Internet Trolls

As you know, I’ve had my fair share of trolls over the last year. Matter fact, trolling seems to be a full-time job for some people. You can always tell who they are because they have screen names like TitsMcGee and @BigDickDaddy. Oh, and they are usually white males, not always, but the majority of mine have been. Some are bots from Russia. Had one of those on this here blog the other day. His name was DJT45. He followed me, then when I went to his page it was in all Russian. I quickly deleted him. In my experience it’s always the white guys with red hats that follow like CNN or WaPo and comment in the comment section crazy, straight-outta-left-field-bullshit conspiracy theories. Like why are you even following this “liberal bullshit” anyway? Answer: To troll.

You guys know I had to limit my Facebook time to a tight 15 a couple months back. Part of the problem is that I was reading the comment sections. Big mistake. I’d read say, a NYTimes article about global warming, and then I’d scroll the comment section. I’d come across no short of 100 trolls. People there just to argue and fight. They’d type in all caps: GLOBAL WARMING IS A LIBERAL HOX (they’d usually spell something wrong). Then about ten people would attempt to “school them” and it would just escalate. I usually wouldn’t comment, because I realize the game and I don’t want to play. But sometimes I literally couldn’t help myself. Like when it was a story about the polar bears dying in Antarctica and someone said, “This is all Hillary Clinton’s fault!” Dafuq?

I started to realize, on FB anyway, that some of my own family members are trolls. For sure. They will post a crazy, off-the-wall conspiracy theory meme then try to downplay it with an “LOL” or a smiley face emoticon and be all, “Haha.” But really, really, they want someone to comment. They are trying to start a fight. Engage. Flex their poorly-educated egos. My husband and I used to engage, now we just scroll past, or copy the meme and share it for our friends to laugh at it, or in some cases “unfriend” the ill-informed family member. Because you can do that, y’all! Not sure if you know that, but you can unfriend family members. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about them, or that you aren’t family anymore, it just means you’re hella tired of seeing their ridiculous, one-sided, fear-mongering shit on social media. It helps. Trust, it helps.

Last week I got sucked into the comment section of an Instagram post. I haven’t been limiting my Insta because I can normally control myself there. Plus, it’s a way for me to share pics and not have to log onto FB. Anywho, there I was scrolling the people I follow, a mix of friends, family, old classmates from both my schools, new friends, politicians, and celebrities, and I came across Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley reading a children’s book with her stepdaughter. I love Congresswoman Pressley, and the rest of “The Squad” of young Congresswomen who came to power in 2018. Like, I heart AOC. Anyway, Pressley isn’t my representative, she reps the 7th District in MA. Think: Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and the like. But as I said, I follow her personal account because I think she’s a badass. I also follow other politicians who are not mine, like Mayor Lightfoot in Chicago, Rep. John Lewis (who is the rep for the district next door to me), as well as Lucy McBath (my representative) and other local, state, and federal representatives who I respect.

Okay, so I’m enjoying Rep. Pressley doing a reading of “The Story of Coretta Scott King” by Patricia Pingry, and I’m seeing comments pop up but I’m ignoring them. My son’s school has been doing a “Mystery Reader” since they started virtual learning and I’ve been watching all these wonderful teachers read these adorable kids’ books all week long and I’m rather enjoying it. Jackson is too. So I settle in to watch Pressley and her stepdaughter read, but I can’t stop myself from looking at the comments because one of the first ones is in all caps and it says something like this (I’m paraphrasing): WHY DON’T YOU STOP READING AND DO SOMETHING FOR YOUR DAMN CONSTITUENTS!” Ahh, that was fun. Pressley had responded. She was very nice, explained that she was working to help, but that taking a break to read with her stepdaughter is something she does, so she decided to share with everyone that day in hopes of spreading this good book, and cheering some people up.

Geez, aren’t people the worst sometimes?

