Monday, April 6, 2020

Unwilling, Not Unable

I don't know how this post is going to turn out. I feel like I want to write about the pandemic, but I'm so crippled with anxiety about the whole thing, it's hard to get the words out in an organized way without devolving into negativity and near-hysterics. I tend to catastrophize when things are good. When things are bad, and in this case they are very bad, that tendency to catastropize becomes uncontrollable. I don't know how to handle my fear about this without immediately going straight to the most awful possible outcome. 

As of today, Utah is one of only 9 states still not issuing shelter-in-place orders. I have no idea what our idiotic governor is thinking, but his complete and total willingness to disregard the health of Utah's citizens is appalling. It's not only irresponsible, it's disgusting how little regard our state government has for our public health. But, it's not just our governor who isn't taking the public welfare seriously. There are still Utahn's saying it's a hoax, it's just a flu, it will pass, they're still going out and living their lives. They're talking about their civil rights and how the state government doesn't have the right to take away their liberties. I'm baffled and terrified. 

Without shelter-in-place orders, people won't stay at home. Hell, even in some places with shelter-in-place orders, people aren't staying home. When we went out to get our grocery pick-up, there were just as many people out and about as ever; maybe more. Our little town's residents aren't bothering to stay at home and our mayor won't take action to force it. Matt had to go into Wal-Mart for his prescriptions and there were tons of people inside, walking right up to/by others without another though, standing in groups chatting. A few folks were wearing masks, but mostly just families out shopping like there's not a goddamn global pandemic.

This is the thing I'm struggling with the most: The community's unwillingness to care about itself. It's not an inability, it's an unwillingness, which is a matter of choice. It is absolutely and completely inexcusable to me that the people here pretend to care about one another and to be part of a religion that pretends to care about the community, while completely disregarding public health warnings. This, beyond all the other issues the pandemic has brought, is horrifying and disgusting. I despise pretense. If you don't give a flying fuck about others, don't pretend to, it's easier to swallow.

It doesn't help that it seems like there's no real way, even if you do stay home, to completely avoid it. It stays on surfaces for extended periods of time, so if you get grocery pick-up (we do!) or deliveries, you've run the risk of carrying it inside your house. As part of the supply chain, Matt's an essential worker, so he's coming into contact with hundreds of people a day. He's potentially bringing it inside the house every single time he comes home from work. He's worried, but he can't do anything about having to go to work.

I've been trying to do my part to minimize our risk by staying the fuck at home. Thank goodness I have the luxury to do that, with a job that allows me to work at home for the last two and a half years. I bought myself a cloth mask online, which I'll start to wear when I go out, and maybe even sometimes when I'm home so that I can break the habit of touching my face and hair. I'm considering sleeping in the guest room, too, because I'm afraid Matt's crawling with this stuff after being out in society all day. So far, he's objected to that idea, so I haven't had the heart to sleep alone in there. I might have to bargain by telling him it's that or he has to shower at night before getting into bed. He's incredibly difficult to bargain with, so we'll see.

This thing feels like it's never going to be over, and maybe it won't. It could be my inability to see past catastrophe to a light at the end of the tunnel, but this feels like it's world changing. I know I'm not the only one who feels that way, but I feel kind of alone right now. I feel simultaneously like I'm over-reacting and under-reacting. I think I would feel better if we actually lived in a state that cared about the public welfare, in a place where people were less concerned about their individual selves than they were about their neighbors. Maybe tomorrow will be the day our pathetic governor will grow a pair and start to give a fuck, but I doubt it. Maybe tomorrow will be the day that our neighbors realize this is serious and stay home, but again, I doubt it. At least I know that I'm not one of the assholes, that I'm doing my part to protect them, even if they won't do the same.