Update from Italy: Wants and Whimsy

Visiting the Meiji Jingu shrine in Tokyo and looking at the wishes of visitors, we are reminded that even if there are infinite wishes in the world, there is always time to focus on a few. Photo by Lennart Jönsson on Unsplash

I want…

  1. I want to feel as when I was eight, when my body was a transparent user interface, free from bugs and malware, running the latest OS.
  2. I want to hike across the ridges of alpine hills again, past bistros laying white tablecloths in the middle of the clouds.
  3. I want to swim in salt water, smell the freshness of that freshest possible air you breathe after being underwater in the ocean.
  4. I want leadership that is intelligent, compassionate, and effective.
  5. I want my eight-year-old son to move away from the screen time that makes him belligerent (well, for him), withdrawn, and antisocial. This is a struggle every day, multiplied exponentially by quarantine.
  6. I want to finish writing a novel.
  7. I want the planet to emerge from the pandemic more committed than ever to humane ideals: cooperation, care, moderation, justice, equality, transparence, love.
  8. I want a haircut. Okay, maybe a trim. Actually, what I really want is to lean back into one of those notched sinks as Haruyo really gets her fingertips into my scalp for a thorough head massage and hair wash. I miss Haruyo. She cuts the hair of everyone in our family here in Florence, from the Aveda Salon on Via dei Neri, closed since early March by national decree. I hope she is ok, wherever she is. I am sending love out to the gentle Haruyo.
  9. I want to take my readers on a caper with me to a different time imagined in detail, drawing characters they will come to love as I do.
  10. I want every person who survives the pandemic to be changed permanently and for the better after it subsides. I want these lessons taken to 7+ billion hearts. I want synapses rearranged in a massive infinite exercise in neural plasticity. I want everyone to understand that it can and will happen again and, like a dystopic piece of fiction, everyone who remembers their lessons will be more likely to survive next time. I am rooting for survival!