Anyway, I scrolled down, knowing it wasn’t safe at this point. And remember this is her personal Insta, not her work one. I scroll, scroll. Then I come to TitsMcGee’s post. Did you think I made that name up? Nah, he’s real. He’s a white dude. Big shocka I know. He comments, simply: “Thanks for wearing a hat.” Seems like no big deal, right? Except that Rep. Pressley has struggled with Alopecia her whole life. She’s has no hair on the top of her head from it. And before about a year ago she wore wigs when she was outside her home. Then she decided to stop. She wanted to bring awareness to the condition, and show support for others who have it, so she stopped wearing wigs. And that made white men upset. For reference, here she is in her official photo and one from an article she did explaining her decision to show her head:

Beautiful, right? Also, a strong, Black woman who has zero fucks to give. So yeah, Tits McGee was none too happy with her.

I regret not taking a screen shot of the conversation that ensued, but I don’t usually do that with my internet trolls, unless they come for me afterward like Crazy McCrazyPants, remember him? So I will do my best to recall the comments for you now.

TitsMcGee: At least she wore a hat.

Some Rando: Do you feel good about coming here just to say that?

Tits McGee: I don’t feel good about anything. Ever. But I can sleep better at night now.

Me: @TitsMcGee you lose sleep over whether or not a woman reading a book with a child is wearing a hat? There seems to be a lot more to lose sleep over nowadays.

Tits McGee: She looks like a comic book villian. (Shrug emoticon)

Me: Ahh, I see @TitsMcGee! You are just scared of powerful women. You should have led with that. I hope you get some rest.

[End Scene]

So that’s it. That’s all that transpired. I went on about my day. It was a good day actually, I adopted a new puppy, whole new post coming about that later this week. And then when I logged into Instagram later that day I was expecting to find that Tits McGee said some more gross stuff. Instead, I found that Rep. Pressley had deleted the whole encounter and followed me on Instagram. No shit! I know you don’t believe me, so I did screenshot that!

In fact, I immediately sent the screenshot to my friend Beth, the only one who I thought would appreciate my excitement, and she did. So there’s that.

I guess for one my “sticking it to the trolls” paid off. But honestly, really, there are some things you can’t just scroll on past. I wish I could, but I’m just not that kind of person. So watch out, trolls, cause now I’m on a troll roll. (That includes you fam and friends!)

M.

Love and Basketball

I was sad to see that the NCAA basketball tournament was cancelled, among other sporting events, and I’m sure people are bummed by this. I’m bummed by this, but I can’t imagine how the students feel. The players, and coaches, the fans. But mainly the kids. March Madness is the most fun because I love college ball. I’ve talked about my love sports of before. How I played softball for like a decade. How I was on basketball teams in elementary, middle, and high school. Volleyball? Check. Track and field? I was a Varsity thrower. Duh. I even gave tennis and soccer a go once or twice, never cared much for either, but I was an eager participant on most occasions. But if I’m being very honest with myself, softball is still my absolute favorite sport to play, and basketball is my absolute favorite sport to watch, because well, I’m just too slow to be any good anymore. Though I haven’t lost my jump shot. Seriously, play me fool!

And although I especially like college ball, I have been known to hang at an NBA game more than once, especially when we lived in Charlotte. We were big fans of watching the Hornets play, and while we are still Hornets fans, I’ll never forget that time my husband took me to see my all-time favorite team play, The Boston Celtics. Priceless. And of course, I would love to sit court-side at a Lakers game one day. Hey, a girl can dream!

The reason I like college ball better than the NBA is because I don’t like all the slam dunks and showmanship. I really like down and dirty street ball, but there isn’t a “Down and Dirty Street Ball” league* to keep up with, so college it is. I love the way the fans love their team, their school. Some of my best memories as a kid, were the few times I got to go to a KU game at Allen Field House. How and why? I have no idea. I know once I went with my sister and her boyfriend, but I remember going a few times and it was amazing. This was back, way back, when Raef LaFrentz, and Paul Pierce (who went on to play for Boston), and Greg “Big O” Ostertag played. Jesus, why do I still remember those names?

I remember stepping into the front doors of Allen Field House in complete amazement. Here I was, probably fifth grade, totally in love with this school I dearly wanted to be part of (I eventually made it to KU as a student) and I wanted to chant ROCK CHALK! JAYHAWK! KU! on the top of Mt. Oread. And I did. Pure joy.

