LETTER TO AN OVERSEAS FRIEND – LIFE IN THE CRAZY ZONE

Bonnie passed at the beginning of June. We were doing what we swore we would NOT do, which was keeping her alive when it was obvious that she was really gone. At least she was (mostly) physically healthy until the end, not counting the blindness, deafness, and dementia. I thought I’d written about it. It was a relief in the end. I had not realized how much of our day was involved in caring for Bonnie. I hope she and Gibbs are friends again.

The face that launched a thousand cookies!

We are still waiting for a final word on our refinance and THEY are waiting for the appraisal, which normally takes about a week and is now just four days ago. We might have it tomorrow or Thursday. If it’s OK, we are a “go.”

I have plan B if it doesn’t work out and I’ve put in the down payment on the boiler and prepaid the payment for August, so I don’t owe them anything more until September. It’s the back of the house that needs more immediate work — and the one remaining toilet that needs to be replaced before it starts to leak. It’s badly corroded internally and sooner or later, it’ll just stop working. The other two have been replaced.

I don’t know what will happen with this election. It OUGHT to be a full landslide against Trump, but he is doing things that I didn’t believe any president could do. Stuff that was never legal, but he has corrupted the U.S, Attorney, too. Stacking the court hasn’t done him as much good as he thought it would. It turns out that Supreme Court judges don’t have to answer to anyone since they are appointed for life. He finally admitted that we have a pandemic which is likely to get worse before it gets better. It’s bad in most of the country. It was much better here, but we are beginning to see another rise now. It’s very small so far, but I think we are about to get wave number two as people pour in from other states where it is worse and bring the virus with them.

Theoretically, we are trying to keep them out, but that’s effectively impossible. This IS one country and you can’t close all the roads in and out of the few states that have managed the pandemic better then others … and ALL of them are in this northeastern region of the country — New York and New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine). New York has the biggest problem New York City is like London: jam-packed top to bottom with high-rises and other than a few parks, no safe place to go.

Meanwhile, the teacher’s (national) union is threatening a strike if Da Prez doesn’t pull back on his orders to open all the schools full time next month. As one teacher’s sign put it, “I can’t teach if I’m dead.”

A point well taken.

The additional unemployment money the government was feeding into the economy ends this Friday and there is no follow-up plan. Along with the expanded unemployment, the protection against eviction ends for renters. I don’t know what they think evicting so many people will accomplish. The result will be a massive housing crisis – tens of thousands lot of empty apartments and no one to rent them. An awful lot of people don’t have jobs to go back to. The places they used to work are gone. If they close down restaurants a second time, most of them won’t reopen. The entire hospitality industry is down the tubes — and that includes places like casinos.

This country, whatever happens in the next election, is going to be a different one than that which we had when we went into this pandemic.. There are very few restaurants or hotels except for chains (like McDonald’s) where you can order from your car plus take-out places for Chinese food and pizza. Many hotels will never reopen, at least not as hotels. Many malls are going to be empty hulks. We can fix this — over time — but not with Trump at the helm. He is a deeply mentally-ill man.

Close for now or forever?

We are going to have to rebuild our economy. We need to bring production facilities back to the U.S. and end pur insane total dependence on foreign manufacturing and international freigh. We don’t need to eliminate foreign production, but we certainly need to bring back at least some basic, necessary industries to the U.S.

Airlines are dying and they are almost giving away cars. Sports, which only started a few days ago, are showing up with huge clumps of COVID-19. The pandemic is alive and getting worse.

Trump seems to be trying to start his own Civil War using Homeland Security as his personal secret service. It looks worse on TV than it really is (I had a long talk with a friend who lives there last night and he says it’s basically confined to a single block in mid-town Seattle — other side of the continent from us) … but he’s threatening to move into other cities … and I think that really COULD cause a war. People are so angry.

There’s potentially some good news about vaccines — but there are months of testing yet to come. They don’t know how long protection lasts and whether via vaccine or suffering through the illness confers long-term immunity. It might be less than a year. AND it might not work for everyone. And then, of course, there’s the battle for equal justice which Trump is totally ignoring … but the citizens are NOT ignoring. That battle has been waiting for 150 years to blow up. Mind you, this is not by any means its first blow-up, but this one involves more people of different races — and maybe that means something. And Trump has managed to get his very own secret police involved. Gee, and right here! Who’d have thunk it?

So, summarizing: we have no schools, no plans for what to do about them … and students are falling farther and farther behind. Computers are not a real substitute for schools. Kids need more than memorization. They need relationships with other  kids and teachers. They need the social experiences that will make them into real people and maybe save us from a future too much like the present.

Of course, a lot of people are dying — and not just old people. People get sick, get better, but there are after and side-effects from the virus — even in very young people — and there are NO cures. None at all. We have not advanced much from medieval times in terms of how to deal with a pandemic whose source of infection we don’t really understand. True this plague is a lot less lethal than Bubonic Plague, but it’s bad enough. COVID-19 grinds slowly, but surely. It just keeps going.

We have killer mosquitoes which are an outgrowth of our changing climate. These mosquitoes never came this far north before, but it has been warm through the winter, so the bugs didn’t die and now we have lethal mosquitoes. Very few people survive those infections (there are two or three of them and I forget the names).

Trump, in his madness, thinks he can order sick people to work and that solves all the problems. He has the mental aptitude and social graces of a toddler with a bad temper. As for medical care: “Obamacare” (really it’s the ACA, but everyone calls it Obamacare), we are eligible for Medicare which was put in place in the early 1970s by Lyndon Baines Johnson — along with Medicaid that supposedly helps those who really have NO money at all. It isn’t free, but it’s a lot less than we’d pay if we were working. I think also that Massachusetts is better off than most states. We had our ducks in a row,  medically speaking, for at least 25 years — the first state to have full medical care for everyone. Under a Republican governor too.

