“They call me Slim Shady, I’m back! I’m Back!”
“GUESS WHO’S BACK MOTHERFUCKERS! PUNS IN A CLIP!”
No? Okay, how about,
“Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back
Welcome back, welcome back”
Still no?! Fuck it, I’M BACK BITCHES!!!!!!!!!!
A lot has happened since the last time I wrote a blog post; I got married, I moved out of my mother’s place, my wife and I bought a condo, I’ve had my struggles at times learning to live with another human being, I even learned how to ski. Each of these milestones are enough to be their own blog posts. You know what else happened? The motherfucking Corona virus! Have y’all ever read the book “Love in the Time of Cholera”? I haven’t, but I bet ya I can make an even fresher sequel. I probably need permission, or some shit like that. Well too bad, because don’t that sort of thing here; we just roll with the punches until someone gets sued. Your English teachers probably aren’t too thrilled with the fact that I’m about to create my own take on a literary classic. Well I got some bad news for y’all, FUCK YO FEELINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!
You’re probably wondering why I skipped the wedding, moving out of my mom’s house, and other milestones? I like doing things out of order, so deal with it.
The day is sometime in December, I don’t remember the exact day because they all blurred together as I ran around doing wedding shit like a headless chicken. The news talked of this new shitstorm from China called the Corona Virus. That shit was getting more hype than many of the movies out at the time, at least from some of my news sources. I didn’t really think much of it at the time because all that noise seemed trivial compared to preparing for a wedding and purchasing a condo. Honestly, Corona kind of disappeared from my radar as I got lost in the myriad of paper work designed to prove to the banks that I was competent enough to be loaned a large sum of money. Between calling x,y, or z person to coordinate music, desserts, and decorations, the virus seemed like that really annoying co worker trying to talk your ear off when all you want to do is get shit done in peace. Like, you’ve got more important shit to tend to, and this motherfucker is talking your ear off. Nigga I don’t care about the really hot chick you flirted with.
I’m sorry, I needed to vent about past co workers from six years ago for one moment. Anyways, with all the shit that was going on in my life at the time, it was pretty fucking difficult to pay attention to Covid 2: Judgement Day followed by its American based spin off, Die Harder. I hear we might get a sequel in the fall called Die Hard With a Vengeance. Life happened in spite of the sequel to Spanish Flu: The The Empire Strikes Back wrecking havoc across seas. After getting married, we successfully purchased a Condo, moved in together, and learned how to live with each other. During that time, I simply went with the motions. I continued to work my current job, doing far more driving than I had when I lived in Boston (My car fucking hates me right now for putting almost 6000 miles on the thing in a little over three months…). I took up skiing which we’ll also get to in another blog. I celebrated numerous February birthdays, went to PAX East, went on a skiing trip, and continued to run the bible study I had been running since last September.
Life wasn’t perfect, but it was still great. I had the whole year ahead of me with epic birthday plans, or so I thought. Right when my wife and I came back from our ski trip (March 11th), shit went south real fast. The number of cases had started to climb real quick, and people started freaking out. Everything started getting canceled left and right as the CDC started issuing “Social Distancing” guidelines. The guidelines banned groups of more than 50 people, and eventually 10 or more. When these rules got implemented at the state level, that’s when things got tough. The thing is, stubborn old me was never really afraid of this virus to begin with and I am still not afraid of this virus. I had fully intended to live my life (with extra precautions of course), but God had different plans. This image below accurately describes God’s expression every time I made an attempt to act like everything was normal,
The first gut punch would be an Archdiocese order banning large gatherings which would effectively put a halt to all church groups, including my bible study. The real gut punch would be the suspension of all public masses. Those who know me personally know how important my Catholic faith is to me. I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty fucking distraught when I learnt I couldn’t go to church. I was planning on going to church across state lines, but New Hampshire soon followed suit. My wife and I continue to watch the mass on TV, but it just isn’t the same. I had planned on going to a Catholic Men’s conference, an RV show, and a family party for my birthday. That shit all got cancelled. Though I was with my wife on that day, my birthday still felt pretty lonely. I’m used to celebrating that day with a large mix of loved ones. Social distancing made that extremely difficult.
I really enjoy being with friends and family. I enjoy parties where I get to drink and mingle with many people. I enjoy actually sitting at a restaurant, and eating my food there. I enjoy being out and about. I’m not really a homebody, and this epidemic has forced me to be just that. The only time I leave my house is to provide services to my clients (don’t worry about me, I’m taking all the necessary precautions, I have clients I can’t easily switch to remote services). Only leaving my house for work is incredibly draining, because I don’t have a lot of the soothing human interactions I had prior. I get run down at work, and got straight home. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife, but I miss my friends too. Merely seeing people behind a computer screen sucks. My love language is physical touch (I know, surprising that and Autistic actually likes physical touch). Love high fives, shaking hands, fist bumps, and hugs (especially hugs).
