Hold You Up To The Flames

The world is on fire.

That is, at once, a metaphor and a reasonable, realistic description of the country I live in, as I write this (the Sunday morning before this publishes, for a change; no working three weeks in advance this time). Across the country, protests against police brutality are being met with further police brutality — does it still count as irony if you’re heartbroken? — and cities are literally aflame at night as a result. The world, at least my part of it, is on fire.

I’m finding it hard to think of anything else. Perhaps I should be grateful; it’s a new obsession, something to finally push the coronavirus out of pole position. Now I have a new tragedy to be unable to stop thinking about! But even that grim humor holds no truth — the new normal had set in to the point where I’d search the news each morning and allow myself to read stories on different topics again, the COVID of it all settling into everyday background radiation. What’s happening now is an additive, not a replacement.

In a way, that makes it… maybe not worse, but certainly more layered. I support the protests, but worry that everyone there is going to get sick, that each protest is the ideologically acceptable, morally right equivalent to the spring break party petri dishes I disdained last month.

I feel tired, I feel sad, I feel overwhelmed. How could anyone not? What’s happening feels so big that it pushes out the smaller stuff, even when it’s not really small. There’s a sense of, how dare I feel sad about the dogs going back to my ex-wife who still doesn’t wear a face mask when out in public, but why should I be surprised, she also drives between states needlessly despite quarantine, but surely none of that is too small to feel, even now…?

Or perhaps it is. It’s not clear in my head right now. There’s a world burning all around me, after all.

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