How can I be bored and anxious?
2020, hell year, manages to deliver two contradictory emotions at the same time.
I’m bored because I’ve lost my social life. All the meetups, happy hours and coffee with friends that I assumed would go on forever because why wouldn’t they? Trump couldn’t fuck things up so badly to impact my life, right?
I live in a city because I like being busy. I like having things to do and see. A typical week might see me be social at:
- WordPressDC: I’d always learn something new at this monthly meetup (this blog runs WordPress) and there was free beer and pizza.
- Friday Coffee Club: Sometimes I’d drag myself out of bed on a Friday morning to wake up at Friday Coffee Club, a biking meetup at Swing’s. Scores of bikes would park out front at this shop near the White House.
- #BikeDC Happy Hour: If I missed FCC, I could go to this monthly happy hour for cyclists. Some of my fondest memories come from sitting inside with bike friends at Velo Cafe, a combination bike shop/cafe (which is sadly no more).
- Post-Soccer Coffee: I used to play soccer with people on Saturday mornings. Afterward, we’d stop at Fresh Baguette in Georgetown for croissants and to talk politics. Over coffee, my foreign friends would warn me that dictatorship could happen here too. I didn’t believe them.
- Bars: I was teleworking long before covid-19 forced America to adopt the work from home lifestyle. At the end of a day in front of a computer, I want to go out. I want to see and hear people (which is great research if you write books), even if it’s just having an Old Fashioned at McCllellan’s Retreat.
All of the above is gone or, at the very least, curtailed.
And, thanks to the internet, there’s a vast network of computers, fiber, and satellites to bring you anxiety-inducing news with just the press of a button.
My anxieties include:
- Covid, Covid, Covid: I worry about friends and family. I fret over the state of the country and what the pandemic is doing to the less fortunate. Since Trump has throttled the CDC, we’re left on our own to determine if ordinary activities are safe. If I go into this Starbucks, will I get covid?
- The Election: I doomscroll before dawn, my phone alight in the darkness, scrolling through Twitter, trying to figure out what the election result will be. The nation cannot afford another catastrophe like 2016.
- Post-Election: If the result is close, will there be riots in the streets? Will Trump send in his little green men and take power? If the unthinkable occurs, what do I do? Leave the country?
I count the days to the election. I savor the little moments, like having a beer with a friends, socially distant and outside. I run to my happy place in the woods of Rock Creek Park. I read books, like the excellent Station Eleven, and buy them locally from Kramers. I take action, like voting early and donating to the Democratic Party.
Boredom and anxiety. It’s a helluva combination. But when confronted with a problem like 2020, mere survival is enough.