Being on the spectrum makes me a hardcore creature of habit, and for all of my routines to be affected at once has taken a huge toll on my mental health. This whole thing has taken a toll on my mental health. I find my self more irritable than I used to, and some days just flat out lazy. I’ve spent hours unhealthily playing video games, sometimes doing 13-17 hours of bingeing with not a lot of eating, or showering. Some days I feel pretty down.
“Hooray! You’re social distancing and keeping others safe! Just keep staying at home, with the only fresh air being your condo complex parking lot, the outside of your clients houses, the outside of the super market, the gas station, and the post office, because those are the only places you’ll get to visit for however fucking long this shit lasts. Just a few more weeks of literally driving your mental health into the dirt, and we’ll be out of this in no time”.
Just a few more weeks they say, that is until whatever governor appears on TV decides to tack on a few more weeks. It’s like when you’re at a really boring family member’s house, and your mother says we’ll leave in just a few more minutes. A few more minutes pass, which eventually turns in to hours reminiscing about the past, and then your mother as much as you love her has the audacity to say “just a few more minutes”. That’s what this shit show feels like. If you’ve watched the movie Groundhog Day, that’s exactly what it feels like. I wake up, pray, watch the news, shower, go to work, spend God knows how long with clients, drive home. Some days there will be a grocery store, or gas station trip thrown in there. When I’m not working, I’ll play video games until my eye lids get heavy. Some nights I’ve found myself in bed as late as 4 am as a result of gaming, a really unhealthy habit I thought I parted ways with. Other than that, it’s been the same day over, and over.
I still put about 300+ miles a week on my car driving to clients with the difference that being gas is much cheaper, so subjecting my car to the equivalent of Chinese sweat shop labor is much cheaper than it was a few months back. This time last year, the gas prices usually jump 30-50 cents. Recently, they’ve just been plummeting to 2008 recession levels. I’m thrilled now, but also scared for the long term consequences of this. I was upset at first, and now I’m just numb. This has become the new normal, and we just have to deal. Everyday there’s a a new sign on the highway telling me to stay home, and save some lives. Some of us don’t get the luxury to stay home. My company isn’t technically essential, but I’d argue it provides and essential service (giving people with disabilities access to technology so they can actually keep up with this shit, communicate with doctors, keep up with this shit show, and not be more isolated from loved ones than they already are).
I know remote services are a thing, but many of my clients can’t easily be switched over. Some either have problems that are better solved in person, or live this paradox where they really want technology, but are so afraid of privacy issues they question why said technology is in their home in the first place, but know damn well they can’t function without it. Some of my clients would freak out over the prospect of me remote controlling into their computers. Zoom screen sharing is a thing, but that also involves foreign software that some of my clients are afraid of because it involves someone on the other side looking at their shit, and you’ve got to convince them that no one else but you has access to their computer. The fact that my clients still let me in their homes tells me that they either accept the risks, or they trust me that much to keep them safe. So here I am, on the road again so many times Willie Nelson would be jealous.
“Stay at home, and save lives” they say. I wish it were that easy. Some of us seriously don’t have the luxury to stay at home. Even if I did, I wouldn’t want to. Staying at home all while having the energy you’d normally expend via human interactions is a special kind of hell. I know it looks like I’m just making excuses to not do my part, and flatten the curve, but until you’re in my shoes, you just won’t get it. It’s easy to call people selfish for potentially putting themselves, and others at risk. To be fair, some people are flat out reckless. Most people leaving their house however are just simply trying to survive, and keep their mental health intact. I really feel that some people severely underestimate the mental health implications of this; both as a result of a fear of getting sick, but also just the prolonged isolation. Technology has come a long way to where we can communicate behind screens, but it doesn’t do it justice. I come from a culture where physical touch is at its foundation, and not having that physical touch outside of your household hurts.
I know just did a lot of venting more than telling a tale. Woe is me is what this blog post seems like. I just needed to vent. This whole thing is fucking with me, and not seeing and end is tiresome. I implore all of you to check on your loved ones. This is taking a toll on everyone for a myriad of reasons. Fucking go outside, just be careful, keep distance, wear protective gear, and be vigilant. Maybe this will be over, who knows? The day I just embrace this new normal is the day things get better. Some days I let the “Stay at home, and save lives” get to me where I feel like a bad person for even continuing to be on the road, but then I remember that I am the bread winner in my household. My mother instilled the “no days off” mantra in me before Belichick made it cool. I am however not reckless enough to leave my house with symptoms of anything funky, even if it turns out being nothing.
This will hopefully be over soon, until then, just be careful. More importantly, take care your mental health through this, and look out for each other. Don’t be quick to judge another’s actions, because you really don’t know their circumstances. Last but not least, it’s time to embrace dancing in the rain, because the sun might never come out.
Hoping you’re finding ways to connect with your co-religionists and they with you.
You are the breadwinner in your household. You couldn’t say that a year or two ago.
Stay healthy and safe mate! And classy!