Several days ago, my fine friend David B. Coe publicly asked “How are you doing?” One of the reasons why I like David is because when he asks that sort of question, he isn't being polite, he cares enough to hear the answer.
He remarked on the trying times we all face, so I'd like to avoid that sort of thing in my answer.
I'm going to fail miserably at dodging the strain we all face.
In the early days of the pandemic, so many people were willing to lock themselves away. Better to stay home and safe than to go out and risk those who didn't have the luxury of waiting out the pandemic.
During those first weeks, my closest friends would often meet on Discord. We would laugh, discuss, share philosophy, cooking tips, our thoughts on video games.
Every time someone logged into that discussion, the previous discussion went away. We all needed an outlet for our version of the existential fear we all felt. Something bounced from one body to the next, killing roughly 1.5% of the population, and there was no way to treat it. If you got this illness, you got well or you died and no one could change that outcome.
All of us needed to say what we'd endured.
All of us needed to hear we weren't the only ones afraid.
All of us needed to know life would go on.
After six weeks, I found out I'd been exposed to COVID-19. I was sent home and spent the next three hours calling people. This wasn't the sort of thing you could text someone or leave a simple Facebook message about.
Those calls were a necessary agony and an absolute catharsis.
I called my Mom first. It took a while to get in touch with my sister. I spent that time getting in touch with my friends, most of whom made up the users on that Discord server.
In my isolation, I would walk, making sure to stay far from others. I kept my face covered in case someone drifted too close on one of the trails.
I befriended more people in the writing community. I let writing take up a larger part of my life..
Time passed. Priorities changed.
Some people got the message.
Others still haven't.
Now I sit on the back half of August, two months removed from my decision to leave the job that exposed me to COVID-19. It's a wound that may never heal.
I sit on the other side of the most interesting week of the year. A close friend's birthday, my sister's birthday, Mom and Dad's anniversary, my favorite massage therapist's birthday—four events, four days.
I get to sit in the light of a pleasant day. I'm healthy, I'm writing, I have friends who care about me. I still go on walks. I read. I'm writing more than ever to the point of getting around thirty hours in each week.
Did I accidentally stumble into becoming a full-time writer? Only time can tell.
For the moment, it's nice outside, I'm enjoying the newest Dresden Files book, Akito is the best red panda, Black Lives Matter, and American democracy could end in less than a hundred days.
For today, I'm OK. And that's enough.