For the past twelve weeks, my life has been filled with chapters about generally accepted accounting principles and auditing standards, exams and power points, Zoom meetings and endless email chains. I’ve spent hours perusing the news sites for information about COVID and protests, wondering what new bullshit the year will thrust upon us when we least expect it, and I’ve found myself once again struggling with my own brain, confused as to why it forgot how to enter a REM cycle or how to tolerate the light from a TV without triggering a migraine aura.
It’s all rather a mess, I suppose.
Nothing really seems to be working out like I expected, but at the same time, there are no clear ends to finish up or no closure to be had. Just one day moves into the next with no obvious direction or goal in sight, and I keep wondering when the day might be that I will wake up with excitement about upcoming events or occasions. That my expectations and hopes for the day are more than just simply that my Aeropress doesn’t give out again and wreck the kitchen before another test. That the smell underneath my bathroom sink will finally go away. That everyone at Trader Joe’s will wear a mask (and wear it correctly, gotdamnit!).
I know, I know. It’s not all terrible. There are things to look forward to.
My mother finally had the chance to visit me in my new home, and as a result, I was finally able to explore the city more thoroughly than before. More importantly, I was able to get some much needed human interaction which forced me out of my shitshow of a head. My school is working diligently to ensure maximum precautions in order to offer in-class instruction again, so I won’t have to spend every class for the next semester in my two-bedroom apartment. The hottest part of the summer is coming to an end here, and for the first time since forever, I’ll be able to experience an actual fall and winter. I can look at a sweater in the store without breaking out into an uncomfortable sweat, despite standing under a frigid AC vent while drinking an iced cold Topo Chico.
And recent events haven’t hit me quite like it has for so many others anyway. I didn’t lose my job as a result of the pandemic. I’m not sick and dying as a result of the pandemic. I’m not getting locked up or kicked out or strung around due to the pandemic. If anything, it’s given me the ultimate excuse to be the most introverted introvert that I could ever be.
But it still feels rather messy.
Kind of like when we were kids and didn’t want to clean our room, so we just stuffed everything underneath the bed and prayed that our parents didn’t look there when they inspected our work. The mess is still there. It will find its way back out into the rest of the room, but for the moment, the illusion of cleanliness exists and blocks out the truth, the truth that we were the ones who made the room the mess that it was in the first place and that it was our own laziness and complacency that will allow the mess to continue into the future. It is just so much easier to ignore the fact that the mess will only go away once we finally take responsibility and actually work to clean it.
I know. This is kind of dark and bitter for a coffee blog (ha, or is that just right?). At this point, some of you may even be wondering if I’m doing okay.
Well, no, I’m not okay. But really, are any of us? We are in the middle of a pandemic with hate and arrogance spreading just as quickly as the virus itself. Our leadership and infrastructure are collapsing under the weight of this global disaster, and it often feels as if the only thing we can do is just sit and watch it happen as we wait for the final impact. Kind of like in those last few minutes of season one of The Umbrella Academy, when the (spoiler alert) siblings are watching a part of the moon hurtle towards the earth, knowing just exactly what is about to happen. What makes our situation worse than theirs though is that none of us are superhero siblings with the ability to travel through time and stop an apocalypse of our own making. No, we’re the billions of people who helplessly burn to ash.
I know. Even my black coffee is thinking this has gotten a little too dark.
And I don’t mean to be despairing, but I do want to be realistic. Our world is hurting, and as a part of this world, that means that we are hurting. I am hurting.
But I am also realizing something in the midst of all this mess that needs to be stated amongst this depressing rant, and that is that as much as I’ve been annoyed at how little my expectations are for the upcoming days, it is the small, daily things that are actually helping me through this time.
What kind of small, daily things?
Well, for me it’s the relief from a new Aeropress that isn’t always on the verge of spilling hot coffee and grounds everywhere when I flip it onto my mug. It’s the success of tasting dalgona coffee after struggling for twenty minutes to whip it up without a hand mixer (Seriously delicious with milk. Seriously difficult to make without a hand mixer.). It’s the bittersweet excitement of receiving my new (clean) license plates or finding an elusive (and, ahem, expensive) bottle of Suntory Hibiki Japanese whisky at Trader Joe’s. And it’s the peace of actually being able to sit down at a local coffee shop and spend a couple of hours typing up this very past due blog post because the patrons are observing social distancing and wearing their masks.
I’m sure there are more of these small things that have helped me navigate my days, even as I struggled to wake up after failing to fall asleep before 2am (yeah, I don’t hope for anything better than that) or found myself severely procrastinating from studying for an exam that had to be taken within 24 hours to remain on schedule for the class, but because I was too wrapped up in the global mess that is this year, I missed out on them and failed to acknowledge them for the support that they were.
As much as I wish we were moving into a less messy period of this pandemic, I know that is a false hope, especially as we move closer and closer to election day. Likely the rhetoric will get worse. The anger and hate will only increase. Confusion, fear, and stress will hit extreme highs.
And there is nothing I can do to stop it.
But instead of fretting about it, I’ve decided it’s about time I cleaned up my own damn mess and do what I can. I’ll continue to wear my mask and social distance. I’ll continue to disinfect and wash my hands. I’ll continue to go to school, study, read, and do my best at what work comes my way. I’ll speak out against ignorance and hate when I can, and I’ll submit a vote to push it out of office when the time comes.
And I’ll actually fucking start to appreciate all those little things that I have around me.
With a cup of coffee in hand, of course. Definitely gotta appreciate that before global warming does away with it.
And on that happy note,
The one and the only Pookachino