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Symptoms of Loneliness

I’m a corona believer. I began to panic about two weeks before everything shut down. By panic, I mean I stocked up on food and necessities in case I wasn’t able to go out. I started making all my own meals. Washed my hands constantly and used hand sanitizer when I was outside. I procured face masks while they were still procurable. Just one box. I’m not hoarding. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve always bought toilet paper in bulk.

I also have reason to believe I might have had COVID-19 already. I was brutally ill in early February, right after traveling to New York and San Francisco. But many people want to believe they’ve already had the disease, and it’s an irresponsible way of thinking. Since I don’t know whether I have or haven’t had the disease, I don’t let it affect my behavior. It could be an excuse to endanger others. Ultimately, I’m less worried about getting the disease than I am about being responsible for someone else’s death.

I’ve stopped reading the first-person stories of people dying in the hospitals, or at home for lack of testing. I know the disease is brutal, I never doubted it. But the point of these articles is to convince the non-believers. To point out that even young people can still die awful, painful deaths. That spring-breakers are returning from Florida and killing their grandparents. I believe the stories, but a first-person anecdote is not data. I can see the social utility, but I’m also suspicious of it.

I live alone and have very little contact with people at the best of times. Now I have almost no in-person contact at all. A friend from Chicago texted me a story about New Orleans from the New York Times. We’re one of the hot spots, he said, Be careful.

I told him I am being careful. I’ve been being careful.

I take this thing seriously. But that doesn’t mean I won’t get infected (if it hasn’t happened already). I’m not worried about getting infected. I’m worried about doing the right thing. There’s a difference.

What I mean is, you minimize social contact, you’re careful with hygiene, and definitely stay six feet away from everyone at all times. Have your groceries delivered, if possible. If you deal with cash, wash your hands.

The longer you can avoid touching a potentially infected surface, the better. I’m fortunate to have a screen porch. If I get a delivery, I put away what needs to be refrigerated, and I leave the rest on the porch as long as I can. Then I wash my hands.

I’m not rich. My apartment is 400 square feet, counting the bathroom. But I live alone, which is a luxury during a pandemic.

It’s also not a luxury. The loneliness is hard, and I’m crowded with uncomfortable thoughts.

I exercise every day, but it doesn’t take long. I leave the exercise mat unrolled. I do push ups, sit-ups, squats. Sometimes I go for bike rides. At the beginning of this mess, I was putting together care packets for the homeless people in the parks nearby—socks, lozenges, a sandwich, and a granola bar. I’d leave gallon ziplocks next to the people on benches and curled up in sleeping bags.

Recently, I’ve been dancing with my ex-girlfriend over Zoom for 10 minutes in the evening. You can play your computer audio on someone else’s computer, so we can dance to the same music at the same time. We dance and we laugh. Last night after dancing, we left the video going as we made dinner, then sat together, apart, eating bowls of rice and sausage. Then we turned the video off.

I’m mad at the government. I’m angry about the lack of ventilators and hospital beds, but really I’m upset that we can’t test everyone. We won’t fully return to being a functional society without widespread testing. We should be able to track and trace, and we should be able to test for antibodies so people know if they’ve already survived the disease (and if, for that reason, they’re unlikely to catch it again in the near future). I’ve never liked Donald Trump. But I will never forgive him for telling us three weeks ago that anybody who wants to get tested already can.

I think widespread testing is coming, probably within a few months—with results that won’t take days to get, so we don’t infect everybody in the meantime, the way Rand Paul did. The testing will help end the anxiety. But we’ll also have a stratified society. People who have immunity (at least in the short term) will be pushed into helping various industries, like healthcare. It might resemble some science fiction movie. One class of people allowed outside, and others expected to stay home. This could all be coming very soon.

With widespread testing, we’ll have real data. There are so many articles about the number of cases going up. But if you look into it, you often find they’re just testing more in that location. And the places with fewer cases are just testing less. There are other metrics: emergency room visits, deaths. But we’re lacking a lot of information.

