I’ve lost the capacity to comprehend the construct of time. That’s overly dramatic. I’m fine. If you read my last post but you want to hear about any updates since then, just go reread it 13 more times. That should give you a better sense of what it’s really like in here.* While I don’t really have anything new to share, I also don’t want to lose momentum with my writing. So here are a few totaly random thoughts I’ve had over the past couple of days.
*The title of this post refers to being both inside this room and inside my own head, neither of which I seem to be able to escape.
- Community is a really, really good show. I don’t know why I never watched it back in the day. I think it was because it was out around the same as The Office and Parks and Rec and I just didn’t have the bandwidth for another show in the same genre. But damn, it might be better than both of them. If this were an official review, which it obviously is, I would call it clever, poignant, and timeless. Five stars.
- There are a few things that, as a foreigner in a new country, I’m glad I’ve gotten to experience from the safety of this room. One of them is that if you hear music coming down the street, you will be disappointed that it is not, in fact, the ice cream truck but rather the garbage truck. From what I understand, Taiwan is a very clean nation (smog excluded) and, as this interesting article explains, this is an effort to get people to deliver their trash directly from their homes or businesses to the trucks, rather than letting it sit around in alleys or on curbsides. It’s a respectable initiative, but when you’re already on the verge of losing your mind, hearing Beethoven’s Fur Elise come down the block another. goddamn. time. doesn’t exactly help.
2a. Another thing I’m glad I’ve learned by looking out the window rather than the hard way is that if you park your moped on the inner promenade space in front of a store, you are fine, but if you park on the designated sidewalk, you will get ticketed or towed.
2a…i? I’m really excited to get a scooter. The people I’ve talked to have recommended getting something in the 100-150cc range, which would leave my old 50cc Zuma in the dust, and I am just thrilled.
2b. Lastly, when walking, look both ways and cross carefully. Yellow ones don’t stop.
- Pretty sure Atmosphere has officially unseated Brother Ali as my favorite artist of all time, but I’ve also been listening to a lot of Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and even some Britney. Gotta keep the energy up in here. I’m very glad I brought my speaker, and sorry to my neighbors.
- I’ve never considered myself very political, but it’s too important now not to be. I still don’t involve myself much in politics, as we used to know them at least, but we live in a world where just about everything one does is political. Standing up for what you believe is now a political act, the decision to send your kids to school or not makes a political statement, and even something as fundamental as the amount of value you place on a human life has been thrust onto political platforms. So while I don’t intend for this blog to be political, I feel compelled to at least share a few basic thoughts because to not say something is to take the side of the oppressor. To stay silent in times of distress is to be complicit in the maltreatment of others. We all participate in political, social, and economic systems that privilege some groups over others and to carry on as “normal” is to participate in the perpetuation of inequality. If you haven’t read White Fragility yet, please do. I encouraged my dad to read it and I couldn’t have been more proud of his openness to and acceptance of Robin DiAngelo’s assertions. What is happening in the world lately is sad and not easy for anyone to digest. (Well, it’s been happening since basically the dawn of civilization, we’re just more aware of it now, which is at least a step in the right direction.) It’s hard to see, it’s hard to talk about, and it’s even hard to think about, but we must. We must reject cancel culture, we must look beyond our curated facebook feeds that are filled with confirmation bias, we must have honest and challenging conversations, and we must be open to new ways of looking at things, even if that comes at the cost of disrupting our current beliefs and practices. A willingness to admit that we are not perfect and that there are not only two, but sometimes three or four sides to every story, not just the side we want to believe, is a necessary first step on a long road towards healing.
Which brings me to my main point. Donald Trump has made our country significantly worse than it was four years ago. He has emboldened and elevated the very worst parts of our humanity. He has normalized the most evil parts of people’s beliefs. He has almost single-handedly created a national culture of mistrust, hate, and fear. This election is unlike any other. This election is not about the economy, or education, or abortion, or creating jobs, or secret scandals, or deleted emails. It does not matter how you align yourself or how you’ve voted in the past. In my mind, this election comes down to one thing: are you a decent human? If you were to tell me that you truly hate black people, Mexicans, women, and poor people and you want to vote for Donald Trump because you believe that your life is better when they are kept in their place at the bottom of society so that you can sit on the top, fine. That makes sense to me. I don’t respect you, but I can understand that logic. If you are literally anybody else – if you like to think of yourself as non-racist, if you want to stop seeing people getting shot and cities burning, if you want to prevent more people from dying from COVID, if you want to ever be able to give someone a hug again, you need to vote for Joe Biden and you need to tell your friends to vote for him too. I know he might not be your ideal candidate, but unfortunately that doesn’t matter at this point. The options are either him or four more years (and undoubtedly effects that will last even longer) of destruction, death, domestic terror, misogyny, racism, sadness, and fear. As a quick reminder, those commercials that warn “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America” are showing actual footage from Donald Trump’s America. That messaging baffles me, and the fact that anyone might believe it confuses me even further. It is also important to understand that a vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Trump. Not voting is a vote for Trump. All of his nonsense about mail-in voting fraud is an attempt to suppress voter turnout because he knows that the more people that vote, the more likely he is to lose. The nice lady at the Burlington city hall assured me that she would get my ballot all the way around the world to me and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival. I’m hopeful that America will prove to be just slightly less dumb than it was four years ago, but I won’t be able to relax until the final vote is tallied. As I was saying, I’ve never been much into politics and I don’t know as much about all of the details as many others do. I couldn’t tell you Kamala Harris’ voting history, or what impact Biden will have on your taxes. But I do know that they are decent, mentally stable people. And sadly, this year, that’s all it takes to make this a pretty obvious and immeasurably important choice.
For further, more intelligible and informed reading, check out this article written by my good friend, Nate.
- On a lighter note, we’ve reached the Evan-gives-himself-horrible-facial-hair phase of quarantine.
6. I’m not a big video game guy, but the Nintendo Switch is a really remarkable machine. Everything about the design and the functionality are impeccably executed. I finally beat Zelda, which is one of the best games you’ll ever play. I’m now on to an indy game called Hollow Knight, which is also brilliant. If you like the old Mario games, you’d love this one.
7. I am really mentally strong. I am proud of myself for getting through a two week quarantine in stable condition. If you know the Mrkvickas, you know we’re not real good at sitting still. Laying in bed and watching Netflix all day every day sounds torturous to me, so instead, I made myself a schedule and kept myself busy. I have worked out every day, I have written almost every day, I have practiced Chinese every day, I made 2.8 cross stitch… pictures? projects? cross stitches?, I completed all of my trainings and orientation for school, I’ve been able to do some planning and getting to know the curriculum, I beat a video game, I read/listened to parts of two different books, and I have kept myself in good spirits. I would not recommend this for anyone as a voluntary project. It’s good to like, you know, go outside, walk more than 70 steps per day, and interact with other humans. But I’m confident that a week from now, it will have been worth the grind and I will living my best life in this beautiful country. A teacher friend told me yesterday that after such a long time away, being back with the kids is extremely energizing. I know being back in the classroom will bring me great joy in addition to being good for my mental and physical health.
T-minus 40 hours ’til freedom! But who’s counting?