Well, most of us have been on lockdown for a few weeks already and you know, there isn’t really a lot that has changed in my life. Well, other than the soul crushing loneliness sometimes. And when I say sometimes, I mean it. It isn’t a continual thing. There have been times when I have gone days without speaking to another person. Even on my trip to the UK last year, other than the person I was ordering food or coffee from, I didn’t speak a lot to other people. When I did, sometimes I would feel a little bit awkward, as though my words were just a jumble.
I feel like that a lot lately. Sometimes it gets to me, like the other day when I was walking around campus for some exercise and I ran into Larry the Cop. I’ve known Larry for a number of years, but other than him recognizing me, I don’t think he even knows who I am. I hadn’t spoken to many people at all by then. Maybe my gf or my mom and dad on the phone, but that was about it. This was the first person I had spoken with face to face in many days. I pretty much unleashed a whole weeks worth of information on the poor man.
Then, I was fine. I went home, I wrote. I cleaned house. I was productive. This working from home thing has been awesome. I can get everything done without distractions. I don’t have to listen to every stupid story or exclamation about the weather, or worse yet the all-knowing/all-seeing weather app. You know, rather than just looking outside.
On Monday, we got our notice that our jobs were ending. They gave us five days to apply for the new positions, and like the dutiful battered spouses so many of us on campus are to our jobs, 90% of us were interested in fighting for those crumbs. You see, the deal is to consolidate 65 jobs down to about 12. You won’t have a pay increase for the additional duties and training, and there’s no guarantee that the university will even be there in two years. But like the person who walks around with a shiner and makes up an excuse for their abuser, everyone was willing to go back to the piece of shit.
My state of mind lately during this quarantine and these layoffs hasn’t been that great, but it could have been worse. Usually I look at my housekeeping as an indication of my state of mental health. I let the dishes pile up in the sink. I haven’t folded laundry in days. But every once in a while I’ll tackle a problem that hasn’t been looked at for a while. The other day, I cleaned my oven. Today, I shampooed my carpets. Then I cleaned out the steam cleaner and I did it again. The carpets which have been looking like the floor of a crack house because of my son’s potato chips and my indifference to garlic and onion skins which drift in and out of the kitchen needed to be addressed. I did it. I shampooed the damned rugs.
I’ve been too busy lately with paid writing assignments as I get ready to transition over to writing full-time. Sometimes it is difficult to not become distracted. I mean Facebook is just a tab over. There’s instagram, twitter, and emails. But all of those are wearing thin these days.
I went on a walk today because I need the exercise. As a person with asthma, I need regular exercise or else my lungs feel kinda junky. They’ve been like this since September when I had pneumonia. With this pandemic, I can’t help but feel like I’m susceptible for pneumonia again, which isn’t anything I ever want to have to deal with. So, I listen to my body. It says I’m getting fat eating pasta and bread at home all day, so I get up and I do something about it. I take a walk and immediately feel gassed. With the layoffs coming, about a month ago I let my gym membership lapse. So, no eliptical for me these days. No twice-daily walks at work. I pretty much walk about ten feet in any direction and spend the rest of the day sitting. Or eating.
To make sure I don’t get sick, my gf and I just talk on the phone. I miss the hell out of her. But she’s protecting me, and that feels wonderful. My ex-wife, in a less altruistic turn, hasn’t let our son come over to my house for three weeks. She has claimed that the kids have all been sick with COVID19 and sends me lectures on hygiene and epidemiology to shame me because we all are supposed to recognize that she knows more than the doctors and isn’t she just the better parent?
I’ve missed my son. Yes, even though he plays a lot of video games and he’s hitting that age when he just wants stuff like Pokemon cards and food and entertainment, I’ve missed him. I can’t imagine what things are like for him over there right now. His mom is a known hypochondriac. This is like when a prepper sees that comet headed for earth and weeps tears of joy because they finally get to use their bomb shelter and eat all those beans they’ve been stockpiling for years.
With this pandemic, I can honestly say, I am sick of dried beans. I’m sick of pasta. When this whole thing blows over, I want to sit in a restaurant and order appetizers and an entree and my lovely gf and I will sit and listen to conversations and make comments about the sad choices being made all around us. But it will be nice because in a weird way, I sorta miss people.
As much of an introvert I am, I do still miss seeing people. Lately, with the empty streets and cancelled plans and shelter in place, I feel a little lost sometimes. I have railed against social media in the past. About how it is neither social nor the media. But right now, it’s all a lot of us have. It’s a small window to the world and so many people who are scared or lonely are hitting the anger phase of their mourning of the life they used to know.
Some are drinking a lot. Some are talking politics and dropping blame on a President, hating him for not saving us from this sooner…forgetting that a kangaroo court of impeachment was going on at the insistence of the established ruling class, who all hate a man who keeps saying “We need to start making things in America again.” Yes. Like medical supplies. That’s biggie. I’m just dumbfounded that nobody has talked about how the country where this crap originated has not only lied about the severity of it, but is providing all of our medical supplies to fight it.
But, maybe that’s just part of the mourning. Bargaining. Anger. Blame. Eventually we will all hit acceptance. In the meantime, there is Tiger King to distract us. At the end of this, so many of us will be without jobs. The way we interact will probably be scarred for many years. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to burn the whole thing down, remove the aristocrats who have ridden this country into the dirt, we’ll continue to just patch things together, distracting ourselves with outrage. Kardashians. Mourning the lives of the old and young alike that we lost over these months. Ignoring the fact that our government doesn’t have our best interests at heart.
Ignoring the fact that our world is changing in the blink of an eye.
Being stuck at home can give you too much time to think about things. Maybe I should start cleaning out the fridge.