"Nothing Seems That Weird Anymore"
[NOTE: This is what I wrote to my Czech pen pal today]
Hello again, _____--
My new motto: "nothing seems that weird anymore."
Seriously, it's like I've given up having an opinion on any international or worldly matter, because the likelihood that someone I know or love is going to have a contrary opinion - with or without a coherent argument to back up their statements - and sharing my thoughts isn't worth the hurt feelings or targeting for bile and anger.
For example, you may have heard that in the city of Seattle, Washington, citizens have essentially occupied and taken over a section of the city after law enforcement abandoned their post. Personally, I like the idea, and I stated as much, and I thought it was a harmless support of people taking some power back and beginning to determine their own lives, create a community in their own image, and so forth. It eventually spiraled into a discussion between my sister-in-law and a friend of mine about how without police there will be violence against women: police won't be there to defend women (hahahahahah! But I bit my tongue to keep my laughter to myself...), and "community self-policing" doesn't work (well, I have no opinion on that, but this friend of mine definitely does).
So it's like, why bother mentioning anything of consequence anymore? Just because my sister-in-law and I disagree on this one social issue - literally on the other side of the continent, by the way - is that reason enough to push a hard-line and demand that she resign in the debate? I had the impression she was willing to go full offense over the issue. Why bother bringing up any subject at all if the inevitable result is an argument?
Meanwhile, yes: there's still a pandemic spreading through the population, infections are rising again because the government didn't distribute funds to the people who actually needed it to survive so now they put themselves in harms way just to pay the bills... People look at me weird for wearing a mask when I go to the garden, and I actually had a kid standing over 10 meters away look at me with dread, then run away. Seriously!
Oh, and it's an election year in the US, right? The current president is a hideous joke, and the main contender is a joke too, only somehow even more lame. What a fresh alternative to the status quo, right?
Oh, and if I hear the word "unprecedented" one more time, I'm going to slam my head through the wall. It seems like it's a pretty extreme time in my life when a single word - an adjective, not even a noun - can be so destructive, right?
It's with all this as a backdrop that I finally threw up my hands. I can't care beyond my personal sphere right now. Eating, sleeping, an occasional "private moment," and helping people find a job in this town. It's just not possible to wring more out of me. I lack the energy to try, I lack the spirit to continue to fight, but mostly I lack any hope for a positive outcome. So I donate cash where and when I can, dive into my day job, share an encouraging word where I'm able, dote over the garden plot, and eat lots and lots of cookies.
So if there's one word of advice I can give, _____, it's to eat lots and lots of cookies. Even if you don't have an exercise bike nearby, like I am lucky enough to have. Cookies are great. :)
I try to keep it light as much as I'm able. And I am actually smiling right now, a little half-smile, not weeping or crying right now, wondering even what new strangeness and weird social accident will occur next month to continue rolling the snowball of idiocy and anger down the hillside, growing bigger and moving faster with every new day and every new Twitter rant.
The USA just ain't worth it anymore, _____. Why become outraged? There will only be something worse, something more obscene, more abhorrent, more horrible and disappointing, next week.
...I wonder if this is all just me being some big drama queen, or it's an accurate portrayal of the current state of affairs. If those where the two ends of some scale, a spectrum of reality, where would "life today" be on that spectrum? So it's not weird anymore. It's aimless, leaderless, completely anti-social, and frustrating, all at the same time.
This really didn't end up the way I expected it to, _____. I apologize about that. Hopefully this is painting a picture of what life is like over here. And if you ever needed evidence that I don't work for the USA Board of Tourism, then hopefully this is enough...!
I certainly hope you and your family are well over there in the completely rational, completely even-keeled, completely calm Czech Republic. :) I'd love to hear how things are going for you. So if you've some time to spare, please write a little something. Take care.