My wife and I have had both of our shots now and we’re slowly starting to make plans. It’s exciting. I can actually imagine this shit storm passing, and finally, it feels like a safe time to look back.
The nightmare kicked off with a blur of new concepts and terminology.
I can’t shake the feeling that no one really cares for me. I worry that everyone I know is just tolerating me until I go away or eventually die. This may or may not be true, but wherever I go, I can’t escape the feeling.
It’s possible that what I’m feeling isn’t completely personal to me. It may just be run-of-the-mill, normalized indifference in a world that has grown increasingly distant and isolated. I can’t really tell.
I’m not an evangelical denier on the issue, but I see no evidence to support the idea of a god that is busily choreographing everyone’s lives. Unless of course, that god happens to a horrible choreographer. I have a much easier time believing in a god who set everything in motion and then took a long nap. But that’s a hands-off god who needs an alarm clock more than our prayers. Between my lack of a personal religious history, and the overbearing, confused antics of “true believers,” I don’t expect I’ll be hooking up with an off-the-rack god anytime soon.
There are no images, videos, or sound bites in our brains. Nor are there words, definitions, or memorized Nantucket limericks. There are only patterns of synapses firing. That’s it. Just a clump of damp tissue processing patterns.
Everything our senses see, hear, smell, taste, and feel is converted into these patterns. This is the one and only way we know the world. The sight, warmth, flavor, and light crisp of a fresh, homemade buttermilk donut all exist for us only as synapses firing in specific patterns. Even our lust for buttermilk bar bakers is just a pattern.
As nutty as this sounds, I’m gonna miss pandemic life.
Don’t get me wrong. I am VERY excited to get back to normal. My first shot is today, and I feel like a kid in a candy store, in Disneyland, on my birthday, an hour before my dad comes back from a long trip with a new puppy.
My wife put me on a two year notice that, when our son turned 13, we were getting a second dog. I never liked the idea. We had a well behaved 8 year old labradoodle named Beegu that was already actively abrading my patience and the last thing I wanted was to double down.
It’s taking me a long time to figure out who I am. And I’m still not done. Part of the delay in unraveling this enigma is getting a grasp on what it even means to ask such a question.
The accumulated breadth and depth of human knowledge is staggering. But even the sharpest minds still only know a fraction of what’s going on inside us. The cortex is just one part of our brain. While it does all of our analyzing, planning, and pontificating, it has only limited access to what we actually feel, or need.
I’ve never been bothered by the social media bragging problem that many of my friends complain about. I suppose it’s possible that my social media circles are so lame that no one I know ever has any upsettingly good news to share. But more likely, I am simply not noticing the incessant boasting that torments them.
I suffer some social blindness, often not reading the mouse-over, alt-text underneath many social interactions. Maybe the reality is that my social media “friends,” are constantly pissing on me with their marvelous achievements, but I’m just seeing it as people sharing good news.