3.23.2020

5/6

This is going to get tedious real quickly. As far as I can tell, this is just going o be me coming on here and sayin' that I'm readin' and that's about it.

So this might be the last post for a minute until I can think of something.

Oh wait.

So, you are going to be reading a lot of articles, if you haven't already, about the damage done to the restaurant industry and while many of those writers will make some fine and salient points and all of that, the perspective will universally be one of loss and one of "if only you took us seriously" and all of that and I just want to state, for the "record" that things weren't better "back then", ie a week ago here in NYC.

Simply put, I have less anxiety thinking about - the pandemic and the possibility of friends, loved ones and myself getting sick, the economy and the possibility of a massive depression that throws millions of lives off course for a decade to come, and, of course, what will proabably be one of the shittiest and most-depressing elections of my lifetime (and I was alive in both 1980 and 2004) - than I do waiting tables. I actually feel better!

Except when I leave the house to get canned soup. That's a bit nerve-wracking. There is no social distance in a bodega, but at least there's only three or four people there. The grocery stores, from the outside, seem much worse. So, minestrone again.

For real, though...

I do feel a little ludicrous staying here, though I don't know what a better option would be. It does feel a bit as if some giant wave is about to crash and I'm sort of just waiting for it. Since we, as a nation, are not, as far as I can tell, testing for the virus at anywhere near the level we should be, I have no idea if things are objectively worse here in NYC. It could just be that we know more about what's going on here than in many other places, and it could be that we are just a bit ahead of the curve, and that by leaving, I'd just be somehow delaying the inevitable.

I hope everyone is doing as well as possible.

3.20.2020

3/4 ish

Not much new to say, but, somehow, mentally, doing this is helping Almost halfway done with LBJV1 already.

Maybe I've said this before, but what has made me, at times, avoid reading history books is the sad feeling I get, upon reading them, that people have always, really, just been the same. I gotta face it.

I hear sirens all the time, but I'm not sure if there are more of them or if I'm just here to hear them now.

Last night, walking out for some groceries (trying to minimize trips to once every other day or so), there was someone selling hand sanitizer on the street, calling out to passersby like, I dunno, newspapers or vegetables or drugs at some other point in history.

Also, the sound of ice cream trucks. Optimism of the will.

I do feel some bitterness towards those out there still partying, oblivious, but, you know, when I saw this I had to laugh. So Providence.

So, where I'm at in The Path To Power, it's, huzzah, the Great Depression and, although there is a long list of instances of indifference when it comes to Hoover's time in office, I like this one on page 246...

"Asked why, then, so many unemployed men were selling apples on street corners, [the President] said: 'Many people have left their jobs for the more profitable one of selling apples'"

3.19.2020

I Guess I Feel Like Writing (Day 0-3)

Though I don't know what to write exactly. Forgive me if this becomes tediously diaristic.

First off, yes, I am in New York, and yes, currently, I am fine. I may never care about politics again, am just financially-secure enough at this particular time to not have reason for immediate anxiety, and I am not sick.

Day 0 (Monday, March 16th): I found out I was unemployed and that this action had been taken to allow me to be eligible for benefits, so no harm there, really, given that no restaurant can actually, really, be open, except for takeout and delivery, and, honestly, I'm relieved not to be at work dealing with any customers that are still coming in.

Already, even in the week before the 16th, I was having a very hard time waiting tables. The veneer of hospitality was starting to crack as I became ever-more-incredulous that anyone thought that they were entitled to have me be there waiting for them. It's true, I continued to work right up through Sunday night, but, you know, things were changing on an hourly basis and it wasn't quite clear what to do other than, you know, wash my hands, which I have done so assiduously for so many years now that I have permanent damage to my skin. No pity expected, just, you know, saying that the one thing I had to do was already being done.

Anyways, so Monday was Monday and I really made a very simple decision on my own behalf. I did absolutely nothing. I had a bit of canned soup already. I ate some, watched a bunch of dumb crap on the Internet and.

Day 1: Is it more interesting? No. More dumb crap on the Internet, a long walk, and, most importantly, I filed for unemployment. The reports you are reading about the surge of new claims here in New York and the challenge of applying are actually underselling things a bit. I'm sure I was kicked off of the New York Dept. of Labor website at least thirty or forty times, possibly more. I lost track of how many times I lost track. Suffice it to say, for all of the complaining I could do, the fact is, I expected the chaos, and took advantage of the fact that, like most Internet browsers made this century, I was able to have multiple windows open at the same time. A bad movie kept me distracted quite easily. Eventually, my claim went through. This is great writing. I can feel your anticipation bubbling like canned soup ready to be eaten.

I talked to my parents. They are typical boomers, in their 70s, which should be read as 20s; went out, voted, had dinner, like nothing's going on. They are still more focused on voting the current President out of office than anything else.

Day 2: Things begin in earnest, which is to say, I'm already sick of the idea that I'm supposed to sit around watching movies or "meaningful TV shows". I'm already sick of the Internet, exhausted by the nervous tick of trying to stay up-to-date with the slowly-unfolding crisis. I think what I'm done with, and what I never really bought into, is the whole feeling one gets from the media, that everything is happening, and it's all happening to everyone. Yeah, things are probably very bad here in NYC right now, and my heart goes out to nurses and doctors and MTA workers, but, at least for now, knock on wood, I'm just sitting here. 

I (re)read almost two hundred pages of Caro's The Path To Power. I don't want to spend money on new books right now, not sure how I feel about ordering some at this time, and my expectation that somebody should be at work right now, dutifully packing a box for my benefit. I sort of want them to go home and not get sick but still get paid. Not just sort of. That's exactly what I want, actually. So I'll (re)read what I already have, which is no solution, at all, really.

