It’s Monday night and everyone in my home has been holed up together for an indeterminate number of days. I don’t mean that facetiously, either — I’ve legitimately lost track of how long it’s been since we accepted that the news was real and that this virus warrants literally hiding. One day is blurring into the next and each day is moving faster, somehow. I was bewildered to find, this morning, that we were already running out of basic groceries. Didn’t we just grocery shop, I don’t know, a few days ago?
Like you, we at Manqué are doing the best we can to weather what everyone seems to call “these uncertain times.” But sometimes, speaking for myself, I am not weathering it much at all! — Like when I woke up at 4 a.m. some number of days ago and sat by the stove for an hour because I couldn’t sleep because my suddenly-awake brain was racing from worst-case-scenario to even worse worst-case-scenario re: what life will look like a month from now. It was so early in the morning, even the dogs didn’t follow me when I got out of bed.
Sitting on a loveseat that the aforementioned dogs have long destroyed, but which we keep by the fire, anyway because who has the time, I thought about all the bad things going on right now and I felt crushed, literally, under the weight of it all. But given the fact that this crisis is the only thing anyone I know or follow is talking and thinking about, how can you not, sometimes, feel that way? Our lives are upended and there is legitimately no escape.
Everyone’s so full of advice — get dressed and feel like a real human, don’t get dressed because capitalism has soured your brain; make the most and have Zoom parties, don’t be lame and have Zoom parties; prepare for sheltering in place, don’t catastrophize and horde necessities. As usual, it seems that everyone is right and everyone is wrong and there are absolutely no answers, no certainties other than that this pandemic is unraveling our economy and our conceptions of what it means to interact with other people.
I don’t mind so much the staying inside. There’s TikTok in here, and a blessedly stocked kitchen that I do not deserve, and four animals who love me. I am stationed with a partner whose company I prefer to anyone else’s, and for now, we have not run out of wood pellets. I have little to complain about, practically speaking, and so I won’t.
But I am worried, so worried, about what’s to come, and I think that maybe that’s the most reasonable response we have right now. We can socially distance and all that jazz, but the bulk of this is entirely out of our hands, as Mary keeps reminding me. That lack of control is scary. The jobs reports are scary. Closing businesses for weeks on end is scary. I was googling “how do viruses mutate” last night and that is also scary!
That’s all I’ve got to say about this, but it felt worth acknowledging, at least, that I am worried. I am not plucky and full of optimism. I am afraid, so afraid, and trying to pass the time as best I can, avoiding the news as best I can, and hoping that our institutions will save us in the end.