1:09pm You would have thought for sure that I might write a post on the day that a Pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization. It seems like that would be a big moment, right? I wrote nothing. Not even in my most recent paper journal. Nothing. The most I did was take an Instagram video story of the balcony view and mention that it was on the day that it was officially declared pandemic.
1:13pm Husband has just left the apartment to go buy bleach with a twenty dollar bill I had tucked away. He wanted to go outside. I'm totally fine with SOCIAL DISTANCING as I've been doing that for a long time now, eh? I wasn't made for this but the last twenty years or so of agoraphobic tendencies has certainly prepared me for the isolation that is going on at this time.
If I was actually any good at journaling these days, I would have written on the day husband moved back in. I managed to type a post after the fact but you'd think that very night I would have said something. It kind of was a big deal considering he'd been gone since the end of June. To describe how it was for us to suddenly be back to living together as if we hadn't been apart - so strange to see just how easy it has been to revert to our old routines. As if our lives had not been quite different for several months. And now, there is the COVID-19 pandemic and we're still like before - having supper with tv shows on, playing the video game, so many coffees being made, our cats being cats. It's almost surreal. It was some time in the first or second week that he had a dream where he was handing over the room he had rented to someone else and I dreamed of wanting more space in the apartment - my mind trying to adjust to sharing this space with another human being again - the husband. I think we were both in a state of shock from the suddenness of it all - the contrary ordinary feeling of being together again juxtaposed with how drastic things changed for us in such a short amount of time. He went from working two jobs and renting a room in a house in my hometown to quitting the one job and returning here to this apartment I remained at with our cat family, working his remote job and life continuing on.
I had been paying attention to what was going on late last year - and then when the Lunar New Year happened, seeing the tweets about what was happening - and then it stayed with me, this feeling that it was going to happen, this was going to become something more. The fact that husband went on a cruise in between the outbreak and now, if he had been gone any later - he might have been on one of those ships. The timing of this all is startling. The fact he is living here now when I would need him most - the distance apart would be far too worrisome for anxiety to deal with him being there and me being here and trying to emotionally support us in that way - but he is here and we are not apart during this time.
The day the pandemic was declared, I had a crash nap in the morning. I had a nightmare, as I do most every time I sleep, and in it, a pandemic was declared. I woke up and not much later, the news was official that the WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic. I feel like they waited too long. I think that governments and business interests were more and remain more concerned about their money and their own selves than that of the people. I think that it's too late to contain and this is going to happen, run course, likely resurge in the fall as the next wave of it hits. There were already two strains of it by early this month so no doubt it will mutate some more. About a week or so ago, I watched a well done YouTube video about the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. If one takes a look back on what happened then, some of the parallels are interesting - to learn about where we're going, look at where we've been.
1:34pm The first time I've typed 750 words in a long time, eh? I know that I should have been writing - and I did, in my head, often - but I have become very good at avoiding doing things that I would like to do, really.
I've started to read a little more. I have great books waiting for me to read them but I pick up the controller for the video game instead. Trying not to do that as much but there is the pull. I would choose reading and writing over the atmosphere of a video game any day but I don't. Which means that I wouldn't? I don't know. Maybe there is too much to entertain and distract one's self with. Too many movies to watch. Too many tv shows. Too much music to listen to and too many videos. So many books to read and so many poems to write. Instead, I drink coffee and race on a video game. I don't have any good excuse for the ways I avoid myself.
Things that have been on my mind that I thought of writing about but didn't:
- How is my Dad doing? Is he okay? I speak to someone that lives in his town to find out if he's still alive, if they've seen him, does he look ok, is he ok. I miss long conversations with my Dad. I miss when we knew each other. I used to have dreams where he was a traveling companion that would show up here and there but now it's not like that anymore. Usually he's part of the nightmare. I can't contact him through phone and whenever he has access to the internet, he has chosen not to contact me. We've been estranged since the last phone conversation after the house on Edward Street was sold. Does he feel shame or just not want to talk to me about it or anything? It doesn't have to be what we talk about. I think of how he is the only family member I had any contact with for the longest time, even if it was in between bouts of his anger and drunkenness and throughout my years of struggles as an injured worker. I remember that the last time I saw him, he picked up the fireplace that I gave him from the apartment I had lived in, back in my hometown, before I made the move back to Toronto. He said in our phone call that I couldn't have the fireplace back. I don't want it back. I don't have room for the things accumulated as it is and I'm always looking for an excuse to let another thing go. But it's been strange to have these events keep happening and not have any contact with him. The poem publication. The birthdays of my forties and not a word. World events like this pandemic. Anything. My twin has been dead for nearly as long as I have been alive. Why don't I matter too? Each birthday that she is mourned for not being here, I am here, on my own. My parents have been teaching me social distancing since I was an infant. Anyway, I miss my Dad. I don't want him to become another person that I only hear about when someone posts a status to FB about them that they're dead.
