The Plague Year

On Thursday, I’m having a colonoscopy. That means that on St. Patricks Day, I will literally be shitting my guts out. Now, I am not going to say that this is the first St. Patrick’s Day I ever spent with my insides in a state of upheaval, but at least every other time I had some fun, if blurry, memories. It has been exactly a year now since I came home from work and stayed here. It seems weirdly fitting that I should celebrate by getting it all, as it were, out. Goodbye, shit. Goodbye, shit year.

Actually, I wanna be fair – in my personal chronicle of bad years, 2020 is hardly even a blip. It was actually not so bad. I lost a job, but I got another one, with better benefits. I got enough unemployment money that I was rich and idle through most of the summer and it was wonderful. I am mostly a recluse anyway, so no socializing was, sigh, not that big of a difference. I did socialize anyway: my brother came to visit, my old friends came to visit and I sat, socially distant, on a friend’s porch and a brewery patio. Maybe because those were the only times, they stand out in my memory in a kind of glow.

Nobody I knew died. In fact, that’s kind of a switch: I have achieved an age at which people die. One of my closest friends died in 2019. And an old boyfriend I hadn’t seen in years. And Django, my beloved old springer spaniel. 2020? Pretty much death free. I don’t know anyone who died of Covid. My brother had it, but he eventually recovered.

On the world stage, of course, it was one of the worst years ever. I did think we were going to descend into chaos and civil war – I still think that, actually, I just think it’s been put off for a while – and, of course, there is the ongoing climate apocalypse. Here, have a hail storm – nothing at all weird about that, oh no, nothing. New normal.

Joe Biden is a good Republican president and damn, I wish we had an actual functioning left instead of just AOC and Bernie’s crabbed and creaking heart. I am so poor now, with my full time job (with the benefits, unheard of in this day and age) that I am hitting the food bank at the end of the month and looking for a roommate beginning April 1. Now, look, I am privileged almost beyond belief. I have a college degree. I own my house. I owe money on it, yeah, but nowhere near as much as most people. My salary is low, but it’s not minimum wage. I’m not poor enough to get food stamps. My monthly housing payment is less than most peoples. My bills are, I suppose, ordinary. And yet not only do I live paycheck to paycheck, I cannot make it on my salary and at the age of 57 I’m going to have to get a roommate. If I can’t make it, with all the privilege in the world, then when are we going to stand up and start screaming that most people can’t make it and the world has to change?

Never, I suspect. We have normalized this idea of a permanent underclass – which encompasses the majority of the population – just the way we normalized half a million people dying of an utterly preventable disease. Everyone wants to get back to normal, now, but normal? Normal SUCKS. We have to make a new normal and it has to be better or 2020 will look like the good old days really fucking soon.

I got no solutions. I just have this picture of a parasailer I took this weekend. I feel like we’re all just balanced between the sky and the waves. Right now? It’s kind of calm. Tomorrow? Who the hell knows?

ps I got a new to me phone! And it is shiny purple, so I got a liquid silver glitter case to put it in and now it is so ugly, my heart rejoices every time I use it. I have rejoined the land of the phone having people and I have found that it is good.

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2 Responses to The Plague Year

  1. Again, you gave me a laugh. Yep, the landscape certainly has changed and we have to wait and see what it will look like. Sorry, but off to do an irish jig today and I will over indulge on your behalf. Not sorry. 🙂

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