Solipsistic Nightmares

Vance prompts, “In addition to social distancing, the CDC is now advising the use of masks, in the form of simple cloth face coverings, as a means of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Are you now wearing masks when you visit places in which social distancing is difficult? What type of masks are you and your family using?

If you’re not using masks, what are your reasons for not doing so—or what impediments are preventing you from using them?

Are you seeing increased usage of masks among your neighbors and when you leave your home?”

91891201_10157280785103590_4586303354413514752_nOK, so I own one bandana.  It’s purple (or lavender maybe), and I didn’t buy it because I like piercings or drag queens, just because I liked the color.

bandana cowlAnd what I’ve been doing is taking it with me when I go outside, but if I’m, for example, powerwalking before I go to the grocery story or takeout restaurant before I go home, I’ll leave it off until I actually go in the store.  C was using a bandana too (and for some reason, insisted on pinning it shut.  I wasn’t having a problem with mine falling off) but has now switched to a scarf.  I have a cashmere bandana cowl I could use (I made it! from a pattern Vance gave me, bringing it all around), I guess, but that will get uncomfortably warm over the next few weeks, I’d think.

Most people in the neighborhood are actually wearing real masks – don’t know where they got them.  And most people are being good about the social distancing.  There’s always the few who are dumbasses, though.  And if we’re walking towards each other on the sidewalk, and I veer to the right to give you room, if you don’t counter and veer to your right, I’m going to be annoyed.

I did have a frightening thought in my solipsistic way.  I’m at the age where my parents retired.  The world has changed, though, and retirement doesn’t (didn’t) seem to be an option for me for another twelve years or so.  Part of my job hunt dilemma has been ‘do I even look at jobs that are high-intensity, high stress now’.  I don’t want to be working at all, why would I want a job that’s even tougher than the last two I had?

But, maybe, as a result of our COVID-19 crisis, unemployment rules will be relaxed (they already have been) and access to 401Ks be granted earlier and… well, maybe I could retire now!  Which then leads to “is this some sort of Monkey’s Paw thing?  Did I wish for some way to retire early and this is what the universe came up with?”  Jeez.


We’re still fine here.  I’m about two-thirds of the way through my online study material for the cybersecurity certification.  I should be able to schedule my test somewhen in the last two weeks of the month.
I’ve also rejiggered my resume and cover letter.  Following the rules isn’t working.  “Don’t let them know your age!”  Fuck that, I have thirty years of experience and that’s a plus.  If they don’t see that, that’s on them.
I’ve been frustrated not only from the lack of employment (or traction in getting a new job), but in volunteer opportunities for the crisis.  But I found out this yesterday: there’s the opportunity to sign up for a NY state technology SWAT team.  This sounds perfect for me, with the caveat that a commitment that I make might somehow screw up my unemployment insurance.  But I think I’m going to apply and figure that out as I go along.  Aside from giving me a way to help and something to do, this is something I could actually put on my resume.  “You have a gap from the end of 2019…” “Yes, I was volunteering my technical prowess to help save lives, betch.”  “Oh, well, that’s OK then.”



Media consumption: we finished Feud: Bette and Joan, which was excellent.  Lured in by all the buzz, we started (and are now almost finished with) Tiger King.  Oh.  My.  God.  The hype is real, y’all.  It’s a trainwreck, but you cannot stop watching.  There are really people like that in this world.  (and, as I commented on FB, knowing that this does not make sense in a set-theory way, it’s proof that “there as many kinds of gay people as there are people”.)  I won’t describe it, just heartily recommend.

Oh, I finished Ethan Mordden’s “All That Jazz”, about the show Chicago, it was OK.  And the Last Herald Mage trilogy – now onto the Oathbound books.  And I got into a discussion with my friend Gabe about KJ Charles and he heartily recommended “The Henchmen of Zenda”, a hilarious riff on “The Prisoner of Zenda” – but I’ve never read the original or seen the movie, so I’m reading “The Prisoner of Zenda” right now!  (It’s free on Amazon Kindle.)  It’s a hoot in its own right.  I’ll watch the movie after that, then read KJ Charles’s book.

I keep feeling there are other things?  I was supposed to be playing horn for a production of Carmen last weekend, but it got cancelled, of course.  But my buddy Susan and I were texting each other quotes from the English-language Carmen production that we were in mumblemumble years ago (that’s how we met), and I finally gave up and just listened to a recording of Carmen last weekend.  (it was the Rise Stevens recording)   Such a fantastic work, possibly the most tuneful opera ever.  I usually recommend La Boheme as a starter opera for people who’ve never seen one, but Carmen is also an excellent choice (although it’s long).  First of all, your average citizen will be surprised to find they already know all the tunes through cultural osmosis.  And then it’s a sexy, naughty and then tragic story.  Good time at the theater, that’s for sure.

And in today’s day and age, where music is usually fed to me through randomized playlists, it was nice to listen to something long in the proper order as it was meant to be consumed.  Reminds me again that I should really build time in my life to sometimes sit down with a glass of wine and a scented candle to listen to an album that I knew and loved from the period where that’s how we listened to everything.

Happy Easter, Passover and so on to everyone.  We’ll probably have a nice Easter dinner, but no cards or candy this year (or guests, unfortunately.  Dad was supposed to come up, but that was contra-indicated.)

Oh, speaking of contras:

This post is part of a larger project, #MOC19. Read more about the Mass Observation COVID-19 project here.  Also, we are trying to publicize this projects – if you have any ideas about good ways to do so, please let me know.

3 thoughts on “Solipsistic Nightmares

  1. David D Peterson

    I watched the contrabass clarinet piece. One of the instruments had a very tiny bell. What does that produce? A deep whine?


  2. Rebecca Hodges (BHT)

    You said you weren’t having friends or family over, but there is a way to video chat them in on your computer when everyone is having their meal. I know a friend who did this and it worked out well. Hope you can do this too.

    Thank you for sharing your post!

    Liked by 1 person

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