Once we have widespread testing, we might not need so many anecdotal stories tugging our heart strings, trying to get children to stay home, convincing millennials that the disease can affect anyone, telling conservatives that the threat is real. It’s logical to approach this from a place of fear and err on the side of caution. It’s the right thing to do in the face of the unknown. Widespread testing is the first plank on the bridge to the other side of that.

My country’s failure to lead has twisted my faith. I was never particularly nationalistic, but I was also never anti-American. I was a liberal, but it didn’t bother me to see flags in windows following 9/11. But now, instead of widespread testing, we’re asking Korea for help. It seems we should be the country that helps others. But that’s not where we are now.

All of my work has stopped. I have no way of making income currently. When the bailout comes through, I’ll be able to cash my retirement account without penalty and that will be the thing that keeps me floating for a while. After that, I don’t know. I think I’ll be fine.

I was on a bike ride the other day, and I texted a friend to say I was in the neighbourhood. But my friend wasn’t having visitors. I would never give someone a hard time for isolating, so I said that I understood. This person has no children, doesn’t go out in groups and has virtually no in-person contact. My friend is 40 and healthy. I’m 48 and have Multiple Sclerosis. If we were to get sick, we would be unlikely to pass it on to anyone. We both live alone.

We could have had a conversation in the front yard, with distance between us. It seemed a reasonable risk to take.

When I leave the house, I wash my hands, despite no one else being in my house, and despite the fact I already washed my hands whenever I came home last. I do that because it’s what I hope other people will do.

Sometimes, my ethics are Kantian. Would I want *everyone* to visit their friends? I think if they were living alone, and they could do it in the front yard and not have to enter each other’s apartments, and were both taking the pandemic seriously, then yes. But I don’t have special knowledge.

Fear is not a moral issue. When you care for others, when you don’t live alone—and most people don’t—the equation changes radically. I didn’t question my friend’s decision because I didn’t want to question my friend’s anxiety, which might have added to it.

I don’t want to make anyone sick, or unhappy. But there are no guarantees. And both conditions seem equally contagious.

 

Stephen Elliott is the author of eight books including The Adderall Diaries. Follow him on Twitter at @S___Elliott.

Comments

  1. What a nasty little whine-fest.

    How could Claire have had the stomach to accept this for publication?

  2. Symptom of loneliness can include, without limitation, advanced level TDS and virtuous prog signalling coupled with a severe case of narcissistic self-pity.

  3. Yes, it was slipped into one of the many executive orders along with a rule that everyone less worried about Coronavirus than you is a selfish, ignorant, elder killer and everyone more worried about Coronavirus than you is alarmist, opportunistic, and insufferable.

    I applaud these laws and believe the most important thing we can do as a society right now is tirelessly squabble back and forth until we find the exact socially appropriate level of worry. This should have been done long before we started focusing on ramping up testing.

  4. Who is not a “corona believer”? With this opening salvo I get the strong sense the author still thinks this is a partisan game in which the primary objective is to score partisan points, much like the national media does. We need to come together. I have never seen a corona non-believer anywhere, whatever that is. Is that like Big Foot or something?

  5. This 24/7 virus squawk is making me nostalgic.

    Remember when the reversal of net neutrality by evil conservatives was going to kill millions and destroy democracy (you know, the democracy that died in darkness through weepy tears)?

    And remember when Trump would spend all day “caging” children at the southern border instead of letting them all move in with the author of this sad tale of woe (although the cages were probably more than 400 SF)

    Hey, remember RUSSIA! RUSSIA! RUSSIA! (voiced by Marcia Brady), and how CNN spent two years screaming about the walls closing in on Trump, and they had him now! Did you get yourself a Mueller action figure to commemorate?

    And remember the White Supremacy hand signal?

    And remember IMPEACHMENT!! It hasn’t bee all that long ago - you may still have time to score a pair of autographed Nancy Pelosi impeachment dentures:

    Good times!

