The good news is that computer is finally here!
The bad news is that it’s just now got here. I am sorry, we are looking at Monday for Ryder.
I wanted to tell you about my Mom. She has been dead for over a decade now, but I still miss her.
My grandparents had a garden and they used to let me sell apples for them. I was very cute and I sold a lot. My mom found out and put a stop to this. It was not appropriate behavior. She told me people would look down on me because I sold things. I couldn’t understand it. We had extra apples. If I sold apples, we would get money. My eight year old brain had really hard time with the peculiarities of life in Soviet Russia. 🙂
Thirty some years later, behold, my empire of books which I shamelessly sell. Muhahahaha!
Since very early age, partially from selling apples, I discovered that I was a very good bargainer. I can and will haggle. My mother grew up in the planned economy of Soviet Union, where the cheese in the store by the house was $5 a kilo – I don’t remember the price of cheese, don’t hold me to it – and the price of cheese in the store on Voroshilovskii Prospect was $5, and the price of cheese at Central market on Budenovskii, 8 trolley stops away, was still $5. Someone somewhere decided that that’s what the cheese was worth in our city. End of story.
When Soviet Union collapsed, my mother would go to the market and come home green in the face, because she bought cucumbers for $1 a kilo and on the way out she saw them for 50 cents. It would cause her no end of grief. It wasn’t the fifty cents, it was that she felt like a complete failure. Can you imagine the anxiety of someone suddenly having to bargain shop after never before doing it in her entire life?
That’s when I learned that people have different pressure points.
Right now everyone is very stressed out.
We all have a reason to be stressed out. First, there is the plague. It’s killing people. In Texas, 54,509 people are sick. And that’s only those who bothered to get diagnosed. We are having basic goods shortages: toilet paper, cleaning supplies, meat. People are losing jobs. People have trouble paying their rent and mortgage. Kid 1’s boyfriend has been driving to Austin every three days looking for his unemployment check, which is not showing up. We’re not going to even go into politics right now.
This is some awful crap.
This situation affects everyone in different ways. For example, goods shortage doesn’t bother me one bit. The moment China went into lock down, a switch flipped in my brain that said, “We are going to go into lock down. We are going to have shortages. We are now in Russia.”
I can do Russia. I’ve stood in block-long lines to get sugar and toilet paper before. I have a frame of reference to handle this. My kids are the same because they grew up with me. When we couldn’t find the sensitive skin detergent for Gordon, Kid 1 made her own from ingredients. It smells nice and it’s cheap.
A friend of mine panicked. She has never dealt with shortages. She has never baked bread from scratch. I don’t think she has ever baked anything from scratch, actually. Every time she has to shop for something and the grocery store informs her that item is not available, she experiences spikes of anxiety. This is her own personal hell.
People have different pressure points.
I told you that shortages don’t bother me, right? You know what bothers me? Covid. I have enough education in biology to understand the magnitude of this and I have attacks of hypochondria. They are severe. It’s not fun. I worry about the kids, about Gordon, about friends across the country, about colleagues in New York, about Navajo Nation…
The friend I mentioned who has anxiety about food shortages? Doesn’t bother her at all. I will sit there and agonize because Kid 2 has to go to the bank in person and she is like, “I let the kids go to the neighbor’s yard to play.” I think she is crazy. But her anxiety makes her just as miserable as my anxiety makes me.
Another thing I worry about. Kid 1 is preparing to take her certification exams and she will have to look for a job. Almost everyone she knew from the previous courses who went on to get a job has been fired. They were the new hires and the first to be dumped. She worked so hard and now there are no prospects. Right now someone who is reading this might be in danger of getting evicted. Everyone has their own worries. Everyone’s worries make them miserable.
The point I am trying to make is that the times are grim. They might get grimmer for a little bit. Let’s try to cut each other a bit of extra slack. I know it’s hard because some days are pure shit and then you see a comment that was clearly written by an epic idiot.
But still, let’s try to be kind.