Remember about two years ago when the customer was always right and no matter what you had to swallow your anger and apologize to them or risk losing your job?
Is that still true? Was it ever really?
In quarantine, I for one have become brutally honest with myself and as a result, with others in my life. I find them to be brutally honest in return. I like it! It’s a fresh take on life!
However, anyone who’s job depends on pleasing people knows you can’t ever really be honest.
In my job, we have this idea that you can’t use the word “No”.
Example: “I’ll take a half caff cappuccino with a chocolate drizzle.”
‘We’re at an event in the middle of a fucking open field in butt fuck county, you preordered your entire meal and have an itinerary that clearly says coffee or tea right there in front of you, you’ve been coming to this same event for years now, when have we ever had any kind of machine that will make anything other than shit coffee or hot water!?’
That’s what I would like to say but it ends up being, “We don’t have an espresso machine but I’d be happy to bring you some fresh brewed coffee or a wide assortment of teas?”
I can’t stomach the thought of doing this now that I know what actually matters to me. I will have to though if I want to be gainfully employed.
Anyone else in this boat? How are you even coping with the thought?
I often wonder if we ever really learn anything as a global society. Or even a local one for that matter. I’d like to think we do but researching past pandemics it seems like we don’t or it takes hundreds even thousands of years.
Of all the things capable of killing massive amounts of people, wars, regular old age, human negligence nothing is as scary as a worldwide pandemic. It can’t be stopped without everyone working together for a common goal before it gets overwhelmingly devastating. History and basic human nature leads me to believe that just won’t happen (I still have the tiniest sliver of hope that it actually can).
I found a list of pandemics, because I’ve unfortunately had the time. I expected Covid 19 to be at the top. Maybe that’s my very human shortsightedness showing. It’s actually number nine. NINE!
I won’t bore you or myself with my assessment of how this got to be so out of control here in the U.S. Like, not disclosing how bad this thing was so people wouldn’t go and do something crazy like cancel expensive travel plans, sell stocks or anything else that would harm the economy.
Let’s look at two other pandemics higher on the most morbid list of all time and you can draw conclusions on any similarities you find. I found a lot.
The “Spanish” Flu 1918 – 1920 #2
Should we call it that? Killed 17-100 million people worldwide. Most have settled on 50 million deaths.
Wikipedia says: The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 influenzapandemic, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. Lasting from February 1918 to April 1920, it infected 500 million people – about a third of the world’s population at the time – in four successive waves.
Four waves? Which one are we on now? This gives COVID 19 hope of climbing the death toll ladder. COVID 19 would like to thank a lack of hindsight!
You might think this virus began in Spain. There’s actually no evidence of that. It’s called that because the US censored news publications from reporting on the gravity of the illness in a misguided attempt to maintain national morale in a post World War I America. They did not however, prohibit news publications from reporting on a deadly virus running rampant in neutral Spain.
There were cases there as well as Germany, France and the U.K. all of which had cases, a month after the U.S. Not surprisingly, the Spanish press dubbed this virus as the “French” flu. It’s easier to bury your head in the sand when you can blame someone else. We can live safely there.
Well, not for long.
Many believe the virus came from soldiers returning from the war and the virus effected mostly young thought to be healthy people and the elderly. The first wave was similar to the seasonal flu and infected people more than killed them. Fever, chills, nausea, diarrhea….
The second wave was often coupled with bacterial pneumonia which proved to be quick and deadly. Symptoms such as skin discoloration. It’s described as two mahogany patches above the cheek bones which makes me wonder if medical journals at the time bothered to record symptoms in black people. It ends with bleeding from the mouth, nose and ears. If that happened, you were dead within a matter of days.
This pandemic lasted two years. As you can see from the picture at the top of this post, there were anti maskers, people who just refused to believe this was a reality which I’m sure prolonged this thing longer than it should’ve. Not to mention wishy washy public policy and a particularly cold and wet climate that year.
