Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: Covid-19

Channeling my inner Furiosa

The first four months of lockdown, I was holding it down fairly well. Yes, there was a low level of anxiety and my sleep went to shit, but I was mostly fine on the daily. I’m not saying it was easy, but I did not feel the overwhelming stress and depression that other people did. I’ve mused as to why that is–PTSD means I’m best when it’s the worst-case scenario because then my inner world matches the outer world. In addition, I’m already pretty much a hermit, so it wasn’t that big an adjustment. Sure, my productivity took a hit, but I got done what I needed to do, even if it took much longer.

Now, however, that we’ve entered the reopening stage, this has changed drastically. I’m fucking pissed off. Why? Because Americans fucking suck. We fucking suck so hard. Texas and Florida are spiking again, and the governors are acting as if they’re surprised. ‘Whocuddaknown?’

via GIPHY

EVERYONE IN THE FUCKING WORLD?!?

Look. Back  at the very start of all this, I could understand the confusion. The experts were pooh-poohing masks and saying they were useless. The basic rules were there are no rules! Just, wash your hands a lot. But that was four months ago. Then it was acknowledged that staying six feet apart was the bare minimum (somehow, crystalizing into six feet is magical) to stay apart, masks are good even if we can’t get them, wash your hands repeatedly, and take as few risks as possible. The message has been the same for at least two months. Stay in if you can, mask up and physically distance yourself if you have to go outside, and wash your goddamn hands. Outside is better than inside. It’s not really that hard.

All the bullshit about the masks is just that–bullshit. What kills me is that it’s the same people who talk about going to war for their country. Going to war? You can’t even wear a fucking mask. Yeah, it’s much easier to be a keyboard commando than to actually do something in real life, isn’t it? I’ve written in the past about extenuating circumstances and understanding why people are champing at the bit to get out. But…right now….

I don’t fucking care. I’m furious, and I just want to punch every asshole in the face. Not every non-mask wearer because there are valid reasons, but the ones who are aggressively NOT wearing masks at people. Or coughing on people. Or trying to grab other people’s masks. Fuck allll the way off. If you want to endanger yourself, fine. But the problem is that in this case, you’re endangering everyone else as well. And it’s exponential. It isn’t just, well, you get sick and your spouse and kids get sick. It’s everyone they run into who is exposed, multiplied.

Fuck all of you. Fuck you hard. I’m trying to slowly reincorporate going out of the house again into my life, but it’s hard to do when I see people not wearing masks and not physically distancing themselves. It’s one thing if they are outside, but it’s another when it’s, say, the pharmacy or the gas station. I’m gearing for the grocery store, but the last time I went to my local co-op, it was a woman who worked there being unmasked and pushing her way through people that sent me into full lockdown mode. I may try to go to the co-op nearer to downtown, but it’s hard for me to even contemplate. I know I can leave if it’s too much for me, but just expending the energy is a lot.

In addition, it’s ninety degrees this week. I’m not a heat person at all. My taiji teacher mentioned having open practice sessions in the park once a week instead of an online class. My instant response was, “No fucking way.” Not because of the ‘Rona, but because it’s fucking summer. No way I’m doing anything outside in above 70 degree weather. By the way, this is another reason I’m angry. The relaxations on outdoor activities. Why? Because I’m allergic to everything, so I stay inside as much as possible, anyway. Whenever I used to get those allergy tests on my thigh, there would be twenty or so swollen bubbles that were hot to the touch. I have a bunch of foods that I react to as well, and it’s just fucking depressing.

But mostly I’m angry because the selfish assholes are making it harder on those of us who are at the highest risk. Or higher risk. I don’t think I’m highest risk, but I’m definitely higher than average with my shitty immune system. If we all take the maximum precaution and do our best with the recommendations, then it’s better for society at large. But, the anti-maskers aren’t having any of that. It’s freedom! It’s liberty! It’s MURIKA.

It may surprise people to know that I’m a libertarian in that I think people should be allowed to do what they want–up until the point where it harms someone else. That’s what’s going on right now, and I’m so fucking tired of it. In addition, we’re probably not going to have a vaccine for at least a year, more like two. I can’t do this for two years–not even me. I mean, I’ve joked about being hermetically sealed, but I do leave the house a few times a week. Now, I have a hard time even forcing myself to do my once-a-month pharmacy run.

