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On restarting a blog in the age of coronavirus

I think I figured out why I’ve suddenly got the urge to start maintaining this site again. It’s not a great reason.

I’m really doing it this time. I’m maintaining this site again. The way I say this, you might think I had just a little lapse and I’m getting back on track. Not exactly.

The real truth here is that I had two good years with this site. I launched this site as a blog just days before I graduated from college. I updated daily-ish — often even more frequently than that — for months. Eventually I ran out of steam, life changed a bit, and the vacuum that this site filled in my day was filled by other things. I was 23 when I started this site. I’m 41 now. A lot has happened in 18 years, but somehow it doesn’t feel like a long time has passed.

Running a blog was different in those days. Everyone benefited from the fact that the internet was a much smaller place. Real social media was still a few years away, and dominance by the big players was even further out. People I had never heard of would add my site to the sidebar of their sites. I would usually not reciprocate, but it was nice to be recognized, and it made it possible to build an audience of regulars.

The material was never great, but it was lively. I like to think I kept it interesting. In 2002, there wasn’t much else for a for a widely-distributed gaggle of freshly-graduated, unemployed internet pals to do but chat on AIM or IRC, update blogs with the day’s events, and comment on everyone else’s. Not having much ability to go anywhere, it was better than nothing.

The state of the country and the world those days was not great. We had all just come to accept that Afghanistan was a thing, but that would probably be wrapping up (18 years, seven months, two weeks, and two days and counting!). The real problem we were all living with that Iraq was going to be a thing. The post-9/11 economy was a mess, and it was hard to get your foot in the door with employers. My thought was that if they were going to start this war, they needed to fucking get on with it already so we could get on with our job hunts and lives. We all know how that turned out.

Social distancing in the age of coronavirus has me in a similar mindset. These days, I’m quite gainfully employed, but a lot of it feels similar. Say what you will about our current garbage president, he seems smart enough to know that starting a war would not help his poll numbers — not that he didn’t flirt with it just so he can say he averted one. But there’s still a feeling of generalized crushing doom in the air. I try to not let it stress me out.

You can’t really rush a deadly virus just to get it over with. There will be an “other side” to this; things will certainly get better. Unlike with a ginned-up war that everybody seems to have forgotten about, nobody can really say what things will look like, or even when it might get here. All we know is what things look like now, which is mostly a lot of uncertainty and unrequested distance from people we’d rather see in person.

AIM is gone, IRC isn’t much of a thing, and this site doesn’t even have comments anymore, but their modern equivalents are getting the job done. I have to imagine that if we had Zoom and FaceTime in 2002, we would have never spent so much time crafting perfect AIM profiles. I’m just glad I’m able to connect with distant friends and family. I think it’s keeping all of us a little more sane.

As for me, I’ve reverted to my apparently natural state of working on my own projects late into the night. Unlike in the distant before times, I don’t have the benefit of being able to sleep all day — just an understanding wife who is much more of a morning person than I am. I think I’m balancing it well, but I’m a notoriously poor judge of my own performance.

I hear a lot about how nobody can predict what will normal will look like once we can definitively say this pandemic is “over.” Always in motion is the future, but the future always starts right now. These are the bad times, but good things are happening.

They can keep happening.