Things to Remember From the COVID Spring #4: Tic-Tac-Toe

When I look back on today from sometime in the future. I don’t want to remember The President’s shameful sideshow, the news of an increasing number of layoffs, and the growing nervousness that the number of deaths will grow. I don’t want to remember how the US National government, dismantled all these years by “small government” Republicans, selfish no-new-tax mutherfuckers, and currently led by a reality TV star, didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. I especially don’t want to remember how The President currently appears to care less about the suffering and death of actual people than he does the health of The Economy in which he and so many of his economic class are profitably invested. The historical results of all of these things will become painfully clear in the weeks and months ahead.

Instead, today I want to remember the little kid standing on their front porch on the other side of a glass door with a tic-tac-toe board made of masking tape. When we walked by, they stood there inviting passersby to play, safely separated by the glass. The scene was creative and cute and surreal. It was sad. It could easily have been a scene from a disaster movie, but it was one of my neighbors.

It was unbearable.

While I’m at it, I also want to be sure and remember how the volume of amazing in my neighborhood has doubled and tripled in the past few days. Neighbors have exchanged contact information and have created public lists matching people-in-need with caregivers. People have committed to ordering takeout from local restaurants that they hope will survive. They have organized visual scavenger hunts for local children to play while walking around the neighborhood: St. patrick’s Day-themed, Easter-themed, and teddy-bears-in-front-windows for a birthday girl to walk around and discover. People have taken their Little Free Libraries and stacked them with books or food or snacks. On the local neighborhood Facebook page people share daily information about places to buy hard-to-find items—which stores stock which things.

Every day I see a new expression of support, of community and of care. The practice of this love couldn’t be a starker contrast to the callous, carnival of narcissism on display at every afternoon’s White House briefing. My neighbors astound me, their genuine generously and creativity in the face of a growing sense of unease is humbling. I don’t know where we are going, but I can’t think of a better place to live right now.


  1. Kris from Minneapolis

    Thank you. I, too, am embarrassed by our President. How disappointing. I don’t know how I found you, Mr?/Ms?/Professor? Museum Fatigue, but I have been reading these– with interest— for a good few years now. Before this crisis, I never responded. Sorry. Guess I was unsure, whether I fit in. Now I know that ALL readers fit in. Curiosity: have we ever seen your face? Give it a try! (If anonymity is important to you, I understand.) Cheers.
    Kris from Minneapolis



    • Haha, thanks so much for your comment! I don’t really ever know how many people read what I post here. The blog has somehow just hung on for years because I couldn’t bear to close it down. Now it seems to have found a use as a place for me to hold some of my thoughts and reflections as a record for my future self of what’s going on right now.

      I don’t really consider this blog anonymous. Over time I’ve just gradually stripped away direct references to myself, because it seemed more comfortable to not make it about me. So much of the web is about self-branding and finding an audience. I named this blog Museum Fatigue in part as a commentary on that. I just like having a place to share some things that I think about that passersby might find interesting too. I appreciate that you enjoy some of the things you have read here. Thanks!


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