In which pew pew pew

Six days to no more glasses.

Here’s the … fun? Yeah, let’s go with fun– thing about planning completely optional eye surgery during a global pandemic: I have so much other shit on my mind right now that any sort of holy shit something terrible could go wrong and I could go blind I’m going to go blind anxiety just doesn’t even have time to penetrate. Because, well, if, I dunno, the machine explodes or some shit during the surgery, and I’m permanently blinded, well, then I guess I don’t have to worry about shit like returning to work any longer, now, do I? And considering that in… shit, seventeen years of teaching– is that right?– I have never once managed to make it through the first month of school without getting sick for a couple of days, it is fair to say that I am considerably more frightened of COVID-19 right now than I am of any shit going wrong during my five-minute eye surgery. That’s gonna be fine.

I just need to not die after the surgery.

There’s a School Board meeting on July 13th– the same day as the surgery, as it turns out– and rumor has it that more information about this reopening plan is going to be revealed and/or voted on there. I think there’s also some sort of virtual townhall planned in the next couple of days. But right now, nobody knows anything except for the part where what they have planned right now is not going to work. I will have every 8th grader in my building in my math classes next semester. Every single one. Here’s what Indiana’s current infection stats look like:

Note that unlike a lot of states, Indiana doesn’t report all at once, so our number creeps up over the course of the day, and the day’s not done yet. While we’re not Florida or Texas by any stretch of the imagination, our numbers are definitely creeping back up again, and I don’t see that changing by next month.

It’ll take all of a week, tops, before there’s an 8th grader who tests positive in my building. And that will have been a kid in my classroom, by definition. When you toss second-order exposures on there (I don’t know if that’s a technical term; what I’m getting at is Jimmy’s little brother testing positive, but not Jimmy yet) it may not even take a week. We had a positive in March right around when school let out and this had barely started yet.

I keep wanting to write a more academic, reasoned defense of why schools can’t reopen yet, and the fact is I can’t get past the part where I don’t feel like I should be endangering my family so that other people can go to work. If I was actually doing it for education, that would be one thing, but if anything has been made fucking undeniable about American culture in the last three months it’s that schools are looked at as daytime child care and not much fucking else. Go ahead, try and find someone making a genuine case for reopening schools for any reason beyond “parents can’t handle their kids being at home.” You will, to put it mildly, be challenged in this effort. There’s occasional lip service paid to educational inequity and how not everyone has internet access, but that’s generally paragraph nine of the twenty-paragraph article and the rest is all about balancing either an Essential Job with staying home or existential angst from having to be on Zoom while you answer the occasional math question. And I get it! I do! I had to do the same thing with my own kid from March through June, and I only have one of them!

I just don’t think your child care issues are a reason to risk my family’s health, to say nothing of my own, and if that makes me selfish, well, I’ll find a way to live with it. Because the more we find out about this motherfucker the worse it looks, and even with a good chance of everyone coming out alive on the other end I’m not interested in a fucking chronic illness for the rest of my life either. Sorrynotsorry.

Damn near all of us need to be staying home, and while we’re staying home the fucking government needs to get off their asses and start sending people money to pay their bills while they’re home, and if your answer to that is but Republicans then fine, let’s bring the fucking guillotine back and see how fast they change their fucking minds. I’m not in the mood to be civilized about this shit any longer. Enough of this shit. We’ll be over three million fucking infections by tomorrow. Enough.

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Luther M. Siler

Teacher, writer of words, and local curmudgeon. Enthusiastically profane. Occasionally hostile.

2 thoughts on “In which pew pew pew

  1. At least numbers are declining slightly where you are. I’m in shithole Texas and there are 450 cases yesterday in the three zip codes where I live and work. And by work, I mean work in a grocery store where people still refuse to wear masks even through the governor has said so. And those 450 cases are only the ones actually diagnosed and that number is 50 more than the day before. So…

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