Today, Fandango asks us to consider whether we think it’s premature for states to be lifting the stay-at-home, shelter-in-place, and social distancing restrictions? Or do you believe that it’s about time they were rescinded? Once they are removed, how quickly are you likely to resume living your life as you did in the pre-pandemic days?
Uhhhh … never?
Read on for longer and possibly less coherent answers.
It might not be the best day for me to tackle provocative questions. Thanks to Susie Dent (@susie_dent over on Twitter) I now know that I am crapulent (decidedly hung over) AND (as confirmed by my mirror) crambazzled (prematurely aged from too much drink/food …).
This self-diagnosis may explain my fuzzy vision and the buzzing in my head but these symptoms might also be a by-product of my anger/despair.
OR … NEWS FLASH the murder hornets have invaded!!
Seriously folks, I know I’m not the first to make this observation but the murder hornet thing is just one step too far! Giant insects that decapitate bees and then feed the bee’s thorax to their young! It’s too much. Haven’t bees suffered enough!? Or maybe it’s not just about the bees. Maybe Mother Earth decided that her quest to remove the worst invasive species of all (us) isn’t moving fast enough; thus the plague and the hornets.
But I digress … I was considering Fandango’s Provocative Questions and I promise this rambling screed will circle back to those questions!
I’m a writer. Normally, I write to earn money. But I also write for fun and catharsis and clarity … but lately (as in 55 days and counting), I’m struggling.
As Charlotte Perkins Gilman* noted:
Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.
But what is one to do?
I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal—having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.
I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus—but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad.
I also want to “believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good” but I also know that those things could possibly kill me (or vice versa). Also, like Ms. Gilman’s tortured protagonist, every effort I make to write exhausts me. And to make matters worse, much of my “heavy opposition” seems to be coming from inside the house!
The “house” being the inside my own mind.
Luckily (HA! Sarcasm alert) my job I is on a “pause” so I don’t have deadlines but instead of using this time to work on my own stuff, I spend enormous amounts of time scrolling social media and ranting. Then I nap. I’m even struggling to maintain the concentration needed to read, so I’m re-reading old favorites instead of tackling my “to-read” pile. This strategy is what brought me back to an old school fave, Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. As I re-read it, many of the passages resonated.
We have been here two weeks [or six plus weeks], and I haven’t felt like writing before, since that first day.
I am sitting by the window now, up in this atrocious nursery, and there is nothing to hinder my writing as much as I please, save lack of strength.
I think sometimes that if I were only well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me.
But I find I get pretty tired when I try.
It is so discouraging not to have any advice and companionship about my work.
I don’t feel as if it was worth while to turn my hand over for anything, and I’m getting dreadfully fretful and querulous.
I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time.
It makes me tired to follow it. I will take a nap, I guess.
So … my point is that (like many many people) I am desperate to get out of the house and return to my life.
To write. To dine out. To sit on a patio and have a glass of wine and watch the world go by. To wander around Target aimlessly for hours. TO BE!!!
But! But but but …SCIENCE!!!
The numbers continue to rise and we have insufficient testing. A vaccine is far in the future and we (as in the U.S.) are suffering under the so-called leadership of an incompetent and uncaring administration. As Gilman put it, I would “as soon put fire-works in my pillow-case as to let me have those stimulating people about now.” So, I’ll be staying in even though my state is beginning to “restart.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope that we don’t see a big spike in three to six weeks. But again … SCIENCE!
So, in conclusion, if a Real Genius tells me it’s OK then I’d consider reentering the world but as long as we’re stuck with the so-called “stable genius” I’m staying home!
Plus, murder hornets!
*On a side note, reading Gilman’s work today, brought Reena’s Exploration Challenge to use the phrase “outlasting the fickleness of fame” to mind. Like many figures from the past, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s legacy is not straightforward. She is considered by many to be a feminist icon but her views on race are (to put it mildly) deeply problematic. So while I appreciate both her writing and her progressive ideas about women’s roles, her notion that some African Americans belonged in a system of enforced labor cannot be ignored. Some would argue that reassessing her legacy is “revisionist” and insist that historical figures should be allowed to “outlast the fickleness of fame.” We’re not supposed to dwell on the parts that might damage their (our) “exceptional” status. Nope. Charlotte Perkins Gilman is not Paris Hilton and interpreting her legacy in a truthful manner is more important than maintaining some a static idea of fame.
Real History: That’s Hot!