DMV Catch-22

A Beaconite discovered this week that the Department of Motor Vehicles has not yet resumed offering road tests for those trying to obtain a driver’s licence — and also refuses to register a new car for those who are unlicensed, inevitably leading to trapping some drivers in a Catch-22. The DMV, in her experience, has generally been among the most pleasant and reasonable public agencies, so this development was disappointing. If for some reason the agency can’t resume road tests immediately, she suggests that it figure out a temporary solution, because going without transportation is impossible for most people — especially in a time when the pandemic restrictions mean that public transportation and even hitchhiking options are extremely limited.

Storm surfing

When Hurricane Teddy passed hundreds of miles north of the Virgin Islands, it brought a Beaconite a welcome surprise this weekend: a strong ocean swell. The Beaconite had caught the surfing bug just as the territory went into lockdown, so he was excited to get back in the water. Whether because of the strong surf or because he had rusted during his weeks inside, his two surf sessions did not quite go as planned. On Saturday the waves were larger than anything he had ever surfed. Figuring he was due for a nice adrenaline rush, the Beaconite decided to shake off his fear and paddle out instead. About an hour in, he found himself unable to power past a (seemingly) towering approaching wave, which broke straight on top of him, as did another, and then two more after that, at which point he decided to call it a day and head to shore. With less intimidating waves the day after, he was much more confident, which may be why he didn’t pay full attention to the leash he improperly attached to his board. It was at first quite horrifying to feel his board — which doubles as a life jacket — ripped away after a wave crashed on top of him, but the Beaconite managed to calm his nerves and swim back to shore unscathed. Though he felt like a bozo for potentially endangering others with his incompetence, he also felt more confident in his ability to handle himself in the water, and he was thankful for some excitement to clean out the drudgery of the past few weeks. Nothing like a forced quarantine to make oneself grateful for terrifying oceanic experiences.


Leaving on a jet plane

A Beaconite said goodbye to her first foster dog, Peaches, on Friday as dozens of cats and dogs boarded a freedom flight to the United States. She wishes the pup well on her new adventure and hopes her adoptive family falls in love with Peaches as quickly as she did. The Beaconite is grateful for everything the dog taught her, not the least of which was how to find moments of joy even in tough times. She still sometimes expects to see Peaches poke her head between her ankles to take a peek in the fridge, or gleefully launch onto the bed while the Beaconite is busy typing away at her desk. Best wishes to all the animals who flew out on Friday, especially those who still need to find a forever home.


A way forward

Mental health is a tricky thing to manage, and there aren’t always easy answers for how best to do it. While participating in a recent informal session about dealing with stress generated by the pandemic, a Beaconite found comfort in talking about what she’s found challenging: the isolation, separation from family, maintaining some sort of structure in a day spent entirely at home, and so on. She was also reminded that there are still opportunities to build stronger ties with other people even amid the constraints imposed by Covid-19. She looks forward to getting more involved in volunteer activities for starters. There is no way to wave a magic wand and reset things back to “normal,” and the community will undoubtedly encounter new challenges before the world learns how to manage the pandemic. But in difficult moments, it’s important to take a breather, remember to be kind to oneself, and find a productive way forward.