By middle school I was so in love with basketball, I could tell you all about the KU players, many of the Celtics players, and of course Michael Jordan, the best athlete in the whole world. That’s when I started asking my mom for a basketball hoop. The problem was two-fold. We were poor and we lived in a rental house on the “bad” part of town. If she had invested in a hoop, it would have to be one of those mobile hoops, which were just too expensive and the chances of someone walking off with it we too real. For sure, like they walked away with every bike I had while we lived there.

But one glorious day, I came home to, I shit you not, a piece of plywood painted blue, with a hoop attached to it, nailed into the damn tree in our side yard. Umm, not kidding. I have no idea where/how/what/who. My suspicion is my brother-in-law, or my mom’s friend Ruthie. But there it was, nailed to the damn dead tree in a pit of what amounted to mud, and a little Bir of run down grass, next to what I am pretty sure was a crackhouse. Yep. I played the shit out of that hoop. For years, y’all.

Listen, I don’t know how single moms do stuff, but they do it. Always. And this picture above is just a reminder that I was once the most important person in someone’s life. My mom wasn’t perfect. Far from it. But I’m beginning to see that she was doing the best she could with what she had. With what she knew. With what she was capable of. And I’m always reminded that it takes a village, y’all. And actual fucking village.

Anyway, we moved a few years later, though that was one of the houses we lived in the longest. Even though the neighborhood wasn’t ideal, the house was nice, clean, fairly new, and it was in walking distance to my middle school, and close to my mom’s work. It was just an old shotgun house, on the north side of town, with a wooden basketball hoop nailed to a tree. But it meant the world to me.

Thanks, Mom.

M.

*I was flipping through Netflix the other day and found a show that follows prison basketball. I gasped. Jerimiah yelled, “Shit! No!” and I added it to my “Watch List.”

Guns and TP

When I first heard that people were hoarding ammo, along with toilet paper, I couldn’t believe it. Like, why tho? Why are you hoarding ammo and buying new guns? Then a family member on FB shared a meme that said something about “Happy Hunting” in terms of shooting people who were possibly, most likely, going to break into their house when “all hell breaks loose” to steal the goods they hoarded for themselves. That’s when I was like, wow. Wow to a couple of things. Wow to the fact that you think it’s okay to say, “Happy Hunting” about human lives, and wow to the fact that you went out and bought enormous amounts of toilet paper or hand sani or bread or whatever it is you are afraid people will try to steal from you. Maybe if you would have left some items on the shelf for your community you wouldn’t be fearful of robbery. And doesn’t this all stem from fear? Yes. Yes is the answer.

Jesus, I bet the psychologists are having a field day with human behavior right now. I mean, I’m no doctor but it all makes sense to me. The idea that your community members will steal from you, the fear, the constant, constant fear, all stems from one place: an angry heart. This is basic psychology 101, y’all. But I’d like to add a lack of education to the mix. Most of the people I know who are hoarding guns and ammo and tp, do not have a college education. Most of them are acting on impulse. Three days in a row they went to buy more toilet paper at Kroger. When it wasn’t there they deduced that it would never be there again (I think because they don’t understand supply and demand, basic economics) and they freaked out and bought ammo instead. Because if the tp isn’t there, what if the ammo won’t be?! Le sigh.

These people obviously don’t even trust their own communities. And should we be living in communities that we don’t trust? Should we know our neighbors’ names? Should we be the ones giving the excess that we hoarded to them, before it even gets to the point where someone might have to consider stealing it? I mean these are big, important questions, y’all. Things we should be considering, instead we are buying toilet paper and ammo.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I wish college was an option for more people. I wish people didn’t say things like, “I didn’t go to college and look at me, I turned out fine.” Is fine all you want to be? Cause if it is, then yeah, you’re “fine.” I mean, you panic bought 127 rolls of tp and bottled water and ammo, but sure, let’s call you “fine.” College should be affordable (or free!) it shouldn’t be looked down on like it is in some sub-groups, it should be the first step out of high school, at least a two-year degree, just to get an idea of how the real world works, because Jesus y’all, a lot of these people just don’t know how the real world works. They claim “street smarts,” but they haven’t ventured past their own street. It’s sad, pathetic, and at time like these, when the majority of us understand human kindness, compassion, and respect, they are out there saying things like, “Happy Hunting” about other human beings over a $12 package of toilet paper that will be back on the shelves in droves next week because that’s how the actual world works.

