Tag Archives: COVID-19

Dipshit Family Members Suck

About a month ago I received a Facebook friend request from someone I wasn’t really expecting: my uncle, who is like 60-something years old. It apparently took him until 2020 to get on the Facebook bandwagon, and I don’t know how anyone in this situation wouldn’t feel mildly worried.

Some background on him: he’s a retired postal worker, a big fan of guns and shit, has a conceal-carry license, loves motorcycles, and is a raging hoarder. Literally his house is unlivable because of all the shit that he stores there and he lives with my grandma because his home is so packed full of junk. While I’m not a huge fan of stereotypes, just go with me here because they’re sometimes useful, if you were to stereotype him, what would you consider him? A raging environmentally-friendly liberal sympathetic to the BLM movement or some dumbass gun-toting right-winger? Not that politics seems to be too relevant here, but recall I’m talking about him being on Facebook. Political alignment is immensely important in regards to how people act on Facebook.

I was weary when he requested me as a friend on Facebook because like most people above 50, you know they’re just going to spam political bullshit and stupid memes all the time. It’s like par for the course and I was dreading seeing what he’d post. Luckily, he didn’t really post much of anything. He kinda stayed quiet and didn’t seem to force any opinions, whatever they happened to be, onto his fellow Facebook friends. Still, part of me was weary. To me, my uncle was the stereotypical Facebook fucking proto-nutjob; sure he wasn’t a nutjob yet, but if anyone were to become a nutjob, it’d be someone like him. It felt like he was a ticking time bomb where there was only a matter of time before he went off the damn rails. Given enough time for the propaganda to work on him, he’d eventually lose it.

He still isn’t too familiar with Facebook seeing how he acts on the site. I’ve always been fascinated with ‘social media norms’ and those who break them, clueless to how things are “supposed to be done.” For example, you never like someone’s picture from five years ago (unless they share it or something) because then it’d be obvious that you were fucking lurking through their pictures. Or sending messages to people you don’t actually know really well. Things like that. Social media has a new set of rules that differ from the rest of society and this fact is new for a lot of people. That being said, my uncle, being totally clueless about how people are supposed to act on Facebook, went on displaying his insanity in a new and different way: he sends direct messages to people.

I still haven’t actually replied to any of his messages, because he never actually says anything in them. Everything I’ve received from him has been images and videos that he’s shared. No context, just a string of images/videos/memes that randomly appear in my inbox. Whatever. At first these weren’t political and were like AC/DC songs and shit, but a week ago I received this:

Okay. Once again, zero context. I agreed with the image — I think America is going down a dangerous path where something bad is going to happen (especially in regards to the recent bullshit in Portland) — but some part of me thinks even if he does agree with the image’s sentiment that it’s not in quite the same way as I do. It almost seemed threatening in a way, either implying that people like me might get murdered by people like him or that us (if we did agree) would have to go murder Americans we didn’t agree with. While I waved it off initially, something about it stuck with me. I was almost certain my uncle had finally spent enough time on Facebook to discover the radical pages that spoke to him and was now spewing his bullshit to anyone he could. He’s always seemed kinda unhinged, but now with Facebook influencing him how much worse would it get? Remember, he’s a fully armed dude who always has a fucking pistol on him, even in the safety of his my grandma’s home and at kid’s birthday parties, and I really worry about someone like that finally snapping over being enraged by Facebook propaganda.

He also recently sent my wife and I a video about…well, I’m not sure, because I didn’t fucking watch it. She did though, and I think it was some congressman questioning Dr. Fauci about why shutting down a church in Nevada was okay but the shutting down the protests weren’t. It is kinda a good question — aren’t the protests helping spread COVID? — but the entire thing seemed like fucking propaganda. Like he’s doing us a favor by ‘enlightening’ us about some GOP senator grilling Fauci. Luckily she’s more courageous than me and actually replied to him saying that she disagreed with his shit, but still appreciated him as a person and a family member. And as for me, well, I just ignore whatever he sends because I’m a coward.

My Cousin

I think this post kinda got me started down the road to deleting the dumbfucks I’m friends with on Facebook. Shortly after posting it, I started to delete anyone that I disagreed with. I still have a few conservative friends, and one I especially appreciate. He’s one of the “old school conservatives” that is worried about how Trump has kinda taken over and dictated the direction of conservative policy. These are the people I can get on board with — someone I disagree with on policy but where I can respect what they’re saying — and these people are in short fucking supply nowadays. Basically as soon as anyone posted some silly AlL lIVeS mAtTeR bullshit I’d cut ties with them because there’s little to no factual basis or policy to anything they’re saying. It’s propaganda.

Fun fact and a fact that I know is kinda wrong: I’ve been a lot happier too. No one I know on Facebook has ridiculously different views with me and we all seem to be on the same page. It’s nice, I’m living in a happy echo chamber and while I know it’s wrong, I do feel better about the state of the world. Like I can live in peace thinking that maybe 40% of the US (and people I actually know and are related to) aren’t supportive of our proto-fascist president and his ‘secret police’ in Portland and other major cities. Like, hey, maybe the world isn’t such a bad place after all?

My cousin was one of the fatalities in my purge. She lives near downtown Rockford, near the BLM protests, and would constantly post videos of the protestors with really nervous-sounding comments like her apartment would be torched sounded like someone a few steps removed from these people right here:

The protestors don’t give a fuck about you because you’re not the goddamn problem. You’re not the police and you’re not systemic racism. No one protesting gives a fuck about your shitty apartment with absolutely nothing worth stealing and every post of hers screamed of a total misunderstanding about what the protests were actually about. The total inability to see anything from someone else’s perspective, that maybe people do have lives with different struggles than you. I didn’t want the implied ignorance or negativity so I deleted her.

A few days ago I received a message on Facebook Messenger saying something like, “Hey, I noticed we’re not friends on Facebook. Did you delete me?” And like my usual style I ignored it. Sure, I act like a hardass deleting people and writing corrosive blog posts about people but that doesn’t mean I actually want to have a discussion about why I deleted someone from Facebook. Once again I’m a goddamn coward and I fully admit it.

My mom came over to visit today and she mentioned that my cousin asked her about it. She said she didn’t know and seemed to shrug it off. She also filled me in to a few of my cousins other “beliefs” such that COVID is a hoax, it’s not that big of a deal, and that Trump is actually doing a lot of good for the United States of America. Apparently she constantly visits our grandma who is 89 years old, hugs and kisses her, and obviously doesn’t give a shit about wearing a mask at all; she bragged about the amount of stores she visited without a mask as if that made her a badass or something. What if she gives COVID to our grandma and she dies from it? Would she acknowledge it then or would there be more denial. “Well, she was old anyways…” While I’m on the shit-on-my-cousin bandwagon, let me also say she’s dating a guy who’s a convicted arsonist (and it was fun seeing him on TV right after I woke up one day like ten years ago) with a family of legit white supremacists. Not like subtly racist people: legit, proud, aware, white supremacists. I vaguely recall getting into an argument with my cousin’s boyfriend’s little brother on MySpace a long time ago because he was shitting on black people for some reason. Anyways birthday parties with that side of the family are kinda awkward to say the least.

