Sunday night.

I am trying to declutter my mind. Today’s experiment on myself was a pretty productive one. It felt weird, absolutely weird to go so long without social media. (I cheated a bit and checked it first thing in the morning, but only to see if I had any replies.) Social media is a cobweb for the modern brain: all those apps – Reddit, Twitter, Facebook – are specifically designed to get you engaged, entrapped, hooked on the dopamine hits of receiving “likes” or reputation points. The conversations on those apps rarely bring joy. I couldn’t completely detach myself from my computer, so after I finished reading “The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking)” by Dr. Katie Mack, I went back to playing 7 Days to Die. (My new character is an office drone guy turned survivor. Heh.) Perhaps it’s because of my social media fast, but today was nice and tranquil.

I’ve also quit (or I hope I’ve quit) a certain political blog I’ve been part of for several years. If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you might have noticed that I’m, ahem, a bit more passionate about politics than most people. The blog I used to hang out on is mostly left-leaning (as am I), and has a diverse group of people engaging in mostly engaging discussions in the comment section. Last night, I made what I thought was a reasonable point (Democrats took 45 whole days to pass the stimulus bill in the senate, and lost the caucus unity while doing so), and today I woke up to see about 10 downvotes. Heh. That place really is an echo chamber… It’s all for the best.

This, here, now, is the seed of the kind of person I’ll be in the future. This isolation, this overabundance of time with virtually zero human contact is an involuntary experiment, a chance to rearrange my priorities. I don’t want to eventually turn into an angry old man who yells at a news channel or spends days on end getting angrier and angrier about social media strangers who have different opinions. It’s futile, and it changes nothing. Quitting all of this cold turkey (at least the political blog; social media can stay, in very limited capacity) will not be easy, but I think it’s the right move.

Incidentally, and before I forget, Katie Mack’s book was all sorts of amazing. I like to think I’m smart, and there were whole sections of that book that made me feel rather stupid. Not all of the material was easy to digest, but Mack is a great storyteller with a fun sense of humour: she turned what could have been a mind-bogglingly dry book into a rather fun romp across the universe. Next up: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. I like the premise, and the opening is quite engaging.

I measure life in bottles of vitamins… Today was the last gummy from the bottle I started 141 days ago, all the way on day 217, in mid-October. I guess I missed 16 days or so, because it’s definitely been longer than 125. Oh well. A fair bit has changed since I started that bottle. Multiple vaccines got approved. Trump lost the election and organized an attempted coup. I made more money on the stock market than I’d ever dared to imagine in my wildest dreams. (Thanks, Gamestop!) I got my own little studio even though I’d thought I’d stay with my Vietnamese landlords forever. (If not for their strange free-for-all dinner parties 10 days in a row in December… Incidentally, the landlady got invited to apply for permanent residency, so her family will be able to stay in Canada now. Hooray!) I discovered new frontiers of solitude. I signed up for a covid vaccine trial. That’s quite a lot for less than five months, eh?

The new bottle has 150 gummies. Two a day, every day, ideally without skipping. Seventy-five days. I’ll run out in late May. How different will the world be by then, I wonder?

In covid news, there was an anti-mask protest in the US. Again. This time it was different, though. In Idaho, approximately 100 protestors started a fire in a barrel and set masks on fire. There are videos of children throwing masks into the fire while their parents cheer them on. Idaho doesn’t have a state-level mask mandate, though some cities and counties require folks to wear masks. I know that idiocy isn’t representative of the entire United States. I know it’s just a surprisingly large group of militant morons. But still – that could be the first of many such events. Idiocy catches on really easily. I don’t so much care about the way this impacts the US image abroad (there is nothing left to impact) – I’m concerned about empowered yahoos escalating things even further and going after businesses, elected officials, or their fellow citizens who are just trying to get through this pandemic. We’ll see, I guess.

Here is to a sunnier week.