May 31st, 2021 at 3:15 AM by Kugee
One day, I did my usual round of meeting up with some of my relatives again. We had some more talks as I was eating my lunch, and it goes without saying that it was a pretty nice day. Even then, something I hoped I could brush off kept creeping into my mind as it did with many other people. What was this new virus that surfaced? Is it really that brutal? Am I going to have to hide away for the next two years because of this?
I left their house with a fairly normal goodbye, only change we made was to do a bow instead of the usual hug. I came back home and descended into my usual workspace once again, wondering if I was really gonna be up for the task of self-containment so as to protect others a little more.
That was 15 months ago.
Here I am now, still stuck in that same spot I was back then. It seems like such a simple order - stay at home, wait until you're in the clear. It most certainly was for me, being in the position I'm at. I've only ever left the house three times, and all those times I did were to get vaccinations, one for seasonal flu and two more for SARS-CoV-2. I guess I did my job well, but...
...the effects this prolonged isolation has had on me are hard to describe. I could go a lot of the days without thinking much about it, but every now and then I'd find myself just losing my sanity from not having anywhere to go. The first few months were the worst, as I found myself questioning if I was even going to survive this ordeal, especially when a lot of other people seem to have little regard for pandemic protocol. We're now approaching 600,000 deaths in the United States alone, a number I couldn't have ever thought of to stem from one entity and its many duplicates over here.
The politicization of this virus has only made things even more of a hellscape, and it most certainly does not help that I was still paying close attention to politics back then. Gonna have to write about that as well when I can (spoiler: both sides are at fault). Having taken more steps to withdraw from the subject at large, I'm able to see more clearly just how fucking ugly the last five years have been.
Sin Comes in the Form of Pleasure
Even as things were leveling out, I found myself thinking about ideas I hoped not to touch on, like... eating pizza. It sounds normal to do just that, of course, but I had sworn to get off of the junk that was fattening me for the longest time, and I kept up a passable workout habit. I was shocked to hear from a few other people that I actually looked healthy, given I hadn't paid much attention to my weight as I was making dietary changes. Is the temptation for a greasy slice of pepperoni really that strong, or is it something else at play here? Okay, my diet really doesn't vary much, but there's another factor to it.
Perhaps it's not so much the warm, saucy pizza and the flavorful lemonade that got me into a trance as it is the experience of getting out there to have someone hand it over to me right at the cash register. Really, I never thought I would end up thinking so much about a place as bland as a selection of convenience stores, a pizza franchise, and a strip mall. Was this really our culture, just to go a bunch of places to consume bad goods? Yes, and we loved it. When it came to a little bike trip on a hot summer day, a stop at 7-Eleven was the thing to top it all off.
It's those surroundings I've come to know that I never thought I would come to appreciate this much. A bunch of those small, insignificant places that get thrown into a "we live in a boring dystopia" album... now more than ever do I miss them. I hate myself for thinking this way given the effort I've made to step out of the ritual of consuming all those slices and knowing the wonders that's done for my body, but that's what happens when you've been stuck down here for this long. Thankfully I never bothered to get a pizza delivered to me, but I guess what it really boils down to is reflecting on everything I've lost both inside and out of the COVID era... but even then, it's not like this is gonna wear off on me immediately.
IT IS GONE
Really, I don't think I've ever been looking back on things this much until now. You've heard these things happening before somewhere, haven't you? Divorce, getting screwed by employers, foreclosure... it's all there, and it came together only a little bit into the turn of the last decade. I lost every last shred of my innocence I was hanging onto once I was knee deep in junior high school. While I have more space to work with now than I did before, I'm still in a crunched down condo instead of an actual house. It's nowhere near as bad as going homeless, but still, a lot is left to be desired here.
Even at home, I find myself becoming homesick at times, mainly because something just tells me this isn't really my home; I just ended up here after a chain of nasty events. I guess it's just another one of those things that everyone complains about from time to time, but to move back to where I left would be the dream. I hate condos; sure, the low maintenance requirement is nice, but they're a lot more regulated and crammed in, and the regular fees rub me the wrong way even when the whole thing's put against the higher upfront cost of a single family home. Razorback to expand its regular scope of articles to real estate in 2022, says founder and CEO Kugee.
Pretty much all of the 2010's was a trainwreck. Even in the latter half when things looked like they would get better once I got out of school once and for all, a bunch of other shit kept popping up, and I haven't ever gotten myself in the right position I'd want. I still say making YouTube videos wasn't worth it in the long run, it all detracted from the programming I wanted to do!
Just the usual isolation drivel, I guess...
On the Flipside...
Even with all that I've lost, I've still managed to gain a little bit of my old self back, and in turn, make a lot of new things that I didn't think I would ever get to see. I started drawing and programming quite a bit more last year, and I found myself compelled to make a website that would be accessible on old browsers. I was amazed to see how well received it was when it launched. Almost immediately, people were sending me tons of screenshots of my site running in their old browser on their old hardware.
Suddenly there's this new energy around my peers for the old net, and just this month I've started hosting several more sites alongside my own. I'm proud to have given this opportunity to offer dual HTTP/HTTPS hosting for my friends when most free hosting services absolutely refused to do so. It really brings greater meaning to this endeavor and myself as a whole, something that making 200 videos could not ever accomplish over the last seven years.
Surely I'll get there eventually, fulfilling my dream of making a couple of DOS games respectively for 16-bit and 32-bit platforms, and getting back into that house my family was booted from. I think I might be getting closer, it's just a matter of permanently emptying the video backlog. One thing's for sure, in just a week from now I'll be all set to get back outside and reclaim what I had been missing for so long.
I just hope that I never have to go through something like this again, because I don't think I could take another round of self-quarantine. We have the knowledge and wisdom to prevent a pandemic from happening, and the science to stop what's run loose dead in its tracks. Can we please make better use of it all? It's not normal to be stuck in a basement for around 440 days!
The end of this is gonna be like stepping out of Vortex Rikers...