But last night it kinda clicked in my head that I really don’t like much of my family. Honestly. My sister is cool, my wife and the kids are great, but everyone else in the extended family seems to be insane. And it seems as I feel wiser as time goes on they seem to lose their minds as time goes on. My cousin’s family is white supremacists and blatant Trump supporters and I cannot for the life of me figure out what they see in the guy. My uncle is crazy NRA fanatic who seems to be ready to fight a civil war murdering fellow Americans for some fucking reason. My dad told me a few of his brothers were also right-winger Trumpers and once again I cannot see what is appealing at all about the guy. My dad, who luckily doesn’t vote, also seems to be a Trumper who somehow started bitching about Hillary and Benghazi for some reason despite over 150,000 COVID deaths under our current president. None of these people think COVID is a real thing or a legitimate threat to them, once again my cousin bragging about not wearing a mask in stores! What a goddamn rebel! Part of me thinks I’m the problem, someone just as one-sided, blind, and biased as they are, but another part of me thinks that maybe I’m on the right path here. I’m trying to follow history and science and everything seems incredibly dangerous and serious currently while others seem to be either indifferent or even happy with the state of the country now. And it’s hard to realize that maybe the people you grew up around, who are part of your family, are some of the people totally on the wrong side of logic, history, science, and empathy. It’s not a good feeling.

Reopening Sucks

George Floyd, the martyr in the recent round of protests against police brutality, was murdered May 25, 2020 (on Memorial Day), about exactly a month ago.

Conspiracy theorist always seem to get about the first 5% of things right before the next 95% of “facts” go totally off the damn rails. It doesn’t take a detective to realize that social media — and nearly all forms of media — are totally dominated by a fuckton of right-wing cultists spewing total bullshit about whatever topic is available to be bitched about. COVID, Black Lives Matter, vaccines, Trump, etc. But the 5% they’re right on, the first 5% that might be the jumping off point for some total craziness, goes something like this, “People listen way too much to the media. People believe whatever their told!” (The typo is surprisingly fitting here. Also pointing to the fact that they have their own forms of media that they blindly follow, i.e. a random dude on YouTube.) After that the craziness really ensues.

But fuck if they’re not right for that initial 5%. Not that the rest of their shit is right — COVID is a hoax, etc. — but the foundation seems true enough. As stated, George Floyd was murdered by police on May 25, 2020. And it’s hard to gauge, but as the protests around his murder really kicked off in late-May/early-June, America seemed to totally forget about COVID entirely. We’ve given up, decided it wasn’t anything to worry about, that we’ve beaten it, and we’ve decided to move on.

I partially blame the media, along with the 5% factual shit from above, for totally misleading the population, not on purpose but because that’s what they do for money/ratings. And I also blame the population for being so damn dumb that they only consider what is being reported as important, usually one big topic at a time. The world is a complex place and just because media doesn’t report on shit doesn’t mean it’s not occurring. Remember the Australian wildfires? Did those ever go out or did the media stop reporting on it as COVID ramped up? Remember the Brazilian rainforest being wrecked for farmland? Did we win that battle or did the media go silent? And was COVID conquered simply because the news pivoted to stories about protests and riots? You’d think so if you’ve only checked out Facebook or other social media. Everyone seems to be hopelessly fixed on the zeitgeist of the day/week and blindly follows it, whatever the media decides is important enough to report on at the time. I’m guilty of this myself, having written two posts about racism in the past week. As a blogger I feel I need to chase around “relevancy” in whatever form it takes, but somehow COVID has been lurking in my mind for awhile. Is it really over or did we just move the fuck on and decide we don’t want to worry about it anymore?

It’s obviously the latter: not that many people seem to be aware of it if it’s not constantly reported on. I had a COVID test about a month ago and was off of work for over a week until I got my results back. They were negative and I went back to work to find a slightly altered workplace. No one was wearing masks anymore and it seemed as soon as June 1st rolled around people stopped caring. The gas station I frequent for beer used to have a sign saying something like “A FACE MASK/BANDANA IS REQUIRED TO ENTER THE STORE” which disappeared when June rolled around. Another gas station, in the bumfuck redneck town of Winnebago, Illinois, had a sign on the door stating they required facemasks for all customers. I didn’t have mine so cautiously opened the door to gauge the reaction of people inside; no one had a mask on and didn’t seem to give a damn that I also didn’t have a mask on. No one gave a shit wherever I went after May ended. So I also didn’t give a shit which is probably the wrong thing to do.

“WHO GIVES A SHIT?! It’s an RPG boys, story doesn’t matter; it’s all about the action. Now let’s get down to business…”

-Videogamedunkey in his “Dunk Souls” video upon skipping the introductory cutscene and all the context of the game it offers. I’ve found myself blurting out “WHO GIVES A SHIT? STORY DOESN’T MATTER,” in regards to COVID recently.

I think in May our governor J.B. Pritzker tried to keep Illinois shutdown until July. He was then promptly sued because you know, rights and stuff — peoples rights to shop without a mask or work or something — and the court ruled in their favor. I still don’t know the details but it seemed Illinois would open up somewhat in June. Outdoor seating at restaurants, limited people in stores, with the stores opening at least among other things.

As a quick side note, I’ve realized that tagging these posts with “Pritzker Sucks” seems to rake in the views even though I support the guy. I won’t shit on him here because I think he’s done a good job taking COVID seriously, but I’m still going to tag this post with a “Pritzker Sucks” just to rake in those conservative views, and maybe anger some when they realize I like the guy and his handling of COVID. So yes, ironically, Fuck Pritzker. And Fuck Trump while we’re at it, but unironically this time. Thanks for reading right-wingers.

Social media has, along with the media, pivoted pretty strongly to being about riots. My knowledge of the news usually comes from trolling the front page of Reddit — anything newsworthy enough is usually upvoted enough to make it to the front page — or seeing the hyped-up dramatic shit I see on social media like Facebook. It’s pretty obvious, but in this environment COVID has all but disappeared. And it exits your consciousness where you’re not even aware that’s it’s still an issue. Luckily, gaps in the reporting still appear. I follow a chemist on Facebook and her main goal over the past few months appears to be to scream about COVID and how it’s still a threat. This doesn’t get reported but you know when a scientist/chemist is still screaming about something sciency, it’s still a problem. And even on Reddit the occasional post, like this following chart from r/dataisbeautiful, obviously show that COVID cases are still on the rise, especially in southern and western states. Let’s also not disregard the occasional r/news or r/worldnews posts with headlines like, “[State Name] has reported its highest single-day cases of COVID-19 with [number] reported on [date/day of the week].”

Something about seeing data in graphical form makes the trends instantly visible. It’s beautiful really. Source link right here boys.

COVID seems different as well because it’s a biological threat. Consider the Australian wildfires as an example; sure, even if the media doesn’t report on them they’re still raging, but this isn’t a direct threat to anyone in the United States or the rest of the world. In this case, ignorance is bliss and pretending like it’s not happening doesn’t really have a negative effect on the world. I think most news stories are like this — sure Trump conjured up a new stupid Twitter post to toss the media off his trail and allow the public to forget his last stupid Twitter post — but I doubt this has much an effect on anything. COVID? COVID, being a goddamn virus, doesn’t give a shit that it isn’t at the forefront of American knowledge because it’s going to do whatever the fuck it wants to do. In short, ignoring COVID — unlike ignoring Trump’s Twitter feed/the media’s reporting on it — will not benefit anyone. In fact it’ll only make the problem worse. As more people stop thinking that it’s a threat, the more that will let their guard down, and the more that will be infected. And they’ll go on to affect everyone else that’s let their guard down. And so on.

