At the end of any major event or life transition, it is usually beneficial to take a few moments to reflect on what occurred, and how you’ve been affected by those occurrences. We have all been through an intense spring and summer, and while the coronavirus wave is just building, the quarantine and transition period stand as one of most important times in human history. The world is globalizing, technology is taking hold of society, and our way of life has been irreversibly altered in a profound way. As we move forward, it is important to make peace with the recent past and proceed with open hearts and eyes. Today, I reflect on my own experience with the hope that the conclusions I draw have relevance for my readers.
The three major aspects of my life that were most significantly affected by 2020s quarantine are romantic, professional, and political.
Politically, and as an American, I would have considered myself to be (more or less) libertarian, but while working as an editor and academic ghostwriter up through the beginning of the quarantine, I was shown a different side of the socio-political sphere. I also stopped believing in our democracy. It isn’t a democracy, at least not from a purist view. Much of the research that I was involved with focused on education (in a general sense) and public policy. Minority Rights. There aren’t such rights, or those rights are extremely limited (in terms of democracy) in states that are not swing states, unless the minority just so happens to align with the mentality of the political majority. So, get rid of the electoral college. I wrote a research paper on the topic in February or March, and at the time of writing, I rode the fence. Looking back, I’d go with abolish. It is what it is. As an academic, I believe that to really squeeze the juice out of any democracy, education on the system itself should be mandatory for voters. Annual state or county wide (federally funded) seminars online or in person, with mandatory proof of attendance. Watching Fox News or CNN is not the same as being presented an hour long refresher course on how the system works from an objective perspective. Many choose political alignment based on policy or social issues rather than core political constructs or an understanding of the long term impact of specific policy implementation, which is difficult for anyone to predict. I’ll bring the discussion back around to the socio-political situation in the US in a couple paragraphs, but Americans are oddly intolerant of their perceived state and federal or social oppressions and seem to me to take their relative freedom for granted when compared to people of other countries and foreign cities that lie in extreme proximity.
I lost two jobs during quarantine. Or at least two steady sources of income. Most of the work I do is contract based, and since universities and businesses shut down and started conserving resources, superfluous expenditures were cut, including contracts for writers and consultants. Since then, I’ve changed the way I see the socio-economic ladder. No matter how hard people try, the uncertainty of life can strike anyone at any time without warning. Money and success are not a static measure of a person’s worth. I never really thought they were, but potential can be expressed at any time and in a multitude of ways regardless of the circumstances leading up to those actions. Similarly, wealth can be fleeting and even the most successful people can be left destitute and helpless at any time. What they choose to do in that situation speaks more to their characters than what they choose to do when moderately successful. Inversely, the way that the extremely wealthy use their resources and spend their time can be a keen look into their true character.
I fell in love with a Mexican girl living south of the border on March 12th and the quarantine forced us to be each other’s worlds. The experience was both beautiful and incredibly difficult and allowed me to re-examine the things I consider important in any relationship. It also gave me the opportunity to fine tune the way I express love and affection. Being connected to someone in a foreign country also changed the way I see social issues in the US. The problems being faced in Mexico, especially along with the global pandemic in 2020 generally roll off the backs of Mexico’s citizens, especially when compared to the ways Americans handle their perceived adversity. This gets controversial. I watched the movie American Son with my quarantine love, and the point of the movie was entirely lost on her. The script follows the wealthy parents of a mixed black/white teenager who was accidentally shot and killed by police while they attempted to subdue the boy’s fleeing friend. Wrong crowd, poor choices. The film was shot on a small set, taking place in the beautiful living room of the family’s expensive Miami dwelling and the story aims to identify the dead youth as the “face of the race”. In Mexico, successful accountants are making 17000 pesos (800 dollars) a month and even having some of their benefits cut due to COVID. Their water (regardless of status) is being cut several days a week, and gunshots are a common sound in gated communities with spiked and razor wired 15 foot walls surrounding the homes. To watch the people I love live happily and put on karaoke parties despite their situation, rarely and if ever showing anything but gratefulness for what they do have, while Americans argue and whine about problems that have very little to do with actual political policy (mostly civil rights issues) during an election year (not to mention the rallies, riots, and raids) while the US government handles the situation far more graciously than others would ever dream elicits a feeling I don’t enjoy about the country I was born into. It makes me appreciate my government, but it makes me feel something entirely different about a large percentage of my countrymen. To think that civil war is potentially imminent in the US, racism is making a resurgence, and… I’d rather not continue the discussion. Watch the movie.
The love part of the summer was wild and untamed. There were fights and intense reunions. Despite it all, the connection that developed (and was found when we kissed on our first date) was never lost, and it reinforced my belief in a love that transcends circumstance, race and culture, and even the individuals themselves. It was something magic, unexplainable, and unexpected.
To conclude (though I’d prefer you make your own conclusions), it takes adversity to develop, and sometimes its good to give yourself a change in perspective. In perspective, the objects in the mirror are as far as they appear. And… the straw that breaks the camel’s back can inversely be the last push the camel needs to transform into something altogether different. Not all camels are created equal, and not all the objects you see in the mirror are even there.