We’ve gone from the brink of WWIII (January) and Australia being on fire (February) to being in the midst of a pandemic (March), dealing with killer hornets (April) and now, the United States is on fire (May-June).
It has been…a lot.
Like, 2020 has been pulling no punches and just keeps dishing stuff out. It’s crazy, man. I am all up for joining Anemone under the sea at this point.
On a more serious note, I have already posted my thoughts about everything that’s going on over on Facebook, but to sum it up here:
Now is NOT the time for all lives matter. Now is the time for Black Lives Matter. Now is the time to give Black people the microphone. Period.
I really, really hope something good comes out of all this, and that everyone participating in the protests stay safe.
Derek Chauvin and his fellow cops can rot.
Donald Trump needs to take an exit. Or least have his Twitter taken away.
George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Say their names.
It would feel a bit remiss to not at least mention something here about it. Now is the time to learn and listen. Believe me, I’m doing both.
So. Friday. I log on, ready to post. WordPress lets me know that there are a few things I should probably fix on my blog. And I’m like, “Okay, sure. I’ll get on that.”
One of them was updating to https. Now, I have the technological know-how of a squirrel, but after looking it up, I think, “Oh! Okay. I’ve got this. All I have to do is change one little thing here, and-”
I can’t log in. None of my posts can be clicked on. They all lead to some North Carolina plumbing service’s website.
So, I decided to handle this in a calm, mature fashion, and proceeded to promptly freak out.
My parents didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to do. 5 years of work seemingly went straight down the tubes. I have all the pictures saved, but none of the writing, because what even is backing up?
And, of course, it had to happen on a Friday afternoon. With COVID-19 prancing around the country. Because IMPECCABLE TIMING.
I finally managed to gather enough of my senses to Google what the sweet hell what I’m supposed to do now. And I discovered a WordPress Support website. Thank GOD.
I get in touch with someone. I spill all the sweet gory details of what happened to my precious blog. And they get right to work.
Apparently, my directory databases got corrupted, which screwed up my ability to log in. Could they fix it? Yes they could.
I paid up the money (which was a lot), sent them what I could – and all I could do was wait. And panic. And stress. And wait. And hope I wasn’t being taken for a ride.
The next day, at 11 AM, I woke up from my post-breakfast nap, because clearly I slept well the night before, and saw an email.
I clicked over to my website and lo and behold, I Draw Walruses is alive.
And there was much rejoicing.
Even though I don’t get a lot of traffic, even though I get maybe 10 people tops reading this website – this is my baby. My diary. It’s seen a lot over the past five years. Post-grad unemployment. Getting hired as a page. Experiencing all sorts of fun adulting stuff. Getting promoted. Whatever the heck is going on now. And developing all sorts of fun characters – Lars, Willa, Eliza, Jeff the Reindeer, Cleo, and more.
And to lose that all – that would hurt. That would just drain me even more that this whole event did.
So, now, what do I do?
I think I know what I did wrong. BUT. I refuse to touch anything, do anything stupid at all, before I back everything up.
That is truly the lesson to be gained from all this. Don’t take anything for granted, and back up your work.
With all that’s going on right now, we need to be cognizant of not just our physical wellbeing, but our mental health as well.
Case in point: when COVID-19 first settled stateside, I could not stop googling the news about it. I’d just have to. Next thing I know, it’s two hour later and I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole of news articles and opinion pieces. The result? My anxiety would spike hardcore, and I needed to get all my thoughts out there and just vent and vent and vent (mostly to my parents, who are indeed saints for dealing with me), my mind a non-stop roller coaster of awful. And it would always be right before I’d go to bed. The worst time to have my brain running a hundred miles per hour.
I’m not promoting ignorance. At all. It is important to stay informed. But this is not being informed. This is me racing through internet pages and internalizing everything awful, then spewing it back out.
The fact is, I need to step back. For me to stay in one piece, I need to keep myself from this horrible habit. I’ve been trying – a few slip-ups here and there, but for the most part, I think I’ve done okay. I’ve learned that I need to redirect myself or physically hold myself back. I don’t know if it’s some weird OCD thing or not – I have not been diagnosed by a professional, so I really don’t want to classify it as such. But I do need to breathe, and back away from the Google, if I want to have any chance of coming away from the COVID-19 pandemic mentally together.
If reading the news helps keep your anxiety in check, great. Go for it. But I know that I can’t right now. Because I won’t get anything from it. My anxiety will just suffer.
So I will step back. Breathe. Knit. Draw. Whatever.
Please note: I do try to avoid talking politics whenever humanly possible. So this will hopefully be the one and only comic touching on the presidential election this year.
But really, I can already tell, it’s going to be a weird one. Which, truth be told, I think we have the last election to thank for that, setting a unfortunate new precedent for whatever shenanigans happen in future elections.
Still getting used to the new car, as you can see, even though it’s already been two months.