I find it strange that Americans have all but given up fighting COVID or being concerned about it. Shops, stores, and restaurants are opening back up. People are going back to work. States are opening up. Testing is still shit. But hey, it’s June, it’s summer, and people can’t wait to get out and live their lives that have been on hold for a few months. And holy hell is everyone ready to take off the masks that they claim they unironically Can’t Breathe in. We’re just going to ignore the climbing COVID numbers and pretend like nothing is happening. It’s the classic American way: close your eyes, plug your ears, and scream “La la la!” at the top of your lungs. Everything is fine. No, really. It’s fine.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

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Back to Work Or COVID Testing Sucks

I got my COVID test last wednesday, May 20th. They told me it would take 5-7 days for me to get my results. The earliest I could expect them was monday, but since that was a holiday I was counting more on tuesday or wednesday of this week. I awoke tuesday and hopefully looked at my phone: nothing. No missed calls, no emails, nothing. And the mailbox also had a pile of junk mail that only got my hopes up. Bills, junk, advertisements, an Amazon package, but that was it. The same story happened wednesday although I did finally get my vape juice and pods in. That was the one highlight of my day and something I could be happy about. Maybe things were starting to look up.

Today, thursday, and nothing. It was the seventh day, or eighth if you want to count Memorial Day as an actual day, and knew I had to do something. Everyone knows testing still is a fucking joke and I was dreading not being able to find out anything. Then what? What do I do with no results at all? If I was totally lost in the system?

Let me digress a bit. I discovered my uncle was also tested last week and got his results friday, after only a few days, so I knew I should’ve heard something. Even worse is they called him. Where the hell was my call? I could’ve been back to work making money and having a routine but I’d been patiently waiting for a call. I didn’t want to be a bother. I’m sure the health department is swamped and didn’t want to be a demanding pain in the ass when there are plenty of them already in the world.

So I had to do something today. I called the clinic that was listed on the paper. After playing “push 1 for english, press 2 for our COVID hotline, for [whatever] press…” for about five minutes I finally talked to a fellow human. She said to call the Winnebago County Health Department and gave me their number. I didn’t have a pen and I’m proud to say I memorized the number on the spot. 815-720-4000 if you’d like to call them for some reason.

So I called the health department to be greeted by more number pushing. “If this is a medical emergency, call ‘911’ immediately. If you feel you maybe have COVID or have symptoms of COVID, please call your primary medical provider…” I eventually ended up on a recording requesting me to leave a message. What? So I hung up and tried again. I expected to get the same spiel all over again, had my phone on speaker sitting on the couch ready for disappointment, when a real human said “COVID hotline, how can I help you?” Oh shit. I grabbed the phone, turned off the speaker, and started my request.

My test was negative. Duh. I probably had a cold and overreacted. “Could I have an email to confirm that though? Just in case work needs it?”

“Sure, send an email here: ‘c’ as in ‘cat’, ‘d’ as in ‘dog’, reporting…at…”

I texted my friend/boss and told him my test was negative and followed that up with my request: CAN I COME BACK TO WORK NOW?!

“Yes, please,” was the reply. Thank God.

And then more anxiety. More dreading. I was gone for a week and what would people say? What would people ask? Would I have to explain myself or redeem myself for being off work for over a week? No, probably not. Think if one of your fellow coworkers took off for a week unexpectedly; you probably wouldn’t miss them much. Everyone does their own thing — you included — and most people really don’t give two fucks if you’re at work or not. I don’t know why I’m so anxious over every single thing that happens in life. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten into a new routine of being miserable and bored just trying to piss time away as quickly as possible. So that routine’s over and I have a new routine, the same routine I had over a week ago but which I’ve forgotten already. I’ll have to socialize. I’ll have to function. I’ll have to be productive. And as much as I dread it I know it’ll be fine. As soon as I pull into the parking lot it’ll feel like I was never off. So what the fuck am I worrying about?

And that’s it: I’m going back to work. Yay?! It’ll be nice to have a purpose again that isn’t decided by me. It’s a pain when you have too much free time because you have to decide what to do. That’s a hard decision indeed and usually leads to total indecisiveness. That’ll be nice to sidestep a little bit, but for now I have two more hours until I must leave. What to do with that time?

Free Write: May 26th 2020

This is part of my effort at getting my life to have some direction. To be honest, writing always makes me feel better, even if it is kinda pointless and directionless like journaling is. There’s nothing to show for it publically so that doesn’t feel useful in terms of blogging or stories, or whatever, but it does seem to help.

It’s fun to look back at old posts where I basically say “if you’re depressed, just think of better times that will surely come and keep busy,” as if keeping busy is really easy to do when depressed. Being depressed makes you feel everything is pointless, and what’s the point of doing everything if it’s pointless.

That’s the mood I’m in today, but my mood is improving. Currently I’m at the point knowing that progress is progress and you have to move forward somehow because there is basically nothing else to do. Yes, life is total shit, but what else is there to do besides move forward? The other option seems to be wallowing and giving in to the pointlessness, and that seems more pointless than pointlessly trying to move forward.

So moving forward today is what I’ve been doing. Or trying to do at least. At 4 p.m. I told myself I was going to head to the store to buy supplies to change the oil. Why not? My plan was to change it once a year with fully synthetic oil and when checking the last oil change discovered it was May 28th of last year, nearly a year to the day. I wondered if last May was just as shitty where I decided to change the oil just to have something to do. There were other things to do as well: mow the yard, change the brakes in the Civic, and clean up the basement, but maybe one thing is enough to show for my current COVIDployment. I’m going to get this blog post out as well, another tiny victory to show that I’m trying to pick up the pieces and move forward somehow.

One problem with changing the oil: it’s not the most fulfilling sign of progress. It’s not something that makes you proud or anything. I finished the oil change and kinda shrugged and went back into the house to write this post.

Today is my third day without beer, and before that I drank nearly a 15-pack of cheap gas station beer everyday for a week. It’s the worst binge drinking period I’ve ever had. It’s funny how you can do so good for so long — basically having a six-pack every Sunday for four months — and then instantly spiral out of control when something goes awry in life. This is probably why it’s easier to accept either alcoholism or sobriety and not perpetually straddle the fence between the two extremes.

Obviously, I’ve felt like shit the past three days, but today I almost feel normal. Like maybe everything isn’t falling apart, that I’m not about to die of delirium tremens (apparently you need to drink at least a month straight to have life-threatening withdrawal from alcohol), and that maybe I won’t lose my job by being off work for more than a week. And even if everything does crash around me that maybe I’ll get by just fine. It might take awhile, but in the end maybe, just maybe, I’ve got this.

I’m really stressing out about work as it was my anchor while sailing the strange seas of the COVID pandemic. I’ve said before I was glad I still had a job and that nothing had changed for me, but here I am. I was only sick for a few days and now feel I overreacted about possibly having COVID and only want to feel that I did the right thing by being tested. I didn’t show up to work diseased and take half my crew out of work or anything, but I can’t help but feel like a slacker, like I somehow subconsciously gamed the system, and took advantage of the situation; at the first sign of sickness I run and get a COVID test and delete myself from work for reasons that even I’m not consciously aware of. Or maybe I didn’t and I did do what made sense at the time, even if I did overreact and I only had a temporary cold. Luckily, I also think I don’t have Lyme Disease so that’s good, right?

And maybe it had to happen, me really stuck with no direction forward faced with sitting at home while my friends and coworkers bust their asses out in the heat, humidity, and thunderstorms. Maybe I did need a break from it all, some time where I’d be forced to deal with boredom, anxiety, alcoholism, writing, reflecting, and home issues where I didn’t have a work distraction to keep busy with daily. Despite this, I still feel like a goddamn loser slacker.

I’m waiting again, waiting to hear some news about my test, a phone call, an email, a letter: something. So I can get back to my routine which I miss apparently. I like feeling useful and having a schedule. I like a purpose. I’m waiting to hear about my car that’s been at the dealership for a week and a half with no news at all. Hell, I’m waiting for my vape juice to show up in the mail, if that shows how desperate I am for something, anything, that I can be happy about. Something that shows that life is moving forward, that there’s progress somewhere. Well, I wrote this blog post, so that’s some progress I guess.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

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Lyme Disease Sucks…Or COVID? Or…Huh?