This is a rant, sure. But I hope I have enlightened some of you to how other people act and react in scary times. An angry heart is incapable of sharing their hoarded face masks, it doesn’t matter how many puppy videos they share. An angry heart is incapable of understanding anything past the tip of their own nose. They don’t see how their impulse to buy all the TP forced a chain reaction. That it forced people to go without. People who work in the restaurant business, or retail. The actual people stocking the shelves full of tp. People who live paycheck to paycheck, and by the time they got their paychecks last week all the tp was gone. And the craziest part is most of these people, the ones stocking up on tp and ammo, are living paycheck to paycheck. The ones I know anyway. They just thought it would be better to blow all their money on tp and ammo right now, because God forbid they be embarrassed to ask a neighbor for tp, or God forbid they don’t have 1,000 boxes of ammo like “a real man.” Like, for real, y’all. There are angry, angry hearts out there amongst us. And they need some therapy. But you know, they can’t afford it/don’t think it’s real science. I mean, you don’t see no therapists on FoxNews do’ya?

And lastly, a note about those who are keeping this world moving along: the retail workers, the truck drivers, the restaurant servers working the To Go door. The delivery drivers. The people stocking shelves at Kroger overnight. I want to say thank you. And I want you all to know THEY ARE NOT FINE. They are working right now to keep your supplies with tp and ammo. They wish they could be home with their kids, away from all these people who are sick and are bringing the virus to them because they won’t stay the fuck home. But there they are. Because if they don’t work they don’t get paid. Because if they don’t work, we don’t get supplies we need. So the next time you’re all, “Well if we pay a McDonalds employee $15/ hr then my Coffee will be more expensive…” sit down, pull out those critical thinking skills we talked about and vote to help out other human beings.

And to the doctors, nurses, and Emergency service workers, thank you. This should open your eyes to our healthcare industry and how completely jacked up it is.

Stay safe out there, y’all. And in some parts of the county, be careful when you knock on your neighbor’s door asking for help. You’re liable to get shot.

M.

Trouble Writing

If you’re like me, you are having a really hard time trying to write right now. Seriously, I can’t seem to filter out all this negative stuff. It’s very real stuff, that we need to stay abreast on, but it still mixes with all my regular anxiety and nervousness and smushes together in my head and creates this monster who can’t focus on anything for too long. This means that I have all this time now, sitting at home, and I’m unable to actually write. Which seems absurd. So, I’ve taken to using prompts, something I don’t usually like to do, but it’s helping a little. Not with this here blog, but with my other writing, so I thought I would share some prompts with you today that I have come across that have helped me in the past, and some I just made up. It will be fun to see if you can spot the difference. And listen, please try your best to turn to books, and art, and staying in contact (though not physically) with your friends right now. I promise it will help, it might just take some getting used to. Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