At this point, I don’t know why I’m bothering. I hate the fact that I have to be extra-careful because there are so many assholes out there. I know that’s life, and I know it’s up to me take care of my own business. I’m going to do all that, but I can’t help the simmering rage that is boiling my blood. I’m hoping it’ll pass if I acknowledge it and let it have it’s say. Other than that, though, I have one last thing to say. Welcome to the Thunderdome.

Never leaving the house again

I was borderline agoraphobic when I was in my late twenties. Hold up. Wait. back up. When I was a kid (stop groaning, yes, we do need to go back that far), I had no friends. I was a fat, socially-awkward, intelligent Asian girl in a very white suburb. My home life sucked as well, and I first thought about suicide when I was eleven. But even before then, I wanted to die. I didn’t like anything about life which has continued to this day. Wait. Back up again. I don’t want it to sound like every moment of my life is terrible. It isn’t. For the most part, it’s just that everything is low-grade meh. When I’m really depressed, life is torture. There are mornings when I open my eyes, and I immediately want to close them again forever. For the most part, though, it’s just me dragging my flattish (but not as flat as before taiji) ass off the couch and going about my business.

After college, I had a period of chronic and deep depression. There were days when all I could do was brush my teeth, and I would consider that a win. Now, I brush my teeth three times a day every day (and floss three times, too), but there are several things I leave undone. I don’t do laundry until I don’t have anything else decent to wear. Many people do that, I know, but it can be a month or two before I really feel the need. Given that we’re in a pandemic, it’s not as dire at it would be otherwise, but it’s still a factor of my depression.

At that point, I didn’t leave the house except to go grocery shopping and to get my meds once a month. Even that was a struggle, but I managed to get it done. Two things helped my depression–therapy and taiji. The two Ts, as it were. I reached a point where I was going out for my taiji classes three times a week, went out with friends once a month or so in addition to my normal errands. It was enough for me, and I was less blah than before.

Fast-forward to the coronavirus and the lockdown. The last place I went to (except pharmacy and gas station) was a nearby coop. This was late February/early March. I wasn’t wearing a mask, but I kept my distance as best I could and had my sweatshirt pulled up over my hands so I didn’t have to touch anything with my bare hands. This coop is small, and the aisles were narrow. It would be hard for two carts to go through an aisle at the same time, for example. I was already feeling slightly panicky, but at least most of the workers were wearing masks and gloves.


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Even more alienated than usual

I’m depressed. This is not new or unusual as I’m depressed all the time, but  I’m even more depressed than usual. Why? There are several reasons. One, obviously, Covid-19 and racism. Two, it’s summer. I fucking hate summer. Heat is the absolute worst. Three, I’m spending too much time online. This is my life in general. I tend to take negative opinions too much too heart, and it’s easier to do absence of context. I was reading a question on Ask A Manager, and it was about deliveries not being done correctly. The person asking (OP) wondered if she should go to management. She was very careful to say that she knew it was last resort and she didn’t want to get the person in trouble, but she wasn’t happy with the issues (not wearing masks, demanding she answered the door, etc.). Most people were pragmatic about it–talk to the delivery person through a closed door, put up signs, etc. But a small minority castigated the OP, calling her cruel and said that she was outsourcing her risk to others.

Now, let me be clear. They’re right. She’s paying someone else to take the risk that she isn’t. I know that I’m doing the same thing, and I’m profoundly grateful to the people who do my work for me. I’m not even taking issue with the ‘check your privilege’ attitude because it’s a good thing to recognize where you have privilege in order to decide what to do with it. What bothers me is that by throwing that out there, they are completely shutting down any communication that can be had on the subject. Scolding someone feels good in the moment, but it doesn’t really add to the conversation. I know I’m biased in this case, but I’ve always felt this way. Even when I’m the minority. Yelling at people about how awful they are isn’t going to get them to change their minds. I’m not saying don’t call out the issues, but name-calling and putting others down is not the way to do it. In addition, it can amount to bullying, which I see happening too often online.

In this case, some people pointed out that one person doing the shopping and delivery for a bunch of other people did cut down on the danger in general. They got jumped on, too. Again, I’m not disagreeing about the base point, but it’s more nuanced than that. In addition, the people typing angrily about privilege, well, they have it as well. They have something they are typing on, most likely a cell phone. Which was probably made in China and boxed by people at Amazon or somewhere similar. Places with miserable working conditions, and in some cases, the places had people jumping off the roof to kill themselves so they wouldn’t have to keep working.


