Underneath my yellow skin

Slouching towards a new normal

It’s month…five? I think? of personal lockdown, and I’m pass the incandescent rage I was feeling a month ago. Now, it’s just resignation, almost fatal. A lot of numbness. My brain is still not able to be as productive as it was in the Before Times, but I just work around it. The outcome isn’t as good as it was before, but I’m trying to be forgiving of myself for that. I’ve set myself an ambitious goal to take me through the end of the year, and I don’t want to talk about it yet. It has to do with writing. I feel comfortable sharing that, but I’m going to keep the detalis to myself. I find that if I talk about a project too much as I’m doing it, I talk more than do.

This is a huge stretch for me, and I’ll be amazed if I accomplish it. I feel as if I need to set an ambitious goal, however, because I have no motivation otherwise. Wait. That’s not completely true. I feel motivated with my taiji weapons, but that’s it. I don’t want to talk to anyone other than a very few people, and I recognize that my depression is settling in. It’s not severe as it was before, but it’s there. I think back wistfully to the first two months of the pandemic when I was doing better than most people in general. I think it’s because I’m intensely introverted in general and work from home, anyway, so the physical ramifications weren’t that overt for me.

Now, however, I’m over it. I know there are people who are moving on as if the pandemic never happened. I can understand why because it’s draining. It’s awful to think about doing this for maybe a year or more. The thing is, though….Let me preface this by saying I understand that there are people who have to go out there for work, being on the front line, whatever. I also know that there are areas where the risk is low. Social (physical) distancing, masks, blah, blah, blah. I want to get that out of the way because I know it’s not everybody, but that said, fuck all y’all who are like, “100 people inside six foot dinner party LOL”. I can’t help thinking how much better things would be right now if we had taken this seriously from the start. I can’t blame people in general for the first few months because it was a shit-show from a governmental and public point of view. The government really fucked up how they presented it and dealt with it in the beginning. Now, however, it’s pretty simple. Don’t do anything that isn’t necessary. The more people and the smaller the place, the more risk. Masks help cut down on the risks. Don’t touch your face and wash your dang hands. Those are the basics.

It’s hard to talk to my parents because they can’t truly understand what it’s like here. They’ve had 7 deaths in Taiwan. That’s not a typo. 7. There have been nearly 200,000 deaths in America. MN has nearly 2,000 deaths. Taiwan dealt with it very swiftly and decisively, and they learned from the SARS breakout. Now, they are opening up churches and other such places because they’ve been so good with the pandemic, and I’m getting emails from the governor imploring Minnesotans to work together to eradicate the pandemic.

The pandemic has shown the best and the worst of Americans. The best being the people and companies who have risen up and gone above and beyond what they should be expected to do. The worst being the abject selfishness and the ‘I know better than all the experts’ nonsense that has been steadily increasing over the last decade or two. Americans pride themselves on individualism, which is a downfall in a time like this. We simply can’t do this alone, and yet, many Americans refuse to believe that.

Also, the conspiracy theorists are letting their freak flag fly. This one makes me the angriest and the most resigned because there just isn’t anything you can do to counter it. Anything you say to the opposite of what they think is just evidence that you’re part of the conspiracy or a sheeple or whatever. It’s particularly annoying because they tend to have a superiority complex about it that is grating. My brother tends to run this way, and he’s probably the smartest person I know.

Side note: One of the funniest stories about my brother is how we were talking about something, don’t remember what, and he casually said something about me being almost as smart as he was. It was clear he meant it as a compliment and didn’t realize how it might sound. I didn’t take offense because he’s on the spectrum (I think. He’s never had it looked at, but it’s evident in other people in our family), but it was not what I expected to hear that day.

He hastened to say that I was better at him in certain things when I gave him a bewildered look, but it stuck with me because while he’s smarter than I am in certain ways, overall, we’re pretty neck and neck. He mentioned IQ, and I told him that’s not the be-all, end-all. I’d argue that it shouldn’t even be a part of the conversation because of all the ist assumptions of the IQ test, but even taking it into consideration, we’re both at a level that it’s just a matter of degrees.

In addition, I’m smarter than him in a lot of ways. He’s smarter at computers, math, and hard sciences (though I’m still up there, I’d like to point out. I’ve always done well in math and science), but I’m much better in English, languages in general, social sciences, and EQ. It was just jarring to hear that from him. I freely admit that he’s the smartest person I know, but I surround myself with smart people in general, so it’s a matter of inches and not miles.

Anyway, my brother tends to hop onto different conspiracies, and there’s some studies that suggest that people with higher intelligence are drawn to conspiracy theories. The reasoning is complex, but grossly simplified, they have the ability to build a case for just about anything and because they’re smart, they’re convinced they’re right. In addition, in my brother’s case, he just dumps a ton of info on me (via links), which puts the burden on me to disprove his nonsense. I refuse to do it because that’s not my job. One of his conspiracy theories was that 9/11 was in inside job. He made me watch a video that was like 300 reasons that confirms it’s an inside job. I watched maybe half of it before saying to him, “The FBI and the CIA can’t get along in the best of times. Do you seriously think that all the agencies and people needed to be involved in order for it to be an inside job could keep this a secret without ONE person saying a single word?” I think I threw in something about incompetence of the administration making it doubly unlikely, but I don’t remember. At any rate, he let it go, and I think he moved on. The one thing I will say for him is that he will admit he’s wrong or at least let go of a wrong idea if presented with enough information to the contrary.

The only possible way to get the assholes to wear the masks and such is to make it worthwhile to them. There is more evidence that a mask is good for the person wearing it, which is probably the only thing that would change their minds. If they were only putting themselves at risk, I wouldn’t give a shit. That’s the part of libertarian that I’m on board with. But they’re putting everyone at risk and they’re the reason we can’t even get past the first wave of this fucking pandemic. Every time I read about a large gathering where, surprise, surprise, several people get infected, I just sigh.

This is my life. I know if I get the ‘Rona, it ain’t going to be pretty. There’s nothing I can do about other people’s behavior, however, so I try not to fixate on it. It’s not easy, though, because I do want to be able to go out again without fear. One day.

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