Things to Remember From the COVID Spring #6: Tired

Tonight I was thinking I might forgo writing about things that I want to remember when this is over, because I’m just too tired. Then I realized that my tiredness is worth trying to remember.

I don’t feel like I deserve to even write about it. I have friends who have much larger burdens: more kids, rougher jobs, no jobs, older parents, illnesses. I have relatives that are doctors helping people with the Coronavirus. In commenting on tiredness, I don’t mean it as a complaint, comparison or competition.

First, what it’s not. I don’t feel tired just from losing sleep. I’m familiar with that groggy fatigue and the uncomfortable do-I-look-OK-to-go-to-work insecurity it leaves me with in the morning. It’s not the delicious, relaxed, whole-body tired after a long bike ride. It’s also not the tight muscle achy-tired you get after moving boxes, carrying heavy objects or doing yard work.

I feel a little of that cranky, achy feeling one gets after a long binge of video games or Netflix. But, that might just be from being on my phone so much.

It does feel like I want to sleep. But, but any moment there is going to be a knock at the door. I’m grabbing a power nap in college between big assignments. I’m going to have to get up soon.

It’s not painful. It’s just off. For the past few days I have felt like I just need more coffee, but it gives me heartburn. Fruity Tums taste the best.

Today I spent some time playing with my son and his young friend. I set up a game for them and arranged a scavenger hunt. It was great fun. Then I sat down and got tired. It’s not depression although there is sadness. It was that feeling of anticipating a full day of some kind of work, the holy-shit-I-have-a-lot-to-do-maybe-I-should-just-sit-here-for-a-while-and-rest-before-I-start.

During my afternoon meeting I felt a familiar frustration. It was a welcome feeing, actually, because it was the familiar administrative-meeting tired. But it wasn’t long before I felt some hints of “I-give-up-it’s-hopeless.” Nothing like having a meeting with a bunch of colleagues talking about important stuff through little windows on a screen with an interface designed by Google.

Like I said, what I’m describing isn’t the exhaustion of the people who are struggling to survive or to keep others alive. It’s uncomfortable even writing about this when those people are out there doing their thing. Waiting is tiring when you’re not waiting for something—when it’s not anticipatory— like for a good meal or in a long line for a ride at Disneyland. When will we know when we get there?

I’m tired of listening to the news for answers and having to decide what I hear. I’m especially tired of reading meta-news about the actions of government officials using a playbook that went out of date two weeks ago. Don’t even get me started on President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America.

I’m feeling the tired of grief–angry, melancholy, blue and sour. It’s that realization that that thing that has happened is real. They are really gone. Dead.

It was a beautiful sunny day today, a glorious spring day. Facebook told me that on this day four years ago I finished my first one-hundred mile bike ride of the season. I immediately recognized the image of the road. I rode down to Prescott, Wisconsin and up the Saint Croix to Stillwater. I’m sure I was tired when I finished that ride. That world isn’t this one.

Just before dinner tonight I went out back to let the dog play and talked to some neighbors. I was happy to see them and yet aware of the spacing between us. Am I too close? Are they too close? I don’t want to appear to care. I wanted to connect, but everything about this thing tells me to stay away. That contradiction is exhausting.

I just don’t know. We don’t know. Nobody knows. It’s like after someone dies and there are moments when you think they are just downstairs, or across town. Then you realize they aren’t anywhere on the planet.

Or maybe it’s all just a bizarre hysteria. It really is so much like a movie that sometimes I feel we are all performing scripts of the catastrophes that have been entertaining us for decades. Is this is the apocalypse for which we have all been waiting?

I’m restless. I want to do something. I can’t do anything, but certainly there must be something. Why not make “good use” of this time at home. What is good use when so much is unknown. Best to wait and see.

Waiting is fucking tiring.

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