Final Corona Virus Thoughts

No, the Pandemic is not over; it may never be over. I’ll probably have to get another booster or mask up again at some point. I’ll probably even catch a new variant.

But as a subject to write about, this is it, unless it leaks into my fiction or writing about the homeless.

Perusing my specific writing about the Pandemic on this blog. I estimate I produced approximately 20-25,000 words. There’s certainly no book with my real time musings and meanderings, but perhaps in the coming years it might be of interest to someone, particularly since I was living in a remote rural area populated by a majority of people who thought everything one big hoax or conspiracy. It was brutal to endure this kind of stupidity in such proximity, but I am glad I got to experience it first hand. Why? It taught me a lot about fellow Oregonians and what retards growth in rural Oregon.

I remember sitting at the counter of a spacious and soulless sports bar in Port Orford, drinking a noon craft malt liquor after a pleasing morning shift on the construction job, talking to a bartender, when the bartender took a call and shortly thereafter announced everything was shutting down the next day, Friday, for at least three months. I finished my beer in silence and wondered about the future, never thinking so many people would needlessly die and the virus would expose so many terrible realities about American narcissism and American life in general.

It was March 11th or 13th, a Thursday, I think.

Just like that Oregon went into lockdown. My construction job continued for another month or so, before that got shut down. Then came unemployment and stimulus payments and planting trees in former clearcut.

I rode out that first year in an ancient RV named Hey Joe a block or so from the ocean. It was the best possible way to quarantine. I’d been living in self imposed social quarantine the previous few years anyway, so it wasn’t much of a change. The worst part of it all was I was denied access to my upstairs writing table at the great Gold Beach Books and my corner writing table at Sea Star, a truly superb Oregon Tavern Age joint. I built driftwood forts, read more, wrote more, hiked more, and had a wonderful relationship with an old secret flame. Sometimes it felt like the end of the world considering how deserted the small towns were, but I kind of liked it. I also encountered some strange Americans on the frightened move, driving up and down Highway 101 although most of the campgrounds were supposed to be closed. I’ll never understand why parks were closed around the state. I guess officials thought everybody would crowd them in a mad rush, and maybe they were right. I’m glad I didn’t have to make any important decisions and really glad I wasn’t teaching.

About the only good thing to result from the Pandemic in my mind was the cancellation of the event planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Vortex I, the only state sponsored rock festival in American history. The less said about what almost happened with that absurd idea, the better. Oh, yeah, one other thing: Biden won the election. Oh and another thing, a Republican legislator got expelled from the Legislature for aiding and abetting madmen (and women, too).

In early 2021 I left the Southern Oregon Coast for good and moved to Portland to care for Dad and experienced the Pandemic in the big city. The contrasts were fascinating but ultimately uninteresting enough to compel consistent writing or a bigger project.

There were many vexing matters related to the Pandemic, Trump of course, but what truly confounded me was people with high school educations claiming to be public health experts because of “a link” to the TRUTH they could share or that they knew “someone” working at a hospital or dental office who knew it was all a fake story invented by some pedophiles operating out of the basement of New York pizza parlor that was secretly run by a resurrected JFK Jr.

Let me put it another way: Americans who couldn’t identify all seven continents on a blank outline map of the world or name the three branches of government were now experts in epidemiology and infectious diseases and just knew, knew, knew (and could prove) that Bill Gates had concocted some vaccine that injected gremlins into your body and enslaved you to the Deep State.

The arrogance and sanctimony of these people was beyond insufferable. They wouldn’t believe in the law of gravity if it countered something Donald Trump or the Internet said. One wonders if basic reasoning will ever return to some 40-percent of Americans, but then again, look how many people believe in God.

I wish Mark Twain were around to write about American behavior during the Pandemic. We needed his wicked humor to smash through corn pone thinking, which Twain defined as “self involved.” For sure. Shaming and stridency and kindness and reason didn’t do a damn thing to change people’s corn pone minds. A few did change their minds right before dying. It was over the news and social media with tears and sympathy. But what we really needed was a Mark Twain to rip them in the afterlife. No even the stand up comedians would touch it.

I suppose it will be interesting to learn in the coming years, decades, what will have shaken out in America due pandemic’s upheaval. Wasn’t everything supposed to change work, schooling, the criminal justice system, the environment, cop shows, respect for front line workers? Nothing really changed at all so far as I can tell, except that far more Americans asserted their true asshole nature.

The federal government didn’t even bother to raise the federal minimum wage and the Democrats were in power as of January 2021! They did raise defense spending.

One of these months, we’ll hit that one million mark of dead Pandemic Americans. It could have been half as many.

My family did its part, that’s for sure. And they’re proud of that. Many families are also proud of how they fought for their freedoms, a word without any substantive and common sense meaning in America anymore.

So this is my final thousand words for this subject category on the Meditations Blog. I wonder how long it will hang out there in cyberspace?