This year by the first week of March we sort of new that this pandemic was going to be a thing. We vowed to keep our distance, and only had four other adults and one teenager over. The teenager and I played Untitled Goose Game in the basement, because he was bored and he's a pretty great kid, so why not.
Our friend Stacey passed out on the couch. It was like, she knew, we all knew, that was it for parties, and we all overdid it. I drove her home the next morning to her rental (her house was being completely remodeled). We said a bleary goodbye. Stacey is one of my oldest friends, met her in 1999 in Austin. We, I think, knew what a shit show this was going to be, but we didn't know how much of one it would be.
I don't remember exact dates, but I do remember being at work with a mask on and people looking at me like I was from Mars. I'd purchased cleaning supplies at the supermarket next door, and by the time we were thinking we needed to buy more, there weren't any. Paper towels and toilet paper were gone, but we did have plenty at work and at home.
Work kept going. I got two defense letters just in case I was pulled over on my way in. The highways weren't empty, but it was like 6am all the time, except for certain times where traffic was bumper to bumper for no reason. I kept being amazed that anyone was going anywhere. Things got very quiet at 4am. The sky was crystal clear, stars brighter than they'd been since I was a kid in the desert.
April. Deep in it, worried about running out of food. My major lunch items were canned beans, and we only had maybe 14 days left. Our freezer was half full. No dried beans, no rice, and weirdly tofu and greens were gone from store shelves. I reached to a lot of further out there, weird vendors, and we re-stocked.
April? April was quiet and empty and I kept telling friends, 18 to 24 months.
April I also quit my job for another job in the same building with a lot of the same people. My employer, a small subcontractor, wasn't very interested in me. I joined an even smaller contractor, and in the process really pissed off my former employer. I asked for 3 weeks off, to start May 5th. I hunkered down with all y'all. I stayed home.
May: new job, no one in the building, I can work from home every other day damn near. My Mondays off turned into Fridays off with some protest from the program that pays me; they don't want me to have a 4 x 10 schedule, but they need me. The segment I work on, I get them up and running and the guy who runs the project gets the credit. They still refer to him, and he's not good, so I keep having to repair his bad ideas.
June happened. No idea what happened, work was 150% of my time.
July was the same, but hot.
August, the fires started. The realization that Trump won't abdicate the throne even if he does lose (which he won't) makes me resent my trump supporting family. We continue to stock up on food because when trump doesn't abdicate, things are going to be weird until people figure out he's a meaningless figurehead.
September 'til Today: we work, and we contemplate. My wife can't sleep through the night, is working on therapy for her grief around her life, the one I helped enable. I work, four days a week, and for three days a week I pretend there is no job. I sleep in a tent in the backyard sometimes. I have a new rifle, some new ammunition, and a lot of food just in case it all goes back to hell, again.
I'm not paranoid. I'm just American.
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