Whilst everyone is experiencing so-called COVID-19 fatigue, there is definitely another form from which I find myself suffering. I made this realization with a bit of metacognition, which is the understanding of one's own thought processes. I offer now a glimpse of that.
Predictably, millions of Americans are ignoring the warnings by scientists that Thanksgiving celebrations should only be shared with those who live under the same roof. Airports are full of people flying across the country believing that because they tested negative on a COVID-19 test, there is absolutely no chance of catching it en route to their destination. I'm over these people who place a higher value on sentimental overeating than keeping themselves and others healthy.
And, I am so over caring about them.
Last week, a man was rescued from Washington state's Mt. Rainier, after being lost for two days in the snow because he had decided to go hiking. Luckily for him, he was rescued by a team who risked their own lives to fetch him out of the life-threatening predicament into which he had voluntarily put himself. In fact, his heart stopped after the rescue, which meant a specialized hospital crew needed to work on him, too.
I found myself thinking, "I hope he's paying for the rescue and hospital expenses after all of this nonsense." Indeed, why should taxpayers bail him out of his clearly selfish act?
As a matter of fact, why should we send out our brave men and women in the Coast Guard to save boaters who take to the sea during a storm? Why should a SWAT team expend any resources and risk their own lives trying to rescue someone who decides to climb up a skyscraper on a windy day?
I say, let's not interrupt their bliss. At least they'll die doing what they love. Who are we to interfere with their constitutionally guaranteed right to the pursuit of happiness?
Also in my newsfeed was the story of a coroner's inquest in Western Australia, regarding a wife who watched the water turn red with blood while scuba diving with her husband earlier this year. Turns out it was her husband's blood in the mouth of a great white shark.
What exactly do people think they'll encounter in a deep reef – SpongeBob SquarePants? If you get in the water, you are also taking the real chance of being a shark's or alligator's much-deserved meal. Much deserved because unlike us, they don't have a convenient and easy drive-thru, all-you-can-eat buffets or delivery pizza.
What is it with these people?
Mountain runners will encounter bears and cougars who also do not have access to fast food. We absolutely should not shoot the bear or big cat as a rescue response. The risk was taken on by the runner. It was the runner's fault he or she looked like dinner to these animals.
So, yeah, this is how I'm thinking these days. I'm calling it "Empathy Fatigue."
Maybe because I'm still in recovery from surgery. But, about that, I fail to understand the allure of painkilling narcotic drugs. I was given a prescription for oxycodone and loathed it. It made me feel worse than the actual surgical pain. Not only was I dull in the head (headache), I had to take copious amounts of other drugs to prevent constipation. So the idea that anyone would find any of this actually addicting is pure bull, in my opinion.
Yet we as a society invest time and money trying to save those who willingly submit to the letdown of opioids? Honestly, there are more fun drugs out there – take something that makes you get up, laugh and dance.
Why are colleges still having their games? Why are the mostly Democratic parents in New York City suddenly sounding like Trump and gathering to protest that schools reopen? It's not that I don't care; honestly, I just can't anymore.
As for the Thanksgiving revelers at their superspreader meals, my empathy fatigue opines that we cannot waste money on saving the stupid. As they sicken, they'll just have to wait for a bed or ventilator. We don't need more hospitals, doctors or nurses – we need more people to use their heads.
Empathy fatigue. It's real, people. Check yourselves.
Dan Ho, a native of Agat, is a writer and teacher and holds a Ph.D. in indigenous studies. Follow his garden adventures on Instagram @HoandGarden.