    Now, why doesn’t half the country/world take the media seriously?

  6. What is the point of this essay? It reads like an Onion article, all about how much this poor person is suffering, with details of his belly button and nose hairs, and his “anger” (why are they always “angry”?). I mean, yes, having MS is difficult, for sure. I wouldn’t have minded reading more about that, and how he uniquely (or not) experiences the virus and shutdown.

    But no. Instead we get a very simplistically-written article about MeMeMeMeMeeeeeeee. Why are such self-described “liberals” such parodies of themselves? Why do they think their own troubles are somehow universal and worth reading? I’m not their mom. Unless he has a larger point, why would I want to read? What is his larger point? That he’s a ‘corona believer’ and he’s ‘lonely’? Unlike “conservatives” lol (why does this immediately devolve into tribal groupings?).

    The extent of his ‘points’ seems to clumsily a) signal he hates Trump and blames Trump and all Republicans for all his woes and to b) bore us with inconsequential details about his life that he imagines we care about, exactly like narcissistic Facebook posters who share the food they’re eating or who ask the “hive mind” for advice on their bathroom tiles. He’s “mad” at the government. He’s “angry” about ventilators. He’s not “mad” at china though–of course not! Nor city leaders like the mayor of Florence or DeBlasio who, in March, urged folks to “hug” chinese people or go to large gatherings as long as they were diverse, and a to ignore warnings about the virus because the virus isn’t racist (something like that). He doesn’t even explain why he’s ‘mad’ and what he wants done. Are we just supposed to quake in our boots because he’s ‘mad’? And the ending, that people “will be pushed” into the healthcare industry and others will “stay at home”–it makes zero sense, like a poorly plotted TV movie. This is not worth Quillette’s standards. I’m sorry to be harsh, but I have no understanding why this was published.

  7. This is me, eating humble pie. I want to apologize for my conduct in this thread and others over the past few days. I don’t want to make excuses but it really has been a bad time for me for several reasons.

    @neoteny that goes for you too. I’m sorry for the way I’ve treated you. I hope you each will welcome me back whenever it is that I feel I have scaled my venom back to a more manageable level. I’ll be back when I’m regular old abrasive dick and not spiteful abrasive dick.

    Who would have guessed that I’d ever come to care what the people around here think of me??

    To everyone else, I’m sorry for this brief derail of the thread. Please carry on.

  8. Wow, thank you for your considered response. I disagree, but I want to say upfront that I appreciate it.

    I disagree on a number of levels. First, his expressions of fear etc are on the level of someone writing an article to complain that their big toe hurts while others are suffering cancer and third degree burns. (I realize he has MS and I would have found the article much more interesting if he’d focused on if/how the virus impacts his condition and what it’s like navigating this. But he chooses to focus instead on things like complaining he’s alone.) Yes, he is entitled to his emotions, but it’s tone deaf at the very least. Everyone is feeling what he’s feeling; whining into the wind is pointless. Unless he can offer interesting insights into this - which he doesn’t - why would I be interested? So many people are far worse. My niece, for instance, in her 20s, is spending her very first year as a doctor watching scores of people die in a small suburban hospital near NYC, while she isn’t given a mask (my sister finagled one for her). She’s too busy and frightened to whine. My friend’s father just died and they can’t bury him. My daughter was laid off work and has no money to pay for food since unemployment is taking forever to process. My son lives in a 120 square foot place in the city and loves it–he chose it. He would never whine about it. He’s grateful he can afford to live in the best part of the city and loves the coziness. See? There’s ways to spin things so you don’t have to be so miserable. Focusing on your misery without awareness that others may be far more miserable is just childish at best, and toxic for your own mental health.

    I don’t have a cultural pressure for a stiff upper lip–that’s more Protestant British. I’m Jewish. What I do have is life experience and (dare I say it) learned wisdom that whining about minor things is never ever healthy for anyone. I totally disagree - and there’s plenty of research back me - that focusing on anxieties is helpful; on the contrary, it is bad for your anxieties to nurture them and give them life, so to speak.

