Saturday night. This week was not a good one.

The events of Thursday, as well as their implicaitons, dehydrated me too much to truly grieve on Friday. I’m updating my LinkedIn.

How do you deconvert from a company to which you have dedicated 67% of your adult life? How do you change your viewpoint from “I’m a devoted employee who has a few hobbies” to “I’m an amateur guitar player who learns French, and I have a job to pay the bills”? (I bought that poor guitar over two years ago and barely touched it. Really gotta do something about it.) The past few days have been bad… A negative feedback loop of “what if” scenarios and old conversations running nonstop through my head, impossible to distract from. Perhaps, if I nap or sleep more, my brain will put enough cycles between the recent past and the present to lessen the impact, if not archive it altogether. The echoes from the past are coming back: I hope this won’t turn into the hellscape that was the late 2016, when something very similar occurred.

One bright spot: today was the birthday celebration for xgf. It was myself, her, and her three friends. All five of us maintained our distance in her large backyard. We wore masks when we stepped inside (always just one at a time), and drank and feasted and conversed beneath the open air till late at night. Turns out you can play Pictogram without having any close contact, and we laughed way too hard at the shadow puppets we made with our hands. That kept the thoughts of work at bay.

A friend of mine (a roommate’s girlfriend, from eight years ago in Reno) has tested positive. As far as I know, this is the first time a friend of mine caught it. (There was also a work buddy in the US, but we’re not that close. He and his wife got better.) My friend lives in Arizona these days. She said she took all the precautions (masks, alcohol spray, etc) and doesn’t know how she got infected. Considering the runaway infection rates in that state, she could’ve caught it just about anywhere. She says the fever, the muscle pain, and the headaches are terrible. I hope she makes it…

The way the world is handling this crisis, with major countries like Brazil, the US, the UK, etc completely ignoring the advice of their scientists, doesn’t bode well at all for the climate change crisis. If major superpowers can’t act responsibly when thousands of their own people die every day and hospitals are full, what hope is there for prompt action with a less visible emergency, one that’s more gradual and will kill far more? We’re blowing past more and more points of no return. Has existential hedonism been the answer all along?..

In covid news, Robert Trump, Donald Trump’s younger brother, has just died. He was 72, and his cause of death was not released. Trump visited him in the hospital just yesterday. If that was covid-related, there could be an interesting domino effect. If it wasn’t covid – well, at least his death was probably more peaceful than it would’ve been with the virus.

New Zealand’s streak is over. There’s a new cluster, and it’s an odd one. Contact tracers are stumped: their best bad guess is that the virus came on the packaging of imported refrigerated food. If true, that’s rather horrifying. That reminds me of the “Wild Cards” sci-fi book series: space aliens infect New York City with an experimental “wild card” virus that immediately kills 90% of its victims, gives 9% horrible deformities and mutations (the so-called jokers), and gives the final 1% (the aces) superpowers. The world’s history is permanently altered, and since the virus was spread in the stratosphere, the particles landed all over the world. As the series goes on, it spotlights unlikely pockets of infection around the world as people come into contact with the dormant virus. So… there’s a distinct possibility that nowhere will be safe, even if your region’s response is as perfect as New Zealand’s.

This is a cheery blog post, eh?

In other covid news: there was a sudden departure of two CDC VIPs: chief of staff Kyle McGowan and his deputy, Amanda Campbell. McGowan was Trump’s political appointee, and had previous ties with the HHS. Allegedly, he and Campbell were encouraged to depart because they were insufficiently loyal to the White House. I can’t imagine how much worse things will get once they’re replaced with “true believers.”

And finally, the sabotage of the US presidential election is gaining steam. The new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy (another political appointee), is consolidating power, removing expensive and necessary mail-sorting machines, and, apparently, has ordered the removal of blue mailboxes from key cities in politically important states. The ones that didn’t get removed… This really is absurd, but folks online are posting pictures of the remaining mailboxes that got padlocked shut, meaning it’s literally impossible to drop your mail, or letters, or mail-in ballots.

There are still 80 days to go until the November 3rd election. I really, really fear what else will happen, what abuses of power will become normalized by then… If we all somehow make it through this, I feel like we’ll collectively agree to never mention 2020 again, much like the 1918 pandemic survivors refused to mention it in their memoirs and textbooks.