THE NEW ABNORMAL
One of the kids (probably Micah) asks for my phone.
Before I can even reach for it, Peppa Pig is introducing us to George.
Mummy pig loves muddy puddles…
For a moment — a very brief one, but a blissfully sweet one — I am completely oblivious to our new reality.
That moment abruptly ends.
And so does my will to get this day started.
The babysitter is not dead yet.
There is a God.
The stock market is crashing. Again.
I’m not rich enough to be impacted by spikes in the VIX.
But I was banking on my dad to be.
So I guess I’m kinda screwed by default.
Open Twitter. Again.
Plus a few thousand.
Plus a few new flags.
Plus a few press conferences.
Trump says something.
The market crashes. Again.
The kids start “school.”
Poor teachers. Poor kids.
Zoom may work for corporate conference calls.
But these kids are like undomesticated animals.
They’re barely manageable in a classroom.
I give the schools an E for effort, but who are we kidding?
While my kids stare blankly at other kids staring blankly, I catch up on my reading.
Which consists of multiple WhatsApp chats.
Recycling the same wisecracks.
Toilet paper memes.
Show-off homeschoolers and their adorable little schedules.
I’m not buying all these minute-by-minute mommy-of-the-year schedules.
But then again, I’m an asshole.
My downtown AA meeting has moved to Zoom.
I’m not loving the Zoom thing.
I spend most of the meeting clicking on profiles and then Googling their names to find out who are the celebrities and who are the nobodies.
Lots of discovery; not much recovery.
I keep checking Twitter expecting some game-changing development.
Like — JUST KIDDING! April fools!
But all I get are infographics that look like planet earth has the chicken pox.
More press conferences.
More travel bans.
More WhatsApp banter.
Is it bedtime yet?
My kids are starting to lose it.
I already gave up on whatever plans my wife optimistically devised.
I haven’t gotten dressed in three days.
I’m wearing sweatpants – commando – and UGG slippers.
Commando in UGGS and the babysitter not being dead are the only silver linings.
But I take my current state of mind and multiply it by days and weeks and months and it’s right about now that the fan gets completely splattered by the insanity of this new reality.
I text my wife and my parents and my siblings in a barely coherent panic — I know, I know, I know, the Holocaust was worse, and my grandparents lived under rocks for ten years, and people are dying everywhere — but my amygdala has hijacked my prefrontal cortex, so all rational mitigation just resonates as gibberish. Let my amygdala have its moment, and then we can civilly talk about the Holocaust to your heart’s delight. Deal?
I walk outside for the first and last time of the day.
My momentary relief transforms into grief as I recall that I have absolutely nowhere to go.
So I walk back inside.
And try unsuccessfully to utilize the restroom.
I’m running out of ways to justify my existence.
I text my wife.
Nothing to say.
I think that’s the problem.
I feel like a stray dog.
I try to rub my chaos off on her stability.
She has a normal job.
A normal structure.
A normal brain.
But that’s no excuse.
Misery needs company.
She ghosts me.
It’s almost bedtime.
The highlight of my day!
And perhaps my month.
I can change out of pajamas into pajamas.
Oblivion is on the horizon!
I think my wife ran away from home.
So how was everybody’s day?
This all feels so strangely unifying and demoralizing simultaneously.
The kids need structure.
They need social contact.
They need sane parents.
None of which are in the cards for the foreseeable future.
Judaism is kinda on hold until further notice.
So I keep repeating “Jesus.”
To no avail.
We place (= throw) the baby into the crib.
Three to go.
Movie night = movie fight.
We threaten to revoke Netflix privileges if they can’t agree on a movie.
But considering Netflix is our only activity until 2022, this threat is as pathetic as it is empty.
The stock market closed.
But I keep checking it anyway.
Dad: are we poor?
I’m really not in the mood to be poor.
My wife is always too tired.
And I’m never tired enough.
Nothing on Netflix.
Nothing on Twitter.
The memes are getting old.
And I’m hungover from boredom.
But tomorrow’s another day.
A carbon clone of today.
And though my head is still spinning —
This is just the beginning.