A Newsletter, of Sorts

As R.E.M. would say, “it’s the end of the world as we know it,” but I don’t feel fine. I am fine; I’m healthy and safe and still employed and I should just be grateful because that’s more than a heck of a lot of people can say. But I’m allowed to be thrown off a bit, just like everyone else.

People keep asking each other what they’ve been up to in order to maintain their sanity and pass the time. I personally have been cold calling people, out of curiosity: how’s your apocalypse going? While I’m mostly doing it to catch up with loved ones, I’m also doing it to really make sure this is happening, that this isn’t all a weird dream or perhaps an acid trip. Unfortunately for me, these calls have been affirming that yes, our reality is quite truly f*cked up. But fortunately for me, I at least can commiserate over the phone with the unlucky individual who decided to actually pick up and talk to me.

I was chatting with one of my best friends, Blatz (Margaret Blatz) from boarding school the other day. She is wonderful for many, many reasons, but mostly for the reason that she always picks up when I call, and is always chipper and unfazed even if it’s been months.

She was telling me how a friend of hers has taken to sending out a daily “newsletter.” And by newsletter, she means an email blast of what she has done that day, during this weird-ass quarantine life we’re leaving. Blatz was like, “Slaico, you totally should do this. I mean, I’d read it if you did.” And since I was already contemplating how to revive this blog (it almost always seems to need revival), I thought what the heck. I could start doing a daily — well, maybe every other day — update on what I’m thinking about. It’s not like people read this much anyway, but maybe I can be a source of distraction or even entertainment right now? At least for myself.

So, some Slaico ponderings from the last 24 hours:

I thought I had 27 days to change my email password, but now I’m at 23. Is time actually slipping away from me?

I couldn’t help but feeling yesterday that I was in an absurdist play, such as Waiting for Godot. I work for the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and we were having a meeting with USA Archery about their logistics at the Olympic Games, as if a pandemic weren’t ravaging the world, as if the Games wouldn’t be postponed. I thought to myself, are we seriously planning for an event that we all know is not going to happen as scheduled? What are we doing here, people? On top of that, someone on the call asked, “If the Games get moved to 2021, what will they do with all of the apparel that says Tokyo 2020?” These are the important questions, clearly.

The lead singer of my favorite band did an hour-long Instagram live acoustic concert last night. The first song he played was my favorite of theirs: “Darkness Arrives (And Departs).” It’s a title that has really stuck with me; so much so that I would like to tattoo it on my arm, at the right time and place. Clearly that time and place isn’t now, but the message remains strong.

With everyone losing their minds, stuck indoors and hating their families, they’re probably turning to professional help, psychologists. Makes me wonder if I was actually mistaken for not pursuing that psychology degree beyond undergraduate…

This morning I listened to a lot of The 1975. I always have a microscopic laugh to myself when I recall that my old roommate, Mira, once asked if I listened to “The 1973”? Anyway, I digress. I was once again reminded of their song “Robbers,” and felt so emotionally affected that I couldn’t concentrate. It’s not the content of the song so much as just the sound of it and the associations I have with it. I listened to it often in the peak of my despair at boarding school — when my depression was making it nearly impossible to get out of bed. I didn’t listen to it for years, then heard it again this past fall, a time when I was also struggling emotionally. I felt myself breaking down hearing it in my kitchen while cooking dinner with one of my closest friends. That’s all.

Speaking of The 1975, I’m always affected by their song, “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes).” I often want to post its lyrics on here or on Instagram or somewhere, because I’d like others to listen to it. But then I worry that people will think I’m not OK if I love a song about always wanting to die (sometimes). I don’t literally want to die all the time, just to dispel that notion. Just like the song and the sentiment resonates.

Around midday, one of the sport psychologists at the Committee, Peter, held a mindfulness session for us. We sheepishly connected via video chat so we could all see each other trying to mellow out as our Olympic world was crashing down. I couldn’t really be mindful at all during the session; our corgi, Chowder, was barking, the internet guys had shown up to help my dad, my uncle was talking loudly, etc. But something Peter asked really did make me stop: “What do you want to stand for, during this time?” Of course, I want to stand for resilience and strength, I know it. But naturally, I’ve mostly been standing for wallowing, eating ice cream, and drinking beer.

My sister direct messaged me a Tweet earlier (1. That’s a thing? How does Twitter have my email to inform me this? 2. My Twitter is a joke, and I never use it) that said Massachusetts declared Dunkin’ an essential establishment. I don’t care if that’s true or not. That’s funny as hell. Thanks, sis.

So yeah, do with that what you will. Hopefully more to come? I mean hopefully for me, because I’m losing my mind. I don’t suspect you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting for more of this nonsense.

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