The Wind Down
What gets wound up must eventually wind down.
I watched the wind-up. Before this began sales in my office were up 40% over the previous year for three years in a row (I work in construction). Yet our profit margins were so thin we couldn’t afford to hire more people, so we just pushed and pushed the ones we had to do more. Sound familiar? ’Cause it’s pretty common. Nobody wants to pay, they just want more - more - more, faster - faster - faster.
And then, like a kiddo with a brand new bicycle, our lovely little Capitalist system smacked into a COVID-19 sized rock and flipped itself over its economic handlebars. POOF.
The truly sad thing is that our flawed, fragile system isn’t built for stopping at all. Like a clotted, swollen heart that’s rotted with cholesterol and propped up by stints it just has to keep beating or we start to necrotize. When they talk “essential” business everyone reacts like we’re amputizing our limbs to save our torso and organs. Which we kinda are, but that’s the point of the severity of this thing.
“It’s not worth it!” People cry. “So some of us die - that’s better than losing our livelihoods!”
Hmm....let’s unbox that for a moment, shall we?
We’re forced to stop working and we’d rather die?
Perhaps we should reframe the term “livelihood” because I saw the world “live” in front and assumed it was a pre-requisite?
But let’s go ahead and ignore our workaholic culture for one moment and look at the real issue here - those essential systems? You know, the ones we’re trying to stop from failure? If you categorized all the different types of industries as major organs which one do you think is at the actual heart of this thing?
And remember that comparison to a completely unhealthy, overstrained ticker that’s just waiting to keel over any second?
Yup, that would be our American healthcare system.
We’ve brought that point up for years now. We’re the only first world country without universal health care; we’re also the only first world country that pays far more for less benefits with a rapidly declining life expectancy and rampant epidemics -- not the current one, I’m talking diabetes, obesity, and hypertension which, coincidentally, all contribute to the severity of COVID-19 cases too. It’s like this virus knew that we’d suck at taking care of ourselves and having a coordinated response with complete coverage for everyone and consideration for others.
When I watch people protest, scream, and pout what I’m really seeing are fools who have no idea that right now their health care system is under major assault and may not survive. Our first responders? They’re not gonna make it through this with our donated cookies and face masks. They’re going to be traumatized if not rapidly killed by this thing.
You’ve got doctors drowning in medical school debt - because if our healthcare system is a dying heart then our educational system is a single kidney on some wacko crazy dialysis - trying to work through back-to-back shifts in full-on face plates while fighting combat-level PTSD and isolating themselves from their families to try and prevent this thing from killing their loved ones.
How can nobody see this and think “Holy shit - will we even have healthcare after this???”
Nah. Americans do what Americans do best. We ignore and work through it. No sweat off our backs that those poor souls took a vow to save our inconsiderate, idiotic asses, no matter how many of us end up filing through their doors after a beach party.
I mean, face masks are itchy. And who the hell knows how to cook their own food anymore, amirite?
Die on, America.
That I Put The “Pro” In Procrastination
Constant pressure from school in the forms of deadlines and test dates has been covering up the fact that I have a horrific work ethic that is "get everything out of the way so you can sleep at night". This work ethic was most likely caused by being deemed "gifted" and "a pleasure to have in class" in elementary school, which is all teacher-talk for "this introvertive, book-obsessed student has a crippling fear of failure so she is a perfectionist when doing just about any assignment".
Because of this, the free time we all have now has compelled me to squeeze in every last TV show and book I never got to have as a childhood experience and completely reject my online classes because of their lack of due dates, mandatory human contact, and general stressors. I have gotten so much seratonin from just doing things that I enjoy for once that I feel like I won't even be able to get back into my studies.
It's all so surreal: I can pick up a book without having to write an essay about it. I can watch a movie without having to take notes. I can draw without being told to focus on what's on the paper. I can wear whatever I want without getting dresscoded. I can have snacks without having to share with the rest of the class. I can write on this website without being told to switch tabs. My body hasn't even gotten used to this shift, and I still find myself waking up early and feeling strange when I get to eat and use the bathroom whenever I want.
I'm also more disconnected in a way, not being able to fully process this as more than extra vacation. Is it bad that I'm actually okay with staying inside like this? I hope it's just my introversion and not a kind of sick apathy that doesn't have me complaining like many of my friends are. I don't understand why so many people are willing to break the rules and risk illness just to go back outside, when they themselves had been wishing for a break from school. Call me a goody-two-shoes, but you won't find me protesting against a deadly virus.
There's still the slightest twinge of pressure from teachers wanting me to complete practice assignments, but what are they gonna do if I don't? They can't lower my grades that much or send me to any office, so there are really no consequences.
Maybe this is how it should be. No, I don't mean having a pandemic taking lives and putting our health workers and small businesses on the line. I mean less academic pressure. The fact is, my generation has lived under stress and anxiety from school-related responsibilities that older folks have never dreamed of, and now the big break a lot of us have begged for is here.
Truth be told, I had been praying for a break from school just days before quarantine was put into place in my county. I was breaking down by the time lockdown was announced, and can't imagine what I would have done if it didn't happen.