Writing Prompts

  • Think about all that is worrying you right now, then pick something super trivial that pops up. If you’re like me, I’ve been worrying about what to cook for dinner every damn night. Now write a paragraph from the POV of a person who is consumed with this trivial problem.
  • Write about your writing process. What it means when you say you are writing. What does that look like? How does it feel when you’re “in the zone”? How often does it happen? Can you will it?
  • Write a short story about an alligator farm. At this farm, the alligators run the humans, not the other way around. So actually, literally, the humans are walking around trying to bite the alligators, and the alligators have to jump on their backs to wrestle them? No, can’t do it? That’s weird, because it’s a really (cough) good (cough) prompt. Fine then, write about an alligator wrangler named Boomer Sr. in the swamps of Florida. He has four fingers and a slight limp.
  • Think about your room when you were a kid. Try to get back into that room. Did you have a theme in your room? Did you share it with siblings? Did you have your own radio or television? A computer? Oh, so you were fancy and rich? Think about the carpet. Did you have a toy box filled with your favorite things? What was your favorite toy? Follow this rabbit hole for a bit.
  • There’s a woman on a ferry off the the coast of Alaska. It’s summer, but still cold because Alaska. She’s holding a banjo, and a plate of cookies is wrapped in plastic wrap beside her. What the hell is she doing there? Where is she going? Where did the cookies come from? What’s with the damn banjo?
  • Pretend like you’ve been asked to give a TedTalk on the anxieties of the world today. You can set it in the past, present, or future. What are the negatives? What are the positives? How do you help these people who have come to see you talk? What will you say to improve the moral, but also keep everyone safe.
  • Write about what it means to be mindful. Are you ever mindful? What does being mindful even mean to you? Have you ever caught yourself really engrossed in something that you forget all your other worries? What allows you to do that? Is it that new Netflix show about prison basketball, or is that just me?
  • Think of someone who really annoys you. I mean, you can’t even stand to hear them breathe next to you. You have to actively fight the urge to tell them how you really feel when they are around. You do not like this person. Now write a four-sentence character description of this person.
  • There’s a Netflix show about prison basketball. It’s called “Q-Ball” because it’s about the prisoners at San Quentin. Go watch it.
  • Create a series of comics, mini-cartoons, even just a hand-drawn meme. I made a series of Covid-19 related ones to react to the “Bob the Stickman” memes I saw the other day. I will post them below for your amusement. In your cartoon, however, you are the protagonist, and you are absolutely against, say, helping to stop the spread of coronavirus. Had enough of coronavirus? Cool, then make your protagonist anti-abortion, or someone who doesn’t believe climate change is real. Fun times.
  • Make a soundtrack for whatever you are writing. Oh man, it seriously makes a difference! I am working on a piece from my childhood and my soundtrack is all 80s all the time. But maybe your story is set in the 1950s or San Fran in 1974. Go to iTunes and get you a playlist going. Even if you are not a writer. Just someone who needs a little distraction. Music helps so much.
  • Pick up a project you had previously put aside because you were stuck. Now start it all over again from a different character’s POV. Why? I dunno, why not assholes?
  • Write about a first date. What is the worst thing that could happen? What is the best outcome? Is there sex? If there is please write about it, everyone wants to read about sex. Jesus, write more about sex. And prison basketball. But not prison basketball sex. Or… hmm.
  • Write a ten word story that starts with “Run…”
  • Respond to a series of “Dear Abby” questions, but respond from Boomer Sr in the swamps of Florida.

Okay, so I promised I’d share my stick-figure people I drew to combat “Bob” who I was really tired of seeing, y’all know Bob.

It’s not that I hate Bob, it just seems like Bob is a little, umm, how should I say this, well he’s lacking in his thinking. Plus the same people who were sharing Bob, who claims to “listen to science” are the same people who legit don’t listen to science, their hypocrisy was pissing me off. In return, I created these five stick figure people to add a little more dimension to this pandemic. Enjoy! And please, go forth and write about Boomer Sr, then send it to me so I can read it!

You Are Not Alone

I’m sitting here waiting for my coffee to brew this morning, and I’m wondering about my friends. I’m hoping that you are all safe, and I don’t just mean safe physically. I know you all are taking the pandemic seriously. I also know that like me, you have family members who aren’t taking it seriously and you are worried about them. I know, like me, you have kids starting school online today. I know, like me, you are nervous about a myriad of things and it feels sometimes like you’re going through a dark tunnel and there is no end in sight. I just want to tell you that you are not alone.

There were moments yesterday that it felt like a regular Sunday. There were moments when I didn’t even realize our country or the world was in crisis. Then something would happen to bring me back into reality. At noon we got our daily check-in from our governor. The numbers doubled overnight in the State of Georgia. Again.

A few hours later I was happily staining wood in my carport, when I got an alert on my phone that the local Waffle House employee had just been brought out of quarantine and was walking. He tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago, but he has recovered.

Later that day Jerimiah and I were discussing hot tub essentials and I said, “Oh, I can just run to Lowe’s.” And he said, “We should probably order from Amazon so we don’t have to go out.” Oh, right. Shit, that’s right.

In and out of this way of thinking. Remembering, forgetting. Remembering, forgetting. I limit my social media time so I don’t get so wrapped up in things, and that has been good for me during this pandemic. May I suggest that to you all? I know it seems hard, harder now with more time on your hands, but let us not forget all the books that need to be read. All the kids that need help doing schoolwork. All the dogs that need walking. There are other ways to pass the time. And believe me, it is worth it.