    Finally, as a writer myself, I found his writing to be awful, in this affected literary style that is ultimately empty of any meaning and insight except to say that this particular person is very very sorry for himself.

  9. He begins by a declaration of faith.

    What, exactly, is a believer in this instance? More specifically, what is someone who is not? A heretic? A blasphemer?

    It’s an interestingly didactic comment.

    This is not something to believe or not believe in. It’s a new disease, fact, with unknown net impact, fact, and aggressively contagious, persistent on common surfaces, fact. Fatality rates unknown, but a significant number of those infected will need significant medical intervention, fact.

    So it’s on-balance risk management in terms of response. That’s something of a conservative point of view; faith is meaningless and irrelevant when dealing with a world of facts and is- and I thought liberals prided themselves on being the party of science? This sounds like magic thinking.

    On the one hand, this may be living by principle by voluntarily self-isolating early. That’s good. On the other, this may be magic in the old sense- ritualistic behaviors to ward off evil. If you perform the rituals correctly, you will not get sick. The latter would be consistent with beginning with a declaration of faith.

    Also worth noting the moral disclaimer on hoarding- really, those masks should be donated to health care providers if the concern.

    Actually not how pandemics or disease vectoring works. You’re dealing with risk management, not prevention. Unless you have a “bubble boy” setup with food pre-segregated, you’re not going to have the power to prevent. What you can do is drastically reduce your risk.

    This is silly. You’ll not know if you give the disease to others. Again, the idea of having power over the disease.

    This strikes me as insane. The author truly believes that anecdotes about individual sufferers is proselytizing to infidels? The first-person stories are most brutal when there are pre-existing co-morbidities. If the brutality of the stories is their selling point, which this heavily implies, then the corollary is that the more brutal the story, the more powerful, yes? If so, the most powerful stories are those with comorbidities, which does nothing for those who don’t share those particular comorbidities by this logic, and this logic assumes that it’s a matter of faith. It’s a matter of fact or not. Sick, or not. Faith is . .irrelevant.

    Some clarification on the heretics:

    1. Young people

    2. Spring breakers (still young people?)

    Young people are stupid. Stupid cannot be cowed by what happened to some other stupid person. It’s why so many of them embrace communist ideals.

    I also don’t see the social utility. Does the author believe that showing anecdotes will scare people into accepting the reality of the disease? It’s real, it’s the probability of catching it combined with the relatively low healthy-youth severe illness rate, not the fact of the disease, that’s the problem for young people. They’re most likely to not have a comorbidity, so these anecdotes most likely do nothing but show them that they’re going to be fine.

    “See what happened to this fat, smoking young man?”

    “Yep, glad I don’t smoke and am not fat.”

    Some confusion here. Is the right thing complying with the guidelines? That’s reasonable, here we have an area of agreement. Authority is acting in its designated role- maybe not well, but it is still acting- and is designating behaviors to protect society that inconvenience individual members of society. That’s basic social contract stuff right there, so it’s the morally correct thing to do.

    Is the disclaimer because liberals generally don’t hold the Authority moral foundation, and the author is grappling with expressing this?

    This is just an overview of behaviors. The infected surface one is a bit silly, I’ve heard persistence for many hours on plastics (ubiquitous); best to handle promptly with gloves and disinfect so as to minimize contamination of other surfaces near the potentially contaminated one. Otherwise, yeeeessss, and?

    I disagree with a number of other posters here. There’s a strain of thought among the Green Left that ultimately could be expressed as “private space ownership is immoral because it doesn’t maximize the virgin land”. I’m guessing the author might adhere? Hence proclaiming that while he has a private space, it’s virtuously small. That’s a guess for why this was included.

