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.