We are alive, but we aren’t living

Tonight I’m going to get up in your face over this horseshit we’ve all been living through for the last three months. No real end in sight either, since the Press continues to stir up the fear.

Yesterday was the first day I hung out with people who weren’t my immediate family since March 13. Just sitting around people in the back yard, enjoying conversations, eating together. Petting dogs. It was wonderful.

It wasn’t this bullshit ZOOM meeting that just makes me want to put my fist through the screen either. A few days I sat in a restaurant by myself while the waitress in her facemask attempted to do her job in “these unprecedented times.”

Fuck you.

These times are totally precedented. I lived through this bullshit for three years when I was married. I’ve spent the last six recovering from it. My ex wife went completely bonkers about germs, being afraid to leave the house, eat a meal that (I) didn’t cook at home. Microwaving the mail. Bleaching everything. Wearing protective gear and gloves. ETC. I’ve lived through this bullshit, and I want to let the rest of you know that we all have a thing called an immune system. For the last 100,000 years, people have relied on this. Yes, we have died of the Black Death and Spanish Flu and all sorts of other plagues. This isn’t the Black Death. Wake the hell up. It still hasn’t killed as many people as the normal flu season. Though I appreciate keeping people safe, at this point, it’s just like me when I would strip down as soon as I got home to be decontaminated.

I knew it then, but I still participated. It’s all about control. And Fear.

These precautions really don’t do much.

They are killing a lot of us though. One of the best relationships of my life ended in these unprecedented times. Had COVID not sent everyone into a tailspin, I would probably still be with her. I wouldn’t have been spending the last three months feeling like my mind was deteriorating from the isolation. You see, there are some of us who live alone. Other than my son coming over every other week, I don’t have many opportunities to spend time with other people.

I don’t have close family nearby. I don’t have a girlfriend. I don’t even have a job now where I see annoying co-workers everyday. I feel like a shut in. The most human interaction I get is visiting the kids at Dutch Bros. for a coffee every day. That’s $2.50 plus a tip that is keeping me somewhat sane every day.

Today, I went people watching in Fort Collins. I noticed something peculiar: The masks.

The primary function of the masks now is to look stylish. Many of them were wearing masks that matched their outfits. And I’m not talking about N95 masks either. These are just cloth masks that really don’t do shit. Other than match a nice off the shoulder dress or maybe a shirt or pair of shorts. The secondary function of the mask is to show people that you are supportive of keeping people safe from COVID-19. Even though even the CDC keeps changing their story on the use of masks. If you don’t wear a mask, you might as well shave your head into a mohawk and wear an Anarchy t-shirt and shout “FUCK THE QUEEN!” like punkers in the 1980s. You are THAT antisocial.

The third reason for wearing a mask is to you know, like, maybe flatten the curve and stuff. Because Black Lives Matter. Hashtag, I’m doing something to help. Hashtag. Masks are the new awareness ribbons of this generation. Disingeniune codswallop about a lot of people who usually don’t care getting to look like they do.

People were out on dates, basically breaking the rules for social distancing. Sure, they wear their masks. Until they meet at a table. And I guess a frosty glass of wine or a beer will give you immunity to the plague of the 21st Century as long as you are at your table, with a stranger, and your dress/pants match your mask. These are the people who just like anything else in their lives bend or break the rules and everything turns out just fine for them in the end. I couldn’t help but wonder if they hook up, do they keep the masks on or what?

“Flatten the curve.” You know, by completely ignoring millions of years of biological programming. Picking sides and politicizing a virus. it goes beyond that.

People are hard-wired for connection, and right now, the biggest virus I have seen sweeping the globe has been this fear storm that tells people that the lost, lonely, and isolated can be forgotten as long as everyone else gets to have a Brady Bunch moment on a Zoom meeting or we can continue to tell people that our immune systems can’t beat this thing. So, we can lose our jobs, lose connection with our support systems, start to slowly go crazy, drink a lot more, and feel unloved until we turn into dust and blow away.

Six weeks in, I had my first fist-bump with someone. Other than hugs from my son, it was the first human contact I had had. Three months later, I hugged my mom and dad. Two weeks after that, I ate dinner with some friends. Phone calls. ZOOM meetings. Shouting incoherently through cotton masks and plexiglass aren’t the same. Not even close.

