Today is my pandemic day two hundred eighty-two of staying safer at home. I’d like to be witty about this and make some wise-ass comment such as “if most accidents happen in the home, how are we safer there?” But honestly, after over nine months of staying in or near the house, I don’t have much to feel witty about.
This is just another day in the trenches. Now with with an extra added dose of Christmas holiday blues.
The Holiday Blues
Christmas hasn’t been a big deal for me for many years. My favorite holidays continue to be Thanksgiving and New Years, in that order. I usually managed to get up enough “Christmas Spirit” to write Christmas cards and even include Amazon gift cards in some of them. Winnie and I will put up our “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” and hang a few decorations off them. Some years, we’ve even gone all out and strung up lights outside and inside the house. This year, I’m sad to say, I couldn’t even get up enough spirit to write cards. I want to send out a few Amazon gift cards, so I might have to do that via email given it’s now too late to mail anything.
Winnie and I did put up our Christmas tree today. We bought a two-foot artificial Christmas tree with fiberoptic lights the first Christmas here in Northern Virginia. We also have a small collection of tacky souvenirs I’ve collected over my years of travel that we set out under the tree as a “World Village.” That goes next to the Italian-made nativity scene. All-in-all, it gives our living room a festive look.
We’re beyond hanging up lights outside the house. But, a few years ago I did pick up a light projector that throws light patterns on the house. Usually, our house is about the only one in our neighborhood not looking like – well- like Christmas. But this year I’ve noticed a lot more darkened homes. So I must not be the only one feeling the Christmas blues. We’re planning on a quiet Christmas, just the two of us for dinner on Christmas Day.
The End Of School
This hasn’t been a completely wasted year. I did finish my graduate program right on my planned schedule of two years. Honestly, if I was still commuting back and forth each day, finishing on schedule would have been more difficult. Not commuting saved me three to four hours each weekday that I could use for school work. As it was, some weeks I was feeling pretty stressed keeping up with assignments from two and three classes. But I finished on my schedule and even pulled honors. Which is a grade that was unimaginable for me back in K-12 school.
One thing that I wrote about, and even touched on in my application essay, was my history of being a poor student. Various assignments through my graduate program pushed me to reflect on my educational history and attitudes towards learning. These assignments finally helped me deal with a number of personal demons and put them to rest. I finished my program with a great deal of personal satisfaction on accomplishing one of my most important life goals.
Now, I need to figure out what I do next.
The Chaos Without
Meanwhile, outside the confines of my home, the not-yet-a-shooting-war rages on over the recent presidential election. Our soon-to-be (but not soon enough) ex-president just cannot take “you’re fired” as an answer. I have to admit, I’m enjoying watching the increasingly more frenzied tactics of trump and company in proving the unproveable. I’m simply enjoying the schadenfreude of watching republicans insisting that voting machines were rigged and mass numbers of votes came from dead people. Yes, I realize this is a cruel and unsympathetic emotion. I can live with that.
“They have the unique ability to listen to one story and understand another.”Pandora Poikilos
Not to say I’m not concerned at how this post-election chaos will end. Reading the news that two of trump’s aids came to the White House Friday to push trump into declaring martial law scares me. A little. I’m not convinced enough of our senior military officers would follow any orders from trump to blatantly violate their oaths of office and loyalty to our Constitution. But just the spectacle of military officers refusing to follow orders from their Commander-in-Chief would be a gut punch to everyone who believes in the concept of civilian control over the military. It would be the last institution trump breaks, and one that could never be fully repaired.
Meanwhile, as trump and company try to establish an American banana republic, the Coronavirus death count zooms ever higher. Republican senator McConnell and his merry band of amoebalike orcs and goblins continue to avoid doing their jobs. The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a model coronavirus relief bill back on May 15. Yet, here we are today, with Republicans trying to gut as much of the relief bill as they can while still creating the appearance of giving a shit about the people in this country who are starving.
Good News Is Coming
The good news of vaccines that are on their way is tempered by knowing they are a long ways away from reaching the general public. It will be months still before enough people are vaccinated we can all go back to our before lives. For those people who have lost everything – their lives, the lives of loved ones, their jobs, their businesses, their life’s savings, suffering broken marriages – it will be far too late.
Merry Christmas everyone. May your holidays be as pleasant as circumstances permit.