Heard from a friend. It felt nice. Need to write to people more.

Day 3: More soup, more Caro, more walking, so far. And this.

Tomorrow, my last paycheck will be in the mail, Supposedly, all my earned sick leave and vacation time will be on it, though, since I have been unable to get information on exactly how many hours that was/will be, there might be a bit of unpleasantness. I haven't taken a vacation in years. I want all of my hours.

I think, for a minute there, I was thinking that this would change everything, but that's not how I feel today. Oh things, will change, but, I'm paraphrasing here, it's only because a lot of people will do some radical stuff to keep things the same.

At first, you know, especially given how I've been feeling about New York, I thought, hm, well, maybe this will be it. You know, rents go way down, possibilities open way up, who knows? And I still believe that, to some extent, but I guess, the other side of it is, well, first off, depending on how the money flows, and who gets it, it could easily be the opposite thing - rents stay the same, everyone has even less money than before except for the people who have always and will always be fine. It could also just be that, well, what exactly is waiting in the wings? What is latent? What possibilities have been denied? I really don't see anything (maybe I need to find it myself).

I'm already bored of the world the present Left will fail to bring about.

At the risk of coming across as being much more secure than I really am...

In the face of pandemic, looming financial collapse, even more poverty for more people, and, of course, climate change, it may seem silly to say it, but. I think it's time. To dream again. But. Keep washing those hands.

3.09.2020

Chain Jez

It's just nostalgia and I am getting old so everything I say is wrong.

It just blows my mind that the below is actually, probably, from the perspective of all right-thinking people at some point in nineteen eighty whatever, that this is the trash, this is the bottom, the corruption and decadence, the bad hair cuts, the wrong jeans, of all of what is available at a certain moment and I find myself wishing, nevertheless, that the best of all that is commonly available right now, in twenty fucking twenty. could be this. Please tell me I am missing something. And tell me what I am missing, because, really, at heart, I still care enough about this world, this reality, to not want to find solace in fucking Expose. Leave comments and recommendations or concede that this millennium has been a waste so far.

3.06.2020

Last Of Them

RIP McCoy Tyner

There's too much good stuff. This one hurts.

"Afro Blue"

Love the sound of those big chords played in 4/4 against the 3/4 meter. Blew my mind almost a quarter of a century ago when I first heard, still, yes, now.

"Night Dreamer"


"You Are Too Beautiful"

Truly true.

3.01.2020

Do I Understand Instrumental Reason?

Something about the Frankfurt School Adorno blah blah and and all o' that.

Um.

So I'm working last night, waiting on this table, and it's a bunch of, well, I dunno, dudes who make lotsa money doing something around real estate or finance and all of that and they are talking about the possibly-impending financial crash or whatever it may be and the logic of it all was: people will have less money and will therefore be looking to change their housing situation to something smaller or cheaper or both and therefore, therefore. It's time to look into investing in companies who manufacture mobile homes.

After all these years, I almost feel it's redundant to talk about what could happen with some sort of major recession or crash or whatever. No need to talk about, like, lives lived towards something headed now towards nothing, possible increases in: suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, or even just sleeping on couches or missing days of school and missing tests and not getting the grades that one would need to compete with the children of the above assholes for the chance of not growing up to be the next generation of people who take shit from those sorts of people.

I just think, shit, the collapsed imagination of the people who win right now. Fuck all of the morality of it, it's just... Things may get worse for billions. How do I get paid for this?

Meritocracy is just social Darwinism without the mask of the Enlightenment, Victorianism without Christianity, a hierarchy without a value system by which it could be held to account.

So.

Anybody know anyone at Merrill Lynch?

(rim shot)

2.21.2020

More Nada

I really want to write again, but I don't know how.

I had, for no particular reason, a really, really, dark day today. I mean, bad bad.

I was trying to convince myself I only had so much time to live, true, and that that time was up very, very shortly, maybe true, statistically-speaking, not at all, and I was wandering angrily through the streets practically yelling at myself just, "you can do whatever the fuck you want to do, what do you want to do" and I just couldn't think of anything at all. I'm in a really deep rut and I find it harder and harder to get out of these things than it used to be. The reward is harder to imagine.

I could go on a rant about New York and just, you know, where am I supposed to go, what am I supposed to want? I won't go on that rant, even though, really, this has become a truly shitty place to live, other than to say, after I was done slamming my head against the wind, I finally found myself in a subway station and, disoriented, I hopped the train in the wrong direction. Two stops later, I got off and went up to the street to cross the intersection towards taking the train downtown and I had this sliver of hope that maybe something unanticipated would be there to guide me to somewhere. I had forgotten, of course, that I had been at that intersection before, and I was pretty frustrated to figure that out less than a second from when I turned my attention away from ascending the staircase to my newly-visible surroundings, which were, well, I think it was a Best Buy and a Shake Shack. Crap Caravan. Wizened Wallets.

I don't want you all to freak out. I'll be around tomorrow. I do want to live, and I'm so dissociated from and inured to my own feelings that I'm writing that I want to live with a sense of distance and even bemused irony that is really impossible to convey, especially to those of you who, like I, have lost people prematurely. You have nothing to worry about, I have nothing to worry about. Which, in a weird way, is the fucking problem. I can go on like this, and this is nothing to me.

I want to live, even too much. I feel like a dog desperately licking the face of his owner who lies dead on the kitchen floor. I could stop, but only to curl up in the corner and stare at the crumpled body and wait, whimpering.