Team Taco™! It's nice to be amongst friends once again. Every time I have to write the public report that goes out at the end of the month, I feel a little off. Since everything I'm writing about is referential and building on the previous reports, it feels weird to drop someone in for a single report and then off they go again, waiting another month. Like your parents reading you The Lord of the Rings, but skipping every three chapters.
Fun fact — skipping 75% of The Lord of the Rings is probably the best way to read those books.
It's wild to me that Taco Report has a better editor than Tolkien did, you know? That's all.
One Year Down, Forever to Go
Yesterday was my best friend's 40th birthday. Which is great and lovely. But it also marks a weird date for us — the last plans we cancelled because of COVID. We were supposed to be in Iceland this week, running around, camping, hiking, eating at fancy restaurants. Taking photos, sitting in hot springs, listening to music. Maybe I would've tried to convince everyone to take acid while staying on a farm in the middle of nowhere? Who can say. (I can. I would've. It would've been great.)
Instead, we're a country apart. Sitting at our homes. Still. Just the last thing at the bottom of a long list. I talked about how disheartening this week was to my therapist. How much I'm struggling with it. She mentioned that it's coming up in all of her sessions for the last week or two.
I don't think any of us are holding it together anymore. We're just merely pretending because we don't want to feel like assholes to our friends and family. A little break down here or there with the true friends, sure. Being honest about how we're really doing? No way. But as the light at the end of the tunnel becomes slightly more clear, as national and worldwide vaccination strategy feels more focused, we are all starting to let the cracks show.
Even though we all know this isn't going to be over anytime soon, it feels like we're closer by the day. And it's allowing us to take stock of what we lost.
The burnout I've mentioned the last few weeks has continued to get worse. I just want to sleep. A month ago, for the first time since November 2019, I took a real vacation.
It was a single week. I worked through the weekend leading up to the vacation. I worked for two hours on the first Monday of our vacation. By Monday afternoon, I had picked up our rental car for the week and had gotten drunk in our pool. As begins all good staycations. For the next 7 days, I didn't check Slack or my email. We went to the beach. I swam in a cenote. Felt my feelings, as one does on vacation. I didn't log back on until Monday afternoon as a way to reclaim the morning and weekend that was stolen from me.
Turns out, it didn't matter. The pattern was broken. I wasn't actually thriving or surviving through the pandemic so much as I had tricked my brain — through routine, habits, and vices — to keep working through it. But now that I took a break to relax and turn my brain off for a bit, just for a single goddamned week, it's done.
This last month has been brutal. I'm getting things done, sure. But now I know. I know how this month, this last year, has made me feel. I've wasted years of my life before — I know I have. But there's a difference between wasting it on something you choose versus having it taken from you.
A lot of the time, when I really let myself just sit and feel this, it feels like we're surviving the apocalypse. But goddamn if apocalypse movies didn't lie to us. They told us it'd be a fast, calamitous event. Not a slow drag. Not running out of toilet paper. Not people wanting to eat at Olive Garden so much they'd commit untraceable manslaughter.
This apocalypse is slow. And unfortunately, the choices you and I have access to don't touch the problems we're living through. We can't pass COVID relief. We can't stop the American military from being one of the largest emitters of carbon nor can we stop American imperialism. We can't fundamentally shift the global economy from extractive to sustainable.
What can we do? I don't know. If we can answer that question succinctly, my therapist would be thrilled, because I'm certain she's tired of me asking it.
I think about how to answer this question every day.
We can move to Mexico so we have a nice pool to watch the sunset in instead of staying in a country that makes us miserable. We can start art projects that let us work with our friends. We can try to relax. We can take vacations. We can take acid on a farm in Iceland. We can focus on the small things. The individual tasks.
Slow down. Focus on the community you can save. Do the work nearby. I'm not going to save the world. Neither are you.
Having a nice little pool and a good view of the sunset during the apocalypse is still watching the sunset during the goddamn apocalypse. Vacations end. Mutual aid only goes so far. And then you're just stuck trying to trick yourself back into the rhythm of working through a series of global catastrophes.
As I've discovered this last month, that doesn't really work. And the harder I try, the worse it gets.
Maybe the power we have as individuals isn't in fixing these problems or changing these feelings, but being honest about those feelings and embracing them together. Maybe through our choices, our actions, we can make it a little better?
TACO TOTAL — 394/2021
This Week's Taco Total — 40
February Taco Total — 197
So that new thing I mentioned last week that was going to certainly maybe be ready for this week? Yeah, that's next week. I was going to get it done for today, but then I didn't. And because I love myself, I didn't force it. But next week, y'all. Let me tell you. I'm excited.
I've finished with 197 tacos two months in a row. This month, I'm going to try and eat 198. Getting wild down here. But this means we're ~2 weeks, give or take, away from hitting 500 tacos. So I guess it's time to have our first official Team Taco™ hang to celebrate. I'll have more details next week.
That's a lot of stuff for me to get done this week. Guess I better get started.