Coronavirus? Economic free-fall? Things can always get worse, as my mother would say

Because the world descends into panic and hysteria, this looks like an excellent time to invoke my pricey departed mom, Barbara Jones. She was the grasp of mellow. Illness, poverty, betrayal, uncertainty — she might face up to just about something with a shrug and a smile and a “Que sera, sera!”

My mom had dementia for many years, however even earlier than that she was essentially the most relaxed particular person on the planet. In these perilous occasions, I feel we might all profit from her methods. When unhealthy issues occurred (and belief me, they usually did at our home), she acknowledged the misfortune but it surely by no means crept into her unconscious. She hardly ever skilled stress.

She was a mannequin of existentialism, with out even realizing what that’s. Even into her 80s, she had no wrinkles and was on zero treatment. And that’s regardless of residing with some severe, continual well being situations and a weight loss program consisting nearly fully of yogurt and See’s sweet.

What was her secret? It was {that a}) she anticipated the worst at each flip so was consistently in a state of nice shock, and b) she truly didn’t care that a lot. She was not hooked up to particular outcomes. As soon as we had a golden retriever pet that escaped the yard and chased our automobile onto the principle street, the place he promptly met his maker. My mother shrugged it off, saying, “It occurs! Individuals depart gates open. Canine chase vehicles. It’s a miracle it doesn’t occur 400 occasions a day.”

She was additionally very calm. She might sit for hours and simply stare at home vegetation. Some would possibly name that lazy, however really it’s a ability unto itself. Strive it! Complete non secular and philosophical actions have been based on that very apply: the artwork of doing nothing. She was excellent at it.

After all, she had her position fashions, too. Particularly, Julie Andrews. In my mother’s later years, she watched “Sound of Music” three or 4 occasions a day, and why not? Is there any sick not cured by “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens”? I all the time hated that film, however perhaps Julie Andrews was on to one thing.

If she had lived to see coronavirus, my mother would have mentioned one thing like, “Blech! Off the listing!” and gone again to watching the philodendrons. Her different favourite expression was, “Three steps ahead, two steps again.” That’s an apt prognosis for all of human civilization lately.

Granted, my mom was not a lot within the information. She would say she cherished studying, and sometimes sit with the New Yorker on her lap — the other way up. However perhaps that’s an excellent factor. Possibly it’s time for us all to detach a bit of, deal with one thing moreover the calamity befalling the world. Tune out the nightly information and activate some Rodgers and Hammerstein.

I just lately made the silly determination to courageous Safeway and was appalled on the poor habits of my fellow people. Hoarding, coughing, chopping in line, elbowing seniors out of the way in which for that final bottle of Clorox. I had a momentary panic assault on the wretchedness of all of it. What’s to turn out to be of us? The poor checker mentioned that was truly an excellent day.

The one manner I endured the road and made it safely again to my automobile was by channeling Barbara Jones. Persons are stockpiling rest room paper? The financial system is in free-fall? Infections are spreading and the long run is deeply unsure? Que sera, sera! It’s a miracle issues aren’t 400 occasions worse.

Carolyn Jones is a former Chronicle employees author. E-mail tradition@sfchronicle

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