I don’t even know where to start. The last post left off with my second night in the woods questioning everything about life. And this post is written from the comfort of our living room, and although things still aren’t alright or back to normal, they’re a bit better than they were two days ago.

I’d like to think my past week would make a really rivienting story if I could have peace long enough to piece it all together. As an example: after my second night — this post here — I experienced cops at 8 a.m. (one with a fucking AR-15 by the way), ended up in a mental center, found myself wandering through the woods with a friend drinking beers, calling into work, getting sick, being tested for COVID, and being unable to return to work until I get my results. Despite being back home my life still seems to be in a downward spiral where I can’t grasp onto anything.

So…what was I writing about? What day is it? Oh. Friday. Friday, yes. I came home Tuesday night and set my tent up in the yard. The cops earlier that day gave me 12 hours to get the hell out of the park and I planned on doing just that. My wife apparently panicked when I sent a text saying the cops found me and I was being hauled off to a mental institution and this was enough to muster her effort in helping me pack my shit up and move out. So after two days in the woods I was back home. In the yard, but back home.

Glossing over everything, because I’m not sure of it all anyways, I was back at home, drinking, talking with my wife into the early morning hours of Wednesday. I felt bleak, but hopeful in a way: I was back home at least I’d have the occasional company, but then something happened around 1 a.m.: I felt like shit. I instantly became achy and got the chills. I felt strange and off and I couldn’t stand another night in the tent. It wasn’t cold out but I had a chill I couldn’t shake and basically begged to sleep inside. She was loving and caring enough and I didn’t have to really beg but I was so miserable I felt like I needed to beg. I couldn’t take another miserable night in the tent alone, especially with the aches and the chills.

Inside I started to overthink. I had a strange bite on my arm and assumed it was a tick bite. Or a spider. Whatever. But then the thought of “Lyme disease” popped into my head, I Googled it, and then started to panic. Each of my symptoms fit those of Lyme disease to a tee. Worst of all was the symptom of “confusion” or “slow thinking” and everything seemed to fit that as well. I felt strange, I felt funny, and I felt a way I couldn’t even explain. I felt off and slow and stupid. Everything felt as if it was happening in slow motion and required much more effort than usual. I couldn’t even move my arms to pick up a PS4 controller and it took minutes of dedicated effort to do so. At the time I was totally convinced: I had Lyme disease. Because I got bit by a goddamn tick. Because I was living in the woods. Because I panicked and moved out on Sunday. It’s what I deserved and was fitting. If you act like an idiot, stupid things happen to you.

Somehow I managed to sleep a few hours and awoke totally conflicted at my situation. Did I have Lyme disease? Should I see a doctor? How did all of this work with COVID? And what if I had COVID? I had no idea what to do. Eventually I decided to ignore the possible Lyme disease until I showed more symptoms — swollen joints, constant aches, and a bullseye shaped rash — but thought it was proper enough to get a COVID test just to be safe. Just to protect others. To do the right thing. Luckily, we have a testing center a mile away from our house so it was a quick drive there.

The test took about 15 minutes. I filled out a form on a clipboard and then had a swab shoved up my nose for 15 seconds — the longest 15 seconds of my life! — and then I went back home. But what to do about work?

I wasn’t sure what the UPS policy was about COVID and sickness — and I didn’t feel good at all — so decided to call my full-time supervisor to ask for some details. He’s a good friend and I feel like I can tell him whatever is happening, so elaborating on my Lyme/COVID/woods story didn’t feel too awkward. He didn’t know what the policy was so referred me to a lady and gave me her number. I told her my story and she gave a very simply and straightforward recommendation to me: no work until I got the results back.

And like that my already rocky life was flipped even further upside down by not having work to go to. I love routine. I love having a plan and something to expect from my day so this indefinite lack of work totally threw me off at a time where my life was already thrown off balance. Hell, I was looking forward to work just to have some purpose to my life and that was cut out from underneath me.

So now what? Well, I’m drinking. Heavily. Each day is an alcohol fueled mess where I’m just trying to grasp onto anything — alcohol included — just to keep myself together. I know it’s wrong, I know I’m totally fucking up, but I just want something to do to keep myself distracted. I don’t have work anymore and I don’t have routine. So I drink. Just pissing away minutes, hours, and days until I get my results back where I can have some structure to my life, where I can have some routine to rely on. I don’t feel too bad about it because I know I’m not making excuses or deluding myself at all — this is a problem and this is how I’m coping and it’s not sustainable or healthy — and I know I’ll pull myself together eventually. Despite my endless pessimism when it feels like I’m drowning in the waters of life I still know that I’ll make it. I’ll get through. As shitty as this phase is I know it’ll pass and I’ll be fine.

So today. I don’t feel sick at all. Kinda achy, but nothing special. No COVID cough. No bullseye rash on my arm or body. And I feel even more like shit. I overreacted. I had a COVID test and admitted it to my supervisor. I’m off work until I get results. I feel like I’ve gamed the system to get a free two weeks of vacation for being dramatic. I know in my heart I did the right thing — I was sick, I was tested, and I admitted it to my work place — but I still feel bad about it all. I feel like I’m fucking over my coworkers, being an even lazier and useless slacker than I usually am. Just completely worthless and useless and lazy. And that’s where I am today. Time to crack open another beer…

Here I am, another victim of COVID even if I am an indirect victim of it. I’m out of work, and tossing that on top of my marital problems only makes the week one of the worst weeks I’ve ever deal with. In the meantime I’m doing random pointless things to pass the time until my life pieces itself back together, most of which is drinking: unapologetic drinking to cope with life. I’m living on a very basically level where I’m just trying to survive the next day, and that’s it. This is another bleak blog post, but trying to be positive, the past few days has been quite the adventure. An adventure through hell, but an adventure nonetheless.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all which I deactivated and the link doesn’t go anywhere now. Check back later though!

The Facebook Dilemma Sucks

It’s 4:30 a.m. and I’m 8 beers deep into the night morning. If you read this post yesterday Saturday you’re well aware that I was up at 9 something a.m. to drive more than two hours to help my sister move out of the house that her and her wife had been living in until her wife cheated on her like the total piece of shit she is. It’s a long story that I hope to write a blog post about soon (I don’t really know what to say about it yet), but if and when I ever get around to it, there are more mundane topics to discuss.

I like to note the time so any readers know how fucked up my schedule actually is. I griped about being awake at 9 a.m. but here I am drunk and writing a proto blog post at 4:33 a.m., nearly 20 hours of being awake and I don’t know why I do what I do. As with everyone’s situation we find ourselves places we never expected and we make the best with what we’re given. And so I’m writing a blog post.

Coronavirus. That’s what it always comes down to. Not necessarily the coronavirus but what hot ass politicized topic causes people to choose sides and set up shop in a completely two-sided  “you’re either with me or against me” mindset where no discussion actually takes place, and this seems to be every topic under the sun. Think green energy, fossil fuels, climate change, socialized healthcare, foreign policy, abortion, legalizing marijuana: everything is politicized. For or against. No shades of grey. Everything is a hot-button issue that you can never have an actual discussion over because people are always up in arms about it, and this time it’s called “The Coronavirus Pandemic.”

(Sobering up and taking a few days away from the post…)

There are two major views on how to regard friends that disagree with you on social media. Do you take the high road, recognizing people do have differing views and that politics isn’t something to sabotage friendships and acquaintances over, or do you be open and honest with yourself that maybe these people don’t have that much in common with you and that they could be lost causes? Do you cut the threads that bind you together and create an even stronger echo chamber or stay in the fray and fight for what you believe is right, good, and true?