Because I see things like this: A family member of mine asked the question on social media the other day, “How bad would Coronavirus be if there was no social media?” The question itself was asinine, put out in the universe to ruffle feathers, and maybe, probably to get conspiracy theories flying, but the point I took from it was that there are still people with blinders on. Still people who thing this is just a big hoax. And that has to be negatively impacting those of us (the large majority, mind you) who know better.

Another family member shared a meme that said, “Do you know anyone who is actually sick? I don’t. This is the media shutting down America.”

Bleh. This is real life, unfortunately. And it’s top down, as we all know by now.

I read a quote yesterday that said, “This isn’t prophecy, this is math.” And I gotta be honest it hit home for me because I have family members saying things like, “I can go where I want and do what I want, because God has my back.” It’s scary and it’s sad, and it’s so terribly wrong. This way of thinking is going to kill people.

I want you to know though, that if you have people around you who are talking and feeling this way, and it is making you crazy, know that you are not alone. We are all watching this unfold. We are all having moments of normalcy, sandwiched in between breakdowns. Wondering what will happen next. What alert will come across our phones. Whether our loved ones will be okay. Wondering if we are doing the right things. Wondering what to say to those of us not taking this seriously. Who do not understand how to flatten the curve. Who believe this is the end of times.

Just remember. There are some people you can’t change, you can’t help. And it’s best not to waste your time with them. Focus on the people you can help. Focus on the people in your house. The people on your street. The people in your community. Focus on stopping the spread. Taking less risks. Focus on doing the most good for the most amount of people. If we all lived our lives this way, it would be so magical.

And remember, when it feels like you’re in the pits, when you just can’t crawl out, when the news it too much, and your family members are too much, and this is all too much, remember there are others like you. Most people in fact. And reach out. I’m here.

Stay safe and sane.

M.

Posts I Would Have Made

I wrote a few posts last week, like last Monday, back, way back, before Covid-19 turned out to be so bad. Or before I was paying a lot of attention to it. Back when I thought I would still travel to Kansas City and back. I am sharing them today for two reasons: 1. To show how naive I was and 2. To allow you to laugh at me. Cause I think you probably need to laugh today. So here you go, one post for when I was flying to Kansas City and one for the way back home, when I thought all was still normal. Enjoy.

ATL–>MCI

If you’re reading this, I’m nonstop from Atlanta to Kansas City, on what is most likely a Delta Airbus, maybe a Boeing. I’m trying desperately not to get the Coronavirus, by keeping just enough alcohol in my system for the entirety of the flight. I’ll let you know, in about two weeks, if my plan has been successful. My husband’s probably not supportive of this plan. He’s probably already made a comment about ordering gin on an airplane very early in the morning. He’s probably reminded me that I shouldn’t drink with the Klonopin I washed down with said gin, as the plane ascended.

My son is probably ignoring the whole situation with YouTube videos and his earbuds, while peering out the window since beating me to the window seat, of which I actually allowed him to have on account of my motherly niceness. Also because people have probably sneezed on that window and he’s the least likely to die from the Coronavirus, if it in fact breezes through our household. Lest I remind you what I’ve just been told: Put on your own oxygen mask, before assisting others.

M.

MCI–>ATL

I’m headed back on another plane, bound for Atlanta from Kansas City, and I’m assuming that the Delta Goddess has given me enough leg room to stretch my legs to nap on the way home. I’m hoping. I’m assuming that I have not contacted Covid-19, that my son has not licked his way across the Midwest, and that my husband has given up on me trying to drink any virus away. I’m hopeful and assuming today.

When we land we have to get back to our car. Then we have to pick up the dog from the sitter’s. Then we have to unload the dog and the bags and book it to band practice, then from band practice to baseball practice. We have to eat dinner at some point. We have to unpack. Take a shower. Gather ourselves for the rest of the week at home.

But for now, I’m going to sleep on a plane. A Delta plane bound for Atlanta from Kansas City.

M.

