It’s been one month and one day since our household started quarantine/isolation/stay-at-home. The buzz has worn off, as of approximately yesterday. Yesterday I thought it might just be a regular low/down day, but then this morning I woke up full-on discouraged and floppy. I listened to the news and heard that our president is still itching to “re-open the country” before we have anything near adequate testing or treatment. The gap between now and January is too wide, and already that narrowing gap was a very optimistic thing to be counting on. My mental imagery is of a plane going down: we can’t reach the runway in time, and it’s always been possible the runway wasn’t even there.
I heard that a lot of people got their stimulus checks yesterday; we haven’t been able to log into our account to see. When I say “we,” I mean Paul, who kept trying and trying until I suggested we maybe NOT do that, since we don’t need to know THIS VERY MINUTE and obviously the site is overloaded. We’re going to use our check to continue to pay our housecleaners not to come. That is, we were going to pay them anyway, but that is how we are mentally allocating it. Somewhere in the recesses of my flopping, exhausted, discouraged brain: “so lucky! you are so extremely lucky!” To have a bank where the check can be automatically deposited. To be able to wait to see if the check is there, because the need for it isn’t urgent. To be able to spend it without having to decide between rent and food and medical care. To be able to spend it on something optional.
Thinking about people who can’t buy groceries because they can’t find them AND CAN’T PAY FOR THEM is. Well. It is as terrible as always, multiplied by pandemic. We can all do what we can to help, but individual donations to charity don’t even come close to meeting the need, and it gets discouraging to be a bunch of individuals trying to pick up the slack of an ENTIRE GOVERNMENT. As a former Christian, it is even more maddening to know FULL WELL what Christianity specifically and extensively instructs Christians to do for the poor/sick/oppressed/refugee, and see a government claiming to be Christian but ignoring all of those instructions, and in fact actively making things much, much, much worse for the poor/sick/oppressed/refugee.
We have so little power, as individual citizens, despite all the pep talk about how we can change the world or whatever. I hope we can keep that in mind when we see things happening in other countries and wonder why the citizens “let” it happen. Bad people look for power, and they get it by whatever methods work for them, that is how this happens. We can try to make some little bits of good despite the bad, and that’s about it. I mean, let’s still do that, we should definitely still do that. But it’s discouraging to see how little we can do from the cabin to affect the falling airplane, or to change what’s going on in the cockpit.
(Alternate title for this post: “What If Just as an Experiment We Tried a Cockpit Without a Cock In it.”)