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.


  1. I know how you feel. We have a county-wide (but not state wide) shelter in place order but everyone is still out and about. The number of crazy things they consider "essential" to be open is pretty ridiculous, so even if officials wanted to enforce it, it would be too difficult. The local tv news station pushes the message of "GO SUPPORT THESE SMALL BUSINESSES THAT ARE STILL OPEN" message daily, encouraging people to be out goofing off for the sake of the economy. Look, I feel bad for businesses, too, but what part of flattening the curve don't they get? Why make this drag on longer than it has to? Infuriating!

    I had a difficult time placing my grocery order online (because of the sheer volume of orders) but finally got through, but the process of trying to make sure everything was wiped down and not re-contaminated in some way was the really stressful part! What's the point of wiping everything down if I accidentally miss one spot and that's the spot that later makes me sick?! It's enough to make you super neurotic!

    Hang in there, we'll all try to get through this insanity together. Much love!

    1. We did manage to get our grocery pick-up order but it took over a week to get a spot for pick up time. We got them at Walmart and our Kroger also has pick up. Being vegan means we have to get stuff from multiple places. But hell, being human almost means that right now when it's so hard to find things. A lot of the things I ordered were out of stock and they couldn't find replacements, like elbow macaroni.

      I didn't actually wipe my groceries down, I would have been doing that for hours. I did toss the bags in the trash outside and wipe down the counters. But, I figure Matt's going to bring this thing in here WAY before the groceries do. He came in last night complaining about blisters because he's washing his hands so much and I told him to wash his hands and he wouldn't do it. He said he had done it before he left work. So yeah, not cool.

      Overall, I'm just so disgruntled about the whole thing. I agree that the number of things considered "essential" is completely insane! Grocery stores shouldn't be open except for pick-up, in my opinion. You can pay at the pump at gas stations at any hour, so they shouldn't be open either. And did you know real estate agents are currently considered essential? That makes no sense.

      Overall, I really think we (the royal we) could all be taking this much more seriously. People need to stay home!

      Much love back at ya, Phoena. I hope y'all are doing okay over there!


  2. Wow, has anything changed since you wrote this post? You'd love it here. Every non-essential business is closed, and now it's mandatory for us to wear masks, even to walk our dogs. We can also be fined (or thrown in jail) for being out-and-about for non-essential reasons, though the SB sheriff department isn't enforcing it to that degree...yet. A part of me is jealous that life is still going on as normal in Utah because us Cali folks are so over this. But on the other hand, I do understand where you're coming from. There is a sense of relief that we don't have to rely on the good judgements of others for public safety; that those decisions were made for everyone. Almost like being in a really strict teacher's classroom. You resent the teacher on the one hand, but appreciate the restrictions on the other because they make you feel safe. I don't know...I'm mixed, honestly. But yeah, I get it.

    1. I wish I could say that it did, but no, nothing's changed. We went from having 1 case in town to 33 in the last two weeks. The people in my little town (population 50,000 or so) are, for the most part, not taking this seriously at all. It's awful and I'm so frustrated, and terrified. I mean, more 20,000 people have died. It's time to start taking this seriously, but Utah is still one of 8 states that don't have shelter-in-place orders. I wish it was mandatory to just stay home here, I'd be happy with that. Mandatory masks would be a stretch considering the state still won't even lockdown.

    2. That seems so crazy. Right now I can't even imagine being in public without a mask. To illustrate, let me tell you how my optometrist appointment went down today. I pulled up into the parking lot and was not allowed to walk in. Instead, I had to call them to let them know I was there. They verified over the phone that I was wearing my mask and gloves, then when they were ready for me, they walked outside and called me from the door to enter. Like, there's no 'waiting rooms' right now. Your car is your waiting room.

      And EVERY one wears masks. Grocery stores have signs that tell you not to enter without a mask. It's basically "No Shoes, No Mask, No Service." As far as sheltering in place, as you know, it's law here that you stay at home. There's no way the government can enforce that, but the public-shaming you undergo if you're not socially distancing is enough to keep most people at home.


    3. Believe it or not, that's what I want. I want to live in a place where the government and the public cares enough about the public welfare to wear masks and stay inside. Where they care enough to shame one another for going out! lol

      Instead, we got a half-assed request to "Stay home, stay safe, save lives" but no mandatory shelter-in-place order. So, people just go out and do their thing. A few people where masks here and there, but they still get crazy looks, which seems pretty insane to me considering 28,000 are now dead from this thing in the US alone.

      Your appointment sounds crazy! All of my recent appointments have been cancelled, which I'm pretty okay with. My hair and nail appointments were cancelled by the venues. My dentist appointment was cancelled by the dentists office. But all that stuff is about to open again at the end of the month.