Chicago's s 7-day average positivity rate is up 29% in the past week, now at 5.4%, and COVID-19 hospitalizations in the city  have risen 25% since late September. Region 8 (where my parents are--about 20-25 miles from my house in the City) recently surpassed 8% average positivity rates. The highest positivity rate in Illinois is over 11% in Region 1 where Illinois borders Iowa and Wisconsin.

I'm anxious, bored, angry, and tense. I fear the week of November 3 and all of November. I fear that November will bring quiet chaos of empty grocery shelves, but I'm afraid to do any stocking up. Both for fear of looking foolish and also because the grocery store is scary.

MORE
1d
 

I lose track of days. No, that's not right. I woke up knowing it was Sunday, October 11(ish--I probably thought it was the 12th), that in a normal year, we should be hearing the marathon crowds gathering. I remembered that we wouldn't be hearing them.

But I can't remember when last I showered. Or called my mom. Or how long ago that doctor's appointment was. The sameness is exhausting.

The mistakes that come from it are strange and often inconsequential. But i stay exhausted from it.


MORE
10/11
 

Mom drove in to the City and we had lunch in the yard. Mom despises eating outdoors. She never even mentioned it.

Lunch was good. There's a family-owned & run Mexican place just a few doors down and that was where lunch came from. 

I miss my Mom. 

She helped me pick paint. Validated my design choices. And I did not even cry. Though she scolded me about despair. I told that when something good happens--or when any local, state or federal government helps someone--I don't discount it.

It was beautiful in the yard, sunny, cool, crisp. It was almost normal.

MORE
10/8
 

The fender for my bike finally arrived--it's cream when it should be black.

My daily presciption has no refills left--three months early.

Ikea is finally sending my order--but just the doors and hinges, not any of the actual furniture. And the cancelation form sent a "sorry, we could not cancel this order" auto-response. And the phone tree (after you go through several options) gets you "Sorry, we can't handle any more calls" and hangs up.

And did I mention? Four sticks & three blown veins and an arm full of black bruises for an IV for a routine out-patient thing that could not be rescheduled. Plus 90 minutes of screaming anxiety in the public waiting room before they got around to me.

Not a single goddamn thing goes smoothly.



MORE
10/7
 

I fell off there for a while. 15 days. I had a minor out-patient procedure which resulted in three blown veins (for the IV) and one minor panic attack and a clean bill of health. And a whole weekend of sleeping.

That's not why I stopped taking notes, however.

But I fell off chronicling how things are because--if you'd noticed--there's little to chronicle. Aside from that one trip to the hospital, I don't leave the house except to walk in the park or sit in the yard. Spouse runs the errands; picks up the take-out. Zoom hangouts are nothing to write home about.

I'm doing postcards to voters but I'm not volunteering. I'm making my phone calls. But I have no insight; no power; no unique take. We're mostly unaffected--no changes to our employment; no illness in our families; no child we're trying to shepherd through trauma. And my own thoughts are simplistic: I'm bored; I'm frustrated; Everything is unreal; I'm frightened.

I laugh and enjoy things with the Spouse or on chats with the friends. I feel strange when things seem normal. I can't wrap my head around the banality of work in this context. I have no hope and periodically we look at ways to leave the country. We have enough money (assuming out money retains any of its current value) but we have no rights to live in another country and we're too old to be attractive as immigrants. I have few marketable skills. It's truly frightening at times.


MORE
10/6
 

Today was endless and undifferentiated. I did a handful of random work tasks. A couple minor house tasks. Cooked dinner.

I owe an email to some people who are asking after my health, but I can't bring myself to write back. The truth is the health issue is actually under control and probably needing no more concern, but I'm not done convalescing. I'm trying to figure out what to say that says I'm going to be without capacity for a while, without implying I'm sick. 

I have some virtual social time and a trip to the fancy bakery across the street on the calendar for this week. And a new lipstick is supposedly coming in the mail. How exciting! The world burns, and still we wear lipstick.

MORE
9/21
 

I had lots of random thoughts today, but I have also been having migraine auras, so can't really look at the screen.

Also, the cat is sick. Nothing is easy.

MORE
9/17
 

Everything is fucked and today is a day I can't separate myself from the sorrow and impotence of living at the end of the world. It's not just that the US is over--that's not the world--it's that the climate is over.

I don't have kids, but I love some people who do. And I love some people under the age of 18. We destroyed this world. We let petroleum companies lie to us. We let governments perpetuate their dominance. We let people waste and divert water. We let factory farming create disease and destroy land.

I hate us. I hate myself for failing to make change.

MORE
9/16
 

So when I started doing court reform and judicial elections work over 10 years ago, one of the common threads was how much court systems assume that the people access them don't need[fn1] to know anything about the process. Especially if you have an attorney, you're expected to just go along without explanations or answers because the systems don't provide those answers and having those answers does not give you any tool to change timelines or outcomes.

It's this thought: having those answers does not give you any tool to change timelines or outcomes that I keep bumping into this week. Not in court access, but in customer service.

The pandemic has screwed up supply chains. It's screwed up business processes. It's hamstrung employers and a bunch of terrible things, even putting aside the people it's killing. But I'm seeing an interesting divide between business that are handling the disruption with candor and those who stonewall.

In April, I placed two orders: one with HerRoom (which sells mostly bras) and one with Ikea. Both took my money; both discovered problems with their supply chains. HerRoom not only updated me ("Sorry. We know you ordered this, but we still haven't received it to ship to you. We'll let you know more when we do. You can wait or cancel by clicking here.") at regular intervals, they answered my one email with what little they knew in response to my direct, specific question and a sorry, this stinks but it is what it is.

Ikea. Well, Ikea have been complete assholes. The phone tree disconnects you if you select "talk to someone about an existing order"; the webpage only has an option to cancel an order. The Twitter account is a bot that says "sorry. we're experiencing delays." I have a specific direvt question about the bill of lading which they emailed me. A specific question which the bill of lading directs me to talk to them about, at the phone number that hangs up on me.

See, Ikea knows the answer to the question and also what impact my knowing those answers will have. They have decided it is unnecessary to allow me access to that information. That is about as frustrating as not having the information. Even if the information is: we really don't know. This is how we will send you an update--that would 1000x more satisfactory than how they are handling it.

[fn1] oindeed, courts often assume people don't deserve to know anything about the process but that's a digression into the malice or brutal heirarchy of the law and I'm really thinking about the more benign or unthinking motivations or just inconsiderate choices.

MORE
9/15
 

I've got an unexpected (nonCOVID) medical thing going on which is probably nothing but which is impossible right now. The upside is the hospital is right by our offices (which are not yet abandoned), so I can pick up some notes I might need. Unless I take some sick leave, which I might need, regardless of whether or not I turn out to be actually sick or just dealing with hyper-vigilant doctors.

I'm going to drive, instead of bike, because I am trying to clean all of my things out of my office and there are still things there too big for my bike.

In other news, a friend said "congrats! better done than perfect!" to me and I almost wept from validation and love.

I read this today and I relate to it:

And I am well aware of the difference in behavior, attitude, self-awareness, empathy, and compassion between adults who were treated with compassion and respect when they were children and those who were not. 

I should talk to my mom about it because I feel like we were and I'm not sure how my parents came to that model.

MORE
9/13