    The care packets are an interesting moral concern. Instead of working through a charity, he’s putting sandwiches out on his own. The contents are not directly useful for the coronavirus- socks don’t change anything with infection, lozenges don’t, sandwiches don’t, granola doesn’t- and that he’s doing it while they sleep. Doesn’t want to interact? As someone with food allergies, I’m also interested that he’s just blanket deciding what goes into the sandwiches. Is this an attempt to create a sense of human connection for a career-minded individual that has severed familial ties to live the Left ideal life- a writer in a studio apartment in the city, no kids, no S.O.? There’s a cost to that, which the author seems to be experiencing without realizing. Or is this an attempt to mark himself as moral and therefore worthy of life, either internally or as an external projection? As I said, I found this the most individually interesting bit.

    Faux human contact, that’s a convenient use of technology. Feel for the poor Indians- literally, the poor ones in India. Social distancing without this luxury.

    Denial, bargaining, anger, blame, acceptance. Nothing to be mad at “the government” about. There’s individual things to be mad about with the state and federal governments, but there is no singular US government, there are layers acting independently.

    The lack of ventilators and hospital beds are both because you can’t build an ICU bed and have a specialist to operate them for every individual as they’re born, which is one extreme, and you definitely don’t have enough if you only require one a hospital. So requirements are estimated, and margin is put in. There’s two issues at work, here. One is that the margin used was for a very aggressive flu season- which is insufficient to Covid-19. It was a best guess and it fell short. You do better without hindsight goggles. The other is there have been a number of hospital closures associated with hospital consolidation associated with . . .the change to American healthcare since Obamacare passed. You won’t find the news covering this; but if you go back six or so months and look for stories on hospital consolidation and its drivers you’ll uncover this little gem.

    Testing was restricted by the CDC initially, and I work in manufacture. You cannot simply “make more” of something like a testing kit on this kind of scale. The kits have to work, which means you run existing capable lines at capacity and bring new lines on as fast as possible- which means verifying it works and won’t poison people. And ramping up your supply and distribution chains. Therefore, time lag.

    As regards track and trace- when the Left agitated against Trump as racist, that went out the window. The exponential curve is insane. Person A picks up the disease in Wuhan China. They fly home. They infect a flight attendant on their flight. The flight attendant is based in L.A., but on this shift will be in Seattle, then Minneapolis, then back to L.A. Every person on each of those flights is now potentially infected. Further, the remaining flight crew, if they became infected, spread it to even more planes.

    It had to be contained coming out of Wuhan. Next bet was to go full closed borders. But the de Blasios and Trudeaus of this world were more concerned with “not seeming racist.” It’s not racist, it’s- factualist? The fact that Wuhan is full of Chinese people is incidental, it could randomly be a city in China full of Ugandans or Italians and it still should have been contained. To return to the top of the post, it’s about risk management- you decrease the number of potential transmission vectors.

    The antibody test is ramping production. Does the author realize how many damn people there are? And that the antibody test for immunity is only useful if having had the disease immunizes you (might, might not, depends on the number of strains and how divergent they are) and that every NEGATIVE result is someone who will need a repeat test later? The numbers are enormous as a result of that.

    Trump said that in context.

    Magic thinking. The initial delay of days was because the freaking CDC was requiring confirmation of all tests in goddamn Atlanta. Trump killed that, hence why you can get results within hours- the time to lab, to test, and receive results.

    This is fantasy thinking. You’re not useful as the temporarily immune in healthcare or anything else you’re not trained for. The reference to science fiction, to me, confirms the author’s frame of reference. What will probably happen is what Italy and Spain are doing- healthcare workers who are immune or infected will find themselves on corona duty, healthcare workers without immunity carrying the rest of the load.

    This is so true it hurts. Nice to find common ground.

    Back to fantasy. Now the author is naming the heretics- children who want to play (young people), young people (young people) and conservatives. Which makes no sense.

    Ten thousand times no, by definition, fear is not logical. It’s emotive as, you know, an emotion. Caution and concern, fine. Stress, absolutely. But fear and anxiety? Those just lead to stupid, reckless choices.

