Life could be much worse for me this pandemic season. Which is not to say it's great: it's not. I've had a glancing exposure with a household that may have had the virus, and have confined myself to my apartment until Monday after this coming one. While this does wonders for the allergies I'm having to the tree bloom in Oregon, it's doing sub-optimal things to my mental state. It is a relief that I have two floors in this here townhouse, and friends who'll leave copious amounts of food, alcohol, and other necessities on the doorstep.

The good news is, my job is probably not at risk. The company has transitioned to entirely work from home. I suppose in the economic downturn, I'm one of the few lucky ones. The company has even acknowledged that we're all bound to work slower and even sporadically. This is good: while I regularly am not in the office, many of my coworkers have kids, or sick family, or other things in their home life.

I live alone, so while I'm hermiting and having most of my conversations from bedroom window to stoop, I have fewer distractions. Aside from, that is, the creeping dread of maybe being immured until next May. That's plenty distracting enough.

What else has gone on with my life... let's see. I'm spending a lot of time bonding with and talking with the Tribe after making the decision to not report my father to the authorities for ripping off a stock account he helped me set up at 16-17.

This isn't the first time he's stolen money from me and justified it in some way or another (this time it was "well it's your fault for not taking my name off the account!"), but it seems he's decided that he's entitled to my money, entitled to shit on me when I object, and otherwise do things one doesn't want or expect from their parents. Accordingly, I've frozen my credit and turned my face away from the last nuclear relative I maintained contact with.

I'm doing pretty well with it: I spent a few days wrestling over whether or not I was doing to call the cops, grieving about this being my life, etc. And then one morning I woke up and realized I could spend the rest of my life upset about the unfixable, or I could celebrate the fact that I do indeed have family. I have the Tribe: I have the Uncles. I have so many people all around me who not only don't steal from me: they teach me how to be a better and stronger human. This is the family who brought me out of Minnesota, and taught me how to work on the Internet. This is the family who helped me buy my truck, to shoot a gun, to fix a server, and to be a functional adult.

In one case, I have a pretty badass Sword Aunt and Uncle Doug, who I've had a lot of close conversations with about what it was like to see my childhood at a several state remove and not be able to do anything despite knowing about what my mother is like and hearing about the low points of my childhood.

And if I look at it that way, I'm damn lucky to have them. Shame about those other folks.

If this has done anything for me as a person, it's crystallized a certain slowly-forming refusal to just let things happen because I can deal with it. To not just let things slide. To say not just "I don't deserve to be treated this way," but "You can't treat me this way and I'm not sticking around for it."

I feel pretty good about that. It feels like a solid, strong thing to hold in my hands.

I've started reading Cyteen again, and I think I've figured out why it's my favorite CJ Cherryh book.

Cherryh does an excellent job of capturing in her young protagonist that gut-deep feeling that something is Wrong. The adults are acting weird, and not like they should. They react strangely, they talk strangely. Your life is not like other lives. People are acting strange and even awful to you, and around you, and you can't figure out why.

Having figured that out, it makes sense why I put this book up there with Cryptonomicon when I try to give books to people and explain that this says a lot about me as a person. I'm not young Ari (thank the gods for that), but I can certainly empathize with everything slowly unraveling and going wrong around a child.

Thank god I got out.

My Mom called me this morning.   She's worried about me, thanks to Covid-19.  I'm worried about her.  She's 82, has COPD and is thus on oxygen because she can't breathe without it.  If anyone is likely to get taken out by the corona virus it's my Mom.  But she doesn't have to go out.   She can have food and groceries delivered. So she worries about me. I have to go out. I fix things for a living, and equipment isn't going to stop breaking because of Covid-19. So I have to go out. At home, I'm not much risk because I only go out a few times a week and my bowling league was just cancelled thanks to the damned virus.  I live alone. I am always alone and I'm used to it.

It's sort of strange going out there. I spend a lot of time washing my hands and I wash them way more carefully than I ever have. I went to a restuarant and they were cleaning up and making takeout but weren't selling much during the day. They're trying to figure out how things will be. Another one they just closed. Lots of people laid off. I know that wasn't a pleasant conversation for anyone. And I'm worried, because my favorite restaurants are local places like the Thurman Cafe or Starliner Diner. The big chains are likely to ride this out because they have big cash and political power behind them. Mom and pop don't, neither do their staff. For decades now big business has been swallowing up the local owners like a vacuum cleaner. Every recession, the little guy gets hit harder and more and more disappear. Will Covid-19 finally finish them off?

And finally I have zero faith in our national leadership. Our President, Donald J. Trump, has already shown himself to be the biggest liar in American political history with no real rivals. He ignores expertise, expert advice and its clear he was told what would happen a couple months before he actually did anything about it, and it seems the primary reason was he feared political damage. He shouts down tough questions and when the media doesn't follow the party line it becomes the enemy of the state. But the real truth is I don't think he actually gives a shit. Oh he cares, but about his reputation, and nothing for the job he was elected to do. Yet his sycophants and congressional Republicans continue to stand up for him. Most know he's an asswipe, but he's their asswipe dammit, and he's better than anyone from the other party even if he or she possessed actual competence and the desire to actually do the job. The Congress is taking up bills to actually deal with the fallout of this very real crisis, one that was not made in China, but I figure that ideology in the Senate will have a lot more to do with what actually gets passed than an honest attempt to get the job done.

Monetary policy and conventional conservative economics have zero effectiveness here. Conservative economics is all about interest rates with the idea that if you give business owners more money they'll invest it. And they will, but it's pretty clear by now that they'll invest it in stock buybacks rather than training, capital or research and development. We aren't facing a capital shortage, we're facing a demand crisis because the reason the economy is tanking is because people can't go out to eat or the theater, or to the local watering hole for a cold beer and companionship. Because crowds spread the diseases. So they're not getting paid, which means their mortgage or car payment isn't getting paid. So somehow we need to keep paying these peoples so their bills don't overwhelm them. The truth is the solution to this economic crisis isn't giving more money to the people at the top, it's keeping the people at the bottom alive. Which is something Moscow Mitch McConnell and his cronies are completely unable to understand.

So America is likely fucked. And my Mom may die. And my Dad, who's 85, and though in good shape, he's 85. And my Uncle Dick who has emphysema. And maybe me because I'm 63, diabetic, overweight and had part of my right lung removed in 2017. But I'm still going out there, because stuff will still need to be fixed.

And my Mom will keep worrying

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