This is a story about fitting in...
I'm on holiday now. This required a very considerable amount of effort, including a hasty dash to the airport two days earlier than planned, and a couple of very expensive COVID-19 tests: one PCR and one LAMP.
Anyway, with all my COVID-19-free credentials in place, I was able to travel and reach my destination. The stress about whether or not the winter second wave [of COVID-19] would overwhelm the hospitals, and necessitate more lockdowns and travel bans, was almost unbearable, given how hard I've been working, for such a prolonged period. Although you might say it was foolish, I was pinning a lot of hopes on a Christmas getaway, as a reward.
Who am I to get a reward when so many people have lost their jobs, can't pay their rent/mortgage and/or bills, are using food banks and are otherwise suffering dreadfully?
Nobody. I'm a nobody. I'm not entitled to it. I just have it and that's the way it is. I'm a have and most people on the planet are have nots, and it really sucks. I didn't choose the time and place of my birth. I didn't choose my parents. I didn't choose most of the important stuff, which yielded this result: I am on holiday, in a hot and sunny location, with a few dollars in my pocket and no particular worries about keeping a roof over my head or food on the table.
I did ask for this. I did want this. Did I feel entitled to it? Only as much entitlement as is proportional to the effort and emotional energy expended, I think. Only as much entitlement as is proportional to the psychological damage which would have been inflicted.
There are people who've had their life savings wiped out. There are people whose lifelong dream business has been bankrupted. There are, of course, many people who've lost loved ones, who they had planned to spend many more happy years in the company of. Entire industries - like cruise liners - and their ancillary businesses, have been wiped out. Hospitality was pretty much wiped out. Cinemas, theatres... the performing arts, like theatres and live music venues... wiped out.
I can't speak for those people, who have suffered those misfortunes and hardships. I can empathise with them, sure, but I have my own unique situation.
I've been writing "the world's longest suicide note" for five and a half years. That time period has included no fewer than four life-threatening suicide 'attempts'... I write the word "attempts" in inverted commas, because none were particularly well planned or executed, but instead they were provoked by circumstances beyond my control.
This year, I decided, things were going to be different. My preparations have far exceeded anything I've done before.
Some years before I started writing this "suicide note" I had obtained some potassium cyanide, which comforted me, knowing I had the option of a reliable exit method. Then, during an acrimonious divorce, I made the decision to safely dispose of it, believing that a clean break and a fresh start, would lead me away from suicide. I was wrong.
I've had some difficulty obtaining potassium cyanide again, but the synthesis of sodium cyanide is not beyond the abilities of a keen amateur chemist, with a decent budget to purchase some very specific pieces of equipment. Dealing with molten salts at 600 degrees centigrade, and indeed, any handling of an extremely potent poison, outside of a laboratory, and without professional training and supervision, was bound to be extremely dangerous, but it seemed viable.
Somewhat daunted by the task of synthesising my own sodium cyanide, I then explored the more obvious route: although there were challenges, obtaining compressed inert gas was, comparatively, easy. I have resolved never to detail the precise paraphernalia and method, because the "barrier to entry" is a useful obstacle for the impulsive... I am alive, because my impulsive suicidal acts were far less likely to succeed.
It comforted me to know that, whatever happened, I would not have a repeat of previous years when I have found myself hospitalised; surviving. It comforted me to know that I had control, no matter what circumstances arose: if I was blocked from travelling to somewhere hot and sunny, then I would have everything I needed to end my life, already in place.
It seems a bit like a childish temper tantrum, when I write it down, but if you've followed the story, then you'll know that I've spent a very long time bordering on suicide, and it should not be seen - in this context - as a rash or tantrum-like act, to end my life, due to a "final straw" being too much to bear.
Thinking about it now, lying on a sun lounger, drinking an ice cold beer, enjoying gorgeous hot weather and clear blue skies, looking at the sea... it seems unthinkable that I would have the paraphernalia to swiftly, painlessly, and reliably commit suicide, sitting at home, ready to be used whenever it's needed. As thought experiment, I asked myself "how would I kill myself, right here, right now?" and the answer was easy: there are some really massive cliffs I could throw myself off. However, unsurprisingly, the positive psychological effect of a long-overdue holiday finally arriving, has completely changed my mindset: why shouldn't I enjoy a nice rest, and go back to the UK feeling refreshed, and keep working for as many years as I feel able to, before I 'retire' by killing myself? For sure, sitting in the sun, drinking ice-cold beer, I put an optimistic upper-bound estimate of 10 or even 15 more years, before it's time to go. I had probably not got 10 or 15 weeks, or even 10 or 15 more days left in me, when I attempted to leave the UK.
Having lost 12kg (26 pounds... the best part of 2 stone) in weight and substantially improved my fitness through regular exercise, plus spent almost half of 2020 completely sober, it gladdens me greatly to drink beer and wine, and stuff my face with french fries smothered with cheese & bacon. If you don't think I have paid for what I am enjoying, you are a fool. Am I entitled to it? No. Of course not. I was prepared to die for it, but that's all; nothing much. And of course, I never forget, that 97% of the world will work much harder and risk much more for their shot at happiness, and most will fail... but I'm not them, am I? I'm me.
Exceptionalism and individualism, exemplified by the idea that "the rules don't apply to me", is writ large at the moment, with Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic showing just how idiotic the nations of the USA and UK can behave, thinking that they can go it alone, and that through Ayn Randian "rational self-interest" anything other than a hellscape will emerge, has now been proven, beyond all reasonable doubt, to be wrong; unbelievably wrong. I'm well aware that my words are full of hypocrisy, but I actually don't care: my plans are different from yours. You are attempting to make copies of your genes, via breeding, and I am resigned to my fate: suicide.
I probably won't write again for a while. My routine now involves sun loungers and ice-cold beers, so my need for this coping mechanism has been almost eliminated.
In my concluding comments, I should at least make this unambiguously clear: I feel very fortunate to have been able to slip the bonds of the plague-infested United Kingdom, and make my way to a hot and sunny country, where I am enjoying fine fare; relaxing and otherwise somewhat unencumbered by the weight of my responsibilities, temporarily. A holiday is probably not a universal cure for major depression, but it fucking helps. If you had any worries that you would learn that I was in hospital or dead, at some point over the festive period, you should be reassured that I'm 99% certain to be sipping cold beer in the sun, in a relaxed mood.
It was a 50:50 coin flip, but things turned out just fine.