignored me again.
“Melania, bring me my cheeseburger and fries. Hey, and bring our guest a bunch of green crap mixed with some of those grains that grow in the mountains of Australia (he meant Quinoa from Bolivia apparently), I don’t know what they are called and give her some dressing that my buddy Emmanuel (Macron) made for me, he loves me!”
“Donald, Mr. President, can you stop to listen for once without interrupting and being callous?” “Listen to what?” As he takes in a mouthful.
“Ok, so in the past few weeks, you have uttered more than 7 misleading or false claims such as: ‘Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion.’
“Seriously Don, you had a month of warning when China (your favorite piñata) Italy and Spain were burying their dead at a rate faster than lightning and you kept denying it and saying things like ‘I just think this is something…that you can never really think is going to happen.’ Well it happened. It happened in New York and New Jersey and Boston…you just chose to ignore the warnings and you have no right as it is your responsibility to protect the American public, plus you either fired or didn’t even fill the posts of experts in the CDC. You also slashed their budgets to use the funds to support your megalomaniac agenda.”
“Oh sugar, come on, we did great things with those funds. Who needs bodies filling offices discussing things that have a very very small chance of happening. I think I did the right thing and it was beautiful. I said that this pandemic is going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle – it will disappear.”
“Don, do you have a version of reality that none of us see? Come on. Melania, talk to him.”
He answers on Melania’s behalf before she can open her silicon lips, “Ran, this thing, this crazy thing is just a way for my enemies to get back at me and umm…what’s her name…Melania believes everything I say because I am so great. I am the best. Look, I made America great again.”
“But Don, you didn’t! You have done everything to not make America great again: the world hates us, our infrastructure sucks, our innovations are falling behind, we are still spending money on the military-industrial complex and wars, nothing on education, rejecting immigrants and we are still not supporting inner city poor folk.”
“THEY don’t count. THEY are just like those cockroaches at the borders.”
“Mr. President darling (sorry Melania, I smile at her silence), where do you think the nurses on the frontlines come from? Idaho? Nebraska? They come from Africa and Jamaica and South America because we Americans find nursing a menial job. And you have the gall to slander them?”
“When one of your Corona team members, Dr. Anthony Fauci said ‘You’ve got to be realistic, and you’ve got to understand that you don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline,’ you decide enough of him and his scientific theories and now you want to fire him?”
You also said: ‘Anybody that needs a test gets a test. We – they’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful.’”
“What the f*^% Don, what did you mean by that? The tests are beautiful. The tests are not Melania. They are not beautiful; a swab tickling your brain is anything but beautiful. Don, you need eyeglasses. Hell, you need a lobotomy.”
“You stop here Ran, or we are going to get into it like last night.” And he pouted. I left him alone for 10 minutes as I took a walk into the woods to meditate and calm down. When I came back, I wanted to hit him with one more before I pack my bag and give up my attempt to knock some sense into his thick head.
“Don, you are the best President the United States has ever had. You are the most successful man in business and you are the one who rescued America out of the gutters after Barack, but I really need to know one more thing.”
He smiled, he gloated and sat up straight. Hell, I know how to get to his ego and grab his short-spanned attention! It’s like telling my cats the word “treats!”
“I am all ears. Isn’t this place decrepit. I think I need to bring my team and turn it into a luxurious hotel with my name on it in big gold letters. I think we can knock down these forests here too, what are trees for and I will build the world’s biggest and best golf course…”
Stupefied, I go for the kill. Seriously and with a straight face. “Mr. President, which one did you choose to drink, the Clorox or the Lysol?”
He looks at me, perplexed. He asks why he would do that and I remind him that it was his suggestion last week in the presence of the poor Dr. Brix who wanted to become an ostrich right there and then.
He denied it, he said he never said that. Then he slapped Melania on her derrière.
…The only thing I recall after that are the lyrics from Hotel California “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave…”
When Madiba Speaks, We Listen
Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia
I am honored to be shut down with Nelson Mandela, the global symbol of humanity and peace.
Mr. Mandela is a very wise man of few, well-articulated words. Our talks have been enchanting.
Mr. Mandela asked me to call him by his nickname, Madiba. I discovered that his birth name was Rolihlahla Mandela, but every African child who goes to school was given an arbitrary English/Christian name and his teacher picked Nelson. Reminding me of how many ethnicities use English names to fit into the Western world.
As the days passed, my feelings of fear and anxiety became overwhelming. Madiba calmly said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
To pass the time, we played games like Scrabble and Monopoly. He recounted how he and his fellow inmates kept busy during the many years of incarceration. Madiba was imprisoned for 27 years, and here I was, losing my mind after a few weeks of being home. He said that no matter how long he had been in confinement, his ideas never died. One must use time alone to reflect, think, and learn. The mind needs to be challenged and nurtured. Physical exercise and a sound mind go hand in hand. Note to self: begin exercising tomorrow.
One morning at breakfast, I apologized because we had run out of bread. Madiba smiled and told me how they were never allowed bread during their imprisonment on Robben Island. His fellow inmates were baffled by the wardens who claimed to be very religious and prayed “give us this day our daily bread,” yet they did not think the Blacks were entitled to share in their daily bread. Nevertheless, he was grateful. “It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
By the end of the month, I was missing my family and friends. I asked Madiba how often he saw his family whilst imprisoned on the island. He told me they were allowed a visitor once every six months and the meeting lasted for 30 minutes. During those meetings, they were not allowed in the same space. Prisoners on one side behind a fence and visitors at least 6 feet away behind another fence, all yelling to each other at once. So the social distancing for him was not too challenging.
I am learning to spend more time alone in reflection, thanks to Madiba. However, I had a burning question for this great man. “Madiba,” I say “with your wisdom as an activist, peacemaker, and president of South Africa, how can the USA move forward with such a hateful, racist leader? He is dividing the country and his followers are armed militias hoping for a White America. I feel we are heading back to the days leading up to the Civil War.”
Madiba calmly responds, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
I tell him that people are proving they are inherently evil and I cannot allow that in my world. “Tina, “ he says “Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.”
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