Seems lately my life consists of work, groceries, cooking, cleaning up, and going to bed. In-between those main activities there’s the occasional walk(when weather allows), listening to records, playing guitar, looking for interesting new shows to watch, and where I’m going to buy the weekend’s beer and which sort will it be. Reading, horror movies, wondering when I’ll watch a film in the theater or see a live show again also pops up in the midst of mini-panic attacks, too.
Listen, I’ve been one of the lucky ones. Nobody I’m close to or love has been struck down by this virus, including yours truly. Our four walls have all five of us here and together. I have worked and retained steady employment throughout all of this, so I’m not struggling financially. In fact, because nobody is going anywhere money isn’t going to filling gas tanks. Had a couple big expenses come up that we paid cash for, so that was great.
But despite all of this “good fortune” bestowed upon my big dumb head, I still can’t help but feel that existential dread creeping up on me. I worry the world will never be the same. I worry that small businesses will be forced to close permanently and leave a large swath of the population in the entertainment and service industry with no income. And I also see large corporations taking advantage of the situation, seeing what few can get done and dropping “non-essential” workers. Or just closing what’s left of manufacturing here in the states and move it to China and Costa Rica(this is happening. I’m seeing it firsthand.) Despite the murmur of “Open the country back up” by leading political leaders, we’re not even close to being ready to open everything back up. I’ve got this feeling that a whole new wave of illnesses and deaths are just around the corner. Of course, it won’t be the MAGA hat-wearing, machine gun-toting “freedom fighters” protesting in state capitals that will get sick. It’ll be the service workers and old folks shopping next to them at Costco and Meijer that will get it and die, cause that’s what irony is all about.
I want to believe art, creativity, and good old-fashioned love will get us thru this. That common sense and science will persevere like The Avengers or Poirot in the final chapter and we find the solution. People smile wide, white toothed grins and everything is turned back the way it once was.
But I know that’s not the case.
The genie is out of the bottle. The folks chilling in their 4,200 square foot abodes are having fun making Tik Tok videos and social distancing in their estates. Meanwhile you’ve got four or five people in 800 square foot tenement housing ready to lose their shit. I’m glad we could turn a quarantine into an entertainment-from-home cottage industry, but this isn’t sustainable. It’s a distraction. I do social distance and I wear a mask, but I also have some space to do it. I can leave the house everyday and go sit at a desk in relative quiet. There’s a built-in breather for me and my family. Our house isn’t an estate. It’s 1,170 square feet, but we get by. We’re not the majority, though, and neither is the Tik Tok upper middle class Partridge families making funny raps about mom drinking wine all day and dad chilling in his mahogany-lined study.
The pandemic has turned narcissism into activism(cue millionaires singing “Imagine” on Zoom.)
Hey, don’t mind me. I’m just venting here. It’s part of the process of keeping my shit together. Despite all my moaning and groaning I’m thankful for staying healthy. Thankful for money to pay for food and utilities(and beer and records.) Thankful to have everyone home under one roof and not killing each other. But once in a while the weight of this new reality gets a bit heavy for my shoulders. I may have thought I was Atlas when I was younger, but these days that kind of weight screws with my lower back.
Working three days on, two days off because of a slow in the medical industry and non-essential surgeries, so I’ll use the extra days for rebooting the brain. It’s supposed to rain and storm most of the day. That’s good. I think we could use a good reckoning from Mother Nature, don’t you think? No virus; just wind, rain, and the occasional shot of lightning.