“We’d have these huge philosophical arguments where I was like- I don’t believe in an intelligent creator, per se, but I think there might be a latticework of logic and meaning to the universe that maybe we’re too small to see. And she was like, Sweetie, it’s all random, it’s all chaos. It’s chaos. Be kind. It’s chaos. Be kind.” -Patton Oswalt, Annihilation
I was invited by the wonderful Smelly Socks and Garden Peas to write a post about what we will do the first weekend after the end of quarantine/ lockdown. It has been a challenge, with all the togetherness of late it’s a miracle when I can construct a complete thought without interruption, let alone an entire blog post.
As I thought about what I might want to write about I turned over several ideas, perhaps returning to simple pleasures like parks and pubs, maybe those historical sites I have been dying to get to (once a Tudor history nerd, always a Tudor history nerd) or maybe something about the overnight trips we want to plan?
The above quote from Patton Oswalt’s Annihilation special on Netflix keeps running through my head and blocking out all of those other thoughts of a post-lockdown existence. Father of Gingers and I have been big fans of Patton Oswalt’s stand up for years. His slightly curmudgeon-y and misanthropic, sharp, nerdy, occasionally quirky take on the world speaks to us and our sense of humor.
However, Annihilation was hard for both of us to get through. It was the first special after the death of Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara. A not-insignificant portion of the set is him talking about losing his wife, and worse, telling their elementary school- age daughter that her mother is gone and how they both dealt with it and are dealing with it. It is the only comedy set I’ve ever watched where I had to repeatedly try to swallow around a huge lump in my throat and needed several breaks to wipe my eyes. Through it all, he comes back to McNamara’s philosophy on life, “It’s chaos, be kind.” She was speaking in a more metaphysical sense, but it has very practical applications right now.
The current situation in the world is best described as Chaos with chaos sauce, chaos sprinkles, and an angst cherry on top.
There’s not much left for us to do, but be kind.
There is so much information bombarding us from every corner. Everyone has a slightly different priority order, the vast majority of which carry absolutely no malicious intent towards others. The majority of people are making decisions using the best information they can to make best decisions they can in a time of best worst choices.
Some of us are going to have to make decisions based on medical information. They may be too much at risk and they have to stay inside until this storm is further past.
Some feel the lockdown has gone on too long, some feel it’s ending too early.
Finances may be the driving factor in some family’s decisions on how they’re going to proceed. Mental health is a not-insignificant factor in the balance as well.
Everyone is on on edge- these are life and death choices, not just for the threat of COVID-19, but also in terms of mental health and financial stability. There isn’t a one size fits all answer.
The bottom line is there is no way around this chaos, the only option is to just get through it. It doesn’t have to be pretty- but how much better will it be if we are kind?
This is a very long winded way to say I don’t know yet what my first choice is for when our first weekend out of lockdown comes. We will be taking a slow approach for several reasons that make it the best fit for our family. I do know I’ll try my hardest to be kind.
There’s a very real chance I totally misunderstood the assignment… but at least this is off my chest.