Blog: Remembering The Summer Of 2020
(originally written 11/7/20)
I sit here on this seventh day of November 2020, trying to wrap my head around how I, and we as a people, got here. It can't really be five+ months since the George Floyd riots, can it? Five months since I was, for the first time in my adult life, living in fear?
It's true. Back in late May and early June, when social unrest spiraled out of control nationwide including in my own city, I was reluctant to go anywhere past 12 in the afternoon. I lived in a perpetual state of worry for my 67-year-old mom, who is still a year away from retirement and had to venture out in public. A well-publicized police shooting went down just next door to her job during the mayhem.
I wasn't entirely sure I could protect myself and my daughter Josie if the situation arose; they take away your gun rights when you go 51-50. As a repeat "offender", there's next to no chance of me ever restoring those rights, and I'm not exactly known for my martial arts abilities.
For most of the summer, the combination of COVID and protests/riots everywhere kept me firmly indoors. I didn't see family and I barely saw friends. I didn't go anywhere besides the grocery and the laundromat, and even then I was not comfortable at all if not back home by 4pm. I was in such angst, I didn't even update this website for weeks.
Ask anyone: I'd never lived like this before. And by "this", I mean "in fear". I just hoped that as a black guy, angry protesters (and/or troublemakers) would let me and my child be should we ever run into any. Obviously I was against the Floyd killing and wanted justice, just not in the form of assault, looting and destruction. I wanted no part of that and I didn't want my daughter to even know it was happening, lest she be negatively affected.
So I just laid low all summer.
And I lost a little respect for myself by doing so. Thousands took to the streets to fight for change, while I...stuffed my face and played online Wheel Of Fortune. Nevermind what happened to Floyd could have easily happened to me, too.
Josie handled the hibernation as well as could be expected; she's developed into a homebody of sorts anyway. I did make sure to get her semi-regular outdoor exercise in our neighborhood, at least. But for the first time ever, we did absolutely nothing of note over the summer. COVID factored into that, true; many of our past recreational options were simply not available this year. But I can't blame more than 10% of our solitude on the pandemic.
Even today, I am hesitant to go out at night. Last week, Josie and I celebrated Halloween at a small gathering with friends about 15 minutes from my home. We departed at 11pm. I was nervous the whole way home, still traumatized by the mayhem that occurred in my city five months ago. I don't know when I'll be past it. Any new police shooting triggers the anxiousness all over again.
Also, over the summer I disassociated with a couple of people in my life. One is a woman whose long-distance friendship had basically run its course; our main common interest hadn't been an interest of mine in some time. I ghosted her. That was probably wrong but it's what I did.
The other was a cousin who I've never really liked, just put up with for the sake of family. He's one of those who is constantly complaining and constantly in need. I finally got fed up with him and blocked his numbers. I don't intend to see him again.
This summer I stayed off social media. Deactivated everything.
Why? Because I didn't want to wind up unfriending anyone over the Floyd killing, COVID or the upcoming election. I know a lot of outspoken people with strong views on just about everything, and there's no doubt Facebook and Instagram were saturated with those views. I use social media to escape "heavy" stuff, which would not have been possible this summer with so much going on in our nation.
Now it's fall. Joe Biden has just won the election. A load of people are not happy with that, and I'm just sitting around wondering when they're going to start causing trouble in my area. There's been no indication of that happening so far, fortunately, but I was so scarred by the Floyd chaos that I can't shake this nagging worry over future chaos. Is peace TOO much to ask for in America?
It's unclear whether I need a meds adjustment or to just "grow a pair", but in any event what IS clear: I am not comfortable in this society right now, and at the rate things are going, I'm not certain I ever will be again. What a sucky year...