I am not sure I have it in me today to write a singular blog post about any one thing, and so here I am, writing a blog post about many things. It’s just a tin pail of thought slurry dumped over your poor, unsuspecting heads.
Feel free to sound off in the comments, let us know how you’re holding up.
I saw my first Cooper’s hawk today. I was just standing in the yard taking photos of birbs, and whoosh, the raptor landed in a tree just behind our crabapple. The photo isn’t particularly good, but I mark it for posterity:
Birds in general have been a coping mechanism for me. Whenever I’m feeling anxious or stressed, I go out into the yard, find some birds, give a listen, then I reach out and I eat ’em. I just grab them from the trees like fruit and pop ’em in my mouth and haha no I don’t do that, please don’t call the BIRB POLICE on me. Mostly I listen and watch, maybe snap some pics if I can. The birds seem happy. Spring is here. They don’t give a fuck about our problems, and it helps me give less of a fuck, too.
I don’t know when this all ends. The president’s rhetoric suggests there will be some kind of Easter Miracle, that Jesus will come down and wave his God Wand and it’ll all be okay, then we can all hunt for the eggs that Christ laid across the land from his sacred cloaca. Or whatever that story is. And I think that rhetoric is working a little, too — already I’ve gotten some emails from local businesses that suggest, GONNA BE BACK IN BUSINESS SOON SO GET YOUR WALLETS READY. And I just don’t understand. How do they think this thing is gonna go? Do they think the virus will just fuck off? Meanwhile the rest of us are watching the numbers tick up, up, up, and we’re seeing the USA become the epicenter of the disease, and there are people who really think we will somehow just magically snap back into normalcy. At least some Republican dickheads are being honest and saying that we’re gonna have to sacrifice people on the altar of Mammon to get back to business — “Sure, people will die, but you don’t want to miss out on enriching my 401K!” says some bloviating fucksack. “We all have to do our part dying for the Almighty Dollar.”
I’m suddenly glad I don’t have a book out this summer, as was initially planned. Be happy for it to come out next summer, instead. That’s when this thing will be “over” — not over as in, gone, but over as in, we’ll have enough information and maybe some kind of treatment and we should be over the hump. It’s hard out there for authors with books out, so try to help out, if you’re able, by checking out their books. Amazon has been wildly inconsistent with book shipping, but that’s okay, because a whole lotta indies have pivoted to shipping — our local, Doylestown Books, will deliver, FYI.
Perspective helps. I try to remember that every generation has its own abnormal fuckery with which to deal. Spanish Flu, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, 9/11, whatever. And I’d rather be having this situation now than 100 years ago, or 50, or even 20. The internet has caused a lot of our problems but it’s also keeping us all connected when we physically can’t be connected. So, perspective helps, but it’s also important, I think, to realize that this shit could’ve been a whole lot better. We’re at a literal perfect storm of shenanigans — we’ve elected a uniquely malignant tumor, it’s an election year, we’re hyper-polarized, science has been under attack, Russia wants us mired in chaos, unfettered and unregulated capitalism is rampant, the social safety net has been chewed up by the squirrels of greed, our Democratic candidates are arguably targets for the very disease we need to fight. And so on, and so forth. So, yes, we’ve dealt with worse, but this also could be going a whole lot better. We need to protect our election and get rid of Trump in November, full fucking stop.
Our kid is back to school, but distance learning. It’s hard, but things like Facetime helps. He’s in touch with his teacher, and the school is in touch with us. It’s abnormal, but has enough of the normal with it that it softens the sharp edges of the current moment. We try to play it like we’re each in separate submarines, or space ships. You can communicate with others in their other vessels, but you dare not step out, lest you be sucked into the void of space, or swallowed by the sea.
A tweet from Jodie Whitaker as Doctor Who this morning made me cry. I don’t know that it would normally have done that? But these are strange times, and I wept like a smacked baby. (Here’s the tweet, btw. You too may sob uncontrollably for a moment!)
Strongbad did not make me cry this morning, but rather, laugh. That tweet, here. Also, I think I got a letter from Strongbad? We bought the Trogdor game, and then next day, got a handwritten letter addressed to me from… Strongbad. Written as Strongbad. With some extra Trogdor cards? Life is weird, but can still be amazing.
Games help, too. Like Animal Crossing, which I talked about here. But board games, too. We learned Azul the other night, and that was great. Bought a bunch of games, actually: Wingspan, Trogdor, Seven Wonders, King of Tokyo, Tsuro, ummm. That might be it? Learned X-Wing, but needed something that was for more than just two players. Also been playing Magic: the Gathering — the kid, who is only eight, has been playing now for two years, and last game he kicked the asses of me and my wife. (Note, we’ve not learned most of these games yet, but I find that YouTube — that hive of scum and villainy — has been helpful explaining how to play in ways that rulebooks generally don’t.)
My wife sometimes asks if we’ll be okay. And that’s such a hard question to answer. I mean, individually, will we be okay? I can’t know that, but I couldn’t know that before everything went down with The Cove, The Rona, the Trumptown Pox. No individual is okay forever. Is civilization going to be okay? Probably. It’ll hopefully change. This whole thing has exposed how vital it is to prioritize the social safety net — how a strong social defense of health and family defends our national and global interests by proxy. Disarray and disorder and greed at the governmental and corporate level leave us all exposed in huge ways, and it’s easy to think, “Oh that just fucks over individual people,” but once it fucks over a wide array of individuals, now it’s affecting groups, and society at large. So hopefully this thing shines a big hideous light on our ugly failings and the black light shows just where we’ve splattered the ceiling with our grotesque ejecta. Or something. Meaning, it shows us what to fix, and how to fix it. But does that mean “we’ll be okay?” In the long run we’ll be okay, but the short term? Oof. No idea. I like to imagine it’ll be turbulence on a plane. Worst turbulence. The kind that hurts people, tossing them out of their chair like popped popcorn. But the wings will stay on the plane and we’ll find clear skies. For now, though: expect a lot of fucking bumps. So, at the risk of sounding like some ranting Twitterati grifter, buckle up.
Facebook is bad. But, it’s been a nice place for steadier check-ins. My FB is a walled garden — it’s largely people I’ve met. I don’t use it much for sharing links, or anything. Just check-ins. It helps. People talking about what it’s like in their corner of the world, wherever that may be.
Food is good. JFC, you see how utterly broken my brain is? THIS IS BAD. THIS IS GOOD. THiS HeLPs. Anyway. Seriously, I always loved cooking and this has been a little more of a challenge now in terms of what’s available and what’s not, but it’s lead to an increased creativity in what I’m making. Kid made cookies the other day too, so that was nice. I subscribed to a local meat and fruit/veggie CSA, so I’ll have that going for me. We’re not in full DEPRESSION-ERA cooking, yet. But I did buy a fuckload of Spam. Which honestly just replaces the fuckload of Spam I already had.
I am mountain man. Do I try to trim my hair and beard or just let that shit go HOG FUCKIN WILD? Maybe I shave the head, grow the beard. Or shave the beard into a weird configuration. Some kind of SINISTER RUNE. Gonna have to figure out what to do with my skull fur.
Oh! Did I mention I’m writing this from the new writing shed? A post on that soon. It’s spare right now, very echo-ey. Just a desk, a computer, chair. Photo here. I’ll get couch, bookshelf, St. Andrew’s cross, aviary, occult reagents all set up and then update everyone.
Anyway here are some more photos. (More at Flickr.) Talk to y’all soon.