When this pandemic thing first started I was really more excited than I was bothered by it.
Maybe I'd just been waiting for a life-changing event for so long, and it seemed like this might be it. And not just for me personally, but for the world. A happening with the potential to turn the very foundation of our so very archaic social order on its head and force us onto a wave of positive change and development.
No longer would commerce steer the way, but more so comradery. Our want to help each other and get back on track. Our want to live in a world where everyone's alright; where we care for our families, shield our elders from disease and help out where he can.
The sense of community and unity felt strong then, and a lot of people volunteered to go shopping for those who couldn't locally - among other things. How many of those were simply scammers looking to make a little extra on less legit transactions or trades though...? Who knows.
But disregard that scam potential. Times were good.
Except for those who really suffered the disease - at times mistreated and hooked on morphine by incompetent hospital staff - people generally seemed to actually appreciate the variation. Something was going down. Nobody knew what exactly, but we were all in it together.
Even the company I work at experienced a boost, as people had more time on their hands to buy stuff, and e-commerce felt like the right business to be in at this time.
Pandemic or no it felt like better times were on the horizon.
I started working from home, and saved in on both travel times and costs (well maybe not costs, but more on that later), and life took a turn for the better. Less travel time. More family time. More walks in the sun - which was plentiful at this time.
The pandemic arrived at such an ideal post-winter moment. The perfect time to focus on health and betterment - both for self and for the world.
There was definitely a certain element of hypochondria or paranoia in how every time I felt a little sniffle coming on I feared I might be getting sick; imagined getting breathing problems; tensed up so I almost did... but that was a minor thing. Those moment passed, and life overall was mostly enjoyable and somewhat exciting.
Following the statistics on daily cases was like following the scores in a game, and hearing people talk about their ordeals in catching the 'rona were equally intriguing.
It didn't seem that bad then, not even for the elderly. I watched an interview with an old man who'd been home a week. He was doing better.
But time moved on.
Travel plans didn't pan out like they were supposed to. But that was alright. That meant more time left for other things - just like with those trips to work I was saving in on.
Gröna Lund closed their concert scene, and that was a shame, but alright.
They extended pre-bought 'green cards' (the name of their entry ticket for a few months worth of concerts) with half a year then. It's a full year now.
They're kickstarting a brand new rollercoaster next year too, that they sped up development of during this downtime. 2021? Think that'll happen?
Waiting on refunds was a little nerve-wracking.
For a moment it seemed like Norwegian - the airline carrier I'd booked all my flights for a foreseeable future with - swayed in financial uncertainty, as did all airline carrier futures, and people speculated widely about their potential bankruptcy; the demise of the entire airline business.
Buddy Bear took a trip to Italy last weekend though. I believe. If that didn't get cancelled. He believes it's important to travel now more than ever, since if we don't then airline travel will soon be available only to the rich, and there is definitely some truth to that, and I wouldn't mind a few weekend trips right about now, but at the same time I don't like the idea of possibly getting stuck in another country, or maybe bringing the disease to my aging parents. That'd be just plain irresponsible of me - noble travel cause in incrementally sustaining the airline industry or no.
It's possibly we've all had the 'rona at this point too but that's a story for another time.
Times were alright though. The refunds went alright but for one hotel in Poland - Hotel Karmel. I don't reccomend Hotel Karmel! But it was just a night, and it was cheap, so it wasn't a huge monetary loss.
I've been sending them occasional refund reminders for the past seven months though.
I kept working from home, life rolled on, the walks may have started getting somewhat monotone, and the happy people we met on them a bit more sparse, but at least I was feeling energetic and hopeful, and eventually came summer.
I wasn't sure how plans would fare then, but we managed.
My first early-summerhouse-preparation flight got cancelled, so I hitched a ride with my parents a while later instead, spent a week there prepping the farm, flew back for more work in Stockholm, and then eventually back again for a full month of summer.
My second flight didn't get cancelled! Norwegian resumed their schedules in July, and it seemed like things were maybe getting back on track again.
So summer it was!
We didn't get as many visits as usual. My big bro and co didn't travel up at all. And I did a lot of the shopping, as I'd done in Stockholm previously, so aforementioned aging parents didn't need to huddle together with possibly diseased peeps in the local community, and time moved on...
I managed to hang out with a local buddy a few times.
We talked to the neighbors. We farmed the land, and picked berries (less competition on those this year - and favorable weather no less - we picked more than could fit in our freezer), swam around and lapped the sunshine and really thrived for a while, and then that season was over, and it was back to business.
But first a stubborn cold I really thought must be corona.
I even had some difficulty breathing for a week or so, and a lingering itch to cough that still lingered a month later. But I tested negative. It lasted two weeks though, despite intensive supplementation and rest.
Wonder how long it would've lasted without? Can you trust a test anyway?
C-vitamin, D-vitamin, Zinc and Quercetin seem like the essential supplements if you ever need 'em btw. Good to have at home. Good to take D-vitamin proactively too - in particular during this darker season.
But it went alright. I battled it out and then I bought a car. A second-hand black SAAB 9-3 produced that same year the Woodstock festivals were at their most awesome and Kid Rock played his particularly epic performance on the main stage! 1999.
