This year has been a tough one for so, so, so many of us. I always assumed 2001 would be a defining year for myself as a millennial American, but I feel like 2020 may be much more defining as a human. It feels like some knock-off of Sartre’s play No Exit, except the solace is with the people in the room with you, and the hell is coming from the voices outside. Each news cycle is an onslaught of some shiny new hell added on top of the current punishments.
I started work at a local coffee shop in December as a cook, and I was trying to find a work/life balance so that I could publish new episodes regularly. In January of 2020, I began working on an episode about the horrors of nuclear war, due to the moving of the Atomic Clock to 100 seconds to midnight by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. When the pandemic hit, it felt too dark for the current climate. So I shelved the episode, and I started working on something a little more lighthearted. I was eventually furloughed from my job, and as a person with ADD, anxiety, and recovering alcoholism, I began occupying much more of my time with my hobby of tobacco pipe making to help soothe my aching mind.
I thought that maybe I could also use it as a supplementary form of income. Working on the episode continued while I tried to mitigate the stressors in my life. But those stressors piled on; stressors like the ailing health of my aging dog. I had to call the vet one morning because I thought she was having a stroke (turns out, it was inner-ear issues that were making her dizzy, so she couldn’t stand, hold down food, and her eyes were darting back and forth ceaselessly). Luckily she pulled through after much love and care, but she is still not the epitome of health and I worry about her every day. She never left my side while my addiction was killing me, and I’ve had her since I was thirteen. The emotional fallout from losing her would have been (and will be…) devastating.
As the episode I had planned neared completion, George Floyd was murdered. If you know me, you know I went to school in the Twin Cities. It’s my home as much as Iowa is my home, and I was furious. I wanted the world to burn, and my heart lies still with my weeping city. Again, the episode didn’t feel appropriate. It still doesn’t really feel appropriate…
And recently, the Trump administration has had real conversations about resuming nuclear weapons testing; the absolute stupidest, ill-informed, and outright insane thing any modern US president could ever hope to do. It’s brought my thoughts back to the earlier episode.
The point of all of this is to say: I don’t know what to say right now. I don’t know what’s worth talking about. My mind has reeled over possible talking points: whether I should write about America, about the pandemic, about nuclear weapons, or just release that less-stinging episode I nearly completed. Maybe I just shouldn’t say anything. Maybe it’s a time to listen. I just don’t know, and I don’t know when I will know. Maybe I’ll release a short Coffee w/ Dan episode to get some thoughts out, and then resume what I was working on.
If you have thoughts or ideas, I would love to hear them, because I am frankly, stuck. And I just wanted to let you know what was going on…
Black Lives Matter. Keep exploring.