I know I’m not alone in wishing this year a speedy demise. It certainly can’t end soon enough. On January 1, I personally felt I was at the precipice of a new beginning. I planned to finish and publish my second novel; a minor accomplishment that didn’t materialize last year. I also hoped to work towards upgrading my house. My father’s fetish for candles many years ago left soot marks throughout most every room. I also wanted to plant a couple of trees in the front yard. All sorts of good things loomed across the horizon! But, if you want to see the Great Creator’s sense of irony, announce your plans for the future.
At the end of January, my mother suffered a stroke; one bad enough to render her left side almost completely immobile. I had to admit her to a rehabilitation center and almost felt like I was abandoning her. She made good progress and started to regain movement on her left side, especially her arm. Then her Medicare benefits ran out, and the center had to discharge her. Basically they evicted her because she didn’t have enough money. So she returned home and went on hospice care. She passed away in June.
By then, however, the COVID-19 pandemic had hit, and the economy starting tanking. As my mother’s health deteriorated here at the house, I also fell ill and thought I’d contracted the C plague. Nasty visions of me lying in bed gasping for air, while my mother wilted in her own bed and hospice nurses tried getting into the house, burdened my days and nights. One morning local firefighters ambushed my front door with loud bangs. They’d been told a COVID victim might be trapped inside. A man stood on the porch with a heavy tool designed to breach everything from storm doors to bad attitudes.
After my mother died, I learned she had no beneficiary payouts from her two pension funds. Like so many Americans, I was unemployed and exhausting what funds I’d garnered from previous work. I couldn’t qualify for unemployment insurance, and no stimulus money was headed my way. I had to borrow money to pay basic utilities. Then I did receive money from an insurance policy I didn’t know existed. That became the brightest spot in my dismal life so far.
I’ve stabilized myself now, even as I remain jobless with minimal prospects. More importantly, I know I’m not alone in my feelings of despair and loneliness.
The U.S. is still mired in the depths of the most cantankerous presidential election in decades. The pandemic shows no signs of abating. And the economy remains brittle. Adding to the agony is that the Atlantic / Caribbean hurricane season just won’t quit. Even though it’s technically scheduled to cease on November 30, tell that to nature. Some fools tried that with the pandemic – ordering it to end by X date – and the scourge replied with a middle finger.
Such is 2020. Everything that could go wrong this year has gone wrong. We’ve reached the point, nevertheless, that any kind of mishap is answered with, ‘It’s 2020.’
The number 2020 is supposed to signify perfect vision. And, at this moment, we’ve seen how perfectly screwed up things can get. Thus, in the future, perhaps for generations to come, any crisis will be dubbed ‘A 2020’.
Had a bad day at work or school? Just tell people it was a 2020.
A rough trip through the airport? A 2020 escapade.
Burned food in the oven? You made a 2020.
How was it with your in-laws over? It was so 2020.
You get the message. Now, on to New Year’s!