There's a couple things taking shape. One is that the jury is no longer out: except within very strict limits, social media has to go. I'll keep an handhold on Twitter and Facebook, to link to posts here, and I'll probably set aside some time to check it once a day. It is, after all -- as Dave Bonta says -- where the people are. But it consumes too much time, and it fosters a habit of demanding continual stimulation that is ruinous. Enough already. I'm pretty much done with it.
Second. I've been thinking long and hard about the project of learning Spanish. There have been two goals there, really, though I haven't really distinguished them and considered them separately till recently. One was to learn Spanish well enough to read the Spanish classics: at least the Golden Age dramatists and poets, and the 20th Century Spanish and Latin American poets. The other goal was to "really" learn Spanish. Which involves a lot of listening, writing, and speaking.
For goal one, reading Spanish literature, I'm on the threshold of that now. I could plow into Calderón and Quevedo tomorrow and give a good account of myself. I can cruise through an uncomplicated modern novel at a rate of thirty pages a day, my passive vocabulary is pretty extensive, and I have the background.
Goal two is more problematic. I am shy of the exposure of finding native speakers and practicing conversation, which is the royal road to fluency (whatever that is), but, more legitimately, I am asking myself: is such an investment of time worth it? Because it is, simply, time. Hours of time daily. There's no way of finessing that. And it's time spent in order to be able to watch TV shows and have casual chats. Do I really want to watch TV shows and have casual chats? Those aren't things I much care to do in English, actually. How much do I want to do them in Spanish?
People talk about an hour a day as though it were a trivial investment. Actually it's large proportion of one's disposable time. It's something to weigh seriously. It's time that I would not be, say, writing, or drawing, or coding, or learning some other skill.
The jury is still out on this one. For one thing, there's an argument to be made that you don't really know a language well enough to fully experience its literature if you can't watch its TV and chat about the weather in it. There's probably some weight to that.* For another, it's been a longing of mine for ages, to "really" (always such a suspect word, in interior dialogues!) learn a language. Is giving up on that giving up too much? I don't know. I'll mull it over. But it might be best -- it often is, with things one finds oneself procrastinating about -- to just pull the plug and decide not to do it.
I underestimated Joe Biden. He's a run-of-the-mill speaker and debater -- nothing to write home about -- and I took that as his measure, which was not very bright of me. Turns out he's a total professional, like Obama: he knows exactly how things work and what order things have to be done in, and who he has to put in charge of what.
As with Obama, my respect is grudging. I'm not a center Democrat. I wince at some of the appointments and policies. And we have yet to see how the battle royale about the filibuster turns out. But the man knows how to govern and administer. He's exactly what we need, at this incredibly delicate, fragile moment.
I got the first dose of the vaccine, last Wednesday. As a massage therapist, I count as a health care worker, so I'm in the first wave. It's a relief to know that, even as I dawdle and second guess and hang about, my body is busily manufacturing antibodies. In one way, nothing changes: none of my behaviors will change, for a while yet. But it feels totally different. We will win this thing, eventually.
Also: I am very, very tired.
*On the other hand: by the "fully fluent" argument, I've never read Beowulf, or Chaucer, properly. And how fluent is fluent? Being able to chat in Mexican, Chilean, and Galician Spanish (but not Argentinian)? Being able to chat with scholars about literature? There's a thousand different fluencies a person might aim for.