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United States, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia


Connor
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5th April, 2020

 

It's about time I made one of these entries. I wanted to earlier, but was continually sidetracked. My home state of Pennsylvania has more than ten thousand confirmed cases, of which roughly three thousand are local to Philly. More than thirty people have succumbed to their infections. We are at a point where more than 1,000 Americans are dying every day. Nearly 1,500 died on April 4th.

 

There are a lot of people who are not taking this seriously. I have ventured outside for grocery and food runs. Although I am careful to implement social distancing, it can be challenging, and I've taken longer detours on several occasions to avoid crowded sidewalks. Unfortunately, I had to spend a great deal of time outside last week because at the end of March I moved into a new apartment, but since then I've not left the house.

 

I know the virus will pass, but I am not so sure about how quickly the economic downturn will pass. There is something insular about studying the Great Depression from the comfort of the future, safe from having to be alive and deal with the challenges of the 1930s. Now that insularity is gone, and we may learn firsthand what our grandparents experienced.

 

There is no point in sugarcoating it: I am completely fucked.

 

My entire livelihood has been destroyed by this pandemic. I survive by giving historic tours of Old City Philadelphia to tourists and school groups on field trips. Well, school is no longer in session, and tourism has withered away. I have not yet been scheduled for a single tour in May, which is my highest-earning month. Zero. Nothing. My secondary source of income was as an actor/server for a murder mystery dinner theater, but the restaurant which hosts the murder mystery has shut down.

 

It is possible that I could make some money doing food delivery work, but this would expose me to the virus, and I CAN'T get sick. I am an independent contractor. My employers hire independent contractors to skirt labor laws and avoid offering us benefits. I have no health insurance, my new apartment has a higher rent, and securing this new apartment cost me roughly half my personal wealth. My tour work is seasonal, so I was expecting the rush of Spring field trip season to pick me back up, and now that is not going to happen. A federal relief check should be arriving eventually, and I do have a small amount of money saved up for dreams and trips which will no longer come to pass. But if this continues throughout the summer, I'll have no choice but to file for unemployment. My efforts at securing a full-time Editorial Assistant job at various publishing companies have so far been met with silence and failure.

 

My dear friends are weathering the storm as best they can. They joke around to keep each other's spirits up. There is a group facebook chat which is constantly buzzing with banter. Some of my friends show off their masks. They share memes about how stir-crazy they feel about being cooped up inside, and it makes me want to scream. Most of my friends are working from home and are not facing a total loss of income, so I am glad they still feel capable of bringing levity to this situation, but I am not in that headspace.

 

Every morning I wake up terrified. I fill my days with fun diversions as best I can. I am playing with music on my old piano. Work on the Origins Project is going very well. I am writing the first chapter of the final act of my current story. In my friends' Minecraft world, a new city has been established, and the new government building I've designed and constructed for that city is basically a replication of Philadelphia's Independence Hall. There are two cats who share my apartment with whom I share loving moments.

 

My roommate Kyle and I are watching the entirety of Star Trek: The Next Generation for the first time. I've been a Trekkie since childhood. I don't like The Original Series, it's way too silly for me to take it seriously, but The Next Generation will always hold a special place in my heart. I've seen it all before, but never in order from the beginning to end. Kyle hasn't seen any of it before. He has experienced the hilariously awful and hammy writing of Star Trek: Discovery, as well as those idiotic Chris Pine movies, and it was time Kyle experienced some good Star Trek. Although to be fair, the first two seasons of The Next Generation are pretty awful too, and we enjoyed making fun of it.

 

Yesterday was the birthday of my friend Dillon. We celebrated it virtually, with Discord voice chat and Minecraft. Dillon and Kyle are my two friends with whom I share our Minecraft-based universe. Kyle and I arranged for several of our other close friends to hop into Minecraft for the first time, and when Dillon connected to the game server, he was surprised to find all of us there. We threw a lavish party for one of Dillon's characters, complete with a feast, music, Minecraft fireworks, and one foiled assassination attempt.

 

I am still capable of laughter, and I can still have fun, but once the fun thing passes I'm right back where I started. Tomorrow I will be sending a followup email to the most-recent publishing company who has not responded to my job application. Wish me luck. I need it.

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ah @Connor I am so sorry about all of these

I can relate to what you are experiencing, it must be totally terrifying, and I am totally in awe of you being able to have fun and throw an online birthday party for your friend despite everything, that's amazing

Good luck with your follow up email tomorrow 

Big hug 🤗

 

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  • TeamTLE

@Connor, I want to wrap you up in my arms and keep you safe and secure, forever. I fucking hate times like these. I wish we had an actual physical community where we could all rest easy (or easier, anyway) in support of one another. Maybe that's why we did that in another Parallel in Colorado (I think that was the location). I'm holding you close... and sending Essence/Guides out ahead to see if there's anything that would help. Love you!!! ♥♥♥ 

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@Connor I fight the financial terror on a daily basis too.  I'm having anxiety attacks every night.   Managing the emotions is a minute by minute job now.  What is saving me is doing lots of dance and movement.  Are you working out? 

 

Why would you wait to file for unemployment?  You'd miss the extra $ you'd get from the stimulus package wouldn't you?

 

Sending love to you!

