Since I last posted, things got weird. Personally, I spent a good month just not doing anything at all. Not just not seeing anyone and not socializing, but like spending days just faffing about, planting things in the garden (my yard will probably never again have this much attention lavished on it) and generally not engaging with the world. I went full introvert. And the world went weird, too - the disease was politicized. Masks became a way to indicate your political alignment.
Arkansas, in particular, was interesting, because we had good reason to be skeptical. The disease was a thing on the coasts, not the heartland. And we're Republican, so reality and political intent aligned. And we started to reopen.
And then there was George Floyd.
Now the liberals are out in the streets, protesting. There were protests here in Conway. In Conway! Tear gas and everything! And it seems like, as I write this, maybe finally we're thinking about maybe coming to terms with some of our racist past. There's a large Facebook group agitating to get rid of the Confederate monument in town. It's kind of incredible how things shifted, and I can't help wonder if maybe the disease didn't help make people aware, because they couldn't distract themselves with the usual.
So summer arrived. People were no longer on lockdown. All sorts of ways for the disease to spread. Which it has. Explosive growth. And one side of the political aisle seemingly trying to wish it out of existence. It seems like we might just now be at another inflection point - suddenly the conservative machine, media and politicians, are talking about masks again. It's not clear if they'll shift to fully taking it seriously, but signs seem to point that way.
Meanwhile, Europe has opened up for travel and tourism from some counties. The US is not on the approved list. Heck - even travel between states is no longer completely open - we're going to see my wife's family, and it looks like we'll be expected to quarantine for two weeks.
So that's the background to what I came to write about. We just finished watching Hamilton, which was released on streaming today, and I think maybe everyone in the country watched it. It made me think about how we'll write this but of history. Is this a big deal, or a blip? I mean, we shut down the planet for a month or so, it probably gets a mention. But what do we say? Many underlying faults were revealed. That's a safe one. But I think it will only matter if real change happens. I don't think we mention this, except as a cause of what follows. And boy I wish I knew what was to follow!
There is one narrative I'm wondering about, and that's whether the crash of 2007-2008 will be grouped with this. An entire generation has lost any hope that the economy will work for them. I think about people graduating say 2007-2010. Nobody is hiring, fear is everywhere. Maybe they get their foot in the door, start working their way up the ladder. The economy grows for a decade, things are good, and then the economy crashes even harder. I don't know - I'm not young enough, and my financial situation is such that I don't have the same worries (for the most part - I'm very aware that a single bad hospital stay could put me in the poor house, like every American). But I imagine the US, to an awful lot of younger people, feels like a house of cards.
On a related note, one thing I've done a lot more of since the disease struck is day trading. I bought a lot of socks when the market melted down, expecting I would hold them for a year until things recovered. Instead, the market recovered in days or weeks. Which is stupid and insane and totally divorced from reality. And yet. So I'm making money on stocks. As the disease continues to ravage my country.
To quote Hamilton, "the world turned upside down".