So, How Are You Doing?
I want to check in and see how people are faring. Times were getting to us before COVID, and I’m guessing that nightmare hasn’t helped.
Things here are fine, more or less. Bored as fuck, especially on the days that used to be weekends. Getting together to watch Chelsea with my Rocky Mountain Blues tribe was always something I looked forward to, and not having that contact gives a sense of … alienation is too stiff a term, but there’s certainly an unsettled loneliness. Disconnectedness … wrongness.
I can’t even kill time watching sports on TV. This is typically prime NBA/Nuggets time for me.
And I’m really going bonkers on the photography front. There are several projects on the boards, but they all require me to be out and in contact with people. So I’m stuck here shooting flowers I get at Safeway, and as much as I obviously love shooting florals even that gets tired after a while.
I feel lucky, though. I try and imagine being the age of my gf’s kids. I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with being home through the years but when I was that age I was out literally every night.
The internet helps. As much as it’s to blame for much of what’s wrong in the world, it is a lifeline to friends, to family, to the world beyond the front door. I’ve had a couple of Zoom happy hours with friends, including an online gathering of some old Theta Chi brothers from Wake the other night. Those are more than just keeping up, too. I get to interact with guys I haven’t talked to since the mid-’80s. So maybe COVID will help us expand our networks a bit.
When I think about how this is on kids in their 20s, I sometimes go a step further and try imagining this happening in the ’80s when I was that age. No Net. No Scholars & Rogues email community. None of the incredible TV we have today. No. Fucking. Nothing. I’d read constantly, sure, but would bookstores even be open?
It’s not a comfortable thing to contemplate.
As is, life inside the walls is manageable. J and I are taking steps to make sure we stay on the same page and give each other extra space. No matter how much you love someone, what we have here is a divorce lawyer’s dream. When we “reopen the economy” they’re going to get swamped.
And when I go out I get to rock the badass mask my friend Cat made me. I want to beat people who aren’t wearing them, though. Fucking sociopaths.
Anyway, I wanted to say hi. How are YOU doing?
I’m doing fine. My job and life situation is fortunate. I’m a unionized city employee, but my job is shut down. I go in for a few hours a week to disinfect public areas and that is it. I still get paid my full paycheck and of course I have good benefits.
Until this week, I was off on ‘vacation’ for several weeks. It was planned prior to the pandemic. As the seriousness of the situation was becoming apparent, I went out to my parents’ house and hunkered down in self-enforced quarantine, which didn’t mean much in practical terms.
It doesn’t bother me. I’m an introvert and love nothing better than to lounge around the house, read books, play on the internet, take walks every day, and go out for long jogs on sunny days. It’s been wonderful for me, on a purely personal level, although it’s hard to not be aware of those who are struggling or risking their lives on the frontline.
I never get bored these days, not in a long time. I remember getting bored as a child, but not as an adult. I have more than enough to keep me preoccupied. I watch some tv at bedtime, but I’ve never cared much for watching sports, not even when I played sports and so I don’t miss that.
I’m surrounded by more books than I could read in a lifetime. I have stores delivering food to my door and family to keep me company. On occasion, I’ve gone for walks with friends with appropriate distance maintained and while wearing a mask. Socializing is more limited than usual, of course, but I never socialized much before.
My life has barely changed at all, other than having more free time. I’m simply relaxing and taking life easy. My already planned vacation time has simply been extended. I’m doing what I’d do anyways, pandemic or not. Even my brothers and all of my close friends are still working and going about their lives. I don’t know of anyone so far who has been negatively affected by the crisis, either in terms of economics or health.
It’s my parents who have found it the hardest. They are retired and their only social connections were through groups they belonged to that met regularly. All of that is shut down. My father is fine spending his time in his office working on ‘important’ stuff and having Zoom meetings with his guy friends which is not quite the same, but my mother is getting cabin fever and is ready for spring so she can garden.
I don’t know what I would have done if a pandemic like this had hit during my childhood and teens back in the ’80s and ’90s. I was less of a book reader back then, but I had plenty of things I enjoyed doing. I had an Atari system when I was in elementary school. And my family got cable tv when I was in high school. But I imagine, even as an introvert, my younger self would more likely have gotten bored.
Both of my brothers have kids, from 8-16 years old. The schools are all shut down. I haven’t seen them much. I did visit one brother’s family for a social distancing walk. And I Facetimed with my sister-in-law and niece. Everyone seems well enough. No one is sick nor knows anyone who is sick. I guess that is best that can be hoped for under the circumstances. They are bored, but they have iphones, internet, cable, Hulu, Netflix, etc.
This town is the epicenter of COVID-19 in Iowa, but that isn’t saying much since there aren’t any large, dense populations in this state. Also, the Iowan economy is built on farming and so it continues on without a hitch. It was the same during the 2008 recession that also barely touched this state. New York is an entirely different world that I hear about on the news.
It’s strange. Some people are locked down in complete isolation while sickness and death ravages around them. And some people are facing economic struggles of unemployment, unpaid bills, and threats of eviction. Meanwhile, other people live in places to yet experience much of anything. I’m in that latter category and it creates a sense of disconnect when hearing the news. I wouldn’t realize a pandemic is going on if I didn’t go to work downtown and see that it’s become a ghost town.
I envy you the don’t-get-bored part. I tend to need not only something to do, but something new and interesting to do. Like now I’m working on a flower photo series. But I feel like I’ve fished the waters out on this one. I have more flowers to work with, but it’s driving me nuts I can’t out to start on other projects.
And sports is how I veg. So no NBA right now is just brutal. No Chelsea is even worse because that keeps me away from the local supporters club, which is incredibly important to me.
Not getting bored is my superpower. I enjoy my own company, even to the point of talking to myself on a regular basis.
While at work the other day, I met a homeless schizophrenic. He was friendly and wanted to chat, but after I walked away he kept on talking. He too apparently enjoyed his own company.
One of my favorite lines in a book comes from Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha. The protagonist is asked, “Tell me what you can do.” He said, “I can think, I can wait, I can fast.”
It seems like a good life philosophy, although for Siddhartha it was simply an explanation of his skill set. It served him well.
I’ve been bored most of my life. So I think I’m the anti-you.