The Justinian Plague #3 541AD – 549AD
The Justinian plague, or as the locals called it plague of Justinian, was named after Byzantine ruler Justinian I. It killed somewhere in the ballpark of 15-100 million. It’s not given the prestigious world wide pandemic title, it’s thought to have devastated only Europe and Asia. It wiped out 25-60% of that population. Nothing to sneeze at.
Wikipedia says: The Plague of Justinian or Justinianic Plague was the beginning of the first plague pandemic, the first Old World pandemic of plague, the contagious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis.
This was the OG bubonic.
Well, you have to start somewhere and what better place than the Byzantine empire. King Justinian dealt with the staggering amount of deaths by raising taxes. Why? Because the workers that were building his many buildings and statues kept dying. He was like, fuck if I’m not building that monument in my honor! Nero played the violin while Rome burned, Justinian threw a financial temper tantrum and made everything worse. He even held family members accountable for any debt left behind by plague victims. Then those people died, other family members owed both debts, then those people died, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Justinian couldn’t catch a break!
There isn’t much recorded about this plague but there are some writings from historian Procopius. He wrote that as many as 10,000 people a day were dying in Constantinople. Funeral rites couldn’t be kept up with and there was no room to store the dead. According to him, bodies were just piled in the streets giving the city a deathly stench.
All the while, Justinian sat in his castle, shaking his fist.
Procopius described neurological symptoms of the disease. Delirium, hallucinations as well as the death of limbs.
Procopius was so dissolutions with Justinian that in his writing, Secret History, he claimed that someone had seen Justinian in demon form late at night.
And some of those who have been with Justinian at the palace late at night, men who were pure of spirit, have thought they saw a strange demoniac form taking his place.
Contemporary scholars have decided that the disease came from Egyptian rats that stowed away on trade ships and feasted in granaries, which Constantinople had plenty of. It’s Egypt’s fault.
Number one is given to The Black Death, 1346 – 1353 AD. Bubonic plague the sequel. The one everyone talks about. The one with the horrifying masks?
I won’t get into that here because I don’t have the stomach for it.
There’s a strange comfort in looking into these past tragedies if for nothing more than getting myself out of the “this is the worst thing that’s ever happened” mindset I’ve sat alone with since March 2020.
Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear your assessment of this situation as it relates to history!
I discovered this you tube channel, Special books by special kids, completely by accident.
I wasn’t searching to be informed, but I was anyway.
So glad I kept up with this series.
This guy goes around and interviews people with psychiatric disorders and neurological conditions in an attempt to humanize them.
So often they’re not. Their experiences are glazed over and watered down in TV and films because as you’ll hear the man in this interview say, no one really wants to know.
I know this for a fact. I used to see a therapist with my glasses off so I wouldn’t see the flinching on their faces when describing particularly horrible experiences. Admittedly, this was more so I could distance myself from those things.
This particular interview is of Daniel. A schizoaffective US army veteran with CPTSD.
Here is a description of schizoaffective disorder:
A mental health condition including schizophrenia and mood disorder symptoms.
Schizoaffective disorder is a combination of symptoms of schizophrenia and mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder. Symptoms may occur at the same time or at different times.
CPTSD stands for Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a mental health condition in which a person might experience intense PTSD symptoms that coincide with other mental issues. CPTSD occurs in people who have been subjected to ongoing traumatizing experiences.
He describes his experience of forced hospitalization and experience in general. There’s a previous video, the initial interview, which you can find easily and many more on this excellent channel.
Belle allows herself to be touched while she waits for Sammy to join.
Belle is rethinking her decision to allow the touching.
Hi! I might have to keep this short!
Are you ok? Sorry, I’m purring. I allowed a back of neck scratch.
That’s fine. I’m waiting for an escort.
I don’t know what that is.
An escort? I’m gonna be moving around. I reeaally have to go to the box!
Oh yeah, you like a human to go with you. I keep forgetting that because it scares me a little.
Okay, well, it’s what I need! Alright? Your highness!?
Whoa, whoa whoa! No need for name calling!
Pretty judgey for a cat that randomly allows humans to touch her for no reason!
What!? No I don’t! Human! You there!! Do I allow you to touch me anytime you want!? Human!! Answer me!!!!
