For years, whenever people would talk about their Zombie Apocalypse Plans (or any apocalypse plans), I’d half-joke that I plan to be one of the first wave killed because I’m too lazy to rebuild society, especially if there’s no Dunkin iced coffee available. The addiction is real with my iced Dunkin; last year, upon my return from Iceland (aka the Land of No Dunkin), my stepfather met me at the airport with a hug and a “Welcome back, there’s a Dunkin downstairs.” When I was coming out of anesthesia from my hysterectomy, I’m told my drug-fogged brain wouldn’t stop running my mouth about how many Dunkins we’d passed on the way to the hospital and how massively unfair it was that I wasn’t allowed to have coffee before surgery. There’s a reason it was so especially poetic when the surprise napkin to unfurl in the mead at the Loki blot was a Dunkin napkin.
I run on Dunkin, is what I’m saying. I practically mainline the stuff.
Today, on the way to work, my usual Dunkin was closed because of the pandemic. So I went to another location. It, too, was closed.
This is it, I realized. The apocalypse is real, and my time is up.
What I’ve joked about for years has come to pass. And my brain was so addled that it blue screened hardcore when I was desperately attempting to place an online curbside grocery pickup for large unsweetened iced coffees to start bringing into work. One chain wouldn’t let me log in for anything, nor would it let me create a new account. Another didn’t have any time slots open for pickup. The frustration mounting, the desperation increasing, I may or may not have commanded one of the techs to just kill me because all hope is gone now.
Thankfully, one of my colleagues spoke sense into me: “Guess you’ll just have to go inside.”
I froze, and my face must have been the human equivalent of the Blue Screen of Death. “I can go inside? Holy shit, you’re right, I forgot I can go inside the grocery stores!”
This is why I can’t be trusted to survive or rebuild society after any kind of apocalyptic situation. My intelligence dropped so damn low at the lack of iced coffee that I genuinely, honestly forgot that I’m allowed to actually go grocery shopping. Like, to get food and stuff as well as coffee. I don’t eat much these days (yay for ongoing GI issues from when my appendix burst!), so I’m accustomed to just hitting Dunkin drive thrus for coffee and hitting up a convenience store for cat food and cigarettes. I legitimately forgot that grocery stores are open for more than curbside pickup. Thank the gods for my colleague for (A) not snapping at me and being mean, which is happening a lot despite my attempts to make people smile and (B) reminding me that hope is not lost, because I can just walk into a fricking grocery store to get food and coffee.
Yup, I’m doing great at life.
I certainly hope that you, my reader, recognize the sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek tone in the above. You should be familiar with it, because it’s the tone I use in all of my writing. I try my best to make people smile, maybe even snort or chuckle. As I wrote in one of my earliest posts, and have echoed throughout the life of this blog, Loki is in everything I do so I want to spread his energy and influence by way of smiles. Everyone is understandably stressed and worried and anxious these days, so here’s a call back to something I wrote when this site was launched:
Compassion and a smile, a laugh in the midst of the fury of negativity: that’s what Loki is, and that’s all he asks. . . .
Compassion. A smile. A laugh. It doesn’t take much to help people around you. You don’t have to change the world. Just change someone’s mood for the better, and it will spread. None of us live in a vacuum, every little gesture and word impacts those around us. So in the midst of chaos, try to spread a little joy. It’s such an easy thing to do, and it can make all the difference to the person at whom you smile.
If you don’t have it in you to spread a little smile and compassion, that’s okay. This ordeal is taking a lot out of people. We are all traumatized by what’s happening. With everything else that’s being shouldered, no one should feel like smiling if it’s too much of a burden. But kindness goes a long way. There’s no need to snap or bitch at someone just because they’re trying to get through the stress the best way they know how. Don’t assume that someone who’s smiling isn’t taking things seriously, or trying their hardest to avoid crumbling under the overwhelming uncertainty of everything. Personal stress is never a reason to be rude, and right now, we’re all dealing with unprecedented amounts of stress. It’s fine if you don’t want to interact with someone whose method of coping is to entertain or amuse, but there’s no call for being outright cruel. There’s enough misery right now, just be civil or be quiet if that’s all you can manage.
As I’ve said before, I’ve been tracking this coronavirus since late December. I have a lot of educational and professional experience with infectious disease, and a personal interest in deep research on various pandemics throughout history. I’m not an expert, obviously. But none of what’s happening right now is surprising me. It’s all happened before, this is following very similar trends and patterns as other plagues. So I’ve been bracing myself for a few months, which is why I’m not outwardly panicky or scared or upset. I understand that others are genuinely terrified because they haven’t been mentally preparing themselves since January. People are scared for their families, for themselves. I just wish there was a little more kindness and a lot less hostility. Or a least a little more civility, because of course I don’t expect everyone to be okay with me trying to keep up my usual stupid irreverent self. I just wish they wouldn’t be so damn mean.
I don’t want this pandemic to dampen the ability for silliness or tongue-in-cheek nonsense. My faith in the gods remains as strong as ever, and I look to them for how to overcome the misery and fear. As a Lokian, the best way I know how to cope with trauma and uncertainty is by trying to inspire a smile.
I just ask that others don’t try to destroy mine.