i know

I know this all sounds like the spoiled tantrums of a grown ass man. And it is, partially. It’s embarrassing, if I’m being truthful. I know it’s a terrible way to sell myself as a writer, and so I sit and tell myself lies about how others might feel the same and thus appreciate the knowledge that someone else understands what it is they’re experiencing.

Partially, it’s that. Spoiled, selfish, solipsistic, navel-gazing bullshit with all kinds of justifications to avoid taking responsibility that my behaviour can, has and does play into it.

Partially, it’s also a response to a world that is, by and large, unfair, and has demonstrated an increasing willingness to make everything as stressful and awful as possible.

COVID is one of those things that happens in world history. It’s stressful, but we have a tendency to band together in stressful times. There are many examples of that – see the people that ran to help during 9/11 or after one of the far too many school shootings in the United States of Guns.

People do care. People do help. In times of calamity when everything gets more immediate, people dive in.

Except apparently, these times, where the twin cultural viruses of conspiracy fucknuttery and right wing callousness have conspired to make a bad situation so much more unbearable, in that a good thirty to forty percent of the world’s population has decided that everyone else is subordinate to their own pathetic whims, and thus, undeserving of even the most moderate of societal kindnesses.

I’ve never seen such a large group of spoiled, over-entitled children, and it’s not just at the political level. It’s day-to-day shit. The stupidity is staggering. And the spinelessness of those in charge in holding these assholes responsible for their behaviour?

Worse yet again. Throw in murder hornets, cannibal pigs and a war in Ukraine and what have you got?

Perhaps the acolytes of the apocalypse have it right… this could be the end.

All I know is I need some time and space to breathe and not a single clue on how to fucking get it.

eye roll

You try to be honest and everyone treats you like a plague victim. Which is funny in its own way because it’s come out that most of them have had direct exposures in the past week and… shrug?

They don’t say anything. They make excuses. Rationalizations or outright deceptions to pretend like they were somehow justified. Mostly, they were simply taking a chance nothing bad would come of it (and in all fairness, it often doesn’t. COVID is a real concern, but in mathematical terms, still less omnipresent than it has been made out to be. I think we all take those little chances. The difference here is that when there’s actual contact, known contact, we decided not to behave like the one who gave it to us and actually tell everyone.)

We’re better than that. We take other people’s needs seriously. We live in an interconnected system, not a void.

And of course, our tests are negative. We don’t actually have it, or at least, it hasn’t manifested yet.

But, of course, we’re the carriers, the dirty ones. Never mind that it was brought us by someone who behaved incredibly irresponsibly, showing up already sick without warning, someone who pretended for the past two years to be a hermit, the safest person around, and looked down her nose at all of us like we were trucker convoy enthusiasts.

(A perception people keep applying to us and it’s gotten really old, really fast, especially when we’ve seen those same people, over and over again, take risks that we never would have, and try to hide it. It always comes out though – it’s the whole deceit thing. When someone lies to you, it’s a thing that really happened in your mind. An event took place that imprints itself in your memories, even if it’s just the conversation. The lie, on the other hand, isn’t a real thing to the one telling it, so it doesn’t imprint in the neural pathways in the same way, which is why so many people contradict themselves in their deceit. True fact about the whole neural pathway thing. Memory etches itself in. Self-created fictions do not. Science FTW.)

We keep getting told that we’re the bad ones, because we went to Florida twice, but we did so fully vaccinated, wore masks and kept our distance as best we could and with full understanding that if we caught it, we’d quarantine immediately. And guess what? Because we took the precautions we did, we were fine.

The thing about the travel argument these folks love to hold over us is that it’s bullshit. COVID is fucking everywhere now. You can just as easily get it going to the neighbour’s as you can travelling. I suspect you’re actually more likely to catch it doing the normal, everyday things you’re wont to do, moreso than travelling somewhere and being extra cautious because of the unknown individuals around you.

You’re far more likely to let your guard down around people you know than people you don’t, and therefore, more likely to catch it from them than some stranger. See: the person who gave it to us. We knew they’d bullshitted about how safe they were being, while lording over their family by wearing masks even at times it seemed absurd (and dropping the whole act when another particular member of the family was involved), but still. It’s the people you know.

