Coronafornia Dreamin’ Part 4–Seven’s Lockdown Diary

Dear Diary,

It’s day 67 of the global coronavirus lockdown. I’ve spent that entire time trapped in California at my mum and brother’s house. The Thai Civil Air Authority have just extended the ban on foreigners for another month, so after 6 flight changes, I’m tentatively scheduled to land back in Bangkok on July 2nd, which will mean that all together, I will have spent 4 months in the prison of the United States. That’s only if they don’t extend the ban again. Needless to say, my patience and my nerves are threadbare.

I have got to get back to Thailand. Mum’s running me ragged with home repairs. Also, my harem needs me. They’re literally starving to death. Which honestly isn’t bad for a couple of them who were getting a bit chunky pre-Covid. Lately their Facebook selfies are looking decidedly sexier. But there’s a fine line between skinny-hot an emaciated. I gotta get back.

The coronavirus hysteria hasn’t calmed at all here in the US. The news contrives to frighten us daily. The info is all about inaccuracy. Idiots here are so terrified they wear masks while driving alone in their cars. They’re woefully ignorant, and the more they ‘educate’ themselves, the stupider they become.

Here are the facts: Less than 0.014% of Covid cases were contracted out of doors. Less than 0.1% of people under 60 die from the virus. Countries that didn’t lock down have the same exact death rate as those that enforced safe-at-home tactics, proving that destroying economies and trapping people inside not only didn’t stop the spread, it actually made it worse.

And yet our betters—movie stars, politicians, Bill Gates, and world leaders—continue to spit the lie into our faces that we need to devastate humanity as we know it in order to save ourselves from this invisible and impotent enemy. To prop up their lies, they quote inflated death tolls. They encourage hospitals to change death certificates to Covid even when patients croaked from something else. Left wing politicians from mayors to senators are touting this crisis as their opportunity to permanently replace the constitutional republic of the United States with socialism, aka neo-feudalism. It has nothing to do with saving lives and everything to do with grabbing power while reducing the freedoms of citizens and nestling a boot into their spines. Anyone in Thailand right now can relate. Prayut’s gone so far towards totalitarianism, he should think about growing a tiny mustache under his nose. But I digress.

Another surprising and disheartening aspect of this virus-imposed California exile is how badly my family is taking the lockdown. It’s ironic, because before the virus, when they were free to go wherever whenever, my mum and brother both spent 90% of their time at home. Now that they’re required (by illegal “decree”) to spend 90% of their time at home, they’re climbing the walls. It’s an obvious case of reverse psychology. And I guess I’m less surprised at my family’s neuroses than I am at my own lack of reaction. I suppose it’s because I’m used to staying indoors, especially here. Throughout my teenage years, I was entombed in the prison of my bedroom with no car and nowhere to go. So I consoled myself with music—a shut-in soundtrack comprised of The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Roxy Music, R.E.M., Joy Division. I busied myself with writing, painting, drawing, and dreaming. I got to know those walls so well, they became a comfort, to the point that once I had the choice to leave, I often opted to stay in (cue any one of a dozen different Morrissey-penned lyrics here). So a lockdown doesn’t feel much different from my entire adolescence.

To sum up the situation here, though: it’s a shit show. And maybe this is just psychosomatic, but it seems like when I’m in the US, everything that can go wrong—does. A week after landing, my laptop started getting glitchy and now half the apps won’t work. My phone’s touch screen freezes at random. My brother’s car broke down. The coffee pot broke. Our air-con broke. The kitchen sink sprung a leak. I bought a Playstation 2 to alleviate my boredom along with 8 games. All but one are scratched, and the controller’s direction buttons continually stick. Out of nowhere, I have some kind of blister on my junk, which would mean a herpes scare if I were in Thailand, but I haven’t so much as spoken to a woman while in the States and haven’t had sex since February. I literally think it’s genital stress acne from lack of use. (It turned out to be an ingrown hair, a common hazard of mongershaving—that’s the technical term for a whoremonger’s habitual junk shaving.)

My one bit of solace—my sleep—is constantly fucked with here. Every night, a family of raccoons takes up the nightly practice of what I can only imagine is a lacrosse tournament on our roof. My brother falls asleep with his TV on and then snores louder than it. My mum suffers occasional night terrors that go until I stop them by waking her up. I’m in a permanent state of exhaustion.

Even worse, my writing—which wasn’t going to win any awards before the virus—has suffered as a result of never having a single moment of peace and quiet here. From the minute I wake up to the minute I hit the pillow, I’m pummeled with questions and requests from one family member or other. Combine that with the never-ending list of chores my mum has for me every single day—my brain feels like scrambled eggs. Clean the cupboards, trim the hedges, organize the closets, build a gazebo, clean out the fridge, repaint the house, mend the roof shingles, clean the rain gutters, trim back the tree in the garden. I don’t mind doing the work, but I’d like to do it in my own time. In this house, all my life, there’s only ever been one schedule: mum’s. What she wants done she wants done when she wants it done and not a minute after. Never mind if you have other obligations. Patpong blog be damned. I think I whined about this in a previous entry, but I can’t help repeating—it’s a pain in the ass. The day I can set foot back in my empty Bangkok apartment and hear nothing by my own footsteps will be a glorious day indeed. I’ll strip naked, phone one of my harem, and have her spend a few hours giving my twig-n-berries a thrice over. And finally, I’ll get a full night’s sleep. It’s a moment I hesitate to even hope for while in this present state of suspended animation.

Full disclosure: it’s not all bad. I’ve said this before, that the food and wine are outstanding. I forgot how fantastic the seasonal fruit and veg are in California. It’s a mesmerizing array of exquisite fare. Of course, my mum is really glad I’m here. She’s constantly offering help I don’t want. Can I put a load of laundry through? No. I have too many teenage memories of bleach blotches on my jeans and shrunk shirts. Can I cook you an egg? No. I know how I like my eggs, and it’s the opposite of how you like your eggs. You want a sandwich? I don’t eat carbs. You want Rice-a-Roni? I don’t eat carbs. How about some pineapple? I don’t eat carbs. Can I make you some nachos? I don’t eat carbs. Dip your strawberry in some chocolate. I don’t eat carbs. You want a Coke? No carbs. I made mashed potatoes. No carbs. You want some creamed corn casserole? NO CARBS!!!

She’s trying her best.

And so I plod on. Whether I can escape on the 1st is still a question mark. In the meantime, I sip fantastic wine in the back garden as the leaves pop out on the trees and planes paint the blue sky white with chemtrails. I eat, I sleep sporadically, I play Battlefront, and I do DIY. Like a prisoner marking off the days, inching toward a parole date that will come. Eventually.