Yes, I know the inauguration was last week, and I'm sure Black wants to tell me, "Get over it!" but I'm still thinking (and reading articles) about Amanda Gorman, the amazing 22-year-old who was not only the youngest inaugural poet ever, but also the nation's first National Youth Poet Laureate. Her poem, "The Hill We Climb", was incredible and her delivery mesmerizing as she brought her words to life. But as impressive as that was, what I found most incredible was what I learned later that night when she was interviewed with CNN's Anderson Cooper.
A speech impediment?! That seemed impossible to imagine. But there she was, talking with humor, confidence, and pragmatism about how she had trouble pronouncing the letter "R," not only when she was young but until a few years ago! I was fascinated when she talked about using a song from the Broadway musical "Hamilton" as part of her speech pathology, explaining that since the song "Aaron Burr, Sir" was packed with Rs she felt that if she could train herself to do the song, she could train herself to say the letter.
The next morning, during a conversation with Black about our inauguration Banter Bite, I got side-tracked (that often happens) and started telling her how amazed I was that Amanda had overcome her challenge in such an incredible and creative way. And then Black proceeded to tell me how she took a similar approach. With her Ferrari …
Sometimes you have to find something that you can use as "proof" to convince yourself you can do something. For me, it was when I was trying to decide if I could "step up" to racing the Ferrari Challenge. The car was much more powerful than what I was racing at the time, and the series much more serious (not to mention significantly more expensive). So, I decided the "test" would be Road Atlanta, which was the most intimidating track I had ever raced on – if I could get comfortable (yet alone "fast") there, I could race anywhere.
Of course, after laughing to myself because this was so typical of how my sister would approach a challenge, head on (she'd probably say "throttle on"). I also had to smile at the thought of Amanda Gorman now being able to say the word "Ferrari", with all its Rs, as smoothly as my sister no doubt drove her Ferrari by the end of that day at Road Atlanta.
Black has said, on more than one occasion, that having morning TV shows playing in the background while I work reduces my level of concentration. Although that may, or may not, be true (as a mom I just consider it yet another source of "white noise"), I still keep doing it. And I have to say that this week, I was so glad that I did, otherwise I'd never have realized that my sister, Black, and Dr. Fauci are both Vulcans.
Yes, I know that Vulcans aren't real (watching Star Trek with my dad is one of my fonder childhood memories, although I was never a "Trekkie"), but sometime in the last decade I was at the movies enjoying my popcorn while one of the recent Star Trek movies was playing … and I had a revelation. I realized that my sister, with her non-emotional and highly pragmatic way of looking at everything (and I mean everything – including relationships, if you can believe that) was Vulcan-like. Which explained so much, including why I always have to explain the "mere mortal" perspective to her. For her, emotions get in the way and prevent looking at things logically.
Fast forward to this week and the incredibly tragic news of the U.S. reaching 500,000 coronavirus deaths. Dr. Fauci was being interviewed by CBS This Morning, and I'll admit that I wasn't really paying any attention until I heard the doctor being asked,
Is there ever a moment when you have time to get emotional about this?
At that point, Dr. Fauci had my full and undivided attention. And I just had to laugh, and think of Black, when he replied, without hesitation,
No, I don't. And that's the point.
And then he proceeded to explain that it's not that he's a very cold person, but that you can't let emotions drive what you do. He emphasized the need to be empathic, but that you need to stay focused on the task at hand. By then, although the words were coming from Dr. Fauci, the sentiments might just as well have been from my sister.
And just as I've learned never to question my sister's unemotional, highly analytical approach to everything, I had to smile at the thought that now Black's not the only Vulcan that I "know". And respect.
For Black, Valentine's Day is a reminder, a mindset, and a year-round approach to life. Based on death. Confused? Red was. Until Black explained her "logic", which gave Red a warm and fuzzy feeling as she saw how it could help her become her year-round best – not only for herself, but for others in her life.
Let me set the scene (keep in mind I was a theater major). The Houston area, where fur coats appear on the "ladies who lunch" when the weather dips below 50, has been hit by an unprecedented winter storm that not only brings snow and prolonged sub-freezing temperatures, but also creates statewide power outages for millions. My extremely pragmatic sister lives in a high-rise that lost power early in the storm and, thinking quickly, secures a hotel room in Houston's only five-star hotel, which just happens to be down the street from her place. Less than 24 hours later, I too lose power, but living in a house that has a fireplace, well-stocked pantry, and a gas cooktop, just hunker down. My car's parked on the driveway so I can easily access it to charge my gizmos, which also gives me the opportunity (or really, excuse) to warm up.
And it's there, while texting with Black (who, for the record, rarely texts but at that point in time it was the only form of communication that worked), that the following conversation ensues …