Adam Quinn: Diary of Anxiety

I’ve been writing almost every day to document my thoughts and feelings. With the star of Coronavirus here in NY, it’s been getting pretty relevant… especially on the subway. 

Day 1. The baby is crying again, they’re fighting. 
Day 2. There’s laughter, the baby squeals and I hear his footsteps stomp quickly through the house. They laugh and chase him. 

The subway walls are stained with rust and grime. It’s dark and and dank. The trains screech into the station as budget machines designed without my ears in mind. 


I made a mistake in sudoku. I hit the wrong button and it wasn’t supposed to be a mistake. 


Mildly infuriating 

Organization related
The turned sewer cap
Misplaced tile


The anxiety about not being heard. Do I not feel heard? Sort of. I feel like I have to tell my story. Why? Why do I need to tell my story? Why do I need to be heard? Is it because I want to be understood? How very regular. 


I worry that I worry too much, but also that through fantasizing I’m not taking action for things that I want to do. What are my blockers for doing this project? Talking about how I’m not doing it? Is that helpful? Or is it just thought? 


Can I write without some other form of motivation? 


Yes, this is fine, don’t lose momentum just keep making. It leads to good things. Just keep going. 


Could I make a chat or to quell anxiety? 
Can it learn from you?
What does it ask? 
Is this chat it just telling me things? Or is it learning?


Can it talk to you and get to know you?


Or does it interact with you by interacting with your world and testing reactions?


What does anxiety look like to a conservative? What does that look like? Is it similarities? Immigration? 


