Space is a cosmic wasteland that invites strange instances that we may not be equipped with enough senses to understand. But despite that fact, humans are a species gifted with cognition and the motivation to explore. Whether it’s to the depths of the oceans or to the far reaches of interstellar travel. When NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifted off in late May and jettisoned to the heavens, many onlookers saw that as a wise choice in a time like this. But I’m not ready to buy a condo on Mars just yet.
Everyone anticipated this year to be the start of something great to usher in the new decade. It was just a change that nobody saw coming. 2019 seemed to be overall a pretty good year and then the start of 2020 was like drinking orange juice right after brushing your teeth. Within the first month, it felt like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse had arrived having taken the form of threats of World War III, Australian wildfires, Kobe Bryant’s passing, and a virus that has tainted my appetite for a certain pale lager. Since then each month has been a Christian Bale body transformation different from the last one. We have tripped into a timeline so strange I wouldn’t be surprised if they started airing The Twilight Zone on the History Channel.
The virus surge destroyed so many lives by its ability to spread under the radar which caused a ripple effect that shook socio-economic foundations. The bear market has had a lot of companies and small businesses play dead by suspending their services for an extended period of time. Hospitals across the nation continue to hit capacity and medical workers continue to risk contamination in order to save lives. Millions have lost their jobs while work has become remote except for delivery drivers in their autonomous offices.
The best thing I can do is just stay at home. I feel like the background character in someone else’s disaster movie. Bruce Willis is preventing an asteroid impact while I’m in my man cave binging anime. I also still don’t believe the idea behind hiring blue-collar oil drillers to go into space instead of teaching astronauts to learn oil-drilling techniques, as pointed out by Ben Affleck in his Armageddon commentary. By that logic should we get Gordon Ramsay to help scientists cook up a vaccine for us? Because the hydroxychloroquine is f*cking rubbish. And I also believe that the main reason cases have been going up recently is obvious: we stopped hoarding toilet paper. Think about it. Whenever toilet paper is back on the shelves is when the numbers are the highest.
Anyways back to myself since that’s the main concern of the world. I’m currently fortunate enough to have the resources to not be struggling financially or medically under these critical conditions as so many other people are in this country. This has in effect provided me with a lot of time and a lot of boredom. I am the same age as Isaac Newton when he had to quarantine from the Great Plague and he came out of it having invented calculus. Although I haven’t been productive enough to invent a sequel to calculus, which I call Calculus: Reloaded, I have been able to get to know myself better over the course of the year. I’m someone that feels like they benefit in social settings so I had to shift my value system in order to maintain a sense of purpose. It’s not always easy and continues to be a work in progress. Some days I felt like the Dalai Lama while on other days I felt like Dolly the Sheep; strange and not meant to live for very long. I have consumed more Taco Bell in lockdown than I have my whole life and have found myself being addicted to Call of Duty once again meaning that I have reverted back to my 13-year-old self. My cherry has fully grown back and is starting to sprout branches. Whenever I pass by the beer section at the grocery store and see the packs of Coronas I think to myself “you’re the reason there was no basketball on my birthday.”
I’ve gotten to know myself more in the moments I sit and stare out into space. I’ve read more than I ever have in my life and have been keeping up with at-home bodyweight exercises. Really investing into the prison lifestyle. I learned the beginning of Roses by Outkast on piano. I’ve picked up Spanish, made writing a daily habit, and started meditating often. I’m not gonna be making Calculus 2: Judgement Day anytime soon. The least I’m gonna do is come out of this better than I went in. Or at least not worse. That’s also how I see the outcome of our collective society. As much ugliness can be revealed by recordings of police brutality and mishandled leadership response to a pandemic, there is an overwhelming sense that people are working for what’s best for each other. I’m happy to be seeing more activism posts on social media instead of people pretending it’s not their hundredth brunch boomerang. There are people alive today that were alive during the Great Depression that we spent time learning about in our classrooms. In the future when virtual lectures are beamed into electrical learning cocoons, humans will learn about how strong enough we were to overcome 2020. Or maybe the future is bleak and our problems are cute in comparison; flooded coastlines, solar storms, President Kanye West having a second term. Put your right hand over your heart. Ready. Begin. “Poopy-di scoop….”
I’ve decided to see the good in this situation. Albert Einstein had a philosophy that the most important question a person has to ask themselves is if they live in a friendly universe or a hostile universe. Whatever you choose to believe you attract. I saw a headline recently and decided to turn it into a phrase. It rains diamonds on Neptune. What is best for you may not be exactly where you expect it to be.