Hi Belle! It’s Harry! Sammy went to the box with a human. How come you’re yelling?
Sammy accused me of allowing humans to touch me whenever!
Try doing this. It means, don’t touch me. This is Harry.
Okay, but I don’t do that so….. you know what? This blanket is very very soft. It reminds me of something…….
A soft something? Can I have it!?
No, never, it’s actually all mine. Hey, Harry? Can you tell Sammy I’ll call her back?
I’m back. Sorry that took so long. I got my escort but she didn’t scoop the pee right away. Had to go and lead her back in.
I forgive you.
Okay, I’m really tired. Been awake for minutes!
I get it. I just moved back to this carpet so I’m going to sleep too. Talk soo…….
Sammy accidentally ends the conversation with one of her feet while circling her nap spot
You rock the boat. Everything was fine until you got here.
Everyone accepted what was given to them. They might’ve asked a question or two but didn’t follow up.
But you! You asked questions from the moment you got here and you wouldn’t shut up! You wanted “answers”, you wanted what’s “right”.
Just be grateful to be here! You get what you get and you don’t get to complain!!
Fine! Be that way! You can take all the heat for everything that goes wrong! You want to speak up? You better be ready to handle whatever comes your way!
We’ll make you feel like the problem you are! You might’ve thought you had allies, watch and see how they scatter when voices are raised and tempers are flared! We’ve trained these people to fall in line, to accept what’s been given.
Let’s see how loud you are when we bring the hammer down. On you and you alone! We’ll make shit up!
We’ll interrogate and imply, never accuse, that would be too easy! You’ll want to cry! Hopefully you do so we can point at you, prove how “unstable” and “difficult” you really are!
What have you got to say now!?
Me? Just this…. YOU MESSED WITH THE WRONG FUCKING ONE!!!!!!
I’m at a social event and I touch a pretty young woman on her back. She bats my hand away so I grab her face and kiss her on the cheek.
What’s her problem? Why is she upset? It’s affection? Does she hate affection? Sorry I’m so nice and loving!
A man put his hand on the small of my back. I was shocked! My body stiffened when he touched me! I slapped his hand away. He smiled at me, grabbed my face with both hands and kissed my cheek! He was drunk and sloppy but held my face with force. For a moment I thought he was going to stick his tongue down my throat! I felt completely helpless! People were watching. I felt like a child being yelled at in public! Humiliating! I felt threatened, physically and sexually!
Now people are calling me “sexist”! ME!! I love women! They’re beautiful! Soft and pleasant. They have nice voices. Some can cook really well like my mom. I love my mom!! I’m a great son! These people have no idea what they’re talking about!
He does great things! He’s the only one who does great things! If he weren’t here, no great things would ever be done again by anyone! So what if he touches women when they don’t want him too! Big deal! Can’t they just get over it? Actually, there’s nothing to get over! Does this mean everyone who’s ever touched anyone in any way has committed sexual harassment!? This is the kind of “snowflake” mentality that’s ruining our country and more importantly, ANNOYING TO ME BECAUSE I DON’T SEE A PROBLEM!!!!!!
Now, people are saying what he did to me was “no big deal.” If that’s true, why am I so angry about it! Why was I so weak! Why didn’t I punch him in the face!? Because I was in a state of shock. But that’s probably not what he meant me to feel. I was wearing a pretty revealing dress. I was dancing, maybe he thought I was coming on to him? These people are probably right. Wait!! No they’re fucking NOT!! Everyone was dancing!!
They don’t know how I feel! I’m not some over sensitive child throwing a temper tantrum! Maybe I am, that’s what people are saying. Wait! NO!! I have a right to my own personal safety!!! I still remember that touch and that grab! God I’m so FUCKING ANGRY!!!!!
This is a matter of respect. When you put your hands on someone, not a pat on the back, a shake of the hand, a tap on the shoulder, I mean a lingering touch on any body part, a press down on an erogenous zone or near one, a stroke or caress, you are relaying intent. You are sending a message. If this is between lovers the intent is welcome.