This pile of clothes
The dust
This pile of boxes
This clutter
The clutter
The tarp on the roof next door blowing in the wind
The silver sky and ominous light, will it rain?
Does my plant need water?
Should I clean the walls?
I need to find a home for this unused table
I’m going to be late thinking about this
This wedding planning is stressing me out
My fiancée’s stress is stressing me out
The neighbors downstairs keep stomping back and forth
The train still rumbles the apartment 
This board creaks
I need to fix this shelf
The weekly weekly is useful anxiety
This wall is falling down
All of these walls are falling down
This pile of construction debris has been here longer than we have
That cat probably has fleas
Someone should clean up those cat cans, the water in them is disgusting 
There’s trash everywhere 
At least it’s not dog shit
What if these grates don’t hold my weight?
What the hell is going on here?
Just more garbage 
That’s gonna snag someone and give them tetanus 
I feel bad about criticizing poverty
I don’t know why I feel bad which makes me feel bad
Con Ed should come clean up their shit. They have money. Stop making a fucking mess and forgetting about it
I don’t want people to read. I don’t want them to know how angry this makes me. I hide my anger. 
I yell at people in my head. I don’t yell at people in real life. I don’t understand why that is. Maybe that’s why it’s easy to yell over Twitter, because it’s somewhere in between. 
Maybe that’s the point of writing
I wonder if anyone on this train needs to sit down more than I do? 
Am I being selfish?
This project seems selfish. It’s just about me. Is that okay?
I worry that if I make it too personal, and people reject the project, they’ll be rejecting me as well. 
I don’t want to be rejected
It doesn’t feel good
Does anyone on this train need to sit down more than me?
The train is loud and shaky
It’s moving fast
If something happened we’d all be seriously injured
How fast are we actually going?
Is holding onto these bars enough?
Should I be learning a second language?
I stopped learning French and Spanish and Italian and mandarin 
I’m probably never going to be good at any of them
Someone’s wearing a Bernie pin
I think this train is full of Hillary supporters who are mad at that
Hillary lost because she wasn’t like able. She had a shrill voice and I never saw her move a crowd. She sucked the air out of the room at the DNC. Bill, Barack, Michelle, they all lit up the crowd, she got up and the room went mild. That’s why she lost. She had no charisma. She was qualified. But lacked charisma. I don’t know if that’s really it. She won the popular vote. Maybe she did motivate people, but not like Bernie. He lights up the room and has done it all through grass roots campaigning. It’s fucking incredible. Using only charisma and the same strong message. There’s no ambiguity. He’s got something she didn’t and I think people don’t like that. I feel pressure to feel bad for thinking this way, which makes me believe it more. Because fuck you for using gender politics to passive aggressively use guilt to beg for my appraisal
I resent you for it
I don’t want this to make me look bad
But that’s how I look
Have some compassion
This seems like I feel strongly about it
I do
I don’t want people to read this
I don’t want to be rejected
But that’s how I feel
I don’t think I’m wrong
I have evidence
We can go back and watch the tapes
We can see it happen
Maybe if we did I wouldn’t see it the same way again
Maybe I’d interpret it differently 
Does anyone on this train need to sit down more than I do?
Am I being selfish?
I found a trigger
I think of the people I disagreed with during the election
The arguments
No one thought he was going to win. At least in my circle
I felt like the only one
I didn’t think she could win
I was made to feel ashamed for saying it
I got in arguments
I tried to tell people about the rise of white nationalism 
Maybe it was crazy talk
But look at the children now in cages
Look at the crazies with high powered rifles gunning down people that look like immigrants 
No one listened
I felt muted
And I resent it
And now I’m glad that Bernie is winning because it means I was right
I saw someone after the election that I hadn’t seen since before. He was one of the few people I knew that saw it the same way
‘We were right’ he said
‘I know’
I didn’t feel good about being right
I don’t know that we were right
It’s no sense in thinking about hypotheticals
I want him to win now so I can be right
Maybe he’ll lose, maybe he would’ve lost
But I think he’s got the best chance of winning
Maybe I’m wrong
How’d I get down this rabbit hole?
1 pin
The election
The fuckface in office
Resentment from being mocked and doubted
I see a pattern of anger and recovery
Swings from one side of the pendulum to the other
Only revealing one of the swings publicly 
I’m anxious that people will see both sides
Maybe everyone gets angry at invisible people that they resent for hurting them
I have no idea
I’m not other people
I fear if people read this they will reject me and I won’t be successful 
I don’t know if that’s a reasonable fear
These train doors aren’t closing
Someone is holding them open
I think weddings ruin relationships between mothers and daughters
It’s getting cold outside again
It’s almost March
March is the longest day of the year, wanting spring to come
The winter is wearing on me
Signs of warmth interrupted by bouts of cold
The longest month of the year
We keep talking about the corona virus
In the movies there’s always ominous music before a disaster 
You don’t get that in real life
The sun still shines and the radio still plays pop
I forgot to do some paperwork and now it’s last minute
I hate paperwork
It’s always last minute
This wedding planning is straining my relationship 
I hate it
I seem to only write when I’m on the subway
It’s more reflection than reaction
I wonder if I’m doing this right
I should be recording reactions and thoughts
Negative thoughts?
Where are the positive thoughts? When am I having them? 
I get I excited by the success of my work
I get excited when I see the result of my efforts
Puppies and kittens
Babies cooing 
This train is moving well
Can I record positive inputs?
The books being read
Actual books
The seated pregnant woman
The seated old ladies
I got on the train the other day, early in the morning. I realized that the benches were filled with little old ladies. All the laborers were standing. The young men and women had given up their seats. The whole train was like that
It’s weird that the train is where I spend such a significant portion of my day
I’m not anxious
I’m tired
I’m worried about arguing about wedding stuff
I don’t look forward to going home and arguing about wedding stuff
I don’t look forward to going home
I’ve stayed at work late today
It’s not out of avoidance 
There was legitimately too much to do today and last minute to-do’s
The book next to me, being read, is beautiful
I don’t know the artist but it looks like cherry blossoms 
I want to see the cherry blossom festival
I’m happy about The Weekly Weekly
People are showing up
The art is good
The possibilities are good