My boss was apparently getting tired of me working from home at this point, and carefully suggested that maybe I could start getting back on the commuter train again? It didn't seem to be as crowded as earlier to him - though it most definitely was. Fortunately this suggestion coincided with my car purchase, and I'd just sold my commuter card for the few months left of it that it was then worth.
Wish I'd thought of selling it before summer.
For a long time I was hoping SL would give out refunds on yearly commuter cards, but they never did. Yearly commuter cards = the cards people buy if they really want to save money, if they need to commute on a regular basis. So though the card's hella expensive (9,800 SEK this year - ca 1000 USD - finna be higher next year) the people who suffered the most from this were possibly poor people. A lot of elderly in particular, who tend to plan ahead and make the most of their budget. Paradoxically these were thus in large part people who couldn't afford more short-term cards.
So fuck you SL. Don't think I'll ever ride your shit again if I can avoid it.
At this point I hadn't taken a commuter train in... well I'd just taken a train back from the airport, but apart from that no trains since the last one to the airport, and the one back from the airport before that, and a couple short trips to celebrate socially-distanced Midsummer with some nearby relatives and to buy that car. But after this and apart from those none, and no more. I haven't commuted in half a year as of this month.
I started driving to work twice a week instead now.
I'm not accustomed to city driving at all but studied the maps and found my way without major hiccups. I soon settled into this new routine and life once again went on as usual...
After a while I started driving in just once a week. Corona case numbers started rising.
My parents came back from their slightly longer stay up North - with a years worth of potatoes and berries that wouldn't fit in the freezer this time so we rapidly ate through a few kilos - and the house was suddenly so much smaller again, but I'd started playing frisbee golf with a cousin about once a week at this time, and have been out on short trips to fix various things with the car pretty frequently, and that aforementioned day-long trip to the office each week was a welcome one-day stay away from home, so I didn't feel totally boxed in at the time.
This week I haven't been to the office at all.
Come last Friday the boss mentioned that if I didn't want to drive in at all for a while then that'd be OK, considering that now again 'rona cases are rising more rapidly than ever before. The government's about to send out 22,000,000 text messages asking people to distance themselves better, and I thought that taking this week off the office would be a good idea. I worked from home all week.
I'm driving in one last time before Christmas next Friday to fix backups before the big winter vacation sets in for real, and who knows, maybe there's some kind of gift prepared there? As there have been past years.
A bottle of wine and a box of chocolate mayhaps? It's almost become tradition, as has the yearly Christmas dinner, but that's definitely not happening now, and so I wonder if this secondary tradition is.
Can't take it for granted.
But regarding working home all week this week: I suddenly realize that maybe I don't realize how much these trips really mean. Even when they're less common I've taken them for granted, and part of me is currently almost loathing this upcoming Christmas break.
Usually I love this time off. I love the freedom it entails. I love catching up with whatever projects I might have in queue, and aim to start the New Year FRESH, but this year a part of me is stuck on imagining spending a full three weeks (this year's vacation just so happens to be longer than usual) holed up at home, with my familiar (and awesome but oh so limited) current social circle, and possibly just climbing up the walls.
I noticed it today, on this day that I'm usually away somewhere, in that I currently feel more stuck here than ever, and there really isn't much I can do about it.
It doesn't help that I have more projects on queue than I know what to do with, or that I tried to drop one recently but didn't succeed - my co-collaborator convinced me to keep going. And it definitely doesn't help that it's winter, the time when you are just - no matter how much coffee you drink or how many glasses of L-ascorbic acid you buffer with a little bicarbonate and a drop of essential orange oil and swallow - still feel tired. Tired and slightly depressed. Somewhat sullen. Somewhat sad. Not currently in the best of moods.
I thought I was getting enough D-vitamin to avoid this winter weariness.
Is this Christmas just going to worsen that sensation, or is it about to peter out entirely as vacation comes a waltzing in, and certain projects clear out, and the road is once again bright and hopeful and great things come to fruition?
Maybe the pandemic's still not really affecting me at all. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm affecting myself. I take on too much. I prioritize badly. I refuse to recognize my limitations. Maybe I've just been hitting more roadblocks than usual recently.
Regarding the 'rona it doesn't seem like certain entities want it to end until 2025, but you can't believe all they tell you can you?
Vaccines or no, if we really want it to end we can probably clear things up way before then. By next summer preferably. An array of UV spotlights spread out on public spaces maybe? A little more consensus and public broadcast on what nutrients you really need to stay healthy? And a little community effort and unity once again!
It doesn't seem impossible.
Maybe if we do something about our clearly incompetent leaders - it seems to be a worldwide phenomenon at this point - and take care of this ourselves? I'm just brainstorming here. This'll sort itself out hopefully.
With awareness. The one thing this pandemic does seem to be continually contributing, apart from bleak thoughts, unhealthy ruts and apathy.
And maybe this little ramble might clear some of the air on this whole situation.
Now off to
write a character bio and revise some posts... I'll do that tomorrow.
Time to get some sleep. In addition to the vitamins: that's the tweak.