Bored and Grumpy

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” 

                                ~ Isaac Asimov​

“The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves.”

                                ~ Rachel Carson

It’s nearly fall, so the weather is turning but still be somewhat undecided. However, the month ahead promises to be typically autumn for Colorado — highs in the ‘70’s during the day. That means that I need not be in a rush to do all those outdoors chores that I’ve been putting off.

However, I’m aware that I’m putting off lots of things lately. COVID-19 has had us pretty much housebound, which I was looking forward to in some ways — time to read, catch up on the organizing I wanted to do, and generally get lots of household chores done that I never seem to get to. Of course, we’ve stayed mostly housebound since February of 2020 — limited going out to eat, errands only by necessity (groceries, liquor and the doctor), socially distancing — I can safely say that while we’re both bored and grumpy, we are playing it safe since we’re in ‘that’ age and health cohort. I have worked on several projects, but failed to complete any. It feels just futile. The pandemic is going to keep us here for another year and everything out there is going to hell.

In August, we had to cancel our Seattle and Oregon coast trip. I mean, if it’s not safe to go eat at the diner downtown, how safe is a road trip across half the U.S.? We’ve toyed with just going somewhere — driving to a resort in the mountains, social distancing, cooking our own food, but that doesn’t seem particularly practical and not all that different from staying at home. 

Some of our friends with whom we Zoom have traveled to a few places, vetting the sanitization of the motels ahead of time and eating distantly in the cafes. Can we use the pool or hot tub? Are the public bathrooms safe? Frankly, it sounds like a lot of work and potential high risk for little reward.

But maybe it’s just me. Trump’s antics over the last few years wore me down and his inattention to the COVID was incredibly stupid. MAGA-hatters continue to resist vaccines, but drink horse dewormer, spreading COVID across the country and killing hundreds of thousands. The Sturgis motorcycle rally left me dumbfounded, as do the governors that block mask mandates in schools, the erosion of voting rights by Republicans, attacks on abortion rights, white supremacy, and the spreading of hatred for immigrants by conservative Christians.

Are we really that hateful and stupid?  

So, we’re running out of water in the West, forest fires abound, heat waves cause power outages across Texas (but Ted Cruz can escape to the Mexican Riviera), locusts are swarming the East, there’s an earthquake in Haiti, a hurricane in Louisiana, rain in the artic — even the Earth is turning against us.

Climate change is expected to knock extreme weather up a notch — droughts will become droughtier, floods will become floodier, and storms will become stormier.

                                ~ James Gaines, Upworthy

My friends in England talk about shortages of all kinds of things as a result of Brexit and the pandemic. We’re starting to see that here in Colorado, with the disruption of cross-country traffic on I-70 due to mudslides in Glenwood Canyon and a shortage of long-haul truckers. Labor shortages abound from airline pilots to Starbucks baristas to farm workers.

Oliver Sacks quoted writer Ella Frances Sanders, “When one is considering the universe, it is important, sensible even, to try and find some balance between laughter and uncontrollable weeping.”

I’ve tried to find ways to boost my spirits. Being with my family and our pets helps a lot, but the chaos still lurks in the background. One of my favorite authors, Robert Ruark quoted the Old Man, “Son, when your heart is sick and you got some thinking to do, there ain’t no substitute for a boat and a fish pole. Water eases the mind, soothes the eyes, calms the nerves, and you can always eat the fish.”

Maybe I won’t go fishing, but it could be time to order in some fish and chips, probably not from England, though …

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