If you are strangers, it is not and relays a different message. I will have you no matter what. You are here for my pleasure. Only that. Nothing else. I am strong and you are weak. I can and will overpower you, physically and mentally. You have sent this message right to the core of the person you’ve assaulted. Yes, assaulted. It will become part of them. You’ve left a permanent impression.
Legal definition of Assault: an act, criminal or tortious, that threatens physical harm to a person, whether or not actual harm is done.
Sexual Harassment definition: behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation.
Formerly titled “To vaccinate or not to vaccinate” a very misleading title. Sorry.
I’m going to take a hiatus for the time being. I’ve taken a job at a very busy vaccination site.
I’m not able to post about my experience in any detail, due to privacy. HIPAA laws which I now see are necessary.
This is a good thing.
Vaccinations are a plenty here, whilst procedures change by the minute.
I’ll see you on the other side.
Do whatever you can to procure an appointment.
This is NOT how we die.
This is a piece of the same story as my previous short fiction post “The Protester” which I have updated. I’m playing around with timing. Right now, in the writing, this happens right after Mariah and crew begin their protest but in the world the story takes place in, about a week before. Please let me know what you think! Do you like it? The flow of it? Does it seem like the same story? Thank you!!
Alex barreled through her office door. She was livid. The new city budget was so far right it might as well have just cut everything. Road repairs in underserved areas, repairs to public schools, libraries and hospitals, the people of New York City who didn’t make millions, could just fuck right off. That’s what she’d written in a tweet the night before after tossing and turning getting angrier and angrier by the second. She’d taken it down minutes later but not before it was retweeted. 75 times. God Damn Twitter! She sipped her coffee and sat down at her desk.
She winced when John, her assistant, came into her office. No doubt he saw the tweet. She was embarrassed at her temporary loss of judgement. She couldn’t look him in the eye.
“You saw?” She thought it best to just get it out of the way. There was never time to avoid conflict. Not in politics.
“I did.” He was actively avoiding looking at her, ruffling papers in a folder he was holding.
John was good. He was honest with her at all times but never confrontational.
“We’ll have to get ahead of this.” He handed her a piece of paper. “Gwen wrote a statement if the press gets ahold this.”
She looked over the statement. Apologetic but not, reiterating her initial disappointment in the final decision to cut vital services. Alex made a mental note to email Gwen with a thank you.
“Do you want me to send a thank you email to her?” Good old John. Always kept her respectful public persona in mind.
“I’ll do it.” Alex stopped to look at him for a moment. He’d looked tired lately. His energy was down.
“Everything okay with your grandma?” She had to show she cared. Especially now that some of the cuts were for senior services. If there’s one thing she’d learned from her father, it was to keep your employees happy. Make them want you to succeed.
John hesitated for a moment. She clocked his subtle raise of an eyebrow.
“I’m sorry… your mom.” He was raised by his grandmother. As much as she didn’t see the point of calling someone something they’re not, this bothered him. He got drunk at last year’s Christmas party and all but begged her to call his grandma his “mother”. He said anything less was “disrespectful”. It had taken him three tries to get that word out correctly. She should have been disappointed with him but given her past, and given her first experience in being harsh with a damaged person, she couldn’t risk it. Not now that she had the mayor’s office in her sight. She needed him and despite her better judgment, liked him.
She silently cursed herself for being a woman. A man would’ve fired him for insubordination without a second thought. She’d spent her entire career convincing her constituents that her empathy for the downtrodden was her strength and ultimately theirs. It had worked so far for them but convincing herself was another story.
“She’s doing well! Thank you for asking!” John pulled up a chair and sat across from her. He had bad news. He’d always told her something she didn’t want to hear sitting down. “There’s rumblings on the internet.”
“Oh shit. Of course. Give it to me.” Alex braced herself for comments filtered by John. She only had to triple the negativity of the ones he’d choose to share with her.
John put on his glasses. She tried not to smile. He didn’t need them, he’d told her that also last Christmas. He thought they made him look more serious. To be fair, at 35 he did have boyish good looks and soft green eyes.