COVID-19, part 65 (I think)

The COVID-19 posts have definitely fallen off quite a bit. They seemed redundant, after a point, and the reality of what non-COVID life was obscuring came into view and then into focus. Everything that was hidden behind the day-to-day distractions came more into focus. There’s no need for a list. Anyone that reads this has seen the same news that’s been on my screen, with the exception of the handful of trolls with their own alt-source nonsense. It is definitely funny how they talk about everyone else being brainwashed, spoon-fed sheep. Okay, that may even be partly true, but their alternatives, the Q-Anon type sources, are simply fucking ludicrous. Suffice to say though that while COVID-19 is still knocking people out left and right, it’s the other stuff that seems more important. Florida and North Carolina are with the virus where New York was three months ago. It’s going to be a long year, this 2020, but maybe what’s going on out in the streets will keep a momentum that Occupy Wall Street couldn’t. That’s not to say that Occupy didn’t leave a mark. Many of their touchstones are now part of regular discourse in our legislative houses, watered down but still there.

My thoughts this morning are more selfish anyway. I’m thinking about where it’s all brought me and what that could mean for my path forward. I mentioned to a friend that I could do this forever were things not still largely shut down. There’s really very few places to go and few people to see in the downtime between work hours. It would be lying to say that loneliness hasn’t been an issue at all. While I’m not the misanthrope I would have laid claim to even just a few years ago, I am an introvert and prefer to spend a lot of time on my own. That’s not to say that lack of company doesn’t leave me aching some days. I’m not a hugger, for example, and reserve affection for a small handful of people and pets where the feelings warrant a touch. That said, about the only physical human contact I’ve had for three months was a hug goodbye from a friend and fist-bumping my pal Ricky when I ran into him on the street a few days ago. There are no words for that feeling, or rather there are but words often escape me. It’s just fucking weird. That leaves me with these internal moments not far from the post-Apocalyptic landscape in the image above. Don’t get me wrong though because it’s more than balanced in that many days it’s like a damn Teletubbies landscape up in my considerably sized dome. There are dark moments though, and darkness moves to crankiness and crankiness to anger. Then it cycles back around after a cathartic rant here or there. I am making my best attempts to leave other people out of those though.

Simple human touch.

Judging from scenes out on the street last Friday night with young people partying up and down the blocks of the East Village suggest that this anti-touch paranoia won’t last for most people. I’ve read/heard questions about that. How will this change the way we interact? Um… I’d say not much in the short or long terms, at least not for most people.

But back to me, because it’s all about me. I’ve mentioned before that in many ways this lockdown has given me a chance to get more centered. That’s what I need to keep the momentum on. First touch was health. Regulate diet and exercise more. Get attention for the various medical things that have been plaguing me for a while. Some of those I wasn’t even fully aware of. There are ailments with very obvious symptoms. Then there are the more insidious conditions that slowly drain and deplete. These aren’t even an option. Without the momentum established these last three months I can resign myself to writing off a lot of things that are important to me. I’m not being cryptic here. It’s just a question of not paying close enough attention to changes in my body. Some are age related but some are… well, that remains to be seen. Anxiety and the constant stress of maintaining and battling back from personal catastrophe actually changed my body chemistry. Self-care means something different than what was required ten years ago. End of story for now.

Also, I’ve got itchy heels that a holiday may not address. It may just be time to go elsewhere. It’s both easy and difficult to imagine depending on the day. My happiness and well-being are not really tied to a specific geographic location, and yet having spent so much time working at being happy where I’m standing it’s hard to think about outside of the geographic context. Does that make sense? It does in my head. I’ll start with a vacation though. Let’s see where that leads. After a couple of those I’ll decide if my well-being is portable. I’m pretty certain it is. In the meantime I’m stripping down my life further and shucking off the armor of material possessions further. Cleaning the closets and the shelves, so to speak. If nothing else it’s an activity that makes me feel lighter.

Someone said to me a while back, “If it’s not bringing me joy, it goes.” And while I think I was one of the things not bringing joy there, the message is no less true. (Insert big, ironic, laughing emoji here). There are so many things that haven’t been bringing me joy. It’s better to stare at blank walls than to stare at clutter and the shackles of having simply too damn much stuff. I do feel like I built a part of my identity around my ‘stuff’ like someone might walk into my place and fill with awe and wonder of me as portrayed by my accumulation of cool things. Don’t get me wrong here. This is not a self-indictment. I’m not beating on myself. The confession of this revelatory moment for me feels absolutely delightful. And also, I’ll never be a minimalist. I can’t even write a fucking haiku without wanting to editorialize and write a few paragraphs explaining it. There is a balance though with material things. The space around the object defines not only the object but its importance and relevance. That’s where I want to be. More things for function. Less things that are simply accessories. I do get joy in function.

COVID-19 is a horrible motherfucker. COVID-19 is also precious time for those of us blessed enough to do something with the time. That’s all there is to say on it really. It’s the other stuff that became visible when the virus stripped away The Simulation or The Matrix, if you will, that will matter in the long run. That’s personal things. That’s social things or structural things… It’s all that.

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