2020.05.24, by Tolly

Finished my notes on pain management. On SoundCloud, an advert from the US Army encouraging the listener to discover their “own warrior”. (“What’s your warrior?”) Did I mention here how my supervisor confessed that she doesn’t read? “I’m not a reader, I get everything by watching TV.” Came up in relation to COVID-19… Others, too, admit, without shame, zero interest in books. Tabitha in my department, studying to be a clinical worker. The security guard Kirsty studying to be a paediatric speech pathologist. I have no conversation partners here. I remember Jerry’s recollection of a comment by an autoworker, asked about the selling and destruction of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“Do you agree with the UAW’s statement that we ‘can’t eat paintings’?”

“Hell no! Why do you think we work so hard? So we can have some of what they have. So we can have culture!”


Restaurants here have begun offering dine-in service. In a month… what will the hospital look like? I wonder how long my immunity will last. Is it worth going out to eat?

So many interesting things happen throughout our days, but we forget to know them. It just passes through our ears… The brain damage. We used to have eidetic memory. Now I we can’t recall the things we’ve intended to do just 10 minutes ago…

I’m still resentful. But we’re keeping it together.

Nurse and patient remarked that they did not expect the world to be under lockdown this year. Sigh… There is really nothing of import to note here. What a wretched place, to be in the provinces.

…Elon has encouraged me to write about my morning walks outside. Every lunch break, between 0200–0300 typically, I exercise in the little park right outside the █████. Screeching bats, singing frogs, scurrying rabbits—the smell of fresh rabbit droppings—and since the lockdown, yipping coyotes. Tiny stars in a black blanket. I haven’t seen an owl… yet. Today I brought my jumprope…

Some weeks ago as Simone walked to the apartment from the car, a white owl flying from palm to palm tree hooted, stalked her, dove at her head. I told her she must have smelt like a rat.

In the early mornings at the hospital, I stroll the campus when the light breaks, or some time after. Now the birds are all awake, singing, competing… The hospital windows are opened to allow the air to vent out. It looks much like the set-up we have without our AC unit. The window is closed up to a frame connected to the tube of the unit, blasting hot air out. On the hill overlooking the hospital are large houses—mansions. One light was on. One room of one mansion… What were they doing at 0500, I wonder?

After work, we typically go to the duck part or the gym… Recently, we’ve been going to “Lemon Park”, much closer to the █████. (It has no lemons.) It has a large water feature with spouting fountains, with a “veterans’ plaza” surrounded by small obelisks listing the names of all the donors to the park. So next to the shiny black plaques, listing major American wars and the war-dead of each, you can see WELLS FARGO has proudly donated to this memorial… On the plaques are significant quotations made by leaders for every war. Of course lies and drivel for the latest wars…

I don’t know if you want to read about my friend the white Muscovy duck, who greets me panting and wagging his tail like a dog, and who gladly eats imitation crab meat out of my hand. I don’t know if you want to know about the other Muscovy duck at Lemon Park, large and brown and beautifully speckled in white, who confidently and aggressively assails any nearby fowl, including geese who are much larger than it. I don’t know if you care for my favourite robin in the hospital park, a bold male with the handsomest morning songs and who can often be seen, in the mornings, running around the grass with a worm in his mouth. He’s used to me…I can get quite close without bothering him. When I am too close for him, he does not even whinny, but flies about four metres off. I record his song and play it to him.


I have to keep reading. I don’t know if I’ll ever write again. And maybe this compulsion to read is just another expression of loneliness. A seeking to connect with fellow men. Because otherwise… have no care for who lives or dies. Not humans, anyway.

Can I fight for a Muscovy duck? But I don’t trust in the people around me… Can I fight for myself? But I don’t care for myself. […] Who is fighting, who is worth fighting for? I cannot see them anymore… Show me a batko, I will lay my life down for him, and for no one less…

And here I demonstrate a pathological inability to objectively value the working class.

I must read more. Despite my scars and losses, despite how much brain matter I have lost, I must ready… study… till that time comes when indiscriminate, misanthropic rage (no, more like apathy…) does not lead me.

Emotionally speaking… I am in no position to fight for my principles.

I must recover psychologically if I am to be an active, conscious agent in politics. I must make that a priority…