I’m leaning towards the first option: cut the ties and get the fuck out of there. My reasoning: everything is politicized and there is no way to reconcile the crazy shit people spout on social media. And even worse, the more I think about this, no one can even agree on what facts and truths are anymore, and it’s hard to argue in good faith when no one can even agree on something basic like numbers, facts, and figures. Take the virus bullshit for example. It’d be nice to at least agree with people on the death figures, the death rates, something, etc. and maybe then disagree on policy. Is it better to let the disease run its course or keep things on lockdown? This would be a great thing to argue, and while I do have a side, I can sort of appreciate the opposing side’s view. The economy is pretty important to our collective well-being so, yeah, sure it’s important to get people back to work. But what if no one can even agree on any basic facts? Some people are starting from the viewpoint that the virus is fake, or that the numbers are totally bullshitted. Even the CDC and the state’s death and case figures are under constant questioning and attacks from various conspiracy theories from people on the right, and how do you even argue in good faith with someone like that? How do you convince them what is a fact and what isn’t a fact? How can you shine light on at least some shred of a basic truth to even find common ground to argue on? What started as a simple blog post about keeping/deleting friends that you disagree with has turned into wondering what constitutes “the truth” and if some people even have a clear idea of what is “the truth” and that’s depressing. It almost feels like a group of people standing outside at noon screaming that it’s really nighttime or something and no matter how much you force them to stare at the sun they still don’t believe you. There doesn’t seem to be a way forward with these people.

I’ve realized in the past few months that I love to help people. I love to improve the greater situation in the world and solve problems. I think this is why I tinker around with random shit: I solve the problems that I know I can solve. Solar phone charger? Easy. I did it. Car is broken? I’ll fix it. The dumbasses on Facebook that seem hopelessly and cluelessly lost? There is no way forward there, at least an obvious way forward. Arguing on social media is a fool’s errand and there is no way to do any good, no way to make progress, and it’s just people screaming their opinions in hopes they convince someone of their point of view. This doesn’t work. It never has worked, but I think on social media this is our only option because there is no face-to-face discussion. Everyone has to figure things out on their own and no matter how much you want to do good in the world/change people’s opinions, you simply can’t on social media. You’re helpless, and I hate being helpless.

And I know it’s wrong because it’s just contributing to echo chambers. If every Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist drops friends/is dropped by those with opposing views, all they’ll see is more dumbass Trump supporters and their conspiracy theories: everything they already agree with. There isn’t even the occasional dissenting viewpoint being shown and it only fortifies their worldview. The same is true for everyone else who despises Trump: everyone is anti-Trump! How can he possibly be reelected?! Not that seeing the opposing view does any good, but I like to think maybe something would eventually sneak by our stubborn mental defenses.

It blows my mind how some people I used to think were sane and down to earth and not raging dumbasses can think this pandemic is really a plandemic. Just some massive plot to wreck the economy so Trump isn’t reelected. People really think this? The cognitive dissonance is so strong. How do you fake hundreds of thousands of deaths or blow the death numbers up so much without there being obvious evidence of it? I don’t know a single person personally who has died of COVID, but with near 100,000 deaths it has to be affecting people and families all over the US. How is this fake? How is it made up? You can’t fake a massive and clear increase in deaths nationwide. And if you can’t even believe the numbers, or think you can’t believe the numbers, then what? What can you believe? What institution has numbers factual enough that you can trust? And…and…oh my God, my rage and questions just go on forever. Is being forced to stay inside really what triggers people about government oppression? Not the spying on social media and the internet? Not rampant corruption and insider stock trading? This is what gets the second amendment people literally up in arms? Because they can’t go out to eat anymore? My God the US is spiraling down a hole so hard right now and I don’t see how anything will possibly get better.

So that’s my answer I think: delete the people that have no clue what reality is. Contribute to the echo chamber. Fuck it, it’s a lost cause anyways. If we’re barreling down the tracks with no way off let’s speed things up and have our fiery train wreck sooner than later. I’d love to have some good faith discussions about policy or something, but when you can’t even argue from a basic standpoint of facts that people can agree on, what are you supposed to do? Appease them? Ignore them? I’d rather not see their mindless bullshit because all it does is make me realize how hopeless our situation is. If there is a way forward, it sure as hell doesn’t involve social media at all.

Note: If any flowerly “love everybody and see the good in the world” people want to shit all over this post, please do so. I probably went a bit too far into the depressive/hopeless mindset here and would love to be proven wrong. AS LONG AS WE CAN FIND COMMON GROUND ON THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM OF DUMBASSES ON SOCIAL MEDIA!!!!

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.

Dyeing Hair Sucks

Another way to deal with the stress of quarantine has manifested itself: I’m dyeing my hair. Well, trying to at least, for the third time in four days. Why? I’m a stubborn ass and once I set my mind to something it’s hard for me to give up on it. I’m lately trying to view my stubbornness as a positive and not a negative. The original plan was for me to dye my hair blue. Why? Because, YOLO (You Only Live Once, in case you have no idea what that means). As much as I hate the term “YOLO” I’ve started using it for times where I’m feeling risky and don’t really care to think about the consequences. Do I really want blue hair? What is the reason for wanting blue hair? Am I really coping with COVID as well as I’m thinking? Am I really stressed or something? Is this my midlife crisis? Is this my way to distract myself from the perils of life for a few futile hours? I don’t know. YOLO: I’m dyeing my hair blue.

One issue here: my hair is stubbornly black. I call myself “the Black Haired Guy” mostly because a kid I went to high school with, Kieth, started calling me that and the name stuck. I’m an average white person but have strikingly black hair apparently, and people at school knew me as “The Black Haired Guy” despite not knowing my actual name. “Jeremy? Who’s that? Oh! The Black Haired Guy? I never knew his real name.” That’s who I was. Some white people might have brown or dark brown hair, but apparently my hair is blacker than most white people’s black hair. Like it’d be fitting for an asian or a hispanic person, but my whiteness makes my hair uniquely black. Or so I’ve come to understand.

This would look cool…

So from black to blue. It shouldn’t be that hard, right? I bought some shitty Splat hair dye because it looked tacky enough, and if I’m going for blue I want it to be a noticeable blue and not some shitty midnight black with hints of blue or whatever. I gooped that shit into my hair on Thursday and left it in for nearly an hour. The result: my hair looked about the same. Black, but if you saw my hair in the sunlight it had a slight hint of blue to it. Blah. This would not stand. When I bought the blue dye I set upon a course to have blue hair; I was committed and nothing would deter me from my latest insane and misguided project.

Saturday I bought some blonde hair dye. Or bleach. Or whatever it’s called. As usual I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. I gooped that into my hair and waited an hour — well past the prescribed 25 minutes the instructions suggested — and washed the dye out. And what happened? Basically nothing. My hair was a dark reddish brown, but looked mostly the same as before.

Bringing out the big guns here…

I was pissed. Tossing chemicals on my hair didn’t seem to do shit to it. I want blue fucking hair dammit! Thanks genetics. You predispose me to heart disease/alcoholism/diabetes/cancer along with a really stubborn hair color? What a fun trait to have going for me: stubborn fucking dark hair that is almost immune to any abuse I can throw at it. But there’s no way I’m giving up now. If I have to burn all my hair away in the chase for blue hair, so be it. It’s just hair, it’ll grow back.

Which is why I’m typing this with hydrogen peroxide smeared all over my hair and burning my scalp. One more attempt, this time with the whitest blonde I could find. It’s a Revlon color called “Ultra Light Sun Blonde” and the box looks like this. Jesus, if my hair looked liked this it’d be fantastic and would easily dye blue. Currently, my hair seems to be a ruddy brownish red color. It reminds me of the surface of Mars actually. Well, if I dye it blue it might look purple and that’s pretty cool too I guess.

