Twas the night before 4/20,
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring,
Except a bong-ripping mouse.
Don’t forget tonight to leave out a White Russian and some cookies for The Dude. And also Willie, Cheech, Snoop, Chong, and Martha. And also Brad Pitt in “Say Anything”. Aw hell, go ahead and add all of your favorite stoners, whether fiction or non-fiction, who partake of the sacred herb; my blessings and high times to all. Say “Alexa, play Bob Marley, but do not listen in to my personal conversations,” and just go with it.
Anyway. To the pandemic…
We’re all going to emerge from this ongoing national crisis with our own unique stories of how fucked up it was, and those stories will probably become as dull and self-absorbed as “Where was I on 9/11?” (we were all staring in disbelief at a tiny TV, of course) or simply trying to re-tell one’s dreams to someone else.
Sure, there will be a few stories that are compelling, such as my friend who was atop WTC 1 on the evening of 9/10, or another friend who lived less than 100 yards from the nursing home in Kirkland WA where this Covid shit first went large in February. He had told me about the increased frequency of sirens in his neighborhood while we were still working together, onsite, not at home like we are now.
But, overall, we’ll mostly end up collectively griping about a period of inconvenience that pales in comparison to what Anne Frank and her family experienced, and there will be a numb centrality to the stories about Netflix, toilet paper shortages, and social distancing. “There was that time on March 25 that there was one pack of toilet paper left and a guy crawled over me to get it, that sumbitch.”
I don’t intend to sound cynical, but I think we will all learn that our individual boredom is not interesting to anyone else. Second-hand boredom is even more boring than regular boredom.
But it is not just boredom. There is anxiety. That is the true thing that defines where we each are. Everyone has anxiety these days, and they are all different collections of worries. That is the interesting part, and where we can learn and find help from our friends.
Some folks worry about livelihoods. Some folks worry about parents. Some folks worry about children. Some folks worry about health. Some folks worry about friends. Some folks worry about the economy. Some folks worry about politics. Some folks worry about themselves. Some folks worry about sportsball. Some folks worry about the Masked Singer when many of us now wear masks. And it goes on and on and on.
My point: share your unique set of worries with your friends, and listen to theirs. While all of this craziness has been going on, the usual bullshit continues: people are still experiencing divorces, people are getting new cancer diagnoses, people are having horrible traffic accidents, people are losing pets, people fail job interviews, etc. Be a friend and be there.