Depression, Debit, Driving, Dystopia, Dumpster Fire
This past year was hard on many people's mental health, especially those like me who already suffer depression (Dysthymia, also called Persistent Depressive Disorder) and anxiety. Needless to say, it was easier to get depressed as days went by and we were forced to be at home. Two months without seeing others from the mental health center just added to it all. As well as the dreariness caused by the pandemic and in some cases the weather. It was hard to tell which was more depressing, as everything just seemed to blur together each day. Just as in any other time, I did what I felt to combat depression. This included driving.
Getting out of the house was nearly impossible, save sitting outside, which means you're still at home. Other than places you had to be like the stores, you were basically stuck at home. But just driving around town without going anywhere was something I did just to be away for a while. Having gotten a new car in December 2019, this was the only way to kept it from just sitting in the yard. Before the pandemic hit, I had hoped to get used to driving farther than just my own town, but this did not happen until January 2021 when I took a drive to nearby Gilroy to see the new Big Lots store. I made this drive again in mid-March.
There was not much to see while driving, since most places were closed and most people were at home or at work, with a few out walking or biking. But it was the way only to get out of the house while avoiding crowds. One place I drove to a lot was the drive-thru at fast food restaurants, the subject of another post to come.
Everyone no doubt saw these signs everywhere, whether it was at stores or at restaurant drive-thrus. This led to an increased use of debit cards. I already use my food stamps card regularly, and once I filed for unemployment, I got their debit card. I will be discussing more on money handling later, but for now I was using debit cards more often than cash, worried that stores or restaurants would in fact be short on coins. The coin shortage seems to be less of a problem now, but the habit of using debit still remains. But I haven't gone cashless at all. Often, I'll try to get exact change if I can, though that doesn't seem to be necessary now. I've seen fewer of these signs lately, so coins must be easier to find now.
Reading dystopia is nothing new for me, but it was beginning to feel like we were really in a dystopian world this past year. I was almost scared to read The Stand. But I needed to read a Stephen King novel and a book over 1000 pages and with the library closed in late March, I chose this one since it was already at home. I'd heard about Wilder Girls and wanted to read it so I got it from Amazon. Another reading prompt I had last year was about a pandemic or outbreak, and another book already at home was The Passage. So I read that one.
And in a post last year, I wondered if dystopian tales based on the events of 2020 were in the cards. Though it's not something I would be eager to read.
Dumpster Fire--something that became a part of the vocabulary of 2020.
It wasn't quite a literal thing, as I did not see any dumpsters on fire, and for that I was glad with all the fires this past summer (more on fires--real ones--to come). But the colloquial definition of "dumpster fire" does describe the events of 2020. And though it wasn't meant literally, it was often depicted as such in cartoons on the Internet and was even used as a Christmas ornament this year.
There was also this parody video, another thing I got into this past year (More on songs and videos in later A-Z entries):