Douchebag Hair. Also, is my nose really this big?

And now I’ve started this post I cannot finish it until the “project” is over. Fuck. I was hoping to post it and be done with it. Why did I write about this of all things? Let me wash this shit out and dye it blue…

It’s an hour and a half later and my hair looks like a mess. I should probably post a picture huh?I still have conditioner in it so it isn’t very clear how it turned out but I think we all get the idea as to how terrible this idea was. My “blonde” color (Mars red) seems exists in blotches on my head along with shades of blue and maybe even purple elsewhere. I’m sure it’ll be even more of a total disaster once I rinse out the conditioner.

Mission Failed.

Do I have any regrets to note here? No, not at all. We’re all going fucking insane from the quarantines which may or may not go on for another few months. As stated here, no one knows how anything is going to play out. No one has been here before. And with people actually protesting being in quarantine? Geez, it’s surprising that everyone isn’t coloring their hair just to have something to do. I hope you guys take this as a warning that if you do YOLO your hair I hope you have some idea as to what you’re doing because I didn’t and look how that turned out. But really, use this time locked away to focus on yourself and truly do whatever the hell you want to do to cope, even if it does mean recklessly dyeing your hair. Whelp, that’s it, The Artist Formerly Known as The Black Haired Guy — now known as The Shitty Mars Red/Blue/Purple Haired Guy — signing off.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.

Rambling Writings About COVID Anxiety

Note: This post is an objective mess. It’s mostly me rambling about whatever. I don’t know what my main topic is, although I think it’s something to do with anxiety. Since the post is so chaotic maybe it’s a prefect example of anxiety at work. At least that’s how I’m going to justify posting this utter piece of rambling garbage. Also, 1,000 monthly views! I’ll write a post about that sometime soon.

I think I’d be prepared for a zombie apocalypse. Or even a nuclear one, the world ending event where you and everyone else is blatantly aware that shit is, in fact, going down in a real way. Where you can and must drop your daily routine and go into survival mode. Or helpful mode. Or war mode. Kill to defend your family. Kill and forage to eat. Money doesn’t matter. Form into tribes, get weapons, tap into the dormant instinct to survive that is tucked deep down within us, but also hiding dangerously close to the surface looking for a reason to escape when needed. The fracturing of society and the collapse of all the bullshit things that we keep ourselves busy with, replaced by one thing: survival.

I wasn’t ready for this, whatever the hell it is. Is it a future collapse of society, the precursor to a world war, or the first rumbling of the next great depression? Or is this our Spanish Flu and in a few months we’ll be back to normal saying “Phew. It’s over,” where we can finally reflect on what actually happened? Nobody knows. It’s undefinable. I don’t know whether to dump money into stocks or stock up on camping equipment and canned food (Record unemployment, tanking oil prices, yet stonks only go up for some reason; it makes zero sense). Do I save up a store of cash or buy random shit for my hobbies on Amazon? None of us know anything and I think that’s the real anxiety inducing thing about COVID-19.

And sorry for another post about COVID, but this is the hot topic of our time, probably rivaling the attacks of September 11th. Already more people have died due to COVID than the attacks themselves: over 50,000 60,000 70,000 compared to 3,000 and the only real difference is no actual person is to blame. I don’t think there’ll be any geopolitical fallout over COVID so maybe it’s impact will be less than the September 11th attacks despite the massive loss of life. But without anyone to blame it’s even scarier in a way; it’s just the universe doing what it does best, which is moving forward without giving a damn about us lowly humans. Were small and insignificant and this entire thing makes it stark. I saw a post on Facebook asking…well…let me find it and screencap it:

The comments are even better. Would’ve screencapped the whole thing but editing the names and faces out was too much work.

I’ve never been more comfortable with my “soft-atheism” than I am now. Sure, I’ll give credence to the idea of a “greater power” or whatever, but a kind, loving God? Nah. Hard pass on that, especially now. And if it is all “just a test of our faith” or some other bullshit rationalization, I’ll pass on the faith entirely. If this is the God we have that requires blind faith and worship, killing tens of thousands of people for reasons, surely there is a greater one truly worth of worship out there somewhere.

(Note: Nothing against religious people here, to stress that. If you get fulfillment and enlightenment and your life is improved by believing in something, I’m all for it. You do your thing and I don’t really care.)

Rant aside, we’re a species on this fine planet of ours competing with everyone other species to do exactly what were doing: survive. Sometimes the especially nimbly evolving ones get a new random upgrade thanks to genetics, the flu flukes it’s way into COVID-19 and hundreds of thousands of people die. There is no one to blame — this is simply how shit works.

And I think it’d be easier to blame someone. China, the president, and sure while things can always be made worse through total ineptitude of our leadership and mixed messages, there is nobody to place direct blame on for COVID. As always, if you think this is a Chinese weapon, or a Democratic hoax to tank the stonk market, go feck right off.

I thought I had a point I was trying to make here. Oh yeah, I’m still mildly freaking out. Maybe more than mildly. I don’t know. I’m having a difficult time explaining how I actually feel currently. The world is not the same that it was and I have mild terror over it. It’s such a slow and creeping change compared to the sudden DEAL WITH IT OR DIE change that zombies or nukes would do. Is this the final month of the outbreak or are we just getting started? Is the curve flattening or are cases underreported? Are we going to have a round two of this thing? Will it become the new and upgraded seasonal flu? Even more than usual the future is foggier than it typically is, which is pretty fucking foggy by default.

I’ve realized I’m a terribly insecure and anxious person, although I think I hide it well sometimes. I love my routines and being able to expect a certain normalcy from life. I have anxiety over the weekend wondering what my job assignment will be during the upcoming week. If I know before Saturday, I’m fine, but not knowing lets my mind wander around and play mental chess trying to analyze every single possibility that will face me at work. Not that this has anything to do with COVID — I’m just proving my anxiety here — and COVID only makes it worse.

I hate change. I hate insecurity. I hate not knowing. I’m really curious if this is a human thing to have or if it’s just me. Does anyone really like change, like really? Or is it just varying degrees of opposition to change? I don’t know. Help me out here guys. I want to do a massive post on change and how I hate it despite knowing it’s good in some vague “personal growth” way (I read a book called Who Moved My Cheese which was all about accepting change and how it’s good), but the post just isn’t coming together. There’s too much to write about regarding change.

So COVID has taken my already anxious and insecure personality traits and cranked them up in a subtle but noticeable way. My work routine is fucked. My shopping routine is fucked. Tiny changes everywhere I look that aren’t a big deal but when they all pile up and are viewed together, they seem like massive changes. The way I naturally keep six feet away from people now, or try not to breathe too heavily, or the lines outside Walmart, or the constant ads for facemasks, things like that. I’m donating blood today and have anxiety about all the tiny policy changes that they may or may not have enacted. Will they make me wear a mask? Will I be sent away if I don’t bring my own mask? Will there be COVID questions to answer? Will they have to stay six feet away from me as they jam a massive needle into my arm? I don’t know anything and I hate not knowing.

I’d say the worst is work though. It’s where I spend nearly all of my time when I’m not at home (because there’s nowhere else to go) but the fact that work hasn’t changed much has it straddling the fine line between being comforting having a routine like a job but terrifying due to all the little changes taking place there. My safe spaces, the routines I take comfort in are now changed, altered, or not present anymore. Work is still work, but it’s also not quite the same as it used to be.

