“Have a Loki Blot, she said. It’ll be fun, she said.”
This comment was left in jest on a FB post I made linking an article about 2 asteroids that are likely to hit our atmosphere in the midst of COVID-19 pandemonium. I laughed, joking about how I was wondering when I’d be called out for the timing of all of this. You’ve got to admit, it’s pretty damn funny and not at all surprising.
“It’s not your fault,” my mom teased via text. “It’s leap year. You had to.” Ah, yes, mama bear standing up for Loki and her crazy cub.
Things are getting rocky in my region; our governor just declared a more stringent list of businesses and industries that need to close in order to help contain the spread of the virus. As far as I know, my job is not impacted, which is a relief to me: I barely make it paycheck to paycheck these days, so I’m grateful to continue earning wages without burning through my PTO for the year. As I’ve mentioned before, universal precautions are second nature to me thanks to my time as a mortician, and since I operate on the assumption that I’ve already been infected, I do what I can to protect those who would be more vulnerable and at risk. My current job doesn’t require me to be in close contact with anyone, and the risks are pretty much nonexistent compared to what I’d be facing if I was still a full time funeral director (which would only be compounded by sleep deprivation!). Besides, there’s still only 1 confirmed case in my county; it’s not like everyone in my area is crowding into the ER while my employer stays open just for spite. They’re being reasonable. And they’re going to modify and adapt policies as the situation grows more dire. Remember how I said they’d reassess by the end of the week? We’re getting regular updates and information from corporate about how the company is handling things and what the policies are given the current situation. They’re adapting. This is new and unprecedented territory, and they’re doing what they can to keep rational and ensure we all still have jobs and paychecks. There is no guidebook for how to handle business and employees when a global pandemic starts creeping into your territory. Again, while so many thousands are out of work because of COVID-19, and with so many more facing layoffs, I’m beside myself with gratitude that I have a secure job and a steady paycheck. Would I like my company to offer emergency PTO and pay everyone to stay home in quarantine for a few weeks? Sure, I’m not an idiot. Is that feasible at present? Maybe. Maybe corporate has such a plan in place for when the local cases start spreading and quarantine is mandatory instead of optional. With well over 1,000 employees, I’m sure they’re trying to do what they can to ensure none of those employees are going to lose much money, because maybe they want to be able to give us paid PTO beyond what we already have. Can’t do that if you jump the gun and shut everything down when there’s only 1 case in a given area. The coffers only run so deep. But then again, maybe I’m being idealistic. Who knows. I just like to look at things from all angles and consider long-term impacts, not just “well how is this affecting me right the fuck now?”
It’s not that I’m being flippant about things, it’s just that I’m not giving in to fear. I’ve dealt with far more dangerous infectious diseases up close and personal as a mortician. It puts things into perspective, and it helps that I’ve got the knowledge and experience on how to properly clean and reduce risk of transmission. I’ve been saying since December that this is something to be aware of, something to watch closely, something to prepare for. I’m not at all surprised at how things have progressed (because they’re progressing exactly how I expected them to thanks to the 20 years I’ve spent studying pandemics and pathology).
That said, there’s a lot of panic and genuine fear ’round these parts these days. Panic and fear ’round all parts of the world. There’s quite a bit of chaos seeping into everyone’s lives, so of course I was wondering if and when someone was going to rib me about the Loki blot from the end of February. Frankly, I’m surprised it took nearly 3 weeks for it to happen! Is this Loki’s doing? Fuck no. Is it fair to joke about our state spiraling in pandemic panic shortly after having a day of worship and celebration of the God of Chaos? Absolutely! This is what the Nokians warned us about! Don’t make eye contact with the mischief maker lest he destroy the world! /s
You have to admit it’s funny even if your sense of humor doesn’t skew to the macabre. And as I’ve said time and time again throughout this blog: chaos brings change, and destruction clears the way for better things to build. This pandemic is absolutely going to bring a lot of changes for society: there’s so many things that are overdue for evaluation that will finally be addressed once the dust settles. Economic issues, infrastructure issues, healthcare, social, community. The way jobs are done, accommodations that can be made for employees, reassessing reasonable wages for workers that used to be looked down upon but are now being touted as essential to society (shout out to grocery store/pharmacy/gas station/restaurant staff!). The country going into quarantine and the response to the crisis is going to change the way things are done. There’s opportunity growing each day as a result of this mess. And what with this being an election year, the people are watching politicians closely to see how they respond to the pandemic and all of its aftereffects. People are scared right now as they watch everything crumble around them: job security, income, climate, social norms. The call for a better healthcare/insurance system will finally be heard, programs for helping the disadvantaged will grow and improve, playing fields will be leveled a bit. Focus should be more on the citizens in this country and their rights and their needs rather than on corporations and their perpetual begging for bailouts. Again, maybe I’m being naive, but this pandemic is a Big Thing that’s breaking down a lot of the system. It’s shaking things up and we the people have a chance at pushing it over and replacing it with a better way of doing things and taking care of our fellow citizens.
This can’t happen without a bit of chaos. And in the lore, Loki brings a hell of a lot of chaos . . . but in the end of each story, there’s a new treasure, a new perspective, and the gods are better off for it (and we all get crazy stories to amuse us!). Even Ragnarok leads to utopia with Baldr returning to create an ideal society for god and man alike. You and I, we’re witnessing some truly scary shit these days. We’re going through the wringer, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. But don’t succumb to the panic. Stay smart, stay safe, and help each other. This isn’t the time to think only of yourself and what you want and need: this affects EVERYONE, so be mindful of those who need compassion and help and offer it if you’re able. And when this passes, as it will pass, as it must pass, then be ready to help enact the changes you want to see in your community, your economy, and your government.
This may not be as glamorous as a revolution, and a virus doesn’t have the marketability of a guillotine, but it’s paving the way for reform regardless. Nothing wrong with a little chaos when the opportunity for so much beneficial change can come from it.
As far as my kinsman’s tongue-in-cheek jest on FB? Well, I didn’t relay his comment in it’s entirety at the start of this post. The whole comment reads: “Have a Loki Blot, she said. It will be fun, she said. . . . . Love you”
Love you, too, T. Love all of you. And love Loki dearly.
Love each other. We need it to weather the storm. To indulge in the Marvel!Loki a bit. . . “The sun will shine on us again.”