By Narcissa Lyons
What do you write for a first sentence when you’re reapproaching writing from an obvious, long blank? Well that’s done. I have had several really good excuses for not writing much for over the past couple of years, but guilt builds up and anxiety is guilt’s best friend. I negate the previous thought by letting you know there are no good excuses, but there are good reasons. I suppose that is not a welcoming statement to read on, and after all, this is not supposed to be a diary entry, but it is important. Two years ago the company I worked for backed a sneaky man that didn’t know me who contemptuously, or possibly without a care (worse), made me leave my working home of nearly 9 years. As many of you may know, that kind of time develops you another family you love, help, bake cookies for, tell weird personal stories to, consult sometimes more than a spouse, build other worlds. After that particular vicious theft, my “real” world toppled a bit because it broke my confidence. Not the confidence I show to the world, and know is logical, but the one you think about when no one is looking. Was I really a great contributor and a considerate co-worker that everyone liked? Was I as helpful as I had always tried to be? Were all the raises and praises ill-founded by people that were just supposed to like me? Like I said, logic eventually brought me back to the truth and I looked at my extremely good record, and I think of my first seven years there happily. There are friendships I formed and still have that will last until I die, so that’s that.
She says almost two years later in the middle of this Covidean world. Here it is in this lovely life that germs have forced me to typing. Finally, because I was supposed to start writing when it all started. But let me get to the real first sentence of this article.
Wickedly and wantonly this unsightly and unsighted thing has changed us for what might be forever. Even while many hit the bottle earlier and more often, I see surreal sobriety in the stores I go to, want to go to. Faces are robbed of expression of the feelings people are not even sure they are having, and when they force cheeriness into their voices to make up for it, well, it’s eerily obvious. I don’t think it is bad to present cheer, but the mere fact we need to is squirrely and insidious. Dare I mention the nuances of just walking down the street when you glance at an on-comer and think “well I’ll move because they want me to and maybe I am not being considerate enough, and shit we’re just passing by, and really we’re all just going to get it eventually anyway, let’s get it over with”.
At the same time that people are getting nicer, there are others getting nastier. I understand that it brings to light the idea of taking care of your core peeps, your family within your immediate walls. That is an essential aspect of actually being a family, but to act to the Darwinian extent that you say well fuck everyone else is not just ludicrous, preposterous, and ignorant, it is inhuman and profoundly unsafe. In times such as these we do in fact have to spread that false cheer I mentioned, and let one another know that whereas we have the backs of our family first, we have the energy to spare to also have theirs. I want others to know that the mask I hate wearing is for me, but more for them in case I am one of the many carriers. Not that I want to get horridly sick, because as of this writing I know one person who was deathly ill for two weeks and two that are dead. I just don’t want the world to change. In that fashion. We are all so fear-ridden already, at least in the US, mistrusting of pretty much everyone, and then if you openly talk about issues and are on two different sides, other walls build. We do not need that kind of wall. Human beings are complex entities that do not get less so with the spiked ball at the end of the chain being tossed at them.
And then there’s apathy. I have so much time now to get things done, yet I don’t want to do anything. This one I can’t explain, although that goes under the assumption I have explained anything at all so far. I know I like cleanliness and living in a clean house, but I can’t bring myself to go from point a (kinda dirty) to point b (kinda cleaner). I have a lovely dining room that needs the shelves dusted underneath the beautiful plates we’ve gathered from afar. It’s just dust, and would take probably less than an hour. There’s the dresser in the dining room that has a lot of things I should throw out, and it’s only three drawers. And then there are the legitimate dust bunnies (OK, Australian Hares) making friends under our sleigh bed. I am gumptionless. I gad about, drive for a little, wonder at the tedium of this existence and why am I so bent on being bored, when I realized today it is the equivalent of being put on hold for the bank or whatever service that no longer answers the phone but tells you about how long you need to wait. And it is a hold where there is no music, no announcement of how much longer you will have to wait so you figure, OK, I’ll hold a little longer. Or put it on speaker so I can get some other things done. We cannot put Covid 19 on speaker, we do not know how long we will be relying on a government that really has no clue yet, we cannot fathom having to educate our children one moment longer, we cannot know whether to put money in or out of the system, and we cannot know—for certain—that our world is not being taken over forcibly and that instead of dusting and cleaning under the bed, we should be moving to far reaches with a bunch of food and several guns. We do not know.
Limited knowledge is the secondary killer here, but it will never be measured after the fact. We cannot know (there it is again) how many depressions deepened, nooses tightened, how many addictions heightened, how many illnesses uncaught, how many villains spawned (or freed, as the case may be), talent unnoticed, derision accepted. This is not to say that there has been nothing good that has happened while we’re all locked up. Less tech savvy folks have glanced to the sky as they finally caved to learning more about the inter-webs, families play games, some families get projects completed, rooms redone, books read. Having to live with the people you love ALL THE TIME should have been more difficult for our home, but so far, if anything, it has calmed us down. We are all pretty cool with one another, and this is not a big house. We sleep more, watch too much TV, don’t move enough, but we do it harmoniously and I would not want to be subject to this icky shit without them. But be wary. The real world shall return, and it will be uncomfortable even while we are eager to be a part of it. The unbearable hesitance of trying to act like we used to is a new hurdle we will bravely have to cross.
I am adding one more sentence because just now I heard that Governor Baker (MA) has decided that starting May 6th, all we strolling, happy-go-lucky Bay Staters are mandated to wear masks anywhere in public. It’s safe to say, or maybe it isn’t, but I am leaning to far reaches, food and guns.
As always, Be Thee Well.