Note: Wrote this 5 nights ago after we got word that school would not be starting back anytime soon, and I clicked the wrong tab and thought it was lost forever. Realized today that wp just sorts newest drafts to the bottom of the list (dumb). I revive and share not for its literary merit or the golden halo of maturity it affords my character, but because it is a prequel to a future post.
This is the worst year of my life.
Hindsight might have some net losers that were worse, but I really can’t think of what they were right now. None had the same grueling suspended-time quality that 2019-2020 is showcasing.
I thought time was supposed to speed up when you got older.
2006-07: The year I started having nonstop pain and got diagnosed with a chronic, incurable, degenerative neurological disease? There was novelty is seeing new doctors, failing new tests, starting new treatments, learning a new pain language and the limits thereof.
1989-90: The year my dad went into rehab and my mom moved us away for a few months, and I never could find my footing when we got back mid-schoolyear? At least he and I got to watch It’s a Wonderful Life together at xmas that year, and it was Very Meaningful, and eventually school did end and reset, and there was less fighting, for a while.
2011: The year I went effectively blind for 9ish months? Well, yeah, that sucked a lot and I had to quit my dream job and nobody could say if or when I’d ever recover. But also, my friends and family were amazing at stepping up to keep me supplied with good music and audiobooks and road trips and visits. And we had a photographer at our wedding, so I saw the pictures later.
But this? THIS?
There is nothing that can balance this lost year, and I have nothing to do but continue to watch it spool on and on, getting farther and farther behind.
I gave up every place I’ve known, all my friends, my closest family, my therapists and doctors, thrift stores, labels I could read, the ability to flirt with anybody anywhere, my cars to sing in, my trivia team, air conditioning, my own room, 90% of my books…
And for what? Fame, glory, influence, sex appeal, wads of cash?
Oh. Guess I’m not half the negotiator I thought I was.
So my kids could see more of their euro family? Yes — but we only got a few days at xmas in, and then canceled canceled canceled. We could have simply visited. So.
So my kids could get better at German? Yes — but they’re not doing that at home with me. So.
So I could meet new people, buy cool stuff, have new experiences, learn the language? Yes –but I’m sure not doing any of that at home with me, either. So.
I know life wouldn’t be fun or normal if I were back at home, either. I’m not stupid. Shit’s weird and hard and scary everywhere.
But I might be able to eat familiar food that I didn’t have to cook myself, food I could taste. I might be able to see those friends and family from time to time, quarantine be damned. To see people who can see me — imagine! I could go for a drive and sing my terrible songs terribly until I’m hoarse and healing, instead of whispering them in the kitchen and still getting interrupted constantly.
Would I give up being able to order whiskey on Amazon? Absofuckinglutely.
Would I give up great public transit? Begrudgingly, and then I’d fight like hell to make it happen at home.
Would I give up…well, see, that’s the problem. I already gave everything up. This cupboard’s bare. There’s just a bunch of moths where my heart used to be, and a cough I’ve had for two months. Anybody want that? I hear it’s all the rage.