I’ve always hated blogging about blogging, writing about writing, and talking about reading or writing. But I’m going to try to put that aside and exercise a little bit of foresight here.
I’ve recently written two posts that have gotten a little more traction than I expected. This site tells me that much. I see the posts out there, circulating. I have the vague feeling that I’m just one or two shares away from being exposed to people who haven’t thought about me and whom I haven’t thought about in years. Seeing all this traffic coming in from Twitter, seeing those birds, I feel dread. That’s all. Dread.
It’s like, I’m looking at, on top of everything else, the start of goddamn Birdemic.
I might be about to become some briefly reanimated corpse — these posts of my shambling back into parts of the internet left long ago. If that doesn’t happen, good. If it does happen, I only hope they can be of some minor use. And I’m not going to explain myself or why I live in Korea now but I should probably say something by way of welcome.
Pleased to meet you, hope you know my name.
Aside from this minor excitement, it’s been a pretty quiet couple of days. The last time I went outside was two days ago to give the dogs a walk around the building’s yard.
I wasn’t alone out there. My wife was with me. And someone else was there too. A neighbor. He was just standing out there at the edge of the yard, staring at nothing. I mention this because it’s become, if not a totally common sight, an unsurprising one. People just need to get outside for a bit. They just need to get some air and stare. You sometimes see them standing on their roofs. Not doing anything. Just looking. It’s peculiar but it helps. Like, these days, I spend more time at the window than a cat. And we know how they are!
Unless I myself need to go outside to stare, my next planned outing is on Monday. It’s haircut time and I’m looking forward to seeing my barber. It’s always good to see her. Going outside at all used to be a bit more of a cause of excitement but I guess I’m getting used to this situation. It’s not just that though. It’s also –and this is probably perverse– kind of nice to see America and Canada joining in. A bit late, yes, but what can you do? They’re in it now.
And “nice” is probably the wrong word for it. It’s more like before, it was just so damn strange watching these countries just kind of going about their business. The closest thing I can liken this feeling to (and it’s not really close at all) is the first few days of watching Katrina on the news. You know that feeling of — like, isn’t someone going to do something? Shouldn’t some sort of response be going on? And then it just keeps going and nothing keeps happening? Watching the States and Canada have gatherings, sports games, and all that sort of thing felt something like that. It had that surreal quality.
Like, they do know they’re wasting time, right?
They do know they needed to shut their shit down yesterday, right?
Seeing some serious measures finally being taken is good.
Of course, some of the measures I’ve seen taken seem utterly ridiculous. A friend sent me a picture of the lines to get into the grocery store No Frills, I would like to remind my Canadian friends (Americans are often beyond help) that THE WHOLE POINT of stocking up is to be able to avoid crowds. If you see a crowd, don’t go. Don’t stock up. Just chill out and wait.
AVOID GATHERING IN LARGE CROWDS is social distancing.
Social distancing is THE WHOLE POINT of gathering supplies.
This is not rocket science. The whole and only point of stocking is so you can avoid crowds and crowded places and slow this bug down. If you gather in crowds to get supplies, it’s worse than doing nothing. You are doing the exact wrong thing.
Like, you are no longer getting ready for a shutdown. That ship sailed. You are in a shutdown, Act like it. Stay at home. If it can wait, it can wait. You need to get used to that.
[FULL DISCLOSURE: Wife and I have a dark horse outbreak bet going on North America. I picked yoga studios. She picked grocery stores. I don’t want to lose this bet. So stop shopping and get stretching, people!!!]
I am also really not looking forward to trying to explain this toilet paper thing to my barber. She can be quite judgmental and has a mean sense of humor. We’re all looking like assholes. Clean ones, at least, but assholes all the same.
Having said all that, in spite of the awkward situation North America has put me in with the local barber, where I now have to try to explain my culture’s bizarre fixation on toilet paper, it’s still nice to see some response finally being made. I no longer feel so much like I’m watching some repeat of what happened here a month ago, watching a normal that doesn’t even know it’s dead yet, knowing its terrible ending, but helpless to do anything about it. Instead, I feel like things are now a bit more in the same reality. Shutdowns, by their very nature, are a little bit atemporal. It feels like we’ve been joined in this strange space.
It’s made you all a little more relateable. That’s perverse but it’s kinda nice to.
So welcome. Pleased to meet you.