I haven't slept so well in years; never had time to dream so peacefully before. The literal burden on my shoulders, my backpack stuffed with outdated and expensive textbooks, is gone, and I can stand up straighter. I didn't realize that there had been a constant pounding in my head until it lessened, the only noise I hear now being the rain and bird outside and my family inside. Speaking of which, school lunch has been replaced by homemade meals, a transition I didn't know I needed until my weight stopped dropping erratically. I can't put into enough words how necessary this was for my mental and physical health, even if boredom and separation from my friends are beginning to creep up on me.
To sum my feelings up, COVID-19 may be forcing us indoors, but I may or may not have to be dragged out of bed once we can go back outdoors.
What has COVID-19 taught you
Very Much Cursing in this one.
So It’s 2 AM and I thought taught was spelled tought and chickens were spelled chicen.
Yeah it’s not about me but I feel like writing a short.
This is going to have Aurora, Ronin, Cora, Nico, and Vesper.
Aurora is MC.
Ronin is her Closest friend.
Cora is her sister.
Nico is the local gay best friend.
Vesper is Nico’s BF.
“Aurora?” A voice calls from the hallway.
A creak comes from her bed as she slowly sits up. It’s hard for her to stay awakelong enough to give a shit about the knock. “No.”
“Honey, that’s not how that works.”
“Cora, Leave me the fuck alone.”
“No. You need to come downstairs and get breakfast. Mom already left, and we are in quarantine.”
“Goddammit, Cora. Why wake me up though?”
“Ronin Is at the door.”
From outside the door, scrambling can be heard as Aurora hurries to change clothes and get ready. Cora smiles slightly to know that Aurora still Wants to look decent for people. But that look is wiped off her face when Aurora comes out of her room in a tank top and shorts, fists clenched. “I told that asshole not to come, because of quarantine!” She races down the stairs, opends the door and “Playfully” Punches Ronin in the shoulder. It was Quite hard, to be honest.
Ronin smiles a little bit, not having flinched. “Hello, Aurora.” He says in a deep voice that would put you to sleep if you heard it too long. Which, Aurora was tired, so hearing him didn’t help.
“You came all the way here, you might as well come inside.” She stands aside for him to come in, which he does. She closes the door behind him. “Did you at least bring gossip? Is there any damn gossip?”
“No, unfortunately not. That would be amazing though, given quarantine and stuff.”
“People always find a way to fuck with each other.” Ronin was 6′3″, and Aurora was 4′7″ so Ronin had to sit down in order for her to be taller.
“That’s true.” He says, and says “Have you eaten yet?”
“No, Cora woke me up because you were here.”
His face darkens. “Go eat. I’ll wait.” He was one of those people who would rather their friends take care of themselves than talk to him, so he stood watch over her, making sure she actually eats something.
She finishes eating and stands up, jumping a mile when she realizes he was standing there. “Holy shit! How long were you standing there?”
“I didn’tnotice you. Good job, I guess? Anyway. Have you gotten a text from Nico or Vesper yet?”
“Yeah. Why?” Her face falls a little, and he nods. “I see. So You might have to defend me in court,” He jokes. “Anyway, did you guys fall out or somthing?”
“No, but I didn’t text him for a little bit to see if he would start a conversation for once and he didn’t. Now I’ve been texting him daily, but he hasn’t responded.”
“Okay, I get it. Do you want me to ask him to text you back?”
“Okay.” He walks back to the living room, and sits down on the couch. Aurora sits next to him. He ruffles her hair a little bit. She smiles to him, and she sits down next to him, and he sends the message to Nico.
Could U txt Aurora? She misses U
I don’t see why not
Second later, a ringtone goes off from Aurora’s Phone. It’s a notification that Nico Has blocked Aurora’s number, then her various social media accounts. Aurora leans into Ronin, and he looks down at her phone and sighs.
Yo wtf. y u block her?
Wtf you mean
I’m looking right at it. y u block her
Bruh wtf what are you doing together
It’s none of your business, is it?
It kinda is. That is my best friend.
I wasn’t aware that best friends block each other.
Ronin doesn’t notice Aurora crying until Cora is at her side with a tissue. Ronin puts an arm around Aurora, and she sobs into him. Cora smiles sadly. Ronin holds Aurora tenderly, and begins singing a soft lullaby to her, since she still seemed to be tired.
Aurora falls asleep.
When Aurora wakes up, she is laying down on the couch, while Ronin was on the phone outside on theporch. He seemed to be having an argument with somebody. She stands up, and goes to find cora to thank her for breakfast. She finds her in her office, typing out an email. As soon as she knocks on the door, Cora turns around and pins Aurora in a hug. She says, “Are you okay?” When she releases her.
“I’ll be okay. Thank you for breakfast, by the way.”
Cora nods. “Just doing my part.”
Aurora smiles, and goes out to the living room, and sees Ronin on the porch, hanging up. He walks back in, with a “Good morning, Sunshne! How was your nap?”
She scowls. He laughs. “Exactly what I mean.”
“It was fine. Who were you arguing with, are you on okay terms now, and do I have to kill the-”
“Nobody, it was fine.”
Aurora stares at Ronin. "It didn't look like nothing, but okay."
Ronin shrugs her comment off. "It was Vesper."
Aurora scowls. She doesn't really like Vesper much. "What about?"
Ronin sighs. "Anyway, It's about noon, I should get home."
"Ah. When are you comeing back?"
"Tomorrow, if that's okay?"