Like everybody else, the pandemic is "top of mind" 24 x 7 for me. I'm writing to help myself not internalize all of it. You can find other posts in the series at https://odonnellweb.com/pelican/tag/coronavirus.html
Don’t listen to the voice.
What voice, you ask?
That voice in the back of your head telling you that you should be using all this time to do something productive like learn a new skill, learn a foreign language, etc. That voice is not yours anyway. It’s been planted in your subconscious by years of capitalism telling you that your only value in the world is what you can sell your time for.
I hereby officially give you permission to sit on the couch and eat Cheetos while watching shitty TV, if that is what you really want to do. Not that you need my permission to do that, but if it helps, there it is.
We are living through the worst humanitarian crisis that any of us (in the US anyway) have ever experience. The people telling you to “be productive” are not the people that lived through the war in Sarajevo, or through any number of economic crisis’ in South America, or various plagues and epidemics that have run amok in Asia or Africa. Those people, I’m pretty sure, would tell you your only job now is to survive. If learning Mandarin helps you deal with these times mentally, then, by all means, learn Mandarin. But do it because it makes it easier for you to get through the day, not because it’ll make you more useful cog in capitalism on the other side of the pandemic.
In other news, I started a new book last night, The Girl at the End of the World. The premise is that a 15-year-old girl goes to a Dodgers game with her father for her 15th birthday, and 48 hours later she is one of the last people alive on earth. Instead of reading uplifting happy stuff, I seem to feel better by reading about people, even fictional people, in worse circumstances than myself. That probably says something unpleasant about me, but I don’t feel like thinking too much about it right now.
I am listening to happy fun stuff on my evening walks though. I’m taking a 3-mile walk just about every night after dinner, and currently I’m listening to Calypso by David Sedaris. Although on tonight’s walk I saw three different groups of kids that didn’t appear to be siblings running around, playing tag, and doing normal kid stuff that I would applaud if these were normal times.
While watching TV tonight I realized that what we should have been doing tonight is finishing up packing and going to bed early, because we had an early flight to Puerto Rico on Thursday, when you are reading this.