Nailing Jell-o to a Tree

COVID or no, at the age of 44, I feel like I should be settling into adulthood. Figuring things out. Finding my way.

Friends, it’s not happening for me.

How can there be so many things I don’t know, so many things I can’t understand, so many aspects of my existence I cannot seem to get under my own control when said existence is most likely more than half way over?

And that’s to say nothing of the world around me.

There exists a significant portion of the population who believe an American child’s right to in-person school trumps the well-being of educators and school staff. And, I can only extrapolate, that this same portion of the population believes the only factors in the school equation are teachers and students, and have zero understanding of how a school building actually functions. I’ll let you in on a secret: these buildings can’t function without custodial and administrative staff.

There also exists a formidable bloc of folks who believe scientists and medical personnel are the enemies. This is a thought I’d like to flesh out, but what is there to say? These groups used to be revered, now they are reviled. The about face has come at breakneck speed. We respected medical professionals and scientists, I blinked twice, and all of a sudden they became pariahs.

That previous paragraph might be a bit hyperbolic. To say health care personnel are currently considered pariahs could be using language that is stronger than what the situation calls for. I choose to believe most of society holds the people doing this sacred work in relatively high esteem. BUT (there is ALWYAS a BUT), we as a society have done nothing in the past eight months (or however long it’s been) to lighten their load, to avert a nationwide mess that will fall disproportionally into their laps to clean up. So, do we really hold them in esteem?

I started this post earlier this week, when dealing with an insurance claim check that will be used to replace our roof (hail damage from August). We’re sitting on a sizable check that is made out to Chris Holt, Bell Bank Mortgage, and Chase bank mortgage. I had zero idea how to get the damn thing properly processed and the money into the hands of the contractor. Did I mention I’m 44 years old? I’ve known countless folks who have had roofs replaced and paid for by insurance– they all seemed to know what the hell they were doing. How did I come to be so clueless?? Thankfully, one of the many pillars of my surviving COVID with teenagers support system is an insurance broker, so I now know how to proceed. The more ya know, I guess.

I’m not entirely certain how this post moved from my introspective navel gazing to looking at the world around me with such confusion; but I’m guessing it has something to do with how drastically it feels life has changed in the span of just one week. My kids went to in-person school on Monday. By Tuesday, all high school students had been moved to 100% distance learning. By Friday, the entire district had moved to 100% distance learning, despite earlier plans to keep elementary kids in school until November 30th.

I don’t know why this has felt like such a blindside. It was impossible to not see it coming, so I guess it’s the timeline that’s feeling jarring to me. In March, it felt like it took so, so long for the governor to declare shelter in place and to enact a state-wide mask mandate. For both events, I expected them to happen many many days before they actually did. I guess I thought schools closing this time around would be the same.

And, truthfully, it probably was. But the COVID goggles distort everything. The passage of time, the sequence of events, what’s reasonable and what isn’t– all these things look vastly different than they did eight months ago.

Chris and I have been watching The Queen’s Gambit, set in the 1960’s, on Netflix and been struck by the images from planes in the 1960’s. People weren’t packed in like sardines. Flight attendants served martinis in what appear to be actual martini glasses. The food appears to be edible (though I question whether airplane food was ever edible). Which inevitably got us thinking about air travel before 9/11. Raise your hand if you ever watched a plane take off from a gate when you didn’t have a ticket. Or went to pick up a loved one from the airport and actually watched them walk off the plane. Or packed a full size bottle of shampoo in a carry-on.

Raised Hand / Five Fingers Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image.  Image 104626809.

It’s an entirely different experience now. And, unless prompted, I never think about the way it used to be. I can’t help but wonder if we’ll look back on similar aspects of pre-COVID life similarly in 20 years. People used to work in office buildings five days a week. A staggering number of meetings were held in person. Elementary classrooms were packed with 30+ students. We drove fossil fuel burning cars for miles and miles and miles each day to get to aforementioned offices and meetings.

I don’t know what life will look like in 20 years. I don’t really even know what life will look like in 20 days, but it seems like it could be pretty bleak. Adulting generally feels overrated. Adulting during a pandemic feels like trying to nail jello to a tree.

These are hard days, and all I can say is that I’m trying my damndest to send love and light to all of you. Be well.

Quote of the week from this guy: I’m off to spend all damn day in front of a computer like a fucking 40 year old. Distance learning SUCKS.