There have been times where I’m like “NO NO NO NOT AGAIN – oh, wait, it’s just my knee knocking against the paneling.” Or I tune into a certain sound and turn off my music to find out what it is, only to found out it was just a part of the song.
Clearly, still a bit traumatized from the Incorrigible Bastard.
I should’ve known what a handful you were going to be the moment that blasted clicking noise started.
It wasn’t too long after I’d gotten you – according to the blog, it was June of 2015. Just driving along – don’t remember where to – and suddenly, I heard this little click popping up every so often. At first I thought it was just the song on the radio. So I turned it off. And surprise, surprise, it was still there. Turns out it was the signal for the high beams flickering, even though they weren’t even on. Weird, but whatever.
Then everything started going wrong.
The radio started fritzing, to the point where it wasn’t even worth turning on anymore. Whenever I did turn my headlights, they would indeed flicker, making driving at night embarassing and me hoping and praying that I wouldn’t get pulled over. And of course, the stuttering. The worst part of all. You would pause, then go. Pause, then go. I was terrified I was going to get into some kind of accident.
And let’s not forget that one incident driving home from my friend Chelsea’s house. It was late, Panic! at the Disco was playing, I’m cruising along – and BOOM. All the lights go off. No sound. No nothing. And then everything just turns back on. It was short, granted, but good Lord. Apparently, you wanted to give me a heart attack.
We tried to figure out what was wrong. I’d drop you off at our friendly neighborhood car shop, the one that takes care of all our cars, and they’d find nothing. I felt like I was going crazy, like I was driving the Michigan J. Frog of cars, acting up just for me.
As it turns out, after some detective work, it was the key. The spare we’d give to the car shop worked find. The main key, the one I had, was warped, causing some kind of disconnect in the electrical system. So, we swapped it out. And suddenly, everything was fine. Perfect even. You kept driving along like this would never happen again.
Until it did.
Over and over and over and over and OVER again, for the next 4 years. The same things every single time. Flickering lights, malfunctioning radio, stuttering – and the damn clicking noise. And let’s not forget those nice moments where you wouldn’t even want to turn on. Always at the most inconvinient times, when I had to get somewhere or had to go home, you would decide, “Nah. Don’t feel like it. Sorry.” And then suddenly, you’d turn on. Like magic. Of course, everything had reset itself. Again.
Just – ARGH.
We tried. We really did. We replaced your battery so many times, and it would do the trick – for a few WEEKS, a few months if I was lucky. Then everything would start up again. Like clockwork.
And these past couple of months have officially been the final straw.
You were no longer reliable. You were some kind of demon car, hellbent on stranding me places, including my own house. I would cross my fingers and hope and pray that I could get to one place and back without something going wrong, which is something no one should have to do. Your air conditioning had decided to conk out. The CD player was making some god awful noise on a near consistent basis.
That Thursday, though. That Thursday when you left me high and dry in the Chipotle parking lot – that was it. That was the moment where I couldn’t drive you anymore. That was the moment I threw up my hands and said, “I give up. I need a new car.” You were just too far gone.
And so, I did.
Get a new car, that is.
He’s truly a beauty. A 2016 Ford Focus. Silver. Perfect condition. Everything works, from the AC to the CD player.
Does he have heated seats? No. A sunroof? Not really. But do I need those things. No. I need a car that get me from Point A to Point B without giving me a migraine.
So with that, I can say, I’m done with you.
I’m done with the CD player that hasn’t worked in months, that would keep CDs trapped until it decided to spring back to life. I’m done with the air conditioning that no longer functions, forcing me to roll down my windows so I don’t show up looking like a drowned, sweaty rat. I’m done with the stuttering that probably made me look like an incompetent boob behind the wheel. I’m done with all the lights going on and off, with that stupid, awful clicking noise that will probably haunt my dreams and has caused me to jump at any single noise my new car makes.
And most of all, I’m done with you not wanting to do what you were made to do: turn on, and get me places. That’s it. I know I don’t go to a lot of places, but I still need to get there. And you can’t do that anymore.
So. Here you are. Sitting like a lump at the end of the driveway. All my stuff is cleaned out. The license plates have been removed. And I am more than ready for you to go.
I remember driving you off that car lot up in Maryland and being absolutely terrified. My grandpa and stepgrandmother paid 7000 dollars for you – in cash – and suddenly, you were mine. I had to drive you all the way back home, and I was so worried that I’d get into some kind of accident or get hideously lost.
But we made it home in one piece, and thus began our 4 year long journey that has now resulted in you absolutely refusing to work at all.
Not that we haven’t had some good times together. You were there for me when I went job hunting. You were there for me when I managed to snag an interview and got the library page position, after failing to get it the first time. You were there when I got the job I have now.
You were there when I managed to make the friends I have now. You got me to places, helped me meet up with them, and now here I am, with a good solid friend group that is truly some kind of miracle. And I thank you for that, really.