I suppose in the end, what worries me the most is if we are going to have a “real” election and whether or not we will wind up in our own civil war. I would have thought this was impossible, unthinkable. Obviously not. It’s looking very real and I am so glad we live out here in the sticks. Whatever is going to happen, it’s the big cities that are going to get hit the hardest. We are a low density population. The battles will be fought in the cities.

A woman wearing a mask walks past a wall bearing a graffiti asking for rent forgiveness on La Brea Ave on National May Day amid the Covid-19 pandemic, May 1, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. – Several cities and states, including California, have passed executive orders prohibiting eviction of tenants affected by the coronavirus crisis. But when the lockdown lifts, the moratorium will end. And tenants will have to pay their back-rent or move out. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Finally, there’s the mental state of our country. People are depressed, bummed out, demoralized. Wondering if there is a normal in our future or if this is the new normal. I really don’t know. I have no way to predict anything and should we manage to have a fair election — without the intrusion of China, Russia, and Iran — there’s a big question about whether or not Trump would even be willing to leave the White House.

It’s a catastrophe, top to bottom. And how quickly it all happened, too. From what we thought was a normal country to this disaster in just about three years, most of it in the past four months.

Be well. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all plus a big helping of cynicism.

27 thoughts on “LETTER TO AN OVERSEAS FRIEND – LIFE IN THE CRAZY ZONE”

  1. We get news from the US even here in Australia, but reading about it from a first hand source…it’s chilling. I’m so sorry about your Bonnie, and I hope like hell that this is the low point from which everything else is up. Take care and stay well. -hug-s

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    1. She was sick for a long time.We could deal with her deafness — which was total — and blindness which was about 75%, but the senility made it hard to enjoy her company or for her to enjoy us. The rest of her was healthy, but her mind had badly slipped. There was nothing to save in the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aw. This has been such a shitty couple of days that I didn’t think I could feel worse about things. Well now I do. Not YOUR fault of course, you merely report on the situation. There is no point. No point in anything any more. Can’t that orange airhead just gas those of us who have given up our last hope? It’d save the bastard so much time and money spent trying to prove he’s ‘sane’ and should remain at the helm. I think about THAT and the overwhelming urge to cut my wrists or down all the pills in the house surges stronger.

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    1. I think we are all getting pretty bummed out. This isn’t anything like the world we thought we were going to live in. I’m still pretty bummed, but for sanity’s sake, I’m trying to hold it together … and it isn’t easy.

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    2. It is shitty and we all feel awful about it. We have no economy, we have not help and we seem to be running Stalin for president. But hang on in there. As quickly as things got this horrible, they could get suddenly a lot less horrible. Just hang on in there and don’t give up the ship. Or house. Or whatever.

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  3. “…what worries me the most is if we are going to have a ‘real’ election and whether or not we will wind up in our own civil war.” I have been saying this for a while now. If Trump loses in November, there no way he’s going to go quietly into the night. He’s going to dispute the outcome and fight tooth and nail to stay in office. And I fear there’s going to be violence and bloodshed and the country that we know and have loved (for the most part) will never be the same. Trump and his GOP sycophants have unleashed what I think is the destruction of America.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many of us have been saying (or hinting) at this outcome for a long time, but the added violence is something I never expected to see. We have had violent riots before, mind you. Garry covered them in Chicago and L.A. and many other cities in the ’60s and later in the ’70s and 80s …. but this is the first time the militia was ever called in without the agreement of the state’s governor. However bad we thought Trump would be, it has been SO much worse on every possible level.

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  4. Trump will go down in history as one of the worst leaders of all time. He mismanaged the pandemic and sown the seeds of division across the country. He desires to be a despotic leader like the fascist dictators he has befriended. I would say I would move to another country if he gets reelected, but most countries I would consider will not let Americans in.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know a little about their transportation and logistics problems. Air Canada had planned a bigger presence there and carried a lot of cargo from the US and Canada as well as some other countries. It seems it was harder to get back in and like many others, few passengers to take.

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      2. I looked into this. You can go if you agree to 14 day quarantine upon arrival. Americans are not welcome to enter the country. I can not get in. You will not be flying El Al because they are bankrupt. A bail out plan may get them back in the air next month with a much smaller schedule and less aircraft. It is a tough time for all airlines. Americans might still get into some countries as tourists. I am not sure we can move anywhere right now. You know who to blame.

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        1. It makes me ill. And this is what never confronting the real problem gets you. We are NOT the only country with these issues. World War II was an complete world with a massive breakout of hatred. It not only CAN happen, it HAS happened.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. You know, I wonder..was there always this much anger and hate in the world and Trump ‘unleashed’ it all? What would BLM be like if Obama had been our president? One person–Trump–and all this violence not just in our country, but spilled over into the world. He is a maniac of the worst kind.

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    1. I’m pretty sure there was plenty of hate and rage around. This isn’t the first set of street warfare in this country. Not by far. But it IS the first time the president unleashed it with the consent of the state’s governor. And the rest of the hatred? It has always been there, before we were a country, since we became a country, during the Civil War and since the Civil War. Each time we did something “big” — like the Civil Right amendment — I thought “surely this will work. Nothing has worked. Short of sending all the haters to another planet (a la Douglas Adams in “Hitchhiker,”) I’m not sure there is a solution. Not for all of us.

      Kids get their hatred with breast milk and few seem to have the wits to break free of it.

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