A Virus of Pause

Hello again!  I guess I’ve been strangely quiet the last two years, talkative fellow that I am. I intend to summon my muse and get to blogging again, just in case you’ve missed me. 

It’s not that I haven’t written anything or had tons of thoughts. But the Vid years have tended to make me grumpy and diffuse of mind. I don’t like posting stuff that my gut tells me is just a visceral reaction. So I’ve been quiet. 

I sort of wonder if I’m not alone in feeling like the last few years have largely been a frustrating dream. You know the dream…back in school to take some test you haven’t prepared for but have to pass….except that you took that test years ago and don’t actually need to repeat high school, college or law school. 

That’s how things have seemed the last few years. I’ve had less contact with people because I’m a good boy and listened to experts….who were mostly guessing and hoping about one novel topic. I haven’t wanted get infected or infect anyone else. But the leaky cloth mask I wore and the four jabs in my shoulder haven’t shut down a virus. Neither have Donald Trump or Joe Biden, despite promises to do so. Yet, the vax does seem to be holding up quite well in terms of fending off hospitalization and death, for the most part. So it’s time to de-funk. 

I think part of getting into the funk in the first place happened when I started to avoid humans. You know, those vectors of disease. Plus we had the wonderful World Wide Web to connect us!  Who needed church?  Or the gym?  Or coffee with friends and hugging them afterward?  After all, we had zoom and Twitter and all that great stuff to leave us fulfilled!  

It’s not my intent to make light of the pandemic. But goodness gracious, is that all that life is about?  Or should be about?  Does our mental, emotional, social and non-covid physical health matter at some point?

In medieval times, people ran to the cathedral during times of crises because it was in the middle of town and was supposed to protect the people. However, their critters died for lack of care and their crops failed for the same reason.  They weren’t there to tend them. The people were all at the cathedral, making each other sick and miserable even though abandoning life and running to the cathedral didn’t end up working so well. It didn’t stop the plague and it ignored everything else important in life. These days, we’ve dismissed that silly religious nonsense. We are so much more advanced, after all. We replaced faith in what the cathedral offered with politics, media, social media, talking heads, following the (political) science, inane yard signs and general distrust and antipathy for anyone who doesn’t see things just as we do. There!  That’s progress!

Getting outdoors has been my salve and my lifeline during the pandemic. But I need something more to get my mojo back. For a while now, I’ve largely gone back to interacting with humans face to face. But now I need to see humans as something more than vectors of a virus. I need to observe them, listen to them and relearn interaction. Humans can be frustrating creatures. But I think it’s harder to get and stay frustrated at in-person humans than internet humans. You see, we’ve largely lived for two and a half years in a world where we could block out unpleasant human interaction.  That seems nice at first because unpleasant humanness thrives in the virtual world. However, we humans are social creatures and virtual-heavy interaction atrophies our social skills. 

So, the irony is not lost on me. I’m back…on the internet that I’ve just got done lamenting. Hopefully though, I’m also able to do so by interacting with and reflecting on humans. Actual, rather than virtual ones. 

Copyright August 17, 2022

Daniel Blake

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