We are alive, but we aren’t living. What kind of life is this anyway if we can’t get connection with others? Privilege is those people who break the rules and go about life out of force of habit because they can still be social with a few minor differences. A cute mask (that does nothing). A protest. Beer pong with friends. Walks out in crowded outdoors spaces and parks where people hardly visited before. But they wore a mask! Over their chin. Or put it on the table when they ate.

Time’s up.

Some of us are not doing so great because we don’t have the luxury others do of playing along with this horseshit. The elderly. The poor. Introverts. Isolated people. Marginalized people. People with mental illness such as anxiety or depression. People who have spent a lot of years trying to overcome OCD or germaphobia, hypochondria, etc. The curve will keep rising as people are tested more and more. That is basic math.

Some of us are dying inside, and not from a virus. From solitude.

I’m at the point where I have even stopped caring what happens next. I’ve always been on the outside looking in. I’m sure I’ll be several weeks behind everyone else who gets the memo that we can return to the “new normal.” And it will be just another way that I get to feel like I don’t belong at this party. Maybe those who survive that don’t require touch are just the next logical step in evolution? Human connection will become obsolete. After all, this just finishes what social media, dating apps, and wide-spread narcissism started already.

Remember when Meals on Wheels used to show those old people and shut-ins who were weeping because some college kid brought them a brown bagged sack lunch? That’s 90% of us now. If this all turns out to be a cruel hoax, I hope the people responsible are dismembered publicly for their crimes against humanity.

The Storm has passed

There are days where the storms roll up on you, the wind howls, and the branches snap from high limbs of trees. The rains come and threaten to wash you away. The noise, the lightning, the chaos. It is maddening. You feel like you might die at any moment. Alone against the storm.

Then the wind subsides. The land is quenched. The distant rumble that you hear is almost comforting.

You look at the devastation left in the wake of the storm and understand that things were bad, but could have been worse. I’m tired of these storms. But what this last one left in its wake was a story of hope. It’s a story that continues to be told.

A story of picking up what is left and moving forward.

I get to pick what was good from every moment of my life. All the lessons. All the happy moments. Nobody can take those away from me. I had forgotten that for a little bit. They exist independently now, in a room in my heart, in an archive of my memories. They are safe and yet always with me. Along with perfect moments, kissing in moonlight, sweet moments with my children, good friends I have met along the way, and houses with solariums and libraries that are yet to be built.

I’m going to get some rest now.

Rock bottom

I think I’m just about there.

The pieces don’t come together right and there’s a part of my brain that won’t let it go. I have been ghosted, blocked, and left wondering what the fuck I did to deserve it. The only reason I can think of is there was something I wasn’t supposed to see.

It reminds me of the last mystery I solved. The on again and off-again we-are-dating-but-I’m-not-your-girlfriend mindfuckery of 2015-2018. That girl is getting married now, and I found out she was probably dating the guy before we were officially broken up. (Gross.) Once I found that out, the loose ends were tied off and I was at peace with that.

I realized something last night.

My grandma was a nutcase, but she loved people as best as she could. She was vivacious, accepting, and had a great big heart for everyone she met. One day, her husband finally got tired of the drama, the self-sabotage, and decided to leave her. She was heartbroken. Numb. Her doctor suggested to her a glass of wine before bed to help her sleep. That glass of wine eventually became a coffee mug of wine which she only drank halfway down every day. If you keep filling it, you’ve only drunk half of it, right?

She died years later, more than likely alcoholism being the culprit. I don’t think it was alcoholism. I think that was only a symptom. She died of a broken heart. The wine was to quiet the questions in her head that kept her from falling asleep.

It sucks to feel. It really, really truly sucks. I wish I could just shut it off sometimes and pretend like nothing happened. To make it not hurt when I look back and realize that all of those sweet words and perfect moments were bullshit.

I wonder if that’s what kept my grandma awake at night. Because I know I haven’t slept right since the end of April and I think it’s killing me. My amygdala has been getting lots of overtime these days. Nothing adds up. I don’t have answers. Just excuses.

I just wish I could sleep again.

We used to say that the only way people will change is if they hit rock bottom and can see what they need to change. I’m just about there and looking up, all I can see is the silouette of sharks swimming overhead.