Category Archive 'Today’s Intelligentsia'

25 Apr 2020

Poor Andrew Sullivan

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Andrew can’t take much more of this sitting around at home, reading books, and binge-watching Battlestar Gallactica. It’s all just too stressful for the poor chap.

This Friday’s column begins:

I began to lose it this week.

I know, I have it very easy. I’m not required to put myself at risk every day as a hospital or essential worker. I’m still employed. I’ve got some savings, and don’t have to worry about basic survival. I get food delivered. I haven’t lost any family members or friends from COVID-19 (though I did lose my dad in a horrible accident, and couldn’t get to the burial). My apartment gets plenty of sun and I have two dogs who love me. I get a couple of good walks in a day, and have plenty to read. I don’t have kids. I have direct, personal experience of living through a plague once before in my life.

All of that should make me a prime candidate to hang in, take this period as a disciplinary exercise, and generally be a good citizen. And I have been — I haven’t had any physical human contact for two months now, I wear a mask everywhere, I use rubber disposable gloves for groceries, I keep my six-feet distance so far as I can, even though it’s impossible in my neighborhood to walk on a sidewalk or in a park and not be accosted by joggers, who routinely come within inches of my face. I have no intention of breaking any of these rules, although I am tempted by homicide if any of these fit, entitled motherfuckers actually spit on the ground near me.

But I can recognize signs of psychological and physical stress, and I’m beginning to lose it. This week, for some reason, Wednesday was a bad day. Or at least I think it was Wednesday. What day is it again?

My sleep patterns are totally screwed up, and I find myself waking up tense several times a night, or crashing out for 10 or 12 hours at a time. I wake up and want to go back to sleep. My appetite is waning, and my body longs for some weights to push and pull. My teeth grind all night long and my jaw is tense. I have all the time in the world to read and write, and yet I find myself anesthetized with ennui, procrastinating and distracting myself. Yes, I scan the news every day, often hourly, to discern any seeds of progress.

And here’s the thing: I can’t see much on the horizon.

On the whole, I think it’s just as well that Andrew missed the plague in London in Pepys’ time, Waterloo, WWI, and the Blitz.


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