    Also- HAH! You mean err on the side of caution in the face of the unknown? So are you, or are you not, conservative? Sorry, but this is the essence of what drives conservatives nuts about liberals.

    Back to faith talk. Nice concession, implicit, that many liberals are anti-American (the author is defining that he’s “not that kind of liberal”). The issue is production of kits. Korea can obviously generate more than it needs to consume at this time. To lead any better, we’d have needed to be the source of the outbreak.

    I thought the author was an author? Regardless, times are tough.

    Interesting phrasing bolded here. Sounds like the author emotionally doesn’t understand, but is claiming otherwise for a moral reason- I think this kind of thing is what set some posters off as whiny.

    Also, I would argue that most on the Right do see fear as a moral issue- in that fear is always the wrong response, fear is the child’s response, and adults need to cope logically and rationally without fear clouding their judgement. Fascinating to see a bald alternative laid out without consciousness of this divide.

    Emotive final line.

    Sidebar: Maybe conservatives, who are frequently religious, are just more comfortable acknowledging that you do what you can but what happens is ultimately out of your control. It really sounds like he’s having a breakdown not because of loneliness, but because he can’t control what happens and he feels powerless. Anyone over the age of 25 should not be struggling with this. Anyone that’s had a car accident, broken bone, or had anything at all happen to them ever- such as MS- should not be struggling with this.

  10. Awww look. Its only one serving!

  11. I very much like Andras- I think his sense of humor’s a bit under-rated. At a guess, he has an Eastern European sensibility; humor so dry the Sahara’s wet, substituting a kind of perversity where more Western Europe people would use silliness.

    I used to work with a number of German engineers; those who were from the Eastern Bloc were all this way. Hilarious when you got their jokes. Irritating if you didn’t.

    Here’s one:

    The colors of the German flag represent German values.

    The black stands for work.
    The yellow stands for work.
    The red stands for work.
    The blue stands for humor.

    That’s a seriously funny joke if a German tells it. It’s in the inflection.

    He’s a moral consistency hardass, though, and enjoys it. He respects it if you tell him you’d rather not engage on a topic- but no Parthian shots; otherwise you lied and engaged. I respect his position- he’s like a more easygoing version of my mother, my brother, and one of my sisters in that regard.

    I don’t know what went on. I know the participants, I can guess based on the personalities and their snippet-released personal histories the kind of thing that probably happened, and simply consider it a great waste. People are undergoing unusual psychological stress, and it’s making some of the cracks show.

  12. Quite perceptive of you, Joana.

    Andras is a man of great integrity, and scrupulously consistent in the application of his adherence to certain moral precepts.

    He has an intellect of a highly refined order, and as you observe, is something of a literalist, but he is also capable of imaginative thinking. His areas of expertise and endeavor, however, are not always, obvious to the casual observer.

    He can also be very kind to those of whom he is confident that their motivations are not founded in maliciously prosecuting a hidden agenda, and where discovering those are concerned, the man can be extraordinarily perceptive and insightful.

    I will violate one of my foremost principles regarding decorum in conversation and resort to a literary crudity in saying that one is not likely to succeed in “bullshitting” Andras.

    I cannot claim to understand him, but I now understand more about him than when first we interacted, and I’ve discovered that my first impression of what seemed to me to be irredeemably and ubiquitously baseless truculence was incomplete and incorrect.

  13. Of course, Caitlin.

    The private interactions people engage in are exactly that; private.

    I will continue to utter what I know and what I believe, trying always to muster as much intellectual honesty and moral probity as my flawed existence will allow.

    If I confront or condemn anyone within these forums, it will be on the basis of what happens in the public forum. I will not knowingly reveal what private details people choose to share with me via the personal messaging system.

    This is a virtual community, Caitlin, of which both you and Andras are an integral part. That doesn’t mean that either of you must interact with each other.

