Tag Archives: Quarantine

Streak Day #27 Sucks (and some stuff about the economy)

We went to Meijer on Sunday as it’s my shopping day. The whole ‘drink on Sunday’ resolution has also meant that I have a regular grocery shopping day as well. This has been working out nicely since the start of the year. No more late night post-work trips to Walmart to get a box of crackers, milk, or whatever other random shit we need. I keep a list throughout the week of items we run out of and buy them Sunday. It’s a good system.

The store was unsurprisingly empty. I got the best parking spot in the lot and there was only ten or fifteen cars there total. The place was dead as you could expect. This was shocking because despite the statewide quarantine I assumed people would still be blowing up the grocery store. Apparently not.

The drive to the store didn’t give many clues about the quarantine. Traffic was nothing like it usually was, although the streets weren’t barren of life. When I drive anywhere it feels like a Sunday. Few cars on the road and it feels like constant sleepy, weekend mornings.

But apparently the economy is grinding to a halt. People aren’t working and are only buying the bare minimum that they need. (That still hasn’t stopped me for dropping $100 a new solar panel; I’m going to charge my phone via solar no matter what I have to do!) I’ve heard stories on Reddit and Facebook (yeah, I know this sounds bad) about polluted and smog-filled cities clearing up now that humans have mostly shut down their economies. Animals are out and about because we’re laying low. The world is getting a break from us humans for once. And for the time being were mostly doing good, right?

I think lately I’m struggling with this whole idea of a ‘booming economy’ and how it’s required for society to function. It seems with everyone chilling the fuck out the planet isn’t being destroyed nearly to the degree it usually is, and isn’t this a good thing? In my idealistic mind I can’t stop thinking “Can’t we do this all the time?” Of course not: once people run out of money and start starving things will get very bad very quickly.

One thing I’ve learned from reading a few basic, shitty, introductory economics books is that the economy is linked together in a complex web; what affects one part of the economy affects the rest. With society grinding to a halt this past few weeks, everyone will be hurt eventually. I have some safety net by working at UPS (the whole ‘life-saving medication thing) but if people run out of cash where they can’t order a fuckton of trash off Amazon, UPS can and will cut the workforce down. And then I’m one of the people not buying shit and causing other people to lose their jobs and so on.

Now that I really think about it my anxiety is starting to tick up once again. It feels like we’re on a timer set to trigger a bomb to the economy itself. I’m still an ‘essential employee’ but I’m only essential for some undefined time going forward. Not that I’m condoning Trump’s plan to get everyone back to work by April 12th — that’s a terrible idea and would nuke the economy with possible millions dying — but I do hope things kinda get back to normal, or some sense of normalcy, soon. The plan working its way through congress won’t do shit in the long run either: how long will $1,000 last an adult in the United States? Maybe a month, at most. Don’t even get me fucking started on these corporate bailouts. Motherfuckers can’t save some cash as an emergency fund and now us taxpayers have to bail them out?! Come the fuck on. I know, jobs and all, but still, fuck them.

This post was boring and uninspired and I have to leave early to borrow my dad some money. He has some medical issues and is off work the rest of the week. Having no savings, any disruption to his income requires me to help him along. If that isn’t a fitting end to this post, I don’t know what it is.

Streak Day #24 Sucks (and some stuff about the damn virus)

While the federal government has been dragging their feet regarding any coronavirus response until recently, state governors have jumped in trying to pick up the slack and keep their states safe. While out governor here in Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, doesn’t get much recognition compared to others like New York governor Andrew Cuomo, he’s been locking our state down with zero fucks given. A week ago he closed down restaurants and bars which wasn’t a big deal for me personally — I never go out to eat anyways — and now he’s issued some “stay at home” order. I don’t know the details because once again, I usually stay at home anyways.

Our work crew has a Group Me chat that allows us to share work-related information outside of clunky group text messages. This order, once announced, immediately caused certain panicky coworkers on Group Me to start asking if this affected us at UPS. There was some phrase in the stay home order exempting “essential workers”, but was UPS “essential?”

Fuck yeah we’re essential and this was made clear immediately. UPS, as is often explained to us peons, delivers “essential life-saving medicine and other medical devices” or something of that sort. Nevermind most of what we seem to ship is Amazon packages with who knows what contained within. But still, this made me appreciate my job slightly; I was now an “essential employee” tasked with keeping my tiny section of the economy moving, doing the dirty and dangerous work of providing goods to the people who need them. I felt a warm fuzzy feeling knowing I was A HERO even if I know it’s total bullshit.

So for me, life won’t change much at least until I contract the virus. The wheels of UPS will keep turning.

Low-tier Facebook meme, but it’s applicable.

Two days ago we were offered double shifting opportunities at work. I wrote a post about it here: overtime after five hours of work ($30 an hour for me!), endless boredom, and it’s not like I have anything better to do with my time. It’s too good of an opportunity to turn down. While a few days ago I was worried about losing my job, apparently the universe has decided to smile on me and offer me even more hours at work. Thanks to the paranoid people on the night shift that I’m assuming are calling in and causing UPS to be short on workers. In a crisis such as this I might as well try to make money.

I’m curious as to what force of law Pritzker has behind his stay home order. Somehow I don’t think cops will be stopping every single person driving on the road asking for proof that they’re going to work or the store; I’m thinking the order mostly relies on people blindly following what they’re told. Not that I’m going to blatantly ignore it, but I would like to take advantage of everyone being holded up and maybe enjoy a bike ride or two. Even if I do stay locked in my house all the time (and bitch about it) now that I’m told I have to stay home I don’t want to. Maybe I just hate authority telling me what to do. This is America, damnit!

I think this is due to me being of a “chaotic good” alignment. I really don’t give a shit about what the law says as long as I can do some good in the world. One idea I’ve had to simultaneously shit on the law and help people in crisis was to maybe make runs to the store for medicine (like OTC stuff) and deliver it to people that need it. Even the person with an average severity of coronavirus likely needs acetaminophen and cough medicine.

Not that I’ll ever do that: I can’t talk to people. I can’t network. I’ve bitched about my inability to network here on WordPress and this is no different. In fact it’s worse. I want to help in some chaotic good way but there isn’t any way to help.

Another random idea I’ve had to chaotically help in this crisis is to sell vape juice online. I’ve mentioned here I’ve started to make my own and have enough supplies to make about 30 bottles of the stuff. And if all “non-essential” shops are closed, I’m assuming this also includes vape shops. What are the vapers going to do once they run out of juice? It’ll be a crisis all on it’s own. What if I could “do some good” by selling homemade vape juice online to people in time of need? It sounds stupid as hell, but it is a valid service and the little capitalist in my head sees an opportunity to both become filthy rich and provide an actual service, even if it isn’t a “high-minded” service as other things.

I’m really thinking about doing this too. Order some more flavors and nicotine and go to town. Make a Facebook business page for “Jeremy’s Juicy Juice” or some other shitty sounding name like that. My only problem (besides the questionable legality of selling nicotine on Facebook, once again chaotic good here) is my lack of bottles to put the stuff in. I’ve been using bottles of store bought stuff to hold the homemade once they’re empty. Maybe I could source bottles from my vaping friends? Buy ketchup bottles and use those? Order a supply of bottles? But I don’t want inventory that won’t be used if this plan doesn’t work at all. I have no idea.

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.