We have 11-person vans we ride around in. Some people take tugs to grab equipment and stuff while the others ride around in the van, myself included. I’m a big fan of the van because it’s where I get nearly all of my social interactions in my life. It’s where I listen to music with others and where I talk to my friends. Thanks to COVID, the van — such a tiny aspect of work but somehow my comfortable zone to exist in — now has a limit of four people. Some of us ‘van people’ must get tugs and sit in isolation for most of the day. It’s oppressing in a way when you’re used to a certain amount of socializing and you’re removed from it. Even the possibility of not being in a van puts me on edge. I’m a total introvert but this doesn’t mean I don’t need social interaction. Sometimes I think I require more. Even if I haven’t been cast to the tugs decisively and am still ‘defending my van seat,’ I have a great deal of insecurity about it. Every day before work I stress out about if I’ll be able to sit in the van or if I should just give up and grab a tug. Take one for the team. Sacrifice myself to the tugs so others can enjoy the van.

The tugs are also shit because while having two seats only one person is allowed in a tug. If I did end up in a tug I can’t even have a buddy ride around with me. I can’t ride with someone else. I can’t give rides to people who are walking. I’ve realized I enjoy helping people and doing these little favors for people like offering them a ride makes me feel useful and appreciated, like I’m doing something small and good to help the world, and this has been taken away.

Or even in the plane pushing cans! We all have to wear a mask/bandana when we’re in the airplane which doesn’t sound terrible, but you’ve probably never realized how often you use facial cues when talking to someone until you have a conversation where you can only see the other person’s eyes. It’s almost like talking over a phone — something seems lacking like it isn’t real interaction — and it just doesn’t feel like talking to a person should feel. It’s like you’re detached from them while standing and talking to them. You say something and smile and no one can really notice it as much. Are they aware you were being sarcastic and joking or does your lack of a visible smile make you seem like an asshole? Usually you can tell and it’s not that hard, but not seeing someone’s mouth or cheeks when their talking does throw you off a bit. I almost think everyone feels this way because nearly everyone in conversation pulls their mask down to talk, probably unconsciously, so their mouths are seen. Once again, another small change thanks to COVID that makes me slightly uncomfortable and insecure.

There’s too many small examples to explain.

And I feel like I can’t properly complain about it or say how I feel because it’s so fucking stupid. I sound like a whining crybaby talking about my fucked up routines and how the things I use to anchor myself to life have been fucked up. Who cares? People are literally dying and I’m worried about not being able to give people rides in a tug. People are out of a job and I’m complaining about where I’ll sit in a van at work. At work at a job that has had zero impact from COVID. I’m lucky. Somehow I stumbled into the perfect job for a pandemic. “Essential Employee”: that’s me. But I can’t help how I feel, and figured I’d whine about it a bit. I think the entire “social isolation” thing didn’t get me worried much, and now that I’ve been living with it for the past two months, I’m surprised that I’m actually breaking down really fucking slowly.

It’s not all bad though. I’ve finally realized that everything “bad” doesn’t need to be seen as bad at all. Whatever you view as bad says something about yourself and how you view the world. Through this COVID bullshit I’ve realized that, yes, I love my friends and coworkers. I love talking to them. I love being around them. Even sitting in the van with a group of friends and listening to music is wonderful. I never realized it before until it was taken away. The “bad” isn’t what happened; it’s how I view the situation. And apparently I love helping people, doing tiny little insignificant things to make their lives easier. Pick up my coworkers from the guard shack on friday, bring my bluetooth stereo into work for the music, offer rides in tugs, buying gum from Amazon for people, and so on. So maybe when all of this is over I can take these few gems I learned about myself and apply them. This is who I am, and I probably shouldn’t deny it.

Streak Day #32 Sucks: A Values Checklist

Sunday, the last day of the WordPress week, and what do I write? I’m feeling some pressure now; I need about 25 more views today (in the remaining eight hours…) to have another record week. I don’t think it’ll happen. And if I pull off about 45 or 50 a day I can crack that 1,000 views in a month goal I’ve had. I don’t think that’ll happen either. I didn’t even have much hope for it the past week but the past few days has (once again somehow and I don’t know why) had quite a bit more views than usual, giving me just enough hope to have it totally crushed by Wednesday.

I’m tempted to try to write another “masterpiece” blog post but don’t have it in me. I haven’t made any progress on the Morrowind story this week and finally got around to a rough draft about two hours ago. That must be edited and posted and has priority over any bullshit I want to write here.

So what to write? I don’t know. Let me sit here and think about it. I’ve already talked plenty about this stupid coronavirus and don’t want to do it anymore. Work? Work sucks. I hate being at work but I hate being anywhere else. You trade work for boredom mostly. Any projects at home? Well, I bought a massive 100 Watt solar panel from Amazon that arrived today; not that I can do anything with it because it’s been perpetually cloudy. I think I’ll rig up some extension cords to make the system “plug-and-play” or something like that. I’m just sick of soldering shit, using alligator clips, or whatever else I can conjure up to connect wires. My last panel was a tiny 10 Watt panel; this boi is ten times the power! I can’t wait to get started.

But the Morrowind story hangs over me like these damn clouds in the sky. That’s the goal for today and as much as I want to fuck with this blog, Dark Souls, or my new big boi solar panel, I can’t until that is finished. Or at least finished enough that I can put it together before midnight or before I’m too drunk to edit, whichever comes first. That’s why I’m doing this now, to get it out of the way.

Drinking today means a trip to the store. I need extension cords for my project. I can’t believe I bought a 2 x 4 foot solar panel for $100 so I can charge my phone with solar power. It’s such a simple goal but one that is taking on a life of its own. I’m dreading a trip to the store. Last week was pretty comfy — Meijer was all but deserted — but I’m starting to have anxiety about being around people in public. Who is infected and who isn’t? Has this box of tomatoes been handled by someone with The Disease and by picking up the box I’m going to get myself and my family killed? Every person that drives by or walks by, I wonder if they’re infected or not. Everyone is a hazard, every object outside of the house is a hazard, and if you let yourself think too much about it in a careless way it’s nearly impossible not to feel frightened by the world. Remember I think I’m doing well with the COVID anxiety too. How is everyone else doing if I’m becoming this way?

I suppose there is that paper the therapist gave me from Thursday, something about discovering your values that I haven’t even looked at yet, so maybe I can check that out. Fuck, let’s do it together. I’ll type it out here and if that takes too much effort I’ll take a picture of it.

Exercise: A Values Checklist

Below are some common values. (They are not ‘the right one’; merely common ones.) Please read through the list and write a letter next to each value based on how important it is to you. Of course, some values will be more important in one area of life (e.g. parenting) than in another area (e.g. work) — so this is just to get a general sense of the values that tend to matter to you the most.

  • Acceptance/self-acceptance: to be accepting of myself, others, life, etc.
  • Adventure: to be adventurous; to actively explore novel or stimulating experiences
  • Assertiveness: to respectfully stand up for my rights and request what I want
  • Authenticity: to be authentic, genuine, and real; to be true to myself
  • Caring/self-care: to be caring towards myself, others, the environment, etc.
  • Compassion/self-compassion: to act kindly toward myself and others in pain
  • Connection: to engage fully in whatever I’m doing and be fully present with others
  • Contribution and generosity: to contribute, give, help, assist, or share
  • Cooperation: to be cooperative and collaborative with others
  • Courage: to be courageous or brave; to persist in the face of fear, threat, or difficulty
  • Creativity: to be creative or innovative
  • Curiosity: to be curious, open-minded, and interested; to explore and discover

Okay well this list is forty items long, so I’ll just put the values and omit the explanation. If you need them defined: Google them.

