Transition Girl

Why transition girl?... Best answered by a quote from the Iliad....."The soul was not made to dwell in a thing; and when forced to it, there is no part of that soul but suffers violence."

Saturday, May 02, 2020

staying at home - random notes in times of existential threat

Most people's panic shopping product of choice has been toilet paper. Mine has been gourmet honeycomb from Tasmania. Not really Wahls Protocol friendly but I think on a subconscious level, my mind might be weighing up a cost-benefit of messing up my immune system's effectiveness and an end-of-days binge on a stockpiled honeycomb sweet treat. Weird.

A few weeks over February, I listened to a podcast by Josh Clark - aptly named The End of the World. Recommended to me but for the life of me I cannot remember by whom. Covered existential threats facing humanity one of which was a pandemic. It was a very educational podcast although it left me filled with a sense of dread that only a 'are we living in a simulation' programmer from the future could have designed to amuse themselves. If I convince myself I am not real, maybe the fear about the current pandemic may not feel so bad.

Been working from home since early March. Compromised immune system put me in a high risk category to do all to avoid potential exposure. A week later the directive came from my Victorian government forcing the entire state to do the same. As a part-time speculative fiction writer (the day job also involves writing although focused on evidence-based advice), adapting to days without human interaction was unsurprisingly easy. Past home isolation sojourns related to poor health lasting days, weeks, and months have long been my normal. The only practical change for me was getting a few more essentials delivered. Did discover how much of a valued client I was to my pharmacist who arranged delivery of medications the moment it became allowed under new rules. Not so easy for some of the people I work with - those dealing with homes filled with others - partners, kids, extended family, pets - much more challenging to mix work with other commitments in a confined space. My introverted alone time with two felines who value the quiet as much as I do is something I cherish.

My creative spark has charged into overdrive. It seems dystopian prospects sprouts new growth of ideas like forest growth after Spring rain and sunshine. Will meet a deadline months ahead of time such is that heat banishing the writer's block of months past. The vivid dreamscape even stranger than usual - a sign of anxiety. The eczema also a measure of the bubbling underbelly.

Something unexpected has been the messages, reconnecting through social streaming services - from friends of decades past extending the current circle. Also, forging new connections through the virtual world. This seems to me to be one of the better things about staying at home. The virtual coffees, lunches, drinks, viewing of theatre, accessing all manner of activity from around the world. Snow leopard cubs at Melbourne Zoo - live cam delight. I hope this feature remains long after we are no longer housebound.

The evolving language of circumstance changed is truly fascinating. Obsessing over "offnungdiskussionsorgien" - a little pearl originating from Germany, which loosely translates to "orgies of debate about opening things up". The "sidewalk dance" has been a feature of my weather-permitting daily walks as I try to steer clear of others wandering (maybe there should be some guidance about what is acceptable active wear for lower key promenades permitted under current restrictions). But it is the "doomscrolling" that has been the most common routine in my day - the act of mindlessly consuming an endless stream of unsettling, unnerving, maddening, or otherwise terrible news on an electronic device - so I can interpret the data and provide summaries to my two brothers in almost daily conversations. Using a critical thinking analyst skill set I have so that they can be spared the torture. Finding myself being asked about and lecturing on economic supply and demand shocks for laymen friends in need of explanations. Reminding me of my university days when it was acceptable to talk and express opinions about any subject - everything old is new again.

"Quaranstreaming" in the "Coronaverse" - my daily consumption of movies and television seems to be trending upwards. More so than my reading. It's harder to read after a day, every day, sitting in front of a computer. A black mirror television screen somehow seems different. Watching things I would never have contemplated in normal times - but then, I was out and about more which is strictly limited now. Viewing more light and fluffy comedy or gentle drama from all over the world, less thought provoking science fiction about frightening trends that may (have) come to pass. Outbreak is on my blacklist. Blacklist is not. Old whimsical favourites from previous viewing are getting reruns - Fooseball and Nocturnal Animals on my all time best episodes of Community.

Perhaps the strangest correlation (note not causation) has been an observation that I started my day job at a time when unemployment was 17 percent (recession in Australia at the start of the 1990s) and it now looks like the last few years of my working life will be marked by a once in a lifetime downturn. The 30 years in between have been an economic wonder. Relieved beyond measure that I am still able to work. Doing all that I can to design support and facilitate to help those who cannot. Under the banner "supporting economic recovery". Keeping me busy - big time.

Reading about the situations in other countries - worrying about friends and family located in some of them - feeling "Weltschmerz" - that particular mood of weariness and sadness for the suffering of the world, tinged with empathy and love for humanity. For now at least, Australia has dodged several bullets. It's a country that has often been described as "lucky" - the tyranny of distance living on an island on the other side of the world. Who knows why we are faring better? I just hope it stays that way.