So Far, So Good: Pandemic Edition

You ever hear the joke about the optimist who jumped off a building?

Every floor he fell, he said, “So far, so good.”

You ever hear something else?

I thought of both of those when I read this:

We have habits. We have things we’re used to doing. We have routines, and we WILL NOT CHANGE THEM FOR ANYONE. My fellow honkies, we are locked in to our way of doing things and we cannot move. 

That’s the main issue here, beyond “partisanship” and “division” and “why is everything political,” beyond racism, beyond the internet and the lack of local news and the way we exchange information now, beyond Our Current Society which we act like just happened instead of being built. We have an existing relationship to America and we cannot change it. At all. For anything. 

Wear a mask in the grocery store. Stop going out to eat for a month while your town’s on lockdown. Let the schools, disease vectors in the best of times, stay closed, stay remote. Care for one another, yes with time and words, but mostly with money. Make decisions that only seem hard until you realize there’s literally no other way to do it. 

We think this stuff is obvious but it’s so, so not. Not when we’re used to stumbling out the door half-asleep and still managing to get the kids to school and ourselves to the office before that second cup of coffee. That’s what you want to preserve, more than those kids or that school or that office or that coffee. 

Writ large, that’s your life. You think you’ve got your eye on the ball, you think you know what the important things are, and then you have to go to a new dentist and the whole earth caves in. Because what really matters to us, turns out, isn’t life or liberty or the pursuit of happiness, it’s familiarity. It’s comfort. It’s knowing your surroundings. It’s knowing, generally, not having to think about what you’re doing and why. You won’t give that up for, apparently, a hundred and fifty thousand dead.

Look at the rage that happens on your neighborhood Facebook group every time the fucking grocery store moves something around, it’s like the end of the world that you have to go one aisle over for beans now. When you have to change the Starbucks from one you always go to, to a different one two blocks away. We go through the motions to preserve not what we love, but what we know

There comes a point in everybody’s life when what you think you know is at odds with the world around you and you either change things or your close your eyes HARD and you spend the rest of your life telling yourself a story about how you weren’t wrong, the world was wrong.

So many of us close our eyes.

We do it so often, it starts to feel familiar. 


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