  • Encouragement
  • Engagement
  • Fairness and justice
  • Fitness
  • Flexibility
  • Freedom and independence
  • Friendliness
  • Forgiveness/self-forgiveness
  • Fun and humor
  • Gratitude
  • Honesty
  • Industry
  • Intimacy
  • Kindness
  • Love
  • Mindfulness
  • Order
  • Persistence
  • Respect/self-respect
  • Responsibility
  • Safety and protection
  • Sexuality
  • Skillfulness
  • Supportiveness
  • Trust
  • Other:________
  • Other:________

Apparently the list is from Russ Harris at this website right here. So I didn’t steal it, okay?

Hopefully you guys got something out of that. It sure does seem like something you really need to sit down and think about that’s for sure.

So as I was typing that, I realized all sound really good and I think I hold nearly everything as a value somewhat. There aren’t any that I noped away from: everything sounds great! Maybe fairness and justice can get the axe: life simply isn’t fair. I think we should strive for fairness but claiming something is unfair doesn’t mean shit. Anyways, this only complicates the matter. I think it’d be easier to ask what values you don’t hold than to ask what values you do hold. Trim the paper until you’re left with a shape that is actually you, in a way.

Basically on Thursday the therapist said that maybe if I had a clear value system it might be easier to define my actions, to uphold my values in a way that gives my life some integrity and meaning. Not that I don’t have integrity or am a total heathen, I’m just lost and confused to where I’m aimless. She said to give myself some goals to give myself direction, and when asking about what goals I should set because I don’t know what the fuck I want to do she said to figure out my values. What I hold dear in life. The shit that I think is important. So basically values -> goals -> direction, something like that. More layers to the onion, I suppose.

Now my issue is I’m not sure how to live according to values exactly. An obvious one I have is curiosity; I’m always surprised that some people, maybe most people, simply don’t seem to give a shit about anything around them. Is anyone curious? Given the COVID-19 example you’d think maybe a large chunk of the population are reading about viruses, immunity, ventilators, exponential growth, RNA sequences, the flu, or vaccines, but most are probably reading questionable articles from Facebook (and spam-sharing them) about how maybe shoving some herbal supplements up your ass might make you immune to the disease. I don’t know this for a fact — luckily most of my friends don’t seem to be raging dumbfucks — but in the 2020 post-information/disinformation age curiosity and critical thinking in general appear to not be a huge priority to people.

Rant aside, how do I live according to having curiosity as a value? Just be curious? That’s it? I think another value I have is “helping people” or “spreading knowledge” but how the fuck do you help people be curious if they aren’t already? How do I leave by example? And even if I figure this out, how does it apply to a life goal? What job can I get that values curiosity and teaching people? A teacher? Is that what I’m supposed to do? What about that minor dream of being a flight instructor? Well, shit, maybe all of this therapy bullshit does make some sense if you think about it enough.

And that’s enough thinking about it for now. Onto the store, a six/twelve-pack of Claws, and editing that damn Morrowind story. Maybe perseverance is one of my values as well…

COVID-19 Anxiety Sucks

During the past few years of utter bullshit I’ve periodically heard a supposed Chinese curse that goes something like this: “May you live in interesting times.” It’s great because it sounds like a good thing at first — no one likes being bored and living in some bland period of history (like the early 1900s or something) — but upon further inspection it really is a curse. For the past five years at least I think the entire world has been living in “interesting times” and they are fucking terrible.

I grew up in the 1990s and those were really boring times. Looking back I should’ve enjoyed them more. Sure I was a kid so have some naivete going on but even looking back as an adult the 90s were boring. There was the Persian Gulf War (which wasn’t even a war like the shit we had in Afghanistan/Iraq) but there were no collapses of society, mass unrest, no stock market crashes, or major recessions. Oh, and remember Clinton’s impeachment over a blowjob? What quait times we were living in….

Then the September 11th attacks happened and that caused a decade of “interesting times” but even that seemed to wane into boringness around 2010. Looking back the 2000s weren’t even that interesting in comparison to today. Then there was more boringness for at most five years (the magical year of ~2015) and then the world spiraled out of control again. And in my life this year has been the most “interesting time” I remember living in: 2020 is total shit. Fear and dread and anxiety and uncertainty. Especially with COVID-19 going around causing society to grind to a halt, I’m reminded of a quote from J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

“‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.

‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.'”

-J.R.R Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

Another Reddit “theory” that seems rather silly but also interesting is that maybe the Mayans and the “world ending” in 2012, well, maybe they were onto something?! Not that 2012 is when the world spiraled into chaos, but what if we shifted into some alternate reality where things don’t quite work the same as they used to? And we’re all left with a pre-2012 mindset stuck in this strange, new, and terrifying world that is the post-2012 disinformation age. I don’t take this idea seriously but man it seems that in 2012 the world got shifted into a parallel dimension where terrifying stuff happens.

I’m having more anxiety than I’m willing to admit, but I still am rather calm and collected about the virus. It’s not a big deal, personally, but I acknowledge that it is a dangerous situation. Every day I wake up to see another few hundred dollars wiped off my stock trading accounts, and the prospect that I could be out of a job soon is terrifying. The stock market is especially frustrating as I was shorting in the past two month and rolled into long positions way to early. Had I held onto the shorts with diamond hands I could have earned a few thousand dollars as society collapsed around me. Not that I’m hoping millions of people die so I can make money, but it’s happening and I might as well try to benefit from it somehow. God that sounds terrible; feel free to shit on me in the comments if you want.

I’m reminded of this post from the New Year (I can’t find it and I’m out of time). My ability to live perfectly in the moment one minute and hour at a time. Most of my current anxiety is looking ahead to the next few months just wondering how this entire crisis will play out. How will it end? Will society be back to normal in a few weeks/months or are we going to collapse even further into stasis while every waits? I hate waiting. I’m impatient. I’m insecure. As much as I bitch about the grind of everyday life, when it has been altered I feel myself on the very of some great unknown and it terrifies me.

Looking closer to the present, ala Alan Watts/buddhist style, things are okay. I have plenty of food, no one I know is sick, and I still have a job. I get to leave in a half-hour and load some airplanes. Luckily UPS and package shipping in general hasn’t been totally shit on yet especially as people might turn to online shopping for their fucking economy packs of toilet paper rolls. UPS keeps shipping packages no matter what. With all the excess around the holiday season I’m surprised to find myself in a “safe” sector of the economy, as if the excess in December also has a counterpart to it being essential. Not as essential as truck drivers, but still needed. “You are safe.” In this moment of my life — the one that is actually happening right now — I’m perfectly fine. I have food, I have water, and I have a year supply of nicotine because now is not the time for nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine also kills your appetite making the food situation even better going forward!

I’m not saying that things won’t get worse in the upcoming months, but as my therapist said regarding my anxiety, “Think if a thought is useful to have.” All this worrying and anxiety about the future isn’t useful at all and only degrades the part of my life that actually exists: the ever-present Now. And if/when something bad does happen? If I lose my job? If myself or someone close to me gets sick? Well, I can worry about it when it happens. I’ll scrounge up money where I can, maybe sell my stocks, max out the credit cards if I need to do so, and maybe negotiate some deferred payments with them. If society utterly collapses around me? I’m sure my instinct to survive and my creative DIY mindset will naturally kick in to where I start problem solving whatever comes up. Squirrels are edible I guess, and I know where to find fucking mulberries, but once again I’m reminded to think, “Is this thought useful to have?” Absolutely not. Stop rambling here and get on with your life. I need to leave for work now. Do I need to dress warm or wear a raincoat? Do I have my badge and my timecard? What is happening Now?

I hope everyone remains safe and healthy, and maybe most importantly of all, in a positive mental state during these strange and frightful times.