OK, it’s now “American Summer”, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It took me a while to realize that, once I got out of school, summer wasn’t actually that much fun. I wasn’t a ‘go to the shore with a bunch of friends’ kinda guy, mostly summer was just hot and sticky. For the last couple of decades, every third summer has meant a trip to the G&S Festival, and that’s been wonderful, but this was supposed to be an off-summer for me anyway and then they cancelled the Festival and pushed everything back a year.

But for this summer, well, I’m still where I was in January (job-wise) and March (pandemic-wise), but otherwise the clog seems to be breaking up. Two big things that were just hanging out there, waiting for other people to do their things, got resolved last week. First, Amex let me know that the car accident claim has been resolved. Hurrah! They don’t come out and say this in a few clear words, but basically it looks like they paid everything and it’s done. Glad to know I don’t have to pay for an entire car that I can’t use. And second, I was awarded the Certificate in Cybersecurity Analysis that I’d studied and taken the test for a few weeks ago. It’s a new certificate, so they’d offered a great price reduction and used me and a few others as the guinea pigs to figure out what a ‘pass’ was. Not only did I pass, I got a ‘higher’ (than other people, I guess) on almost all the areas. So that’s nice and I can put that on my resume, and list myself as “Eric Peterson, CCA”, blithely assuming that people will know what the hell that means.

But seriously, anyone who’s had a drink with me or read my blog in the last year or so will tell you that I’ve been really unsettled, in an ego sort of way. Due to events here and there, some beyond my control and some not, and particularly because of a hellish work situation last year, I’ve really lost a lot of self-confidence. So, as far as the certificate, I put in the work, made the somewhat-shaky assumption that ‘this much studying was enough’, took the test, and passed it. (My fear was that my personal meter and judgment would be so wildly off that I’d fail.) So, after a lot of assumptions made and disproved that have eroded my base, this is one that proved right and can help build me up again. As far as the car accident, the issue there is that, unquestionably, the accident was my fault. It was a minor accident, no one got hurt, and frankly, Avis declaring the car ‘totalled’ was clearly a paperwork thing, because I drove the effing car back to the Avis lot after the accident with no problem. But one of my big fears in life is causing some major harm by some minor omission (such as not checking again before I made a left turn) and – again, building confidence – nice to know that what I’d always assumed would happen – the built-in insurance on the Amex card would take care of the problem – actually happened and I wouldn’t be out over half my nest egg while I’m unemployed and may have to start using it.

I can apologize again for how solipsistic this blog can be, but I had the thought this weekend that this has been the most horrible year for all of us, and even with the pandemic and, fer gosh sake, my mother dying, this is has still been a better year for me personally than last year. Isn’t that awful? I was so miserable last year that being trapped inside and having no job and the giant shitshow the world is in now is still better for me, because I’m no longer trapped in this situation that was … not destroying me, but leaching me away. I’m building myself up now, and that feels like the right direction. I’m evolving, not devolving.

“Oh, Eric, how can you not say that your mother dying isn’t the worst thing ever? Why aren’t you constantly rending your garment in grief and pain?” Are you effing kidding me, voice in my head? My mother had lost many of her faculties and, while she wasn’t completely miserable when she could still enjoy reading and crosswords, was frailer and frailer and not far from the point where even those small pleasures would have been gone. She herself had no interest in extending life past the point where it was worth it. It was her time, she wasn’t sorry about that, and she lived a fantastic life that we are all proud of. Dad and Sam and me and everyone else who loved her get to remember how terrific she was and treasure her in our hearts, and Dad in particular can get on with enjoying the rest of his life without having to worry about her. Of course we’re sad that she died, that she’s gone. But I’m glad she doesn’t have to see a lot of this crap any more. Every time our president appears on the TV screen, I can hear her voice, “it’s so embarrassing“.

Yeah, let’s take a little bit of a look at the shitshow. Anyone who believes even a little bit of science is watching all these states open up, mouth agape, and just waiting for the inevitable news stories in about two and a half weeks when many more thousands of people are dying and their sobbing relatives appear on the screen, saying ‘how could we have known?’. YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. We’ve been trying to tell you, you stupid dumbasses. Just like watching DJT as our president. His presidency has played out pretty much exactly like we all thought it would, except I think it surprised everyone how much our checks-and-balances system of government had corroded. It remains to be seen whether we can shore it up before it all falls completely apart, and what will that look like?

Personally, I never signed up for any of this.

Wow, depressing. Here’s some soothing balm.

In quotidian life, let’s see. We watched Season 1 of Ricky Gervais’s “After Life”, which I really like. (we are both startled and amused by how freely UK folks throw around the word ‘c*nt’, which is very much taboo here in the US) This weekend, we watched the latest Jumanji movie, which I thought was a lot of fun, and The Report, which is excellent. I’m sure I’ve told my mildly-amusing Linda Powell story before – she was one of our theater stars in college. A couple of years after graduation, the Gulf War started, Colin Powell became a household name, and as soon as I saw him on screen, I thought, oh, he has to be Linda’s father, they have the same cheekbones. (he is) Anyway, in The Report, she has a big role as Feinstein’s assistant, and there’s a scene she’s in where they discuss “General Powell”, which tickled me – that must have been a fun day of filming.

Bookwise, I need to start reading some physical books again, I keep getting sucked into rabbit holes of authors on the Kindle. This week it was Amy Lane’s “Fish Out of Water” series, where a lawyer and PI solve crimes and bicker constantly when they aren’t fucking like gay bunnies. Super entertaining, if you like that sort of thing.

And I need to exercise more. (“Hey, Siri, what’s the most-used phrase in Eric’s blog posts since the dawn of time?”) I wanted to take a big bike ride this weekend, but the weather didn’t really permit. However, part of the pandemic changes here in NYC is they block off long streets to encourage socially-distanced walking and bike riding, and one of those long streets, very pretty with lots of trees and through nice neighborhoods, is just a block away from us. So that involves no planning – I can just listen to a podcast and walk up to Junction Blvd. and back and that’s a nice 45 minute walk. So I will do that if I can’t think of better things to do.

And I made a frittata. And shredded my thumb along with the cheese. Yum! The bandage is getting in the way of the piano practice, just a bit, but I hope to make another recording this week.

*deep breath* OK, here we go.

This post is part of a larger project, #MOC19. Read more about the Mass Observation COVID-19 project here

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