    I would no more vilify you in the instance of an opinion or narrative received from Andras (I haven’t,) than I will vilify Andras on the basis of statements received from you.

    My good opinion of each of you is the result of my personal interactions.

    I didn’t choose the seminary, nor the obvious alternate career in the mental health field, but I remain committed to an ethos of confidentiality in private discussion. In the physical world, many have confided in me over a very long span of years, and I trust that I have betrayed none of their confidences. Some have been what most people would consider shocking. I say this not to scold or in pejorate in any other manner, only to let you know how I view privacy.

    I strongly urge you to use the blocking function and end the possibility of any further activity that may be distressing to you.

    Undoubtedly, Caitlin, and each person viewing your post will either exalt or condemn their own character in accordance with the degree to which they adhere to the dictates of their conscience.

    The private conflict between you has escalated into a public one, and I urge each of you to let this public aspect end. There is no resolution to it on the public stage and the way we often digress from the originating topics under discussion in this virtual space is considered acceptable, advantageous, even, provided it can be of some utility, either intellectual or emotional, to members of the community at some level, or is at least harmless.

    This discussion, while not harmful, is extending a vitriolic exchange beyond any utility. I will venture to say that few members of this community would wish to participate in an internecine quarrel of the type that has now developed.

    I wish you well, Caitlin, and appreciate our cordial interchanges. I wish them to continue, but not if there is a quid pro quo consisting of membership within a clique.

    Please reconsider your request that others here take sides in your private quarrel.

  14. It does not seem to me fruitful to continue litigating a broken love affair. Everyone here knows how they can be. I understand why Cait may need to talk about things, for catharsis, and closure. If it is possible for her to seek this in private, I’m quite sure she will receive it in abundance.

    The house does need decorum. Our society has departed from forms, manners, rituals, decorum and all such stuffy, stodgy, old fashioned things. Now it appears, they did serve a purpose. The less a group of people have in common, the more they need a shared set of manners and protocols.

    I hope we can arrive at them mindfully, by being considerate of the house at all times. Mindful of conversations that are ongoing between 2 people — by default, don’t butt in without permission. Things like this.

  15. Hello Caitlin, I’ve read this whole argument, except what got deleted, and I think I should say what my impressions are as a third-party observer after the fact.

    Andras has said awful things to you in private, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to treat him the same way again. What you’ve experienced from him doesn’t really surprise me, we all know what he’s like. I’m sure he’s quite autistic, so I generally give him a pass on the mean things he says, including to me. This has limits, though, and wishing you would die is way over the line. When @neoteny comes back perhaps he would like to explain himself.

    I don’t think anybody here thinks Andras is right in any sense, they just rightfully feel that this isn’t an issue they would like to see addressed publicly. You’re right that Andras has been sniping in public, as he promised he would, but to borrow a neotenyism, Andras is impotent to change anyone’s perspective on you. As many respected commenters have attested to in this thread, his comments are often skipped over because they are unproductive. For all his vitriolic will to hurt you, he simply cannot say anything that would accomplish this task. You’re loved and respected here, much more than he is.

    What he can do, though, is push your buttons so that you have a public meltdown and people’s impressions of you are degraded by that. Andras, I’ve discovered, is very perceptive. I told one anecdote about dog shit and he correctly identified what it meant for other aspects of my personality. Andreas certainly knows much more about you, so he has ample material to work with. What I’d like for you to consider is that you’ve been manipulated into doing exactly what Andras said he would do, but that he certainly knew he couldn’t accomplish himself. You have behaved abrasively (probably worse in the deleted comments) and alienated people who have no ill will towards you.

    Don’t let him play you. Let this go, forgive those who you think have wronged you here (except Andras) and keep being the intelligent, laser-focussed, productive and compassionate commenter so many here have grown so fond of. Now is not the time to leave QC, it’s a time to draw closer together with your online friends. And to bitch all you want about asshole exboyfriends privately with your friends. So PM me any time.

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