Of Viruses & Opinions

Of Viruses & Opinions

In the beginning, the year that is 2020 ran through my body with a vengeance named who-knows-what because I did not go to the doctor, but I was quite sick for quite some time as we flew that last bit of distance around our dear sun. 2019 kicked my ass, and I was ready for a fresh new year, and then the year began in what could only be described as a rotted cherry atop a shitty shit sundae. 2019 wasn’t all bad, obviously. We researched and developed our business and I learned a lot managing a restaurant…even if I didn’t manage it long. I was able to spend a lot of time with my parents, and that was nice after half a decade on the other half of the planet. I missed them more than I realized (my dad bought me a gram of pot as a going away gift), but living that close was a little too close (my mom is adamantly against the use of pot). Eventually, I will drag them down here, and they will have to deal with it.

And then 2020 began to pick up steam in a way that I knew was simply unsustainable. I knew that I could not keep doing what I was doing through the month of January and early February. My professional life was expanding fast, with greater opportunity than I had initially anticipated when we were making our plans last year, and my social life was already unbearable with friends and weekends and weddings already booked through the middle of October!, and it was only the middle of February. I thought a lot about what I was going to do and/or if I could even do it. So, if I’m being really honest about how I felt in The Beforetimes, I may have brought all of this upon the world, but I am not so egocentric to actually think this. But then I began to acclimate a bit to my new life here in Longmont, and a routine began to form, and life was starting to make a lot of sense. The momentum that I had to catch up with due to being sick for so long through the new year finally felt like a comfortable pace. I was hitting my cruising speed, and then it seems like it all came to a standstill, but of course, this is not what actually happened. What happened was that it was a slow trickle as it took time to convince everyone to listen to and obey their phones.

I see only dread in not only the handling of The Virus but also, in The Aftertimes, if the smartest among us do not work harder than we’ve ever worked before to dismantle everything that’s crumbling now and then rebuild the world in which we want to live, in and for the future. The 20th-Century growth model needs to be buried in the 20th century. It, alone, is the reason why we are in this fucking mess, and the people responsible are the overwhelmingly ignoranant populus in the middle. They would not know what is good for them if it smacked them in the face. Yes, all of our individual ignorance contributed to the whole, of course. Nobody is free of blame or guilt. We brought this upon ourselves, and now we have to fix it. I can’t blame the Boomers because I’ve contributed immensely through my global lifestyle. I do not feel as though I am better than anyone. It is simply my job to point at the problem so that we may all see it more clearly. This does not mean that I am not part of the problem. It means that I can see it.

The first two weeks of quarantine announcements were interesting, at least on social media. People were sort of excited about the prospect of staying home, but the honeymoon only lasted a few days. Most people barely survived the first week, but now, by the end of the third week, a little more than two weeks after the official announcement, people have been seeming to settle in and realize that this is life now as The Aftertimes glimmers of hope in the weeks-long future. The reality revealed, however, that we all listen to and obey our phones. I got chills the moment I realized what was happening. Sure there are verifiable “in real life” sources to back up all of the stuff we’re seeing online as news and happening, but I cannot help but think that our collective behavior is fucking crazy. But perhaps it is not, though. We are in the 21st century, afterall. The handing over of the collective-control reigns seems more than plausible by this point. Hmm…but that’s it. This is how a society, a species transitions into the clean crisp future of our collective imagination…the objective, collective fear of germs. Wow, it really takes a long time for an intelligent species to “get it.” This also probably contributes to the overall difficulty of intelligent life (if there’s more out there) creating the opportunity to leave their own planets…germs.

The surprising thing is that around Longmont, it mostly seems as though people are obeying their phones, staying home and wearing masks in populated areas. Yes, there are a number of restaurants still open, and all of those employees are still spreading germs around, and so, that’s annoying. But in general, Colorado seems to care.

And so, it is within the here and now that I currently exist, and what I think has not changed all too much from my initial impressions once Colorado went on official quarantine order. I still see mostly dread due to the overwhelming incompetence of the “Administration,” and I still do not have much to make of the stimulus, yet. On the surface, sure, it seems like an obvious solution…give people money. The problem is that what the money is really doing is bailing out banks…again. There’s no way a bank is simply going to let you not pay your credit card bill, right? So, the “government” (I use quotes for obvious reasons) is sending bailout money to us, and then we will pay our bills, which means the banks always win. Super-honesty, I wish the money were closer to $2,000 each. Oh well. And I can’t even focus on the presidential election. Ugh, I was doing so great at getting all of my political writing done, and now I could not care less. Sorry, there is no knowing when there will be more of those.

I’ve not been feeling psychologically stable the past few days…a little down (but not as low as other lows, don’t worry) and burdened by my existential equation, probably mostly due to my lack of exercise. I know I need to exercise a lot to stay really sane, but now that you have to run with a face thing, the task seems even more unappealing. But I do yoga every day, and I walk around the park next to our apartment most days. And so, my days are filled with making shit. I’ve made so much stuff, I’m almost out of stuff to make stuff out of. I’m going to have to make an online order (gross) for yarn and paper and other stuff to make stuff with.

The boredom is not a problem. I am able to make a lot out of it, and that makes me happy. Whether or not I’m being productive is another issue entirely. But it’s hard to care about my productivity at a time like this, so I’m not stressing nor am I beating myself up about not getting some things done that should’ve been done by now. These are difficult times because people are not used to being prey. We, as a species, are not used to feeling hunted. But we have an “enemy” and it feels like it. It feels like there’s something out to get us, and that we’re the thing it wants. We’re prey. And we cannot even enact fight or flight cause we’re all trapped indoors. It’s a difficult, stressful position to exist within, and the existential nature of this threat makes people (Americans) a little crazy, a little dangerous. So, yes, my concerns are shifting as I feel that we are still weeks away from what this will really be…the impending disaster has still yet to come.

Time is moving fast, which is a strange speed for being trapped inside one’s house. I fear the disaster that this disaster will inevitably birth, and I fear the negative feedback loop of that disintegration. Everyone thinks this is bad? Just wait. The worst has yet to come, and then even after that, The Aftertimes will be even worse. I am not being pessimistic so much as I am trying to be realistic. The reality of a shattered economy is one that I do not want to experience, but the inevitability is looking inevitable. And of course, the poorest among us will suffer the most. Chances are that we will not even feel it, or it will be a small hiccup to our accounts. I could blindly be optimistic and look to a brighter future, but that ideology at a time like this is unhelpful. Optimism breeds nothing but hopes and prayers, and what people need right now are answers, solutions, a vision of the future. Now is the perfect opportunity for someone like, say, Elizabeth Warren to paint a picture of the future. If she could outline for all of the young people out there, the world of work, the opportunities of sustainability, the vision of a future that we can build, together. The world as we knew it in The Beforetimes is gone. And the world as we know it, right now, must fall.  And these are the times to which I am not looking forward, despite how necessary I understand these times to be.