Recently, I stumbled upon this lesser known Lautrec. The poor girl looks like she has listened to one, too many pandemic horror stories and been subjected to one, too many whiny diatribes from You-Know-Who. Turns out I wasn’t far off. Toulouse painted this exhausted, brothel girl after one of her clients left. He normally painted dancing girls and clowns. Frankly, we could use more of both in our present climate.
The media makes me feel like that girl: worn out and used. Once the bastion of fair and unbiased reporting, it has become a phony backdrop of half-truths and innuendo, propped up by financiers who pull the strings of pretty puppets and push private agendas. I don’t want to see some poor, old man’s hair dye running down his face. I’d rather watch paint dry. Between the political rancor and various ‘movements’ all jockeying for position, it’s a wonder any of us are still standing let alone sane.
So, in this year of closing down and closing in, I refuse to close up. * Since I must now provide my own levity, this has been my day so far:
- I sat on my windowsill outside and made strange, bird noises in order to entice the birds to my feeder faster. An elderly couple, who walk by often, suddenly stopped as I twittered on. She raised a single, tentative finger as if to say, ‘Are you OK?’ I gave her a thumbs up.
- Upon entering my local coffee shop, I said, to no one in particular, “Isn’t this just wonderful?” People stopped talking and looked up at me expectantly. “We’re still ALIVE!”
- I walked on the ‘wrong’ side of the bike path because I felt like it. (Not to worry, there have been no bikes for weeks due to construction.) However, a haughty woman fast-walked past me and barked, “You’re on the wrong side!” “Oh, No! What side is the RIGHT side?” I asked her.
- Turned on the news and hit MUTE. While the anchor carried on, different heads popped up in separate squares onscreen. I watched their mouths. It’s just like having my own flat-screen, goldfish bowl!
Yes, there are horrors around every corner but there is also wonder and hope. Honestly? If I hear one more death prediction or political slander piece, I’m going Toulouse it.
* “The Man Closing Up,” by Donald Justice.