The good news is that false act ultimately came in handy, because it likely kept my daughter from getting infected (or so it seems, thusfar. We still have a couple more days of testing to do.) So, there’s some benefit out of that individual’s hypocrisy, I guess.

Anyway, long story short: you can’t trust the people around you to do the right thing. And when you do the right thing and are open and honest about what’s going on, don’t expect anyone to be grateful you were. All they’ll do is tell you the various ways they didn’t do the same for you.

Can’t trust anyone anymore, I guess, but it doesn’t matter. I try to hold myself to a higher standard and I’ve never much cared for social norms. If the norm is to hide and conceal, then pretend and lie later, then I’m out. Rather open and looked down on, still doing things the right way, than being a complete asshole with no respect for others.

I did that for long enough, and I try every day not to anymore.

i guess i was angry

I still am. What’s been done to us was incredibly irresponsible and the excuses from the other side have an intense flavour of “methinks she doth protest too much”.

Still. I am attempting to be a better person. Better than I was. Better than is acceptable these days. I’m not interested in societal norms or established moralities. What I’m looking for is how to actually live in happiness and kindness, wherein one can behave well toward others while still maintaining one’s own needs and wants.

Taoism seems the closest match there, but there’s a passivity there that bothers me. I believe in accountability, and letting everything just be as it is seems like an endorsement of good men doing nothing while evil men take over the world.

I believe in pacifism, though it’s a tenuous belief. I don’t get in fights, I think the only violence that’s okay is in fiction and I’ve never even so much as held a gun in my life. Still, if a Trump or a Putin were to rise up and try to take over my country, I would definitely fight.

I guess I believe in nipping things in the bud early, in setting boundaries early on. I’ve seen firsthand what a lack of consequences can create in a person and it’s not pretty. Some clear lines earlier on would have made for a much different outcome. (See: Trump, Crime Family and boss, my former, the now fired toxic contractor.)

That’s where I seem to be failing in life; perhaps it was my punk rock/anarchist beliefs when I was younger, yearning for total freedom, before I realized there is no freedom without responsibility. Perhaps it was simply a weak will, a man too scared of confrontation to stand up for himself. Passive aggression certainly has been a problem with me in the past, as has self-repression.

Being a better person requires honesty and responsibility. There is no freedom with responsibility and no truth without an open, unjudging honesty. Honesty with perspective. Honesty, perspective, responsibility. These are primary tenets, I suppose, though they may not be the only ones.

So, we opened ourselves up to the others, to be better than those who wronged us by hiding their illness and taking unnecessary risks, and let them know. Our plans are ruined. I have no idea what will happen with my new hire on Monday. We are stuck at home at a time when we really can’t afford to be.

But no one else will get sick from us. The buck stops here.

And no amount of protest will change the culpability of the one who caused this, but that’s her problem. She should be ashamed, but she’s leaning hard into “woe is me” and telling lies about being a super safe hermit when we already know she spent at least five of the last seven nights before us visiting at least a dozen people. And that’s just the stuff we know.

Forgiveness is a part of this. Not forgetfulness, but in order for me to move on, I need to forgive and let it go. Let her wail on about her faux innocence; we haven’t believed her lies for a long time. No need to start now. The exposed hypocrisy suits her, and no amount of protest will gain back the sheen of superiority she’d previously lorded over us.

Anyway. Forgiveness. Deep breaths. Letting go.

Maybe passivity has its uses, if you can forget about all the assholes.

on stupidity and deceit

So, we all know one, right? Someone that over the past two years has been constantly telling everyone how safe they are and treating everyone else like they’re plague carriers who are just this side of trucker convoy-loving anti-vaxxers, while at the same time, have been caught repeatedly doing things that no other person actually trying to be safe is doing.

You know the type. Criticizing you like you’re a Rebel News, Trump-loving, anti-masker, while simultaneously constantly going out and around willy-nilly everywhere with their friends, doing god knows what and lying to you about it. The kind of person you’d run into at the store without a mask on after they’ve told you repeatedly how they never leave the house. The kind of person who would then still look down on you for not wearing a mask in your own house, even after that.

The kind of person who would go out every night of the week with a known cough and then tell you after you went out with them that they have COVID.