- We took a big risk to have husband come back with the one job when he had two in my hometown but the financial cost of being apart was quite stressful and there seemed no end in sight to be able to save up for a big move anyway. With rent increasing everywhere - even in small towns - it made this apartment seem reasonable, to stay here, even with the upcoming rent increase in May. The cats like it here and are comfortable. They have the big windows in the living room and the bedroom one that overlooks the highways and the lake. We have a one bedroom with a balcony and the bathroom has a window and we're several floors up with a view - for the price we pay, it's unheard of to find in Toronto. But with staying here, there comes the precarious nature of holding on to housing. But there are also possibilities. It was risky but felt right. It felt right for him to go and felt right for me to stay and when it came time for him to return, it happened so swiftly in the way that it does when it is right for us to do. It's still scary though.
- We've had no one to guide us through any of this life stuff. No mentors, no elders, no great examples, no confidants. We don't know what we're doing and we're getting older. The same things our parents or their parents had - pensions and houses (to have let alone lose) - we don't have any of that. I have that bit of worker pension until age 65 but then what? I applied for work but I also know I am not at capacity. I wanted to go to school and it turns out that it was probably best I didn't. Since we are staying here, that program remains a possibility for me and I'll likely give it a go again once things are back to some semblance of normal. It would be a very good idea for me to follow through with it and I think there is this hope somewhere in the back of my mind that I will be able to take some steps toward further education afterward. At this rate, I'll probably graduate as a senior citizen. Become a lifelong student in my older age. Could I do that? Maybe. We'll see. I don't know. I want to contribute in other ways - more financial ways - but that is difficult for people who have a good resume and consistent work history, let alone for myself. While I seem to whine about how we don't have anyone who cares to ask us how we're doing or take an interest or let us know about them, there is that feeling of it having been inevitable. It's okay.
- I love our cats. I really do love them. They have the best personalities. They have their individual characteristics. They need us and we need them. They give me purpose to not give up. When I think of surviving through troubles, I think of their well-being and making sure they are okay. This place is their home even more than it is ours. Meaning, it is space for them and they live here and we rent it for them and we get to live here too but this is their home. I think of what makes them happy here and of their protection. What can I do to make their lives better here? What do we need to do to make sure their lives are not upset - that we can maintain some stability for them? We satellite ourselves around our cat family because they are our family. The boys, the girls - Vincent & Pekoe, Smudge and Chai - they give us purpose and reason to try. In caring for our cats, we take care of each other.
2:15pm Husband has returned with the last bottle of bleach that was at the grocery store. It's only a 1.62L bottle. He said that the shelves were stripped bare of toilet paper - just like in the news, eh? Everyone is shitting themselves, I guess.
He also brought back Starbucks. He said it was "fairly chill" and people were there. Not nearly as busy as it would typically have been but there were people there. People still need people. I think of how the Italians in isolation are singing on their balconies and connecting to one another in that way. Heart. I know that there are people all over the world who are being brave during this, stepping up for their loved ones and neighbours, doing what must be done. I know there are many stories we will hear of later, when this is done. Is this the reset for people to rediscover their humanity?
I did a lot of sky watching yesterday. Wanted to take a photo several times of the changing sky. It seemed especially beautiful. The air will be clearer almost everywhere as industry is forced to slow down, as we are moving less and isolating more, slowing down or nearly stopping. The upside to the apocalypse scenarios in tv shows and movies was always the part where people stopped their busy-ness and bustle. The downside is the disaster part, the numbers that will overwhelm us of people going before their time - of seeing too much sickness and death at once. Some places have had to deal with that before this pandemic but this makes more of us see it and feel it at once - where humans are made to see how we're not so separate from one another after all - how much an impact is the slightest touch.
2:29pm Self-isolation and social distancing have been my thing for a long time now. I know that I shut down around my fortieth birthday, exhausted from the strain of some still not written about stressors - and how I felt wounded by other people's indirect actions after that, accumulative over the past couple years - my exhaustion from it - no words. I shut down my reading, my writing, my outlets. Every now and then, someone has reached out to me because of this online journal and I just didn't have the energy to reach back. I've been tired for too long.
I am sorry for my absence to my self. The poems I have written in my head that I didn't write down. The nightmares I could have typed out and reflected upon or left for their creative curiosity, the premonition and predictiveness of some. The way I could have continued to document my life through this, the way it is one of the few means I have to share who I am with anyone who might care, to share how I was here.
For long-time readers, I had a follow-up to the story of that Guy who was my first LTR / LDR / first most everything - it was a text message exchange. Maybe I'll write about that later. I think of other people from my past - recent and from long ago - and I am trying to put it in perspective but sometimes there isn't any. Things happened. People were there that aren't now. Life continues to go on until one day it doesn't.
What more to write, to say?