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September Surrender: Day Twenty-Three

What I’m Letting Go

I’ve never really been a “social events” kind of person. Sure, I’ve partied, but it was never really at my behest. I’d go if there was something to do. Seeking things out always felt like too much of a hassle. Besides, I’ve always been more of the introverted type anyway. I don’t find anything wrong with that, though I wish I had it in me to want to go out more. That time was meant for college students and twentysomethings. Not so much faux old ladies like me. My colleagues at work always seem to be going out to the next best thing. They’ve always got a dinner or a concert to be at. A couple were even ‘ambassadors’ for one of our hosts during New York Fashion Week. What a fun time to be young, I guess. Ain’t on my agenda anymore.

But the thing is they all encourage me to go out. They all say “Gina, you need to go out.” “Go out and have fun.” “Have you tried online dating?” Yes. To all of that. I did have fun. I did go out. Most of the time I gave it a few hours then I was done. I had my time, and now it’s a new time. I don’t feel pressured, as I feel they’re just trying to look out for me. They want me to have a good life just as much as I’d like them to have the same. But I feel done trying to justify my indoor behavior these days. I can’t write in the club. Or maybe I could and become one of those mystery viral sensations. But I don’t see that happening.

The thing is, I actually did go out today. I took a stand for myself and hopped up onto my roof deck to write. I really love going up there. It’s quiet, there’s a good breeze, and there may be a chance to meet people up there. One time I was sitting up there and six of my neighbors appeared. They fed me booze as we chatted about life and living in New York. It was a very Manhattan moment. Today was another nice day. Autumn has arrived in the city, and the seasons have clicked over into place. I got a lot of writing done (which WordPress decided not to save and I lost over five hundred words), all while surrounded by the beautiful and unique New York City architecture. The buildings look like far-off summits of great mountaintops. There were thousands of people around me at any given moment, each with a million different stories to tell. It was my own spot of solitude, where I could feel like I was actually elsewhere, even as I stayed as close to home as possible. It was a perfect scenario, and I don’t need to justify it to anyone else.

The thing is, sometimes I feel like The Powers That (pretend to) Be want everyone to be like me. Confined to one living space, listening only to their orders, latched at the government teat with no need to go elsewhere. The difference is I chose this life rather than it being imposed upon me. I’d never do that to another person. I’d never want to force someone into doing exactly what I do. They should all be free to find whatever works for them. And this works for me. I need not burden myself by thinking I’m somehow wrong for doing this, especially when I’m creating so much inside. Whoever ‘they’ may be will never be able to keep me quarantined at their whims. The joke’s on, them, which I’ll explain shortly, and the audience is laughing harder and louder than ever before.

What I’ve Discovered

I decided to break the cycle a bit and grab some Chick-Fil-A. I’m already down eight pounds after more than a week on this diet. I have no idea how that happened, but that’s what the scale shows anyway. I know I’ve written about my aversion to outside foods, but I was feeling particularly lazy after my couch nap and decided to take a chance. I got the grilled nuggets. And guess what? They were inedible. I spit out half of them because that chemical taste was back. Sludgey grossness just hitting all corners of my mouth the moment I bit down. I don’t even know if this is Chick-Fil-A’s fault, either. Maybe a little bit, as all of it has to be processed in some way. But it really wasn’t good. It was a massive waste of money that has been staying put in my bank account since I stopped getting delivery and only began eating meat. The bad tastes aren’t there when I cook for myself. The only thing I still struggle with is bacon, which I wasn’t eating that much of before this switch anyway. But I think I really solidified to myself what a waste it is to ever go for the processed stuff ever again. Not as long as I still have no sense of smell, and probably not even after it returns (if ever).

This is the fault of the virus that ran rampant through all of our lives at one point. People want to tell you it’s the exact same threat it was two years ago, but I don’t believe that for a second. I want to move on from it, but it’s still front and center in my city. If you call New York’s 3-1-1, the first thing you hear is how you can get access to vaccines. I’ll get into my tryst with calling the helpline today, but it just goes to show you how overconsumed we still are for no reason. I’ve learned to live with no smell, why should I need a constant reminder of what took it from me?

