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.