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Feeling hopeless in the time of Covid-10

I was talking to my mother last night as she prepared to go to another city (also in Taiwan) where she did some teaching. She and my father were going, and they were going to have dinner with some friends they hadn’t seen in some time. The reason it’s notable, of course, is because we’re still in a pandemic, but it’s one that Taiwan handled admirable and is mostly past at the moment. That’s not to say they can’t have another spike or they should relax their strictures too much, but for the moment, they are sitting pretty.

So much so, my parents can’t quite seem to grasp how terrible it still is in America. I can’t really blame them, though, because many Americans don’t seem to get it, either. My dad keeps talking about when they can come back to visit, and I just wanted to scream at him. My parents are almost eighty and both had major surgery in the last two years. My mom’s had two in the last year. My father is in terrible health in general, and did I mention we’re in the middle of a pandemic? Not to mention that it’s nearly 24 hours of travel, and it’s easy to see why this is a terrible idea. They usually come at the end of July/beginning of August, and I really stressed to them that it would not be a good idea, and then my dad was like, “Maybe October?”

I just can’t. We haven’t even hit our peak yet, and the prediction is a spike in fall. I am emphasizing that Christmas is the earliest feasible time, and even that seems to be too soon for me. If I can’t convince them not to come, then I’m just going to stay in the basement all the time and not interact with them.

That aside, we were talking about what Taiwan had done in the early days (aggressive tracking, masking, and fining for breaking the rules) to be so successful and how that wouldn’t fly here because of American exceptionalism/individualism. I pointed out that with the various social issues America has, tracking could be problematic. That aside, however, I agreed that America was too individualistic for something like that to take effect. It doesn’t help that our pols are either clueless or willfully ignorant, and the pros have been offering conflicting information since the very beginning.

I mentioned that I felt hopeless about the whole thing because I was doing my bit, but it didn’t matter. Things were opening up, and we were going to see more cases in the near future. I went to the pharmacy and the gas station today, and there was a worker at the pharmacy who had her mask dangling by her ear. I internally rolled my eyes, but I didn’t say anything. Then she came out into the lobby to fiddle with the merchandise (probably restocking). Did she pull the mask back on? I couldn’t tell, but she didn’t have it when she came out the door and passed by me within three feet or so. In a fucking pharmacy! What is the fucking point if you’re going to dangle it from one ear? Then, at the gas station, the workers weren’t wearing masks (though behind plexiglass) and less than half of the customers were wearing them. I got out of there as quickly as possible, and I breathed a sigh of relief once I got home.


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Annual sinus issues in the time of Covid-19

So, I’ve been dealing with my annual sinus/migraine bullshit. Oh. I just thought of something. Caffeine can cause migraines as well as cure them (it’s finicky like that). I’ve been drinking caffeinated tea at night. That might be the cause of the migraines. I’ll give it a skip tonight and see if it helps.

As for the sinus stuff, I think it’s partly allergies (because I’m allergic to everything under the sun), but it’s also sinus stuff. I can tell the difference because I’ve had allergies all my life, and I’ve had sinus issues for several years. The former is your typical itchy eyes, runny/stuff nose, clogged throat, while the latter is ear shit, nose afire/pricked, and swollen glands. The third factor is the weather. I have no scientific basis for this, but I firmly believe that the barometric pressure changes plus the heat negatively affect my sinuses. I definitely know that ‘feels like 102’ negatively affects my mood. I keep my AC at 78, but I dropped it a degree yesterday because I was not gonna deal with a migraine, sinus crap, AND heat.

I fucking hate the summer with all my heart, and I always have. Not only because of the heat but also because of the allergies. Everything is in bloom, and it wreaks havoc on my nose. It’s hard to remember sometimes that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Not only because it’s been pushed out of the news, but because life around me hasn’t changed. I haven’t seen one mask in my neighborhood, and there are definitely neighbors who are not practicing safe social distancing.

And I end up feeling like I’m the weird one for completely shutting myself off. My father laughed at me the other day that when I had food delivered, I didn’t let them in my house. To me, it was a no-brainer. Letting them in the house defeated the whole purpose of delivery in the first place. And, our state soft-opened…a week ago? I think? Time doesn’t matter. Anyway, my brother said we should go to the noodle place down the street when it opened. Even after we agreed that nothing had really changed during the ‘stay-at-home’ time and the ‘stay safe’ time.


