Guest writer: Dylan Salt Lake City, Utah
I am quarantined within my home in Salt Lake City, Utah. I live with a single mom (landlady) and her 13 yr. old daughter, as well as 2 other dudes who happened to pass a background check. I would die for any of them.
It has a sunny porch and vast potential for alcoholism—even before the quarantine. Salt Lake I believe is a little late to the game as it is with air quality and progressive values, of course, and staying inside is still voluntary, more seriously encouraged than militantly enforced. That being said I don’t watch the news and that could have changed.
I stay inside because of social pressure to do so. A woman yelled at me yesterday from her porch and I never want that to happen again. I understand the neighboring Summit County has a shelter in place order out, as of a week or so ago.
I leave the house to bike and get groceries and to see an old girlfriend. Getting groceries is likely the riskiest action on my part, but we are constantly running out of booze. I hate grocery stores and always have, but I do like the bandanas that everyone wears when they shop. I feel more like a proper outlaw when I steal sushi from Smith’s.
I don’t care if I crucify myself by sharing this but I also spent some time in the desert canyoneering for a couple days, and while travel to the outdoor recreation gateway towns like Moab or Springdale is widely discouraged, I believe isolation in the desert without harming local communities is actually pretty viable, if done correctly. I brought all the beans I owned, fruit, and water to sustain myself and a friend for a few days, and only purchased gas—hand sanitizing before and after. I shit in the dirt and filtered water as necessary and I didn’t see anyone else, avoiding popular canyons and instead hopping into the more remote and isolated ones. It’s worth mentioning that trailheads were still full at popular hikes I passed like Spooky Gulch, so it’s clear that not everyone is taking it seriously. Greasy children and sweaty people sliding through leaving hair and breath particles all over the place.
I am reading a lot and I haven’t made a sourdough starter. I have however made a sour patch kid starter, and will be live streaming the process, it’s first steps, etc. Only joking- I haven’t been participating in any internet things and oddly enough that is where a lot of my anxiety is stemming from.
It feels like this is going to last a while, and all of the new innovations that are going to emerge are going to be online. You know what I mean? And it seems like the thing to do would to be to get involved and participate early, rise with the new forms of interaction that are happening and establish some type of name for oneself while there is a groundswell of new and emerging ways of doing things and socializing and making jokes. But I really don’t want to.
I just want to read and fuck around at home and stay away from the internet.
I feel a lot of pressure to do things online so as not to be forgotten about, but when I do see friends and acquaintances filming themselves doing things they wouldn’t be doing otherwise I just assume they must be losing it, as if baking bread is the new dying your hair or cutting bangs. A good indication they are not okay. It’s probably healthy, though, and I am just judgmental.
I think a lot of people are going to learn some new hobbies and skills and that’s a definite plus. My brother wanted to make a podcast together, and all I could think of is that’s probably what everyone who ever wanted to do that is doing right now, and you have to wonder if everything is just going to get buried with all the new activity. That is only a reason not to do something if you’re looking for reasons not to do it, however, which I am really good at.
I think instead I’m going to hide, and be forgotten about largely while I fill up the notes section of my phone with dumb ideas I’ve thought of. I’ll wait until all of this blows over and the world is normal again, albeit a new normal no doubt, and I’ll emerge with a bunch of new dumb ideas saved in the notes section of my phone, ready to dazzle the world with my idea for a band named Love Rhombus.
It’s also overwhelmingly clear that old people, and a lot of them, are not going to survive the next couple months. It’s not that I want them to die, I just want them to stop voting. I definitely don’t want my parents to die, of course, but they are undoubtedly the target market of this pandemic.
My dad is actively recovering from heart surgery, and despite being really healthy for age 78, he is 78. I asked them to stay inside, mainly because I want to make fun of this with everyone later. They didn’t understand, so I had to put it in terms they could relate to. You know how 9/11 is so funny? Just consistently a knee-slapper? Well imagine if your dad died in it. It probably wouldn’t be as gut-bustlingly silly. So dad, please understand that if you die as a result of Coronavirus, I will be left out of all the good memes about it, forced instead to be reminded of the death of a loved one. They of course, were sympathetic to my wishes, and are staying inside, but I still can’t help but worry about them.
I’ll preface how this has affected me with an acknowledgement of my huge amount of privilege just so it’s clear that I know, so that this whole paragraph doesn’t have to be about it. It’s huge. We all know it, just look at me.
The funny part is I quit my job that I could have worked from home exactly one week before this hit the U.S. and everyone started working from home, so that I could travel and fuck around and have the house to myself. Now I can’t travel, or climb, and there are 4 people working from home in my house every day including a thirteen-year-old who doesn’t have school anymore. Pretty fucking classic, I absolutely deserve all of the irony.
The thing is, it’s a bummer, but I really don’t mind so much, I was already prepared to not have income for a little while. I don’t qualify for unemployment because I quit an objectively good office job just because I didn’t want to work anymore.
Fuck work, I’d rather just live on lentils and drain my savings until I feel like working again. You know how society is slowly becoming more open to the fact that school isn’t for everyone? I feel like work just isn’t for me, and I’m just waiting for society to catch up.
The worst part is that I can’t earnestly join in on the outrage towards paying rent, because I fucked myself and didn’t lose my job, just gave it away, and I love my landlord and live with her. I am still outraged that other people have to pay rent, despite being laid off and forced to stay home. Solidarity brothers who are smarter than me but got fucked anyway.
Everything the world is learning from this, and everything we need right now has already been articulated in articles that put it better than I will.
We need healthcare.
Capitalism = bad.
Poor people are going to be so fucked by this just like they are fucked by everything that happens, so the new hobbies and time to relax things don’t apply to them.
I hope I don’t sound like a dick, I care about poor people I just don’t have anything new to say about it that isn’t obvious to anyone who would be reading this. I guess I’ll say that learning to bake your own bread is really legitimately badass and it’s going to be a gift that keeps on giving long after the world sees how this all shakes out.