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.

5 thoughts on “We are alive, but we aren’t living

  1. Excellent stepping up, Clinton. Your voice is an important one. I hear you championing connection, just as much as I hear myself getting my life back 2 weeks before 3/19 when the shutdown came here. I smile that I KICKED myself in the arse before it happened as a response rather than IT don’t the same to goose me into a reaction.

    I don’t think it’s a hoax, though why watch the news? Whenever they intensely (sensationalism) indicate to look in one direction, i almost immediately look 180 degrees the other way with, “What did you want me to miss?”

    Mark Twain said it best over a hundred years ago… indicating everything has moved… very little. “If you don’t read the paper each morning, you’re uninformed, If you do, you’re mis-informed.”

    In regards to your, “Some of us are not doing so great because we don’t have the luxury others do of playing along with this horseshit.” I’m with you, though I see a distinction where I released those docking clamps… “You can’t quarantine stupid.” 🙂

    KEEP THAT VOICE STRONG. You’ve got a good one regardless of agreement or resonance. It’s important. Is you voice the mental real estate no on can take from you? I bet the property taxes on your Voice just jumped in the right direction… to build ore Value

  2. >We are alive, but we aren’t living. What kind of life is this anyway if we can’t get connection with others?

    Truth. I always thought, to live is to die…We got to risk dying in order to feel how it is to truly live. If we are too careful, we will miss a lot of things.

    Sometimes I don’t care anymore too, I got to go out there. People will die more of isolation than the virus itself. I guess this pandemic just made us realized what we are truly missing.

    I hope you are doing well over there.

  3. Life (or in this case, living) is exactly what you make it.
    You are under the assumption one must do what one is told by one’s overlords.
    You don’t.
    The rebels are starting to emerge. Be one.
    I’m avoiding my elderly parents and anyone with a compromised immune system, but I’m going fishing and hiking without a mask, WITH friends, as we have been doing since March.
    Is there a spike? Definitely. Had we not had shoulder to shoulder, in your face protests for the last 3 weeks, it would be down and on its way out.
    But you can’t un-ring the bell, so throw on a mask and use your hand sanitizer to go to the store, but don’t stop socializing. It’s vital to get together for your sanity.
    Ruin a politician’s day by living.
    And for God’s sake, wash your damn hands.

  4. I flew north in a mask. Everyone on the plane was asked to wear one, oddly, the couple with infants a few months old wore them. Granted, they couldn’t mask their babies, but it seemed odd they were traveling with such littles. I hope they allow the kids to play with hoses and in mud as they grow!
    Being isolated is hard, I miss real people..or thought I did!! I do know I much prefer being alone in the midst of lovely instead of the walls of my Oregon house!

  5. It’s complicated.

    We went hard lockdown for six weeks and people complied, and we were able to get rid of community transmission. Now life is mostly back to normal (sports matches are being played with crowds of thousands in the stands). Life was tough during lockdown; felt like things were on hold. we were only allowed out for essential stuff like food shopping. Bars & restaurants, hairdressers closed during it. Only essential businesses & services were open.

    But it killed off transmission & bought time to get testing capacity increased, and border/quarantine systems in place. We’re also lucky because people were willing to maintain lockdown/shelter in place: sacrifice personal freedom for greater collective good. Those look to be two important differences: in America, more are unwilling to sacrifice personal freedom, and the lockdown period hasn’t been used as well as it should have.

    Mask-wearing was not mandatory though the evidence now suggests it’s a good idea (even the fashionable cloth ones help), and mask-wearing was not made out to be some sort of partisan signifier.

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