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Video games: the mundane and the profound

I had to go to the post office to mail something (have had a check stolen from my mailbox, so I don’t mail out from here), and it was really weird. In the past three months, I’ve gone to the pharmacy twice (once before lockdown started and twice since), and that’s it. The post office isn’t far, maybe a mile, but it might as well have been in Timbuktu. I had the windows rolled down, and I was singing along to the radio. In other words, it was like the before times, and it felt strange. There were people jogging with or without their dogs. The sun was shining. I had to remind myself that there was a pandemic raging on.

Side Note: Even before the protests, it was getting hard to hold onto the idea that there’s a pandemic. Intellectually, I know it’s true. Emotionally, it’s hard to accept that it’s still going on. I don’t know anyone close to me who has been affected by it. If I expand that circle, then, yes, I do. But it’s remote enough to not really kick me in the teeth with it. I keep up with the news, but I’m not checking daily. And, right now, it’s been pushed to the back burner, obviously, because of the protests and the awful behavior of the president.

Pivoting swiftly to video games, I’m still keeping it light. I haven’t played any more BL3, and I’ve stayed away from the Souls games as well. I will say I’m proud of myself for figuring out why I couldn’t get Good Pizza, Great Pizza to work (something about Microsoft redistributables being missing) and fixing it. I still don’t know how it went missing or what exactly I did to fix it, but it works now! It’s funny because it’s not a good game, but there’s something addictive about it. It started as a mobile game, and it shows. That doesn’t stop me from compulsively clicking, though.

Anyway, I picked up Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor–Martyr (what’s up with the name, by the way?) because it was on steep sale and because Ian had gotten it. I’m interested in the Warhammer universe to a degree, but more the fantasy lands than the space ones. Still. I was looking for a Diablo-esque hack-and-slash because sometimes, all you want is meaningless fun. Does this scratch that itch? Yes…and no.


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Bruce Banner adapted for every situation

I’m sick. No, not with Covid-19. I’m fairly sure it’s not that. How? Because I don’t have any of the symptoms for it besides exhaustion. As I tweeted:

It’s a VERY wet cough, meaning there’s gunk clogging up my throat. My throat is also raw and sore. My nose feels as if there are tiny needles pricking it, and my head hurts. It’s not migraine-level, but I’m keeping an eye on it. I don’t have a temperature because I just checked. 97.5 per yooz. Also, I am pretty much a hermit these days, so my chances of catching it are minimal. Our state did a loosening of the Stay-At-Home orders (sigh), and my brother said, “Let’s do lunch!” I said hell no, and he said we could bring the food back to my house. I said and sit ten feet away from each other? Yeah, no. Not going to happen. Nothing magically got better because ‘Stay-At-Home’ became ‘Stay Safe’.

I’m not happy to be dealing with sinus problems, but I will say that it’s the first of the year, and I haven’t had any issues in the past two months–which is a first for me in quite some time.


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Paging Dr. Banner

Captain America: Dr. Banner. Now might be a really good time for you to get angry.

Dr. Banner (with a wry smile over his shoulder as he’s walking forward): That’s my secret, Cap. (Pauses, drops smile) I’m always angry. (Hulks out.)

I didn’t care much for The Avengers (the first movie, which is the only I saw), but this line stuck with me. Here it is in video form:

This is me, and I’ve never heard it put so succinctly. You don’t need the backstory of The Incredible Hulk to understand what Dr. Banner is saying, but it helps. Very basically, Banner’s Hulk mode runs on rage. In the earlier films/comics, he had a hard time controlling it. I haven’t read it in some time, so I might be misremembering it, but he tried to tamp down his anger and he would get caught off-guard by it and bad things happened as a result. In this movie, again, as much as I can remember, which isn’t much, he’s pretty chill most of the time. So, him saying this showed that he had gotten a handle on his temper and controlled it rather than it controlling him.

I feel this so hard. I am angry all the time, but I’m still in the ‘trying to control it’ phase. I dealt with it for two decades by numbing out. For many years, I couldn’t feel anything at all. I was seriously and chronically depressed, and everything was stuffed way down deep. It’s hard to look back at the younger me without wincing at what a hot mess she was. But, instead of embarrassment, I feel sorrow and compassion for her.