Not to get all conspiracy-brained on you, but I knew something was fishy the moment I heard about this thing. Qassem Soleimani was killed January 3rd, 2020, the next day Phase One of the China Trade Deal was signed, and then one more day after that I first heard of Coronavirus. We were monitoring it the whole month, even asking pharmaceutical executives about it during that year’s Davos convention. Something seemed so off about it, like they were cooking up something big for all of us. Sure enough, two months later, the entire world was shut down. I never bought that it came from bats. I’m convinced it leaked from a lab. Who leaked it, or what coalition brought it to the global shores, well that remains to be seen.

Whoever ‘they’ are, they wanted to do something to harm us. And to some extent, they succeeded. But not in the way they had wished. Whatever was wrought upon us has woken us up to a point I don’t think they ever expected. I realized that today after I spit out nearly all the pieces of my delivery. Whatever Evil tries to do, it doesn’t take into account the unintended consequences of its actions. Because their virus took out my sense of smell, I can no longer stomach the processed foods they advertise to us and try to force us to eat. I’ve been tossed down a rabbit hole into finding other ways to optimize my health: I now only use fluoride-free toothpaste, paraben-free shampoos, conditioners, and deodorants, I’ve nixed tampons and opted for reusable pads, I mostly eat grass-fed organic meat, eat free-range eggs and so on and so on. I’ve got my own thing going now, and I truly believe they never anticipated that. They assumed we’d all just line up for our shots and trust everything they spoonfed us. And it was just not so.

I know understand that following the Evil will never net a win. It’s too careless in its cruelty. I may not be able to smell, but my bullshit detector never left. And many a consequence for these diabolical actions are coming soon. Bet they never saw that coming either.

What I Hope to Find

My ongoing battle against Manhattan’s covid testing tents lives on. I take the subway home from work now because I don’t want to see them anymore. They just make me angry. I wanted to walk home today because it was nice out, but changed my mind the moment I saw a testing tent right across the street from work.

I went up to the van and shouted to the kid inside, “Why are these still here?” He looked at me and just shrugged, almost looking defeated by my question.

“You don’t ask why?” Another shrug.

“It’s going to be October next week.” He just shook his head and shrugged again.

I don’t mean to take it out on these people. They’re just doing a job. One time two ladies allowed me to hop in one of the vans to take photos of the city licenses they were issued to set up shop. They’re legal, sure. But they’re still not right. I was burning with anger seeing four more tents on my ten-block taxi ride home, and decided to call 3-1-1 after settling in. I had made a formal complaint to the Health Department a month ago, and was promised a call back within two weeks. That never happened. So I called back and snarkily asked where my call was. 3-1-1 told me that when the two weeks pass, it’s out of their hands. So I said I’d like to put in another formal complaint and I expect a call back this time. I told them my name was Sofia Loren from Midtown and was asked for a comment in fifty words or less. Here’s what I said:

“Stop with the covid testing tents. You are ruining New Yorker’s mental health. Who’s getting paid for all this nonsense?”

I’m eagerly awaiting my call, but I’m praying I won’t see these fucking things after two more weeks. Either way, this is just another example of New York City leadership failing its people. There is no emergency. There is no pandemic. Yet The Powers That Be want to make everyone thing they’re still sick and that testing for a flu is necessary. I mean, if you don’t feel well, why would you go outside to get a test anyway? It’s so frustrating and stupid and if you don’t have testing tents on every other block you can’t know how maddening it is.

I hope to find an endpoint to all these senseless actions. I keep telling people things will be better “when all this is over.” Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m referring to, but I know this dystopian nonsense can’t last forever. I have more faith in people awake to all levels of bullshit than ever before. I just need to find the patience to endure it for a little bit longer. Going out in New York City can be good again. It’s about taking the right action to make it so.

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