Most of my time now is devoted to careening. I’ve turned into a freaking pinball.
When I get up in the morning I’m as exhausted as when I went to bed. I go though my days as clenched and tight as a fist, every muscle tensed waiting for the punch to land. And land they do. I can deal with the pandemic and the social distancing requirements just fine. Heck, recluse is my preferred lifestyle.
The virus isn’t the cause of this unease, either. Oh, Covid-19 is deadly, no question, but a vaccine will be developed, effective treatments will be found, and life will go on. What’s unnerving is the depraved indifference so rampant in this broken government. There’s an utter disregard for human life and absolutely no sense of immediacy. What are called ‘press briefings’ aren’t any such thing, they’re unravelings. And that’s what scares me. No one is in charge. The man who’s supposed to protect us, to respond to this disaster with resolve and credence, is wildly unstable. And delusional. And irresponsible.
In the past I could always find refuge in a book. Any book. Fiction, non-fiction, young adult, even a reference book could suck me in. Now? No. And I’ve tried. John Le Carré, Stephen Chbosky, Jo Nesbo, Jim Holt. No dice. I can do two, three paragraphs, sometimes a page, then schwing — my mind breaks free of its moorings and goes shooting off in a thousand directions.
So instead of engaging in a pleasant, relaxing pastime, I vacuum. Or disinfect surfaces. Or do laundry. Things I hated doing before and deeply loathe doing now. I’ve come close to surrendering a number of times, of course. The closest was the day I nearly went to the grocery store — in sweat pants! Something I’ve sworn never to do. There were also a few occasions when I considered breaking out the Jack Daniels and the only thing stopping me was, no ice.
Finally, yesterday, with every muscle and bone in my body screaming from being squinched up all day every day for weeks, I resorted to two Aleve pms. I finally regained consciousness at 1:00 this afternoon. Muscle aches gone, but exhaustion remains. So I’ve decided to return to my favorite books, the ones I love the best, and see if they’ll take me away from here. The Portable Veblen and Spoonbenders, those are two of my best friends ever. And if any book can save me, it’s those two. Wish me luck.
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