Plague Journal

I am not well. I am not sick either, I just realized…fuck it there’s a better way to start this thing.

I’m not doing well, here in the middle of all this bullshit with COVID-19. I have no idea why I type that out in all caps, but I’ve been doing it for weeks now. Ugh. I’m not doing well with this shit. I’m not dealing with it very well. I was fine for the first few weeks, but this last week, the third week for anyone counting, has sucked Satan’s ass.

Fuck this shit.


I’m really struggling here in the third week of social distancing. Yesterday I was able to talk about it with my wife, who was less than shocked at my admission of struggle, and that helped, and she’s amazing. Every Friday we get sushi from the local place (takeout lately, if that wasn’t obvious) and last night we brought it home, and then ate and had a really good conversation, and then worked on a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle of an Edward Gorey painting. This one, specifically:

The jigsaw was brought over to us by Allyson, who also brought a giant sack of lemons, which…Allyson, that was huge, I can’t thank you enough. So we spent a few hours working on it in relative silence, and it took me out of my head, which is becoming increasingly necessary. We got the border completed! Anyway…

Here in the morning, after a good night’s sleep, I’m doing better. Yesterday I was giving in to the fear in a bad way. The fear ranged from, “Do we have enough food?” to “What’s Trump doing while everyone is distracted by the disease?” I’m hyper conscious of sounding like a paranoiac or a conspiracy theorist, but here in the morning, in a slightly more rational frame of mind, let me just clarify that I still think these are both valid concerns.

I can control, for the moment anyway, how much food we have. The rest of it?

Donald Trump is bloviating ass hat dirt bag piece of shit. He looks like the bastard love child of Hate Speech and Gout. He’s a misogynist and a textbook narcissist who spends way too much of his free time in the B Cluster personality disorder pool. He’s a white supremacist – this is objectively true. Anyone not able to see this is either a fool, or an idiot, or white (or, fuck it, a combination of those things). It’s upsetting to me, as a white guy, that some of my fellow white people are incapable of seeing Trump’s racism, or the systemic racism in our country. It’s painfully, painfully obvious. But even more upsetting is the endless stream of nonsense excuses and justification for Trump’s racism (and the systemic racism in our country), and I’m really torn about how to deal with it because some of it comes from people I love dearly.

Some rando in a bar? I’d just tell him to fuck off with his clueless bullshit. Friend or family member? How do you deal with that? I’m working on it. I know some of the people I love are going to read this, and some of them might think this is directed at them. All I can say to that is this: it’s not directed solely at you, you have a LOT of company. Also I love you, and I respect you, and I am so incredibly disappointed in your inability to see Trump’s obvious racism. You are so much better than that. You are so much smarter than that. I don’t give my love to dipshits.

Anyway, I can’t control what Trump does, or his racism, or the harm he’s doing to immigrants and their children, who are trying to get into our country the legal way, or the harm he’s done to all of us by dismissing the Coronavirus as a democrat hoax. His utter failure to be an effective leader now has a body count, he literally has blood on his hands, and how people can’t see that absolutely blows my fucking mind, but…I can’t control it.

I’m also scared for my family. I have several family members who are immunocompromised, and I worry for all of them. I want to be with them, I want to help them out, however I can, and I can’t be with them because for all I know, I’m carrying the virus. Week 3 of social distancing, yes, but I’ve still had to go to the grocery store a few times, god knows what I’ve picked up while I was out. Probably nothing, but do you really wanna roll those dice? I don’t.

I’m scared for immigrant families in detention. One day we’re going to find out exactly how terrible this has been and it’s going to be so much worse than we’re imagining.

I’m scared for people who are living with domestic violence. Alcohol sales are through the fucking roof, and shelter in place is literally going to be a death sentence for some people. And it’s still the right thing to do. And that right there might be the single best example of how fucked things are. People are going to die – not from the virus, but from the physically expressed rage of a husband or father – and that’s going to have to be the price of staying at home and not spreading the disease around, and THAT IS FUCKED.

I do not know how anyone can see God’s hand in any of this. All I see is varying levels of chaos.

So I’m focusing on how much food we have. We’re doing fine, by the way, that’s one of the things I talked about with Annette last night. I can also control how much news I take in. Annette’s a news junkie and I’m not. I can’t take the sound of our president’s voice, and I can’t take the sound of seemingly intelligent adults talking about him in any terms other than disgust. If the news media was actually concerned with servicing the public, they’d stop broadcasting his image and voice immediately and just deliver a summary of the three passably intelligent things he said that day. But I can’t control the news media.

For two days now, I’ve been putting in the earbuds whenever Annette needs the news. This is working. I start every day with a Facebook update from a woman named Heather Cox Richardson, who is a political historian and a professor. She spends her day going through the news for me, and she then writes a newsletter / Facebook post that summarizes it and gives it a little context. This is all I need.

I can control how much food we have. I can control how much attention I give the news. I can go outside and walk the dogs. And I can clean my house (we’re trying to get rid of half our shit).

And I can focus on my friends being awesome on social media. Victoria and Francesca are sewing masks for people, Cindy is having Zoom cocktail parties every night (I’ve only been to one because I suck), Tristan is uploading his music to various web sites, Stephanie is an inspiration with her political activism, Michaelsun, Lloyd, Tabby, Joel, Jo, Donna, John, Ben, Elder, and so, so many others are keeping things light with their humor…how on earth did I get so lucky as to know so many amazing people?

And one last thing before I bring this long, rambling parade of neurotic half-thoughts to a close: I can focus on my students. Only a complete lunatic would describe the life of an adjunct professor as stable. That’s objectively false. But my students are all dealing with the same shit I am, or their version of it, AND they’re putting in 12 hour shifts at the Amazon warehouse, or whatever shit job they have. I can stay home, take care of my health, be with my wife and dogs, get some work done on the house, and still earn a living. NONE of my students are lucky enough to say the same and damn near all of them are still turning in work. My students are heroes.

And on that note, I’m going to end this. I’ll probably write more of these (hopefully before I start to crack up again). We’re in for another month or two of this shit, but we can get through. Stay safe, be well, and take care of yourself.