A Quick Hello After a Long Absence

Yeah, that’s me

And then I decided, well, it’s been a while. The world has… gone batshit. Literally. And so perhaps I should return to this space and write things down every once in a while. Not for you. But for me. It might be nice to get my thoughts in order.

So that’s what I’m doing.

In March I lost my job. Well, if I really think about it, I lost it a long time before that, but that’s just a story about office politics and rather boring. But after 20 odd years at the same company I found myself free and it was liberating once I’d realized completely what had happened. The world was, well, batshit by then, and a part of me (and soon all of me) was relieved to not have to take part in trying to maintain an order that had so obviously failed.

This allowed me to think and write. I even spoke to some people about new (paid) work but nothing has come of it. Not yet.

I had been writing before the lay off and then once the lay off happened I really started writing a lot. My agent was already shopping one novel and I’d started writing a sequel to it. (For those asking the obvious question, my agent continues to shop the novel — the book industry, not functional at the best of times — is not immune to the inanity of the wider world.) And then once the sequel was done (it’s not done, but it’s advanced quite a few drafts) this other story (about the plague, yes, but also about alienation and tech and its savior complex) poured out of me and I got four (!) drafts done and I just sent that one to my agent as well (and all of you should be feeling a touch sorry for him by now). So I’ve been busy. In my own way.

But this plague, man.

The plague showed us what people are really like and while a lot of it was uplifting (hello front line workers), a lot of it…was not.

The nationalists couldn’t figure this out and made it worse (they always do because to be a nationalist is to be devoid of empathy and a health crisis cries out for competence but mostly for empathy). But they are not alone in their incompetence.

I have seen the cynicism politics is engendering in the world, especially among young people (ie: Generation Z) and I worry about that. I don’t blame them their cynicism. And now, with the plague, well, the world will feel this for a long time to come.

And then the fires and the hurricanes and the fact that even when the world was at a standstill we couldn’t bring down carbon emissions that much. Which points to the enormity of the work we have to do (and how little we’ve done so far).

I’m really concentrating on plastics, mostly in the water, but everywhere else as well. If one thing is going to get us it’s the plastics. In the future, archaeologists may well call this not the Anthropocene but the Age of Plastic (or carbon). Because we make a lot of it and then we throw it out. Plastic will outlive us. It is what will remain. The proof we were here.

I can’t watch the news. Just snippets of it. I especially can’t watch television news. It’s the voices. So I don’t listen to news on the radio either.

Having said that, it’s impossible to escape the news.

I am off Facebook. I haven’t deleted my account and I suppose at some point I will. But I am off. Hopefully I can wean myself off the entire ecosystem.

I am reading a lot of the chest thumping from those who built the social media ecosystem and now regret their choices. I have a big middle finger pointed in all their directions.

I’m also reading a lot, period. I should probably create a list of stuff I’ve read and watched. Speaking of watching…

I have now accepted the mediocrity of Netflix’s vision. The “throw stuff on the side of the barn and some of it will stick” curation of their offering. They have money, for now, and they’re willing to spend it. Same with the other streamers.

I rarely leave my neighbourhood. We went to the country over the summer a few times and swam in lakes. We hiked with the dog. I’ve been to adjacent neighbourhoods. But I haven’t been downtown in months. Probably since March. I’m not the only one. And it’s not entirely a bad thing (though it’s bad, don’t get me wrong). Walking is nice.

We ordered a lot of food and discovered some new ways to get our vegetables and seafood. We shopped locally. We’re lucky we live in a place where almost everything we need is available within a few blocks.

I cook more than I used to and I was already cooking a lot. Now the cooking process isn’t so rushed.

Time is elastic. For everyone who ever said “time is relative” you have been proven correct. Congratulations.

I drank a lot of White Claw this summer and I’m not ashamed to admit it (when I say I drank a lot I’m totally downplaying it).

I’m thankful pot is legal and easy to access.

I am lucky and thankful that my family is healthy.

I hope yours is as well. See you soon.

Writer. Complainer. I drink bourbon. I have edited media, worked in content and branding and strategy, and chances are I’ll do those things again. @arjunbasu

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