Friday, March 27, 2020

Hi.

So, yeah. Hi. I'm not dead of coronovirus. I figured I should probably mention that.

You may have noticed -- or very well may not have, which is fine, because I hardly expect to the front-of-mind for the entire universe -- that at the start of the year I finally did follow through on what I've been saying I might do for ages, and stopped updating this blog regularly. I figured I'd probably still check in every few months or so with a little update on what's going on with me, or some random thoughts or something.

I figured that whenever I finally got around to doing that, the worst thing I'd have to talk about was the fact that we lost my grandmother recently. Which was incredibly sad -- she was beloved by a lot of people -- but hardly unexpected, given her age.

A global pandemic, however, was very much unexpected. Not that it should have been, maybe. God knows I've read enough books talking about how inevitable something like this happening probably was. Still. The whole thing feels surreal. Fictional. That's a feeling I've been having off and on for the last couple of decades, to be honest, but it almost seems to be a permanent state now, and I have no idea what to do with that. I used to feel excited about the idea of living in the future. Now I am clearly doing so, and I have no idea how to get to grips with it.

For the moment at least, as far as I know, I and my nearest and dearest are doing OK. Well, not sick, anyway. And I'm still working. First my organization sent as many people home to work remotely as possible and cut the staff in the building down to a skeleton crew. And I kept going to work, because I'm one of the bones in the skeleton. Then our governor issued a stay-at-home order and directed non-essential businesses to close. But my bosses declared us essential. Based on... I don't know what. I don't think I'm essential. But I'm still going in to work. I don't feel good about it. I feel like I may be subverting a public health order aimed at saving lives for no truly justifiable reason, something that seems to me distressingly emblematic of all the ways in which our society is fucked up right now. But I don't make these decisions, I guess, so I continue to do what I'm told, and I try to keep my moral qualms and my existential crises to myself. Mostly.

They're paying me time and a half, though. I'm gonna donate some of the extra to food banks, because there are surely a lot of people earning zero right now and wondering how the hell they're going to eat.

I do find the whole situation richly ironic, I have to admit. I know so many people who are going stir-crazy, desperate to be allowed to leave their houses, to be social again. Me, I long for my home every second I'm away from it. It's the only place I feel safe and comfortable right now, if I'm entirely honest. And my personality is such that I genuinely could just stay here and never see another human being for a year or so and be perfectly fine, psychologically. Or at least as fine as I am normally. Ha, ha.

Anyway. That's the state of things for me right now. This is me, checking in, reaching out. Whatever.

Try to stay safe out there. Try to stay sane. Good luck to all of us.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

So, Here We Are In 2020

It's a very science-fictional sounding year, but haven't they all been, for the last couple of decades? At least for us relics of the 20th century, anyway.

So. I'm still here, obviously. At least right now. I'm dropping the "currently" format, though, I think. It's served me well over the years as a prod to keep me posting at least something, and to open up a topic or two for discussion. But it's all feeling very old and creaky now. I may just check in here once in a while with whatever I have to say about how life's been going. Or I may not.

As for how life's been going right now, well, 2019, a year of considerable ups and downs, ended on a sad note for me. I lost my cat, Vir, right before New Year's. He was 14, and, honestly, I'm not sure I ever expected him to live this long. He's had health problems all his life. His diabetes, at least, was nicely under control, but then he started showing signs of kidney problems, and went downhill very rapidly. A couple of months ago, it was "Hmm, the blood test results are slightly worrying." A few weeks ago, his appetite started to diminish and he seemed slightly under the weather, and the blood test results were worse, so they gave me some medicine for him and told me to come back an have him rechecked in a month. A week later, he'd stopped eating almost entirely and looked very tired. They took him in and treated him with fluids -- a three-day process to relieve the symptoms of kidney disease, including the nausea that must have been keeping him from eating -- and reported after day two that he seemed to be doing a lot better and had cleaned his food dish, and I should be able to take him home the next day. Except the next day, they came in, and he was gone.

To be honest, while it came as a shock how quickly it all happened, it was also a very real relief. I was bracing myself to deal with a long, slow decline that would have been kind of awful for both of us, and for having to make a horrible decision for him at some point, and I'm glad we were spared that. And, I won't lie, on a practical level my life just got a lot easier. Keeping him on the feeding and medication schedule he needed was extremely hard on me, what with my shifting work hours. Not to mention all those vet visits.

But it's very strange, not having him around. This is the first time in over twenty years that I haven't had a cat in the house, and it's astonishing how much emptier the place feels. And it's going to take a while before I'm able to come home from work and not, for a moment, expect there to be an animal greeting me on the other side of the door.

So, yeah. It's sad. Not least because I knew him literally from the day he was born. I saw his entire life span play out in front of me, and thinking about that sort of thing can really make one feel the concept of mortality in one's bones.

One request, after all of this: Please, please, please do not attempt to engage me in a conversation about whether or not I should get another cat and whether I'm in the right mental place to make decisions about it. I have had this conversation enough in the last week that it's starting to make me angry, especially what seems like the constant parade of genuinely well-meaning people who seem determined to believe that I don't know my own mind on the subject. Thanks.

Ahem. Right, well, other than that unhappy news? I don't have much. So I'll just leave you with my traditional link to the list of books I read in 2019. Which is fewer than I would have liked, honestly, but I'm looking forward to more in 2020.

May you all have a bright, warm New Year, one that you will look back on when it's over and smile. I think we all deserve that at this point.