It’s Monday—they’re still making those, I guess. Welcome back to our daily open thread.
I’ve been rewatching The Leftovers, because people keep talking about doing that on Twitter. I watched it a couple years ago, but it’s a pretty different experience given everything that’s going on in the world. Our current context has made the things characters in the show do to try to feel normal stand out a lot more; these days, I can definitely empathize more with characters’ inability to move on.
I’ve been seeing a lot of people on social media posting the last “normal” photo they took on their phone. (My last pre-pandemic photo is of bread I made, but bread now feels indelibly like a pandemic thing.) Lately I’ve been finding myself really wishing things felt “like they used to,” but I’ve been trying to parse out what that means. I went to the little grocery store across from my house last night, and the people working there were in a very bad mood. I thought “man, I wish going to the store just felt normal” before remembering that the people there were always cranky before all this, so the feeling I was annoying them by going into their store is normal. I worry that so many of the things I wish I could do involve buying things and what that says about capitalism’s far-reaching effects on my psyche, but overthinking the ramifications of all of my actions is pretty normal for me, so maybe my life has been less disrupted than I think.
One thing (or, one of many things) that’s been terrible about this pandemic has been how starkly it’s exposed things that have always been wrong with America: classism, racism, how broken our healthcare system is. It’s not like I wasn’t aware of those things before, but maybe they were a little easier to put down sometimes. It’s good to be forced to grapple with them more, even if it can feel pretty hopeless, though both my anarchist politics and my religious leanings demand I be hopeful about my ability to make things better. Mostly I miss the sense that the world felt possible, that there are places to go and people to meet in spite of all the bad stuff. I miss waking up and thinking “I wonder what interesting things will happen today?” instead of coming to consciousness murmuring “What fresh hell?”
Deep thoughts for a Monday morning, readers! What “normal” stuff do you miss, or still have? How’s it going?
(Side note: I’ve been rewatching The Leftovers on Amazon, which has led to much soul-searching about how I’m complicit in Jeff Bezos’ horrifying rise to global domination. A friend called me last night just to chat, and I subjected him to an hours-long rant/panic about all this, which I’m 100% sure did not make him regret calling me at all.)