It’s been a rough week. As I’ve chronicled, I’ve been dealing with a migraine and something else, not sure what, exactly, but it’s not the ‘Rona, thankfully. It might be a cold; it might be allergies; it might be something else. All I know is that I”m exhausted all the time, and it’s hard to do much of anything. My motivation is gone, and I have to push myself to get anything done. Is it depression? Partly. But it’s also something different. I know depression intimately, and while some of what I feel is that, some of it is not. I have a random cough, and it’s very wet. Is it a summer cold? Probably. Or allergies. My allergies are terrible, and even though they’re better because I’m mostly inside, they’re not gone completely.
I’m enraged by the idiocy in my country. I tweeted about it yesterday just to get it off my chest.
Let me preface this mini-rant by saying I’m not going to do it. With that said, I have to get this off my chest. 
I read a tweet or FB post about how exhausting it is to try to do your best for the better good while realizing that there are people who aren’t doing that. More to the point, there are people who are actively doing what they can to flout the recommendations. It’s especially difficult because the people who need to be the most diligent about the recs are the same people with the most to lose.
It’s really difficult to know that I’m expendable to the assholes in charge. I mean, I knew that in general because I’m old, Asian, bi, and a woman, but it makes it even worse that because of my shitty immune system, it doesn’t matter if I live or die. To see it repeatedly and not just by the president’s cronies really hits hard. I already struggle with feelings of self-worth, and this message certainly doesn’t help. To see it casually repeated, “Oh, it’s just the old and those with autoimmune issues who are at risk” as if we don’t matter…yeah, it’s not a good feeling.
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?’
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.
I know what I titled the post, but I’m going to do a little bait and switch with this post. I’m going to touch a bit on the protests, but the post is going to be more free-form, stream-of-consciousness about what is on my mind during these times. So, apologies ahead of time when I jump all over the place.
We need to start with Amy Cooper. She’s pretty infamous by now, but I’ll summarize. She was walking her dog off-leash in Central Park when Christian Cooper (no relation), a black man who was birding, asked her to put her dog on a leash. She refused, and he started recording. She told him to stop recording or she’d call the police. He invited her to call the police, which she did. She then told the police that there was an African-American man threatening her, and she begged them to come protect her.
There has been plenty of ink spilled about her and why her actions were so profoundly disturbing–and, yes, racist. Both Aya Gruber and Aymann Ismail from Slate wrote about it from different perspectives, and I would recommend both reads highly. The thing that stood out is that afterwards, she both ‘apologized’ and claimed she wasn’t a racist. She also said she didn’t intend to harm Christian Cooper. I call bullshit on all of that. Or rather, I’ll say that it doesn’t matter if she’s a racist in her heart or not. I don’t give a shit if she has a million black friends and listens to rap in her spare time.
I don’t care who she is–I care about what she did and to a greater extent, how what she did affected someone else. Also, I care about the broader context in which she made the decision to call the cops and knowingly use ‘African American man’ as the whip to goad the cops to racing to her protection. There’s a whole history of white woman fragility and black man scariness that Gruber touches on in the post above, so I won’t belabor the point. I just want to say that it beggars belief that Amy Cooper meant no harm. I mean, come on! If you watch the video, she was the aggressor the whole time. He remained where he was, and his voice is calm and polite. She’s the one who goes towards him and points angrily at him.
I will say one thing–people have discounted her claims that she felt afraid. They say she was angry, but why can’t it be both? I think she was afraid, but it’s because of the endemic and enduring racism that is interwoven in every fabric of our society–black men are dangerous, especially to white women, not because Christian Cooper was threatening her in any way. This is something I don’t want lost in this incident–she’s not the problem in and of itself–the systemic racism that allows her to be this way is. She was obviously also angry at being called out by a black man as well.
My heart is heavy, and I’m grieving the loss of a relationship I never had. Or rather, two relationships. Or one relationship with two people. My parents. My relationship with my father has ranged from nonexistent to frosty to cordially distant. Right now, I would classify it as parent-child–with me being the parent. His faculties have diminished to what I suspect is early onset dementia, but it’s hard to say because he refuses most testing in that area. Funny because he’s a hypochondriac who goes to the doctor at a moment’s notice, but like most hypochondriacs, if there is a potential serious issue, then he refuses to go. And if it’s something that has a negative connotation about his brain, well, forget about even mentioning it.
To be fair, my mother told me that Alzheimer’s is looked upon as a personal failing and weakness in Taiwan, so I can understand not wanting to open yourself up to that. I suggested he get tested here, but his English is nowhere near as good as it used to be, and it wouldn’t be fair to use a test he took in English as a barometer. On the other hand, the longer he goes without treating it, the worse it’s going to get.
Do you notice how I immediately started talking about my father? I meant to talk about my mother as a starter, but my father is such the focal point of the family, it’s hard to avoid, even here. Why am I grieving my relationship with my mother? Sit back with your favorite cup of tea because this is going to take some explaining.
If you asked my mother, she would say we are really close. She made me her confidante when I was eleven, pouring out all her woes about my father and her marriage into my very unwilling ears. She would cry about how he treated her (very badly), and I would listen until I couldn’t take it any longer before telling her she should divorce him. Then, she would shift to how he wasn’t that bad. I would feel like a dupe, and I would vow never to say anything again. She also told me how depressed she was and how much she hated her life. Not in those exact terms, but that was what she meant.
I am sorry there was no post this morning. I think many of you can understand why. I watched the returns last night, my heart sinking further and further as the night went on. I went to bed before the official declaration, but I knew by the time I tried to sleep, what the result would be.
I cried myself to sleep. Huddled in a small, tight ball, the blankets pulled up over my suddenly chilled body.
I knew. I knew a vast swathe of this country hated me because of my skin color, my sexuality, my gender, and a whole number of other things. I’m old. I’m tired. I’m cynical. I’m not stupid or naive.