Life lately has been... frankly, bizarre. Even more bizarre than usual, and yet somehow everything feels normal to me. There is an ongoing pandemic still looming large in the human global and national consciousness for the past couple months, an epidemic which has shut down many businesses deemed non-essential and put many people out of work across the country. My job is (thankfully) not threatened because Target is considered an essential business, and my roommate’s job is so far only slightly threatened because somehow the cannabis shops are considered essential too (I could write a whole other entry musing on the mystery of that alone)-- meaning that both of us are “on the front lines” so to speak, meaning we are unable to quarantine ourselves at home like much of America is doing right now. But I want to make clear that the REAL heroes on the front lines are all the doctors, nurses, & medical staff at hospitals and nursing homes, especially those in dire need of Personal Protective Equipment. Also, the virus has hit poor people of color especially hard, and... that is just so fucked up, because I realize things were already so difficult for many of them BEFORE this novel coronavirus shit hit the fan. I feel for those souls while realizing I must continue to keep my own head up.
Although I am not quite as psychologically bothered by what is going on as other people are (dysfunction, disease, and death are longtime acquaintances of mine, after all), the atmosphere around the world, and especially in the US, is very uncomfortable and it’s impossible to say the pandemic doesn’t psychologically affect me without lying. I just feel irritated by everything lately, and I’m constantly tired, except for the days when I sleep more than usual. I wish I could just stay home for a month, too. More than ever I really want to live alone, in a van by a river somewhere. I don’t know what to do with myself: I’ve never felt more distrustful of people, religion & politics in my entire life, and all of my dreams feel so unreal to me, so far away from being something tangible I can grasp with my hands, like clouds falling through one’s fingers. Although I’ve gotten rid of my social media profiles (I could write a whole entry on that, too), I’m still checking the news a lot to monitor the pandemic & see if the situation is finally improving... but it’s really not improving. This pandemic has really changed a lot of things in a very short period of time, and no one knows for certain what is going to happen next.
I wrote the following about the novel coronavirus several weeks ago, before it really hit New York with the fury:
“So right now in the world there is a viral disease known as COVID-19 that has spread literally across the globe like a wildfire. Before I closed my Twitter account the other day I was spending weeks reading about the virus from the accounts of doctors, nurses & health organizations like the WHO, who have been doing their best to combat the vast amount of misinformation being passed around out there (including by the current POTUS). From what I gather, the first recorded case of the virus was in a place called Wuhan in China, and it spread through there first, then traveled along with humans flying all over the world. The outbreak in Italy became very bad, and then multiple cases started popping up very quickly here in the USA. Aside from the virus being a threat that can easily be destroyed with soap and water, people are reacting to the quick spreading of this virus by panic-buying certain things: toilet paper, hand sanitizer, flushable wipes, baby wipes, disinfecting wipes, hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol— all consistently wiped out daily at the department store chain I work at. Now eggs, bread, butter, pasta, and pasta sauce have all followed suit. They put up signs limiting customers to certain numbers of products at a time, and of course some people got cute & came into the store multiple times to get around that. But our supply chain is just not fucking built for this pattern of excessive buying; every time we put out a little bit of toilet paper people come in first thing when the store opens & they buy it all up. The toilet paper aisle is consistently empty, along with all the other aisles & items I’ve already mentioned. Strangely enough, though, there’s still plenty of soap on our shelves... and soap will do more to destroy the virus than hand sanitizer will. The television in the break room at work tends to have the news on, and the word “PANDEMIC” is usually splashed across the screen. Peoples’ reactions to this virus are honestly scarier than the virus itself!
Now, what does toilet paper have to do with the virus? Well, actually it has everything to do with the self-quarantining people are doing in order to slow the transmission of the virus, especially to the elderly and immuno-compromised folks. Many places deemed non-essential have closed down in cities across the country, including bars & entertainment venues. Many different companies and corporations are showing their true colors in how they are reacting to this pandemic (it is officially called a pandemic now): some companies are making their employees work & firing them when they have to self-quarantine, while other companies have a much more benign response in that they offer paid time off to their employees in response to the nationwide health crisis. People are talking about the virus EVERYWHERE: on social media, the news, my coworkers, my roommate, my lover Q, even in the Adult Swim chatbox next to the Rick & Morty marathon stream.”
These are some strange times, and they’re getting even stranger.
I mean... it’s not all bad, though. Despite all that’s happening in the world, my own life is going pretty well. I still feel pretty happy and optimistic, choosing joy in spite of everything. As much as I can, anyways. Things could always be better, and earlier this month I decided to do something to MAKE things better, in my own life at least. I did something I haven't done before but have thought about for quite some time now: I got a hotel room in the mountains just to myself & spent the night relaxing & sleeping in a clean, quiet space. I brought my laptop & tablet & a game controller but didn't really use them much; I didn't use the controller at all. There was a comfy king sized bed and a bunch of pillows, so I laid down right in the middle of it like a starfish and rolled around in it and it was simply marvelous. I slept a bit more than I wanted to during my trip, but it was good, solid sleep so I can't really complain. I stayed at a hotel in Evergreen very close to where Q was, but I didn't see him while I was up there. I brought a bunch of different products intending to have a spa day, and while I did take a very nice super-hot bath that made me feel like a noodle afterwards, the spa day didn't really happen because... sleep happened instead. But it was really awesome to get away from cluttered spaces and needy dogs for a little bit so I could rejuvenate myself, and I couldn't have chosen a better place to do so within. As I drove closer to Evergreen, the trees had a light dusting of snow draped upon them that would have made some excellent photos had I not been driving at the time. I've been playing Final Fantasy 10 recently, so I listened to the soundtrack while hanging out in my hotel room (particularly Yuna's Theme, Besaid, and the Via Purifico tracks). It was very interesting to see first-hand how the coronavirus pandemic that's currently happening is affecting how the businesses that are open are run on a daily basis. Some took the social distancing more seriously than others. Paper bulletins regarding the virus were conspicuously placed everywhere, with warnings and information about changes in the hotel's routine due to the virus pandemic. One of those changes that disappointed me the most was how breakfast had to be served: in to-go bags full of single-serving items instead of hot eggs. But, I tried not to think about the pandemic while on my mini-vacation. I enjoyed the silence, the view, the accommodations, and the change of space.
On a more eschatological note, I cannot help but feel that this calamity is both a consequence of humanity’s own disharmony and a routine part of Nature’s pruning process. It has become obvious to Those Who See that we are living in a world out of balance, and we cannot live this way forever without causing great damage to the world. It seems downright offensive to think that sickness and death may be essential parts of Nature’s solutions, but it really is the truth that on the other side of a dark ending is another bright beginning. That bright beginning is the hope that I'm holding on to no matter what happens, even if I get sick and die myself. I’ll understand completely if Nature takes my life, but to be honest I am hoping to survive this. Life won’t be the same after this coronavirus pandemic, and I want to be there to rebuild the world.