hi from chicago

I wrote my “what’s been happening” post a little before Chicago’s shelter in place order went into effect, aka two months ago, aka the Before Time when people still talked about sports and their summer plans. Things have gotten pretty spicy since then, huh? I’m actually one of the very privileged few who were able to continue on pretty normally while the pandemic was taking hold. I mostly work alone in my workshop, and my storefront does almost all online sales. James’s job closed a little before the order so he was able to get on unemployment almost immediately. I worried that purchasing high end vintage wouldn’t be at the top of anybody’s priority list for a while, but after a little dip, people kept right on shopping. I’m incredibly lucky to have neighbors, a Mayor, and a Governor who all believe in science.

But today is different, and today is scary. Chicago has stopped helping its people. The mayor raised up all the bridges to trap thousands of people downtown, and last night all public transportation was shut down with fifteen minutes notice. Because fuck all the people who just got done with their super essential shift manning the photo desk at Walgreens and can’t afford surge pricing on Uber, right? At the request of our Mayor, the Governor has ordered the National Guard into Chicago. After all, the National Guard has such a great history of not murdering protestors. Or do I have that backwards?

There are riots here, obviously, because there are riots everywhere right now. My store is on a busy street in a neighborhood that’s on a “hit list” that’s been circulating. (And by “circulating,” I mean “almost for sure written by some violent dipshits like the Proud Boys and seeded on social media to instigate riots and and encourage racism.) I’ve been sitting in here all day trying to decide if I should cover the windows in cardboard or take down my “resist” signs in case it looks like I’m just trying to cover my own ass. What I really want to do is stay here all night like an armed Korean shop owner, but that’s legitimately insane. So it’s 8 pm and I guess I’m going to go and just sit at home and worry.

I do know how tiny my worries are, though. No matter what happens, I’m going to be fine. I have privilege to spare. I had help getting here, and I’m sure I would have help getting back. What’s happening right now has SO, SO little to do with me, and if the worst thing that ever happens to me because of racial injustice and police brutality is that I lose a bunch of money, then I’m luckier than a lot of people in this city.

It seems more and more like burning it all down is the only thing left. It’s not ideal, but neither were centuries of racial oppression and institutionalized hate and electing an emperor-in-training who’s been frothing at the mouth to LARP Tiananmen Square.

I guess I don’t really have a point here. Shit’s fucked. I’m trying to figure out what I can do to help un-fuck it. And if that fails, when I’m an old woman I can at least look back on this blog and tell children tales of the old days, when bumblebees existed and women were allowed to read.

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