I’ve been sick these past few days. Not sure exactly what, but it’s either sinuses or allergies. Perhaps both. We’ve been having weird weather (supposedly polar vortex?) with frost warnings at night. We almost had snow last week, but it was just a bit too warm. I’m so fucking exhausted. I snoozed on and off all last evening. I’m not able to do much of anything, and I have no interest in anything.  I know that’s depression, but it’s more than that. My nose feels as if it’s being pricked over and over again by a thousand tiny needles, and my brain is full of cotton. I concede it might be the cusp of a migraine, too, but whatever it is, I just can’t find the wherewithal to give a shit.

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It’s complicated. No, I’m complicated

I’m irritable. In general, but more to the point, right now. The filters I have set so carefully in place are…shall we say…stressed. As are we all. Here’s the thing. I have a constant dialogue in my brain–dialogue? Monologue. Lots of time, it’s just anxious chatter about how I’m fucking up. But, otherwise, it’s a snarky MST3K voice sniping about everyone and everything around me. I’m pretty good at keeping it under wraps for the most part–except when I’m driving. I have bad road rage. Or rather, I used to have bad road rage. Taiji has helped with it a great deal–but then it comes bursting out at the exactly wrong time. I’ve had this issue all my life so it seems as if I overreact to something small after all the rage has built up inside me.

I was taught never to show negative emotions, especially anger, by my father. He was the only one allowed to be mad, and he was very unpleasant to be around when he was raging. He would make his displeasure known one of two ways–either by shouting at the top of his lungs or by completely ignoring you. I don’t mean just not speaking to you, but looking straight through you. Unfortunately, I’ve perfected that ability, and in my case, it’s my way of escaping an unpleasant situation if I’m trapped. It’s my safe space, and I’m really good at blocking out everything.

Side Note: I know the silent treatment is not a good thing. It has a bad rap, and deservedly so. However, as someone who has been trapped in situations in which I cannot win, it’s the least-worst of all the bad options. When I was a kid, I was scolded about whatever. If I tried to protest, I was told not to talk back. If I sat there without saying anything, then I was attacked for the sulky look on my face. I felt as if I couldn’t win, so the only thing I could do was have a blank look on my face while being yelled at.


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Mental and physical health in the time of you-know-what

It’s May. I’m having a hard time grasping that little fact. I’m also having a hard time remembering when my personal lockdown started. I want to say it was…March…early? Late? Not sure any longer. I know it was before my birthday which was nearly a month ago. Time has lost all meaning, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. It’s also interesting how many people are having vivid dreams, which was something I assumed was only happening to me. There are reports of people dreaming about people who ignored social distancing, making the dreamer panic. Mine have had nothing to do with COVID-19, but they are very intense. It’s weird because I used to have extreme anxiety dreams and before that, outright nightmares. Now, however, my dreams are intense but not anxious dreams–well, not in the classic sense. They are the least-troubling aspect of my sleep at the moment, which is saying a lot.

I’ve given up on trying to regulate my sleep. I go to sleep whenever I go to sleep, and I get up whenever I get up. If I snooze at any given point, then I snooze. I’m of the mindset that whatever gets me through at this point is fine. Within reason, of course.

Side Note: I read all these people joking about drinking 24/7, and I don’t find it funny at all. I already thought people in America drink too much (let’s not talk about Britain), and I don’t like that the pandemic is being used as an excuse to get plastered. I do sympathize with self-medicating, but….Yeah, I’ll just leave it at that.

I mentioned last time that the one bright side to this mess is that my allergies and sinus issues have been drastically reduced, which strengthens my theory that nature is trying to kill me. I mean, it makes perfect sense that if I’m allergic to everything in nature, keeping it at bay will be better for me. Now that I’m able to test this hypothesis, I’ve found that it’s true. What does it mean for life after this pandemic clears (if it does)? I don’t know. It’s not realistic for me to not ever go anywhere ever. I mean, I could do it, but I don’t think it’s feasible for the long run.

I’m also thinking about what to do about life in general once the restrictions ease. People in my neighborhood are pretty lax about best practices, and it’s tripping me up whenever I see it. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone wearing a mask in my neighborhood, including when I went to the pharmacy. It’s bizarre, and it makes me angry. I’m working on letting it go and reminding myself that I’m hermetically sealed for the most part.


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