CW: Covid-19 as filtered through an Evangelical world view. People behaving badly out of fear. Mentions of past loss of family members who didn’t seek medical treatment. General saltiness about all of the above.
You know the old saying. Family: you can’t live with them, and…
Wait. Was there supposed to be a second half of that saying? Because I think that alone pretty much sums it up.
I’m not even talking about my family.
Did I ever mention my partner has no overt trauma of the childhood ACES sort, but I remain unconvinced that means there is no trauma in his family at all?
Covid19 is officially in the South. (And in Hell.) And, that means my Facebook is suddenly full of “thoughts and prayers.” And Psalm 91:10.
Those thoughts and prayers are more than a wee bit smug. I mentioned to my Partner last night that he was going to need to help me sit on my hands for a bit until my impulsive desire to reply to their “pray for our country” and “our amazing president Trump donated his Q4 salary of $100k to fight corona, but he’s too humble to ask for the thanks he deserves” posts with my hope God will answer those prayers as fully as he has answered the prayers of victims of mass shootings had passed.
Enough people are behaving badly these days that I don’t think I need to stir the pot further. Oh, am I tempted to when I see those types of Facebook posts, though!
Really? Trump is too humble?!
About how he has been drawing a public salary this whole time alongside all his ill-gotten emoluments?
Bloomberg could afford to blow a cool half billion on ad buys for his failed presidential campaign, but I’m supposed to think Trump handing over less than the rent on one office space in one of his buildings to fight a pandemic is a humble act of generosity?
Without batting an eye, my Partner (who doesn’t have Facebook and thus could not have seen those posts before me) replied, “Read it again, less reflexively quick to look away because it’s gross. Did they really say ‘Pray for Our Country,’ or did they say ‘Pray for [Their State]?'”
Sure enough. My Partner knows his family. I guess us coastal heathens don’t deserve the same protection accorded to us from Psalms 91:10 that: “No evil shall befall you, nor shall any PLAGUE come near your dwellings…” (The capital letters for emphasis, by the way, were from their Facebook posts. They were not added by me!)
That’s okay. I can live without their protection. My Partner lost his grandfather before what could have been his time because he refused to seek treatment for what turned out to be cancer until it was Stage IV. His grandfather passed away from a type of cancer that very likely would have been treatable had he sought science before it was too late instead of deciding his faith alone was enough to grant him special protection.
Given that history, I’m not sure I’ve lost much by my state not being included under my Partner’s extended family’s prayer bubble.
I did almost gain an extra houseguest, though!
Did I ever mention that the very possibly unnecessary loss of her father was likely the final straw that led to my mother-in-law raising her children without religion? (Or, at least, we strongly suspect that it was. I have a good relationship with my mother-in-law, and she and my father-in-law both successfully shielded my Partner and his sibling from the ACES of their own childhoods. She’s never going to be the “talk about her feelings type” or overtly state that, though.)
Since her first grandchild’s mother has reverted back to the same Evangelical religion of her childhood, my mother-in-law has been even more overt than usual about doing the opposite of anything religious. In October, that meant taking her grandson to a children’s haunted house.
This month, it almost meant visiting us on the spur of the moment.
I strongly suspect that all those Psalm 91:10 posts were a factor in her looking up flights to our state, noting tickets were the cheapest she had ever seen, and asking if she and my father-in-law could make a quick trip. They are, after all, under 65 and healthy.
Taking a kid to a children’s haunted house? Seems like a good counterbalance to a child growing up with an omnipresent fear they are always one mistake away from a lake of fire. My Partner is still genuinely afraid to enter Evangelical churches – or even hear similar guitar music – years after being watched by his extended family while his parents worked.
Demonstrating that whether or not plague comes near you has more to do with risk factors, how many idiots hoard hand sanitizer and avoiding Republican rallies where other CPAC attendees who also have more psalms than sense are shaking hands despite requests to self-isolate? It’s a sound idea in theory.
But, in practice, other people are unpredictable and our one bedroom is not quite equipped for four longer-term residents.
My mother-in-law is great. I sign my emails to her “Love, [Lavender]” and I don’t even feel completely weird about that. (The use of the l-word with anyone other than my Partner and my cat is always a bit tricky for me given my own family situation.) I got very lucky in the mother-in-law department. And, I’d actually love to play tour guide for her sometime for a few days.
Given that Trump is so “humbly” responding to this pandemic, though, is it rude to note my emphasis above on the “for a few days?” As I have chatted with no less than two professional deep cleaners during my commute today alone (one cleaning the public areas of my complex and the second cleaning the public areas of my office building), have recently had remote access software installed on my PC in anticipation we may have to work remote soon, and written a letter of support for someone who is caught up in immigration limbo because ICE remains horrific even in a pandemic, I’m maybe not quite sure Trump won’t suddenly decide to tweet that no travel is allowed to or from here either without any warning or plan? Four people in a one-bedroom apartment might be a bit much for two weeks.
My Partner and I had just decided on how to gingerly broach why waiting a few weeks to visit to “see how things play out” might be wiser given that people are, well, people, both in pandemics and not in pandemics, when the whole issue became a moot point anyway.
Turns out her work itself will be limiting her ability to travel because she’s their equivalent of “essential personnel.”
So, we don’t actually have to become even tangentially involved in any demonstrations of how much faith we have in our ability to socially isolate ourselves after all. I absolutely could still say nothing salty at all about those psalms.
But, one of my coworkers also came to work crying yesterday because she had been harrassed over her ethnicity. At what point is it actually okay just to vent my general saltiness over people being the worst part of a pandemic by asking (quite genuinely, too, because, seriously, Americans! Wtf?) why are ‘thoughts and prayers’ any more deserved for Italy than Iran? And wtf, Americans, on this ignorance of blaming Asians for U.S. cases? As of yesterday, white wealthy tech types have been the contact vector for more confirmed U.S. cases of Covid-19 at this point than any other demographic group!
So, uh, maybe offer your ‘thoughts and prayers’ that writing this blog post will be enough to satisfy my urge to rant at my Partner’s extended family, and I’ll remain the bigger person. Because otherwise, I’m likely to “humbly” respond in the comments thread of that Facebook post about Trump’s “generosity” with the meme below, stirred pot be d@mned:
Stay safe – and sane – everyone!
Need a recap of anything I’m talking about in any post? Check out the Glossary of Terms.