I walk around feeling the weight of a lot of pressure from a social system that’s about to implode, and it’s hard to calm my mind enough to make sense of it. I don’t have anyone around me to worry about – I live alone, away from family, and I don’t have any close friends. I never had kids. There are a lot of reasons for all of this but I’ve managed to live with depression. Other people were not interested.
I work when I can as long as I can with the people and then I move along and try to pretend it was all bound to happen in the end. My personal struggles with emotional issues – and not, for instance, substance abuse or external drama – have led me to be isolated, to expect to be isolated, and to live like there won’t be anyone around to help me out in the end (there won’t be).
This here virus comes along and I’m in between jobs again because why not (other people drama) and I’m already on the edge when everyone else suddenly makes a run for the exits. I’m not alone out here but I might be one of the smarter ones – like that will ever matter in our time. I’m watching the tsunami build on the horizon while everyone else scuffles off at a leisurely pace and my voice is tired and thin and I actually ran out of juice a few years ago.
What, exactly, am I supposed to do?? I’m skipping off this bottom layer of oil and water like some stupid goldfish trying to breathe. I’m trying not to panic because I had a bunch of asthma-related pneumonia hospitalizations in the past and I’m actually SCARED AS FUCK but I can’t let on right? That’s just hysteria nevermind the last time I almost died it was just like 24 years ago – I’m alright.
I still struggle on, it seems, and recently I had a moment where maybe I resigned myself to this fate. What if I already gave up on this shitty life a while ago? Like that goldfish bouncing along bottom of an oil layer, it’s not like I was ever going to survive on the other side the fence. The people who got professional and acted like I was beneath them – it’s not like I was ever going to sit in an office without clashing with some dipshit powertripper. I can write a mean email and torch an entire chain of stupid comments but that only works on the internet. My fire was never going to be tamed for a higher moment in the future. The thing is, it’s not like I didn’t know. I’ve struggled my whole life to understand why I didn’t fit into any of the holes, without an answer. My work history looks terrible, my moving around even worse, and nobody wants to take a chance on some old angry fucker who has to apologize for swearing instead of just not dropping an f-bomb.
I’m fucking scared, though, right now. Other people are fucking oblivious to the things coming. They’ve never seen their parents on a ventilator, struggling to hold onto a miserable existence where our government is led by people who just don’t give a shit – and no, fuck you,Trump and conservatives and the GOP don’t give a shit if you disagree get the fuck out of here I’m going to die this month. And they don’t care if you do.
I’ve always been here. Minimum wage, delivery driver, the guy dropping off your sammich and uber eats and taking out the garbage of your favorite restaurant. I let my beard grow sometimes, and I wear the same pair of work jeans until they really need a wash. I’m not lazy, just broke, and laundry is money. I can fix your computer and email and do web design and run a forklift and do a ton of other even more serious shit but I’ll never be asked to put any of that to use because nobody thinks I can do any of it. I’m just down here below that oil-water layer with big ideas in my head poking above it sometimes and suffocating.
I tried to keep myself ‘clean’ enough to stay legit and I did it mopstly, but that just puts me right in the middle of fucked and more fucked. If I’d bought into the bullshit and had a family and credit and home mortage and like, went off to college straight out of high school and all that shit, I’d be flush with options to walk away from the debt and ask for help and like, that’s cool. But I never put myself up to that, I could never find a woman that wanted to deal with my shit and never wanted to bring a child into a world where my existence wasn’t a sure bet. I didn’t believe the bullshit about college and lifetime careers and didn’t pretend to follow the normal course. Fuck my entire HS existence was a mess just a month before my freshman year started I was hospitalized with asthmatic pneumonia and I got mono two weeks into my senior year (that’s 6 weeks of misery laying on your couch BTW).
Nobody ever reached out a hand and ignored my flaws and biting until I got good somewhere. I didn’t have references; I couldn’t even keep a roof over my head sometimes. Nothing I could ever say or do would change the schedule of the scenery change. I wasn’t gifted a business, or a car, or a college fund. I was expected to be dead before reaching a mature age, I was told at one point by people who should have known better.
My grandfather, the mean bastard, is still kicking. Of the three phone calls I ever got from him two were legit supervillain-level cruel. My other grandfather, the cool one, he’s working through the late stages of Alzheimer’s. I’ll just paint it in bright neon letters – I’m going to get old and lose my fucking mind at the same time. If I don’t die from COVID-19. I’ve been scraping that bottom for 2 decades now and I’m just like, honestly, what am I supposed to do? I’m going to get forgotten and slip through the cracks of this coming disaster, and that’s maybe for the best. I’m going to spend my last dollars on beer and get everything ready for the worst eventuality.
This world was never ready for me. I was never ready for me. This is what panic looks like.