I learned that we weren’t all that outgoing before the lockdown, so I suspect being locked down was less difficult for us than for others who are more sociable.
I soon realized the “old” world wasn’t what I thought it was. People were more stupid, insensitive, and selfish than I imagined possible. And it wasn’t going to get better, even if we should ever manage to battle through COVID. We are never going back to the old days because they were an illusion.
I realized how incredibly unstable our super-expensive ISP is and how terribly reliant we are on it.
I recognized that we are not going to do much of anything to deal with climate change. It was all puffery. We aren’t even going to deal with the basics, like improving the quality of air and water. We aren’t going to stop expanding cities in areas with fragile and limited water resources — and if it costs any money, no matter how sensible a project seems, it won’t happen. Everyone seems to feel we are going to solve our issues and it won’t cost us anything. That’s part of the “really stupid” factor.
Grocery prices, the cost of wood, gasoline, and other essentials has jumped by at least 40%. For those of us on fixed incomes, that simply means we are going to eat less, travel very little, and build nothing. What was a $5,000 deck to rebuild is now a $25,000 deck which we will never rebuild because we’ll never have that much money.
Overall, the lockdown was a teaching experience. It didn’t substantially change our lifestyle, but it was saddening to realize how hard it is for everyone to be at least civil, much less kind or caring. I did not want to live in this version of the world, but it seems this world has caught up with me. We will slog on into the future, little as we like it. This is the hand we’ve been dealt, so we might as well play the cards.
I will do what I’ve been doing. Take photographs of birds and squirrels and trees and occasionally, the rivers and dams and enjoy the beauty we’ve got while wondering how much of this will exist by the time my granddaughter has her own children — assuming she chooses to have children. If I were her age, I probably would not.
I will write as long as I am able and try to stay alive — and keep Garry alive too. I don’t actually see much choice, but I’d be delighted to hear something optimistic based on reality, not hopes and dreams.
You know what might make me feel better?
- Getting a meaningful raise to Social Security — at least enough to cover the actual cost of groceries.
- See our government actually do something to deal with the alarming lack of water (and the fires) in the west and and undrinkable water in many places in this country.
- Seeing a major investment in future-technology that will improve our ability to generate power without destruction. I’m betting it will be nuclear, because it’s of our options, the only one that can generate enough power with the least damage — even though we still don’t know what to do with leftover “used up” rods.
- Seeing these major investments start to employ people and pay them enough money to actually live on their wages and have enough remaining to enjoy living.
- Doing something about our lack of a decent medical system. We need to make medicine non-profit. We need drug prices to lower so that we can afford what we need and not have to choose between eating or getting medicine.
- We need a national education in civility. You know, “please,” “thank you,” “can I help you.” The basics we were supposed to learn in kindergarten.
- We need EDUCATION. The real deal We need history. We need to find out who we are, what we are, and start to make national decisions based on what people want and need. We need to stop giving the worst people the loudest voices. We need better people and we need to figure out how to get them into the government.
The irony is that these are not huge things. We should have long-since dealt with issues like bad water in old cities, bad air from polluting industries. The cost to repair these factories was not huge compared to the profits being made, but the cost to the people who had to breathe that air has been enormous.
We should plan cities using basic commonsense. An arid region is not where you put a major city and then snivel about the lack of water. There was never enough water and everyone knew it. Greed has long been in the driver’s seat for this country. How about less greed, more concern for others? Would that be possible?
As long as I see no forward progress, I’m unlikely to feel better. But eventually, whatever life we are living will feel “normal.” Normal, it turns out, is whatever you get used to.