Tuesday night.

It’s literally illegal for me to go outside – the quarantine doesn’t even allow for general-purpose walks. Instead, I’m diving deep into the infinite worlds of No Man’s Sky. It’s so beautiful… Not only the endless variation of randomly generated worlds, plants, and animals, but also the little things like the writing itself, or little hidden jokes (repurposing an organic fertilizer factory to make a gourmet pellet factory for the race of aliens you hate), but especially the weather… Each world is different: some are placid, some are stormy, some are dead wastelands. Somehow, some way, I keep ending up on worlds where it rains. It reminds me ever so much of Seattle…

I moved there in August 2015: drove all the way from Tampa, which was a great roadtrip marred only by the fact that my relocation payout had been taken away at the very last moment. (I know, my accountant couldn’t believe that either.) On the upside, my friends along the way had comfy couches, and Georgia had roadside rest stops with some nice amenities. Seattle itself, though… The work was hell. I was a business analyst in a small, crowded, windowless office, supporting a Finance person on the other side of the country. She kept sending me endless demands, sometimes while driving to work, three or four in a row, and mutually contradicting. The only consolation for those late, late nights was the fact that I was so low in the corporate hierarchy that I was still paid by the hour. Those 60- (and sometimes 70-) hour workweeks resulted in some nice overtime, which was the sole consolation. I was renting a room in West Seattle, the area usually skipped by the C-route bus. I don’t remember much from my first six months in the city (just stress, so much stress), but I recall the sensation, over and over, of walking through the city late at night, catching that midnight bus home, through a strange city where it never stopped raining, where high-rise buildings were like neon-silhouetted obelisks lighting up the gloom like the generic backdrop of yet another cyberpunk novel.

…some part of me is still there. Some part of me always will be…

I remember the first time I found a nearby restaurant that stayed open 24/7. On Friday nights, at 11pm, 13 Coins had live music. I don’t remember anything from the second half of 2020 but I do remember coming in just as the music was about to start, munching on an expensive but delicious smoked cheddar burger while sipping on my coke (I was so innocent) and listening as the band began to play. I was so miserable: I kept asking myself whether I’d made a mistake, whether I could quit this job with this company I’d been with for almost six years and find something comparable in Seattle, with my virtually nonexistent tech skills. That burger, that diner, that music amidst the rain and gloom were my sole sanity anchor in all that madness. And then… The following spring, I treated myself to a dirt-cheap three-week hostel vacation in Costa Rica, and saw that there was beauty in this world, and got the idea for my five-year plan I launched later that year. It’s been about five years now… How quickly things can change.

Aaaanyway… I’ve tried, and tried, and failed to find a way to read an old-fashioned bulky paper book. Sorry, old textbook dude, I’ll read you sometime in the future when there’s more space and fewer distractions, eh. New book (an e-book on my phone, of course) – Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire by David Remnick. What an excellent writer. What an interesting topic. I was a child then, so there were many things I saw and experienced but probably never understood. I wonder how much of that will resurface and make sense as I flip those little virtual pages.

In covid news, there are debates over vaccine passports as the world is trying to decide what the future will look like. In the US, for a variety of political and logistical reasons, the nationwide vaccine passport won’t work, so they won’t even try. They do have those nifty little CDC vaccination cards, though… England and the EU are both (but separately) working on vaccine certificates. Israel is taking a more interesting approach: their “Green Pass” for the vaccinated and/or recovered folks allows access to all the nice things in life (hotels, theaters, etc) based on the vaccination status. That’s a damn fine way to get the anti-vaxx folks to give up their oh-so-strong philosophical objections and get vaccinated if they want to get back to normal. I doubt a lot of countries will adopt this approach, but hey, you never know.

To round this up, here is a pic of yours truly on the 389th day of this covid journey. It’s been 356 days since I got a haircut (all the way back on day 33), I still have 11 days of quarantine locked up at home, and my work no longer uses webcams – so it’s bathrobe time, y’all! This pic has it all, including my trusty old instapot (I would’ve starved without it), a souvenir from Costa Rica, my wild feral hair, and some clutter and disarray in the background. Heh.

Good night, y’all.