Man, I’m fucking tired of other people’s stupidity, selfishness, hypocrisy and entitlement. I’m tired of other people thinking they can look down upon us when we’re the ones actually doing what we’re supposed to do to keep everyone safe, while simultaneously behaving so shitty that they’d fuck up someone else’s life (and it’s an order of effect right now) without even a thought toward anyone else’s needs.

I may have mentioned I’m the only person doing my job right now. I’ve made it well known to those around me that I’m being extra safe because of that, because I cannot be sick right now. Plus, we finally hired someone. He’s supposed to start Monday.

How the hell can I train him if I’m in isolation because of someone else’s stupidity and shortsightedness? I’ve all I can handle with work. I sure as fuck can’t do it while sick.

And it’s not like I can go out until I’m sure I’m not sick. I will not be the reason someone else gets sick, or heaven forbid, dies. I would not be able to live with myself if I was the reason someone else lost their life (or had their lives seriously degraded, because there are other bad things than death that can occur with this thing).

The sad part is the people who do this kind of thing wouldn’t give a shit at all if someone died or or got life-changingly sick because of their negligence. They’d rationalize it right away, because as the hero of their own story, of course nothing they did could be wrong.

Man, people piss me off with their selfishness behaviour. For the record, I am fully vaccinated and will happily get whatever shots I need. Mask mandates may be over in Ontario, but I’m still wearing mine. It makes sense, since it was clear the only reason they got rid of them was because Doug Ford didn’t want to piss off the anti-vax convoy vote.

Also, for the record, I despise Trump, think anyone who is still a Conservative or Republican at this point is a moron and am fully pro-science, pro-medicine, pro-logic and pro-understanding that we don’t live in a vacuum, and that it’s critical to think about other people, rather than solely your own needs. If you can’t be bothered to consider the effect your actions and behaviour have on others (and that applies to a lot more than just COVID protocols), then quite frankly, fuck you.

It’s time to grow up, assholes, and see a perspective outside of your own myopic selfishness. Enough is enough. Grow the fuck up.

from nothing

It hasn’t been a good couple of years. Life, as with all lives, has its ups and down. I have a beautiful wife that I love, two good stepkids, two wonderful nieces and a trio of siblings with whom we hang out regularly. A granddaughter who is heart-burstingly adorable.

The rest of life, on the other hand, hasn’t been ideal. Crappy jobs, extra weight, aches, pains, depression, stress, tachycardia, name it. I’ve frequently gotten lost in fictions, in ego, in insecurity, food, alcohol, drugs, whatever.

That makes it sound like a season of Euphoria or some Nineties-era drama of the bleak, but it’s not that exciting.

It’s pretty much the same story as everyone else. Life carried them along a path and before they realized they were too far down it to control the direction, all the traps and constraints were in place to keep us from course correcting without massive upheaval and destruction.

Enter Donald Trump, pandemic, war in Ukraine, and the stripping away of compassion, to be replaced with conspiracy theories, absolute stupidity, soul-crushing delusions and entitlements, and I feel like Foreman in the final round, punched out, about to be beat down by the man Ali himself.

Only, instead of Ali, it’s not some grand wizard of boxing. It’s a fat, chubby orange man, a redneck with no common sense, a myopic boomer with no willingness to see past their own nose.

It’s an outraged millennial, or a hysterical Karen. It’s a pompous Gen Zer who thinks their way is the only way.

No one is listening. No one wants to listen. The same folks that scream gender and sexuality are not binary forget that neither is a particular viewpoint on any given subject. There are shades. Perspective is also a spectrum and we begin understanding and compassion only by acknowledging that fact. By trying to see from a viewpoint outside our own, by uncovering new facts, new ways of thinking, and letting go of the ones that no longer make sense.

It’s not about outrage. It’s not about enforcing an outdated point of view.

It’s about understanding. About being open.

I have not been very open. Depression and stress make for potent oppressors and it can be difficult to recognize that one’s mind does not have to remain trapped in a prison of its own making.

I am trying to do that now. I am writing. I am creating things – poetry, short stories, comic books, hip little things and transcendent ones. And yes, books, full size motherfuckers that range from the fatalist to the pure Tao.

And I will suck. For a bit. My views will change. I will fuck up, make mistakes, say dumb shit and have to apologize. I will not get it right, not all the time.

But I will try. And I will remain open, and hopefully, that’s enough.