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  • TeamTLE

@ConnorI was about to say what @Wendy said. Why wait? You are out of work now due to no fault of your own. Apply asap. I hear it's taking longer to get through as they are overwhelmed. Good luck. Sending virtual hugs and lots of love ❤️

 

p.s. Just read your latest post in the Sirius story. I bet you could submit it as a pilot in a sci-fi series and get an advance, it's that good. Word for word. 

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Connor, that fucking sucks. File for unemployment as soon as humanly possible. Don't wait till you have burned through your reserves to do it.

 

The good news is they cannot evict you right now for lack of payment of rent or shut off utilities, so you might be able to establish payment plans for once you do get back to work.

 

Look into the local food bank for groceries if needed.

 

See if there are jobs that can be done online to get some income, otherwise find ways to occupy your time. Take free online classes for either hobbies or career skills, take up some sort of volunteer work. 

 

Remember that this is not your fault, so please don't beat yourself up over this if you are.

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  • TLE12

Connor, I agree with what others have suggested on filing for unemployment as soon as possible. I would look into any other means available for getting a hold of and storing some food supplies as needed. I care about you and wish you the best in your job application and search. I will keep you in my thoughts.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know if things have changed, but still good luck on following up on the publishing companies.

In the meantime, if you're confident at listening and typing, online transcribing might be something you could try out to get a little extra money. If so, this article has a handful of ideas to start with. It's not often that much, but it could be something to tide things over in the meantime. There may be other online job possibilities out there too.

But still, I agree with everyone to file for unemployment asap based on your situation.

 

It's a really sucky, scary place to be, and that headspace can really pull the fun out of attempts at levity. I hope you get or find something to ease the anxiety and uncertainty, and that you're still able to bolster up some good times as things go forward.

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 Hey, I don't know if you are in need of food as well, but Facebook has some groups called Buy Nothing groups that often offer various food boxes and foodstuffs, at least my local one does. They are hyperlocal groups that are trying to reuse and share around as much as possible and they might be able to help keep body and soul together at least, temporarily. Searching Buy Nothing Philadelphia should bring up your area.

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59 minutes ago, Evelin said:

Similar groups in my country are called Foodsharing.

  These are for things other than food much of the time, but they've limited the scope to essential goods only because pandemic.

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Thanks, everyone. I am doing better (mentally, if not financially). I stocked up on food supplies before the Pandemic escalated, so I am not worried about going hungry. Part of why I did not file for unemployment immediately is because technically I am not unemployed. I still work for my tour company, but my hours have been reduced to zero. Just this week, my home state finally initialized a new portal for unemployment filing specifically for independent contractors and gig workers (like me) who previously would not have qualified for aid.

 

In the meantime, working on the Origins project is helping me stay sane. Keep an eye open for the next chapter. I'm hoping to release it sometime today.

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Good to hear you're getting by and things are looking a bit better.

There are a lot of people right now who are still technically employed, but are essentially unemployed because their business had to temporarily close or eliminate hours, so states have had to compensate. In my home state, they adapted the disaster unemployment option to cover this scenario. Glad you were able to get the portal you needed for the unemployment aid.

Edited by Eric
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@Evelin and @Eric, the easiest way to support Connor with the Origin project, is to schedule a session for yourself and give it to Connor. He sends you via our message system his questions, and you submit them at the time your session is due, and you send the answers from Michael back to him.

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@Eric and @Evelin
 

Thank you, that is a very kind offer. Petra's suggestion is a good one. She had a 60min live chat session, and she invited me to use it. Before I developed questions for the session, Petra and I had a conversation about the scope and focus of those questions, and we were able to find something that interests both of us which also fleshes out the Human Timeline Project. I had a similar conversation with Sharvari when she gave me a session for my birthday, to develop HTP-related questions she was also interested in.

 

Availability is a moot concern with email sessions. With live chats, I'm fine with  supplying questions for you to ask, attending the session in your place, or attending the session WITH you. It's your choice how you would like that to be handled, but if you would like me to be present at a live chat session, we would have to find a time I am available before you book anything.

 

If you'd like to donate a session towards my efforts to flesh out the Human Timeline Project (and prepare it for publication), let me know in a private message. We will talk about which parts of the HTP interest you, if any, and we'll develop some cool questions.

Edited by Connor
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@Connor That session was a GIFT. I will literally pummel you into the Lower Physical if you ever think of using it for me, in any way. It is for you to use, to compile the next sessions of the Origins Project. Not to gain information about my interests, which lie about a million or more years after your current phase. 

Im Out GIF by The Bachelor

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@SharvariJ

Pssh, you'd have to pummel your way to the other side of the planet, first, and good luck getting past the plasma at Earth's core. The session you gifted me has nothing to do with the gift I mentioned for you. I'm going to use your session to flesh out the 3,000,000 BCE time period of legendary creatures, as we discussed. There are a couple different angles I'll use to approach the topic. It'll be awesome.

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Obviously, if I could pummel to the other side of the planet, pummelling would not be the first thing I do to you. And now I think we should discuss this outside. *grabs @Connor and hauls him away*

 

Also, it's MAGMA, you peasant.

Edited by SharvariJ
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@Connor I'm calling your bluff. Michael's words are just things that come out of Troy's head. Maybe they messed up with similar-sounding words. 

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