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?
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.
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.
It’s 4:30 a.m. and I’m 8 beers deep into the night morning. If you read this postyesterday 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.