Shit Holes and Bottled Water

I’ve seen all the memes floating around about how toilet paper is flying off shelves, and what that has to do with the Covid-19 pandemic. I know people are making light of other’s actions, but I think we can all agree that it boils down to two things: A strong-held belief (mainly from Christianity) that the “End of times” is near, and a sense of loss of control when faced with such a chaotic, confusing, and scary time such as we find ourselves in now. The problem is, when the “End of timers” run and grab all the toilet paper and bottled water, it causes mass hysteria with those seemingly “normal” populations of people, who feel compelled, for no other reason than they see others doing it, to then go and do it. It helps them. It allows them to rest easy at night knowing that they won’t have to dig a shit hole in their backyard if in fact this is the rapture. Do I have your attention now? With the whole “shit hole” thing?

If you follow along closely you will know by now that today my nephew Josh is marrying his fiancé Sarah. They are a lovely young couple, with bright, talented futures ahead of them. They have already accomplished, in their mid twenties, things that others can only dream of. We were set to fly to Kansas City and be part of the ceremony this weekend, but we decided last minute (eight hours before our Uber came to get us) that we would not make the trip to Kansas City and back at this time. And it was for one reason only, Covid-19.

We spent all of the hours up to that final decision talking to friends and family. Jerimiah and I spent a lot of time looking blankly at each other. I knew that if we didn’t go we would be viewed by some family members as “crazy” or “dumb” or “Libtards” (yes, we have family members who use that word). So we had to decide, were we willing to risk carrying a deadly virus with us (Georgia is a state with high-incidence levels) to a place with not many cases, or would we rather suck it up and go, and not look dumb. We had to decide how we would feel if one of our loved ones became ill. We were set to see many loved ones who are over the age of 65, with various health problems. We had to decided how we would feel if we unknowingly transferred something to them. How we would feel if they contracted the virus from anywhere. If we had visited, whether or not they got it from us, we would always think we gave it to them. We would always blame ourselves. Whether or not they contracted anything from us, we’d always think it was us.

There were other factors. My mother is 75-years-old and lives in a retirement community. One that we would spend substantial time in.

Our son has asthma, and although Covid-19 seems to be staying clear of children, it’s not something you want to risk with asthma.

We didn’t want to unknowingly pass anything to a loved one. We have been in Atlanta in the last two weeks. We took public transit. We know of self-quarantined cases in the actual town we live in. We understand that community spread is real.

Then we heard other about family members who have been to places with high incidence in the last two weeks, and they are not taking this seriously. Family members our son would come in contact with.

Then my best friends’ husband got an email from the University he works at in Kansas. It listed states to stay clear of, Georgia was one of them.

Then our governor suggested the State of Georgia close schools. Jerimiah and I looked at each other. Then came the letter from the superintendent, moments later. They did close the schools. All Dekalb County, until further notice.

There we were, looking dumbly at each other, both with a million things on our minds, when Jerimiah finally said, “Do you think it will be easy to cancel everything?” I said, “Let’s find out.”

It was. Delta refunded everything. Marriott refunded everything. National Car Rental refunded everything. Rover, the app we use to book our dog sitter, refunded everything. No questions asked. No fees of any kind. That’s when we knew we had made the right decision. No one should be traveling right now, if they don’t need to be. And the travel industry knows that.

Were we bummed? You betcha. But we’ve realized over the last 24 hours that this isn’t about us, and too many people are acting like it is. Too many people are being selfish right now. That’s why the tp is flying off the shelves. That’s why there are still people booking flights and traveling to beaches. That’s why there are people walking around carrying a virus, unbeknownst to them, and passing it to their community, rather than being inconvenienced for a few days.

Now listen, I get it. Some people have to work. Some people have no other option. If they don’t work, they don’t get a paycheck. I am not talking about those people. I am also not discussing how horrible it is to cancel school when there are children who feel safest at school. When there are children that are only fed, at school. Those are other topics. Today, I’m just sharing our decision. What and who played a role in it. And I’m imploring you, please stay home if you are sick. Please don’t buy all the tp you can buy. Please leave a few bottles of hand sanitizer on the shelf. Please, for the love of all the shit holes, try to be a kind, civilized person who cares for others just as much as you care for yourself.

Stay safe out there.

M.