COVIDiaries part 11

I had trouble writing here last week. It felt icky writing about my life as if people aren’t suffering. That this is the most “elite” I’ve ever felt. I have a secure job that pays me well and where I’m treated really well in a city with great delivery services.

I want to acknowledge the suffering of others, but I can’t even really get my arms around it. I read these stories about workers at Amazon or Tesla being worked into physical disability and then thrown away or New York subway workers being told they can’t wear masks to work and being coughed on by passengers and dying. I read 10% of American workers have been laid off and 30% have had their hours reduced. Kim Kelly is doing this thing where she talks to people who’ve been fucked over by their employers in coronavirus bullshit and I support it on Patreon. I’ve read a few of the posts but these are anecdotes. I want the overview. How many people are suffering, how are they suffering, who’s suffering, why?

What percentage of American are having to work “essential jobs” without sick leave or adequate protection? What percentage of Americans are normally employed in sadistic, backbreaking labor camps overseen by unfeeling robots that track how many boxes they move in an hour until their bodies literally give out? Not all low-wage, low-education, low-skill jobs are shit. Some employers treat their employees pretty well, even if they’re not super well-paid.

I literally don’t know anyone with a shit job. I know people who don’t make a lot of money. But everyone I know is white-collar or some kind of artist, sex worker, performer, bartender, barista, or some combination thereof. Even though I’m literally classified as low-income in San Francisco, I have never felt more coastal elite.

It’s wild to me given how I grew up. I was telling Quarantine Buddy, aka Quarantine Bae, aka QB that my mom helped run the Bus Ministry at my church. This meant every Saturday we’d get up at the butt crack of down and meet the other Bus Ministry volunteers, usually at McDonald’s or Hardy’s. And we’d divide up the routes. And each of us would take candy to kids who might want to come to church but who couldn’t reliably get a ride and ask them if they needed a ride tomorrow. And then we’d get them Sunday mornings. Starting, again, and I cannot stress this enough, at the asscrack of dawn. I did not grow up wealthy, by any stretch. In school I was often the kid without the right jacket/shoes/whatever everyone was wearing. But seeing the insides of the various shacks and trailers that we visited gave me perspective.

I don’t have that now. I don’t have that perspective.

I mean, I walk by people in dire poverty every day since I live in the Tenderloin. But that doesn’t tell me anything about the American workforce.

Knowing how far in the weeds to operate is a really tricky question. You can tell when someone is in too deep in one direction. The poverty policy analyst who has some misapprehensions or blind spots that talking to a few poor people would easily clear up. Or the poverty activist who has really strong opinions on what to do that are accurate for the part of the story they have personal, direct experience with but indicate the person doesn’t understand the bigger systems. For me, it’s easy and fun to engage with ideas. It’s hard and wrenching to engage with suffering on the ground.

So I feel I’m not doing a great job of engaging with suffering and it makes me self-conscious about writing about my life when I know a lot of people are suffering a lot and I don’t know much about it.

But, while we’re here. My quarantine is going okay. Last week I was less disciplined than when it began. I walked and lifted less. I ate more sugar and drank more alcohol. I felt anxious about a looming recession. I’m in marketing. We’re usually the first to go.

But the weekend helped me reset. Which is good since SF is locked down through May.

Things with QB are amazing.

We did a variation on orgasmic meditation which I cannot recommend highly enough. It’s funny. He offered, and I demurred. I was tired. I was very high. We continued watching Stephan’s Big Awakening (which is how OM came up in conversation). And he just started, kinda, doing it. First over my shorts. Then moving his fingers inside the leg. And after a few minutes of that, when he offered again, I was like, okay.

It was kind of challenging at times. I didn’t know how much to instruct. I felt self-conscious here and there. But I also felt at ease. It took a weight off knowing he’d already agreed to 15 minutes. So I didn’t need to worry about how long this should go or whether he was bored or wanted to be doing something else. I didn’t feel like I needed to be giving.

At the end I felt really silly for having said no the first time. I felt closer to him and it felt like we knew each other better. He told me he thought I needed it. Like because I’m always so generous in bed, having this time set aside for me helps even things out. Which of course I found endlessly flattering.

I’d love to know in the comments, what is quarantine like for you? How locked down is your city/state? What’s the best part and the worst part? What do you wish government (at any level) would do differently? Is there anything you want to know about SF quarantine I’m not writing about? Muah!

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