Existing

Ever since Inauguration Day I have been in a funk. I had been so crazed and consumed about what was going on politically since Labor Day that it occupied any down time that existed. And the fact that I may not have enjoyed what I was hearing from day to day was irrelevant.

Now that a new administration is in place, I have stopped following, watching, and obsessing over the news because I really do hate politics. What’s the difference between now and then, you may ask? The difference is my previous obsession had nothing to do with politics. It had everything to do with me feeling unsafe in my own country with a demagogue doing everything he could to hold onto power and sow division, in addition to not having a government that had a clue about how to address the raging COVID spread.

Now that those concerns have been alleviated, I am no longer obsessed. I keep tabs by watching the newsfeeds that cross my phone apps, and choose to dive into whatever strikes me, which hasn’t been a lot. So all of a sudden, I have a void to fill with little to replace it. Instead, I have been very introspective, which is rarely good. The byproduct of all my deep thought is this: we aren’t living, we are existing. It sucks beyond belief, and keeps sucking more with each passing day.

For me, this is about enjoying life and having shit to look forward to. You could argue that we do have something to look forward now that there is a vaccine and a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel that isn’t a speeding sixteen wheeler. That is difficult however, at least for me, because we have had to live in isolation for the last eleven months to stay healthy. Each passing week feels like a month, and while we are on the downhill side of this, I am sick and tired of the waiting.

We haven’t had much personal connection with human beings outside the family. Instead we Zoom or Skype, and while that is better than nothing, it isn’t the same. I have been working from home exclusively during this span, and while I have taken to it more than I thought I would, all that family closeness can get on one’s nerves. We are all experiencing similar things, are on edge, grumpy as hell, and quick to show our frustration, which often comes out as anger. Patience has become a scarce commodity.

Unlike my son, who loves nature and the outdoors, I can’t hike in the woods, go exploring, or even take long walks because of my physical limitations. Travel and vacations are non-starters, so all I have left is television, reading, computer games and my imagination.

I was never a big TV guy to being with, and there isn’t much good left on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Peacock, or any of those platforms because we’ve watched all the good stuff and there is little to replace it. Winter sports only provide so much diversion, and even those can’t be relied upon because the virus keeps upsetting the schedule and postponing games. Baseball is at least two months away if not more. Reading requires motivation and enthusiasm, both of which are in short supply. So does writing, and the novel has therefore been a slow go.

And far as my imagination is concerned, it isn’t very fertile, otherwise the novel would be a lot further along than it is. My powers of observation remain strong and could be used to my creative benefit, but the only epiphanies I have had been are mundane and self-absorbed.

For example, I have observed that the knee on my bad leg is swollen and misshapen, probably because my gait changed a long time ago and my foot never points forward, but at an angle. I have observed that the hair on my legs, of which there used to be a lot, is gone. I have also observed that my skin has become paper thin because it cuts easily and bleeds like hell when it does. For example, two nights ago as I was getting ready to take a shower, I noticed a big splotch of dried blood that was the size of a silver dollar on my shin, and I had no idea what caused it or that it had even occurred. When I cleaned it up there were two wounds that looked like punctures, but I don’t remember hitting myself or banging into something, and this isn’t the first time this kind of thing has happened. I have since concluded that the hair and skin must be the result of all the heavy duty MS drugs I have taken and continue to take.

This then leads to me wonder what the consequences are going to be resulting from the fact I have suspended treatments two months longer than normal because I can’t do those AND get the vaccine. Will this allow the symptoms to progress, and if so will the changes become permanent? I don’t think like that when I’m busy and engaged.

In hindsight, one of the reasons I let my hair and beard grow was because it was something new and gave me something to be focused upon and be entertained by. But like everything else during this shit show, both got too unruly and unmanageable. My mother-in-law told K that I looked like Father Time, for God’s sake. So I hacked the beard off but was at a quandary about what to do with the hair because I didn’t want to go to a salon. I finally said fuck it, and had K cut it. She did a great job too. The end result is hair that is the shortest is has been since I went to basic training over forty years ago. On the plus side, everyone says I look ten years younger.

As rosy as the future looks compared to eleven months ago, it is mentally draining trying to stay upbeat and optimistic, and this is coming from a guy whose glass is always half full.

Thank God for work! I am lucky as hell that my work situation has not been compromised or interrupted in the slightest. If I didn’t have that, I don’t know what I would do, other than freak out about keeping the house and supporting the family. I realize many are in that unfortunate situation, worrying about food and shelter every minute of every day. So in that regards I feel silly about complaining or being maudlin because all my stuff is superficial and selfish by comparison.

See, the optimistic, glass-half full, things will be better, don’t worry-be happy guy still exists. Still, this shit can’t end soon enough! And when it does, I want to throw the biggest, longest, most outrageous, anything goes celebration that lasts an entire weekend.

Everyone is invited!

Author: Steve Markesich

I am loving husband, a doting father, a Red Sox fanatic, an aspiring novelist and MS advocate. Feel free to check out my stevemarkesich.com web site.

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