I think the greatest difficulty in writing during the pandemic has been and will continue to be the lack of organic stimuli. I get to listen to podcasts and stream movies but I’m unemployed and unable to leave the house; not much is happening here. There’s personal drama but that hardly gets Wagnerian. There’s the news but who wants to talk about that? You’re either getting the scope or your not and there isn’t much I can say to sway you to one side or the other. And frankly if you’re reading this and you do fully grasp the gravity of the moment we’re living through, you’re probably too far from power to affect any real change and it’s cruel to continue reminding everyone of our feudal impotence. So I stare at the same walls day in and day out, occasionally distracted by my neighbors fighting, occasionally distracted by a good snippet of advice or interesting notion conveyed via podcast, or occasionally distracted by a film or 10 year old video game and hope that I live to do it again tomorrow. And while the conversation and creative output of others is far from doomed to lead to a plagiarist’s output, it’s no substitute for genuine experience outside of the home. But with our health issues it’s simply too dangerous.
The house has grown so functionally still that it’s become nearly impossible to tell one day from the next. Our two biggest time keepers are counting how long we’ve left some sort of delivery on our porch, then in a special decontaminating area of our unfinished basement, then how much is left before it’s time for another order. It’s both precise and chaotic. We’ve gone weeks where we’ve had to adhere to an absurdly tight schedule of cleaning and opening packages every day and weeks where we haven’t had reason to so much as open the front door. Assuming society bounces back I think what’s surprised me the most is how much of the system can actually break, and let’s be honest we’re beyond bending, without the whole thing coming down. From where I’m sitting it feels right on the edge but that’s not stopping the bat shit lunatic next door from calling animal control on the dog that gets out of its fence once in a while, hurting nothing. It does make me wonder if the Titanic had been fully perpendicular before the last passenger stopped trying to flag down a waiter to have their soup sent back.
There’s very little that can be said for the state we find ourselves in that somebody else hasn’t said already. Well, nobody you’ve heard anyway. You don’t often hear from the lowly 5-digiters through the major news outlets. You’ll hear from those survivors in 20 years, when some of them are finally able to retire (10 years late) and therefor have the “privilege” of time that I do. I’m hoping that I’m going to be one of those people who ends up saying “looking back, walking away from 65K a year to save mine and my wife’s lives was the best thing I ever did” because if I’m not then there’s a serious chance I don’t even get the opportunity to be one of those people who gets to say “looking back…” at all.