I don’t know what I’d do without it
It’s a life raft
It’s a weekly reminder to keep going
A monthly reminder to meet and talk
And a yearly reminder to make it all public
The screeching of the train wheels
This Dan Deacon is good though
I forgot how much I loved it
So much print being read
I spoke to the woman next to me about the art book
I have name of the artist
I may go see the show
I worry that people can read what I’m writing
Why are you watching me?
Look the other way!
Ha. Conversations with invisible people
Texts to un watching eyes
To the right she sleeps
To the left she reads
No one is watching
Do the red walls of bowling green make me nervous? 
I can’t tell if colors make me nervous, only that they distract me
Contrast draws my eye
Sharp noise draws my attention
I love the calm of the air during fresh snow
Even noisy cars creep along with a whisper
The world is calm with rounded edges
Why do architects love hard edges and louvers?
Architects love louvers and lines and grids
Hard lines through soft edges
Where is the contrast in the city
It is only hard lines
I can’t tell if she’s laughing or crying
I thought crying at first, then thought no must be laughing, but what if it’s crying, no it’s laughing
More print books on the subway
And they might be giants hats
How do you find happiness in all this clutter of hard edges?
Where are the delightful boundaries of unpredictable beauty that doesn’t come from urban detritus?
The difference between trash and growth
Decay and life
Always seeing buildings during their dying days
How do we rejuvenate the neighborhood with out displacing the people?
There is obvious neglect 
I want to tweet that photo of Con Ed’s cones just lying on the street
I just argued with them in my head
I wonder how many other people argue with invisible powers about the neglect?
Man, I want to just start fixing shit in my neighborhood 
It’s not my property but damn
I stayed up reading about corona virus
The thing that’s scares me is how little people are concerned
That’s the recipe for disaster
The flu kills about 61,000 people in the US each year at a .1 % death rate
Corona virus is 20X more deadly so that puts the deaths at about 600,000 people a year
I bought groceries last night
Stocked up on spaghetti 
Japan has closed all schools for a month
My Hasidic neighborhood is so communal, if it gets here, everyone is getting it
The city’s subway system will carry it everywhere within days
Hospitals will be at capacity
There will be panic 
People will stop trusting each other
Most likely the museums will close
The’ll want to stop the spreading
I’ll probably want to get another job
I feel somewhat protected with my job but not very
I missed my bus transfer writing this
I feel I shouldn’t ignore it though
I feel that I ignore a lot
Shut it out
To deal with it
My bathroom is dirty
My house needs a cleaning
I’ll go crazy trying to fix everything 
Transfers transfer transfer
Transfers spread people across trains
Transfers spread corona viruses 
Thinking about work
I feel like I don’t get recognized for my accomplishments
I feel like people don’t know what they are
I feel like there’s plenty of who I am that will go unnoticed or undervalued 
That’s why I need the weekly weekly
Is what I do not valuable or do I just see it as devalued?
Was the work I was doing actually not interesting?
I feel like what I’m doing now is more interesting 
There’s a lot to it
But I do want to create
That’s the differences 
And I think that’s what I’m unsure about
What happens if I just lean into it?
I have to deliver an alternative choice of hardware to a vendor. 
Smithsonian doesn’t want to purchase the hardware they’ve specified 
I’m annoyed at the the Smithsonian for these rules and runaround
It’s costing us time and our equipment is still broken
It’s frustrating and I don’t want to have to bring the vendor into the term oil of uncertainty that’s here but I have to
I just don’t want to be in this position
It’s so minor
Not life or death
How can I position it differently?
I feel like the religious right has taken over the media to show images of the end of the world. Locusts, plagues, and now a pray-the-gay-away VP is in charge of this virus
Sensational imagery to lead people to anxiety of the end
The inevitable plagues of the past are back to wipe out populations
We’re on the brink of economic collapse 
The planet is warming
The icebergs are melting
We’re in the process of change
Change means the end
And the beginning
Accelerate into the future
We’re being taken over by Accelerationists
I don’t want to write on the train home today I’m tired. Too many discussions in one day
I feel a little better today
God that sucks
What’ll I write about if it isn’t anxiety, stress and depression 
Now that’s funny
Last night they announced someone in NY has coronavirus
I ordered more supplies 
Peanut butter, dry goods, canned food
I’m more afraid of the panic than the virus
Dana is beginning to take it seriously 
Someone is coughing on the subway
I’m not touching these poles
I’d rather fall over
The waiter touched my glass last night
He could have just poured my water
But not
I could see his fingerprints on the glass
I don’t want to hold these bars but I might have to
The recycled air  is probably just forcing it right into my lungs
This subway car is an incubator
I’ve counted 38 people on the car
I touched the pole
I can’t touch my face
I’ve got to wash my hands
I saw someone posted about home made antibacterial 
That could be useful
It’s not so much that I need bulk
It’s the rush
The panic
The empty shelves
Then what?
I want to sit so I can stop grabbing this pole
This happens with hurricanes 
People panic
They buy bottled water
The shelves are empty
But the hurricane comes and goes
The next day they restock the shelves
This lingers
Coronavirus is like Uber but for Pandemics
Two people got up
Two women sat down
Fucking chivalry is gonna get me killed
I’m still holding this pole
Three people are drinking coffee
No one is wearing gloves
I need to stop surveying this train
If someone’s watching me they’ll think I’m creepy 
Who’s watching me?
I am creepy
I think there are now about 80 people on this car
Maybe more
I can’t see
I got to sit
I just can’t touch my face
No one is coughing 
I wonder if There will be coronavirus exhaustion 
People will be tired of worrying and just decide to live with it
Then we’ve got a cold that kills two percent of everyone who gets it
That’s fucked up
 My conspiracy theory is that they won’t invent a vaccine for it because they’d inadvertently create a cure for the common cold and wouldn’t be able to sell anymore Vick’s vapor rub, NyQuil or Tylenol PM
A million deaths in the a year in the US ooooooor NyQuil?
God fucking damn showtime
What the fuck
It’s nine thirty in the morning
I’m trying to write about anxiety and this fuck is just dancing and flipping and blasting music?
How the hell am I supposed to stay scared and angry when this is so damn entertaining?
He’s not bad
He’s not that good either but there’s no way in hell I could do that
Fuck I touched my face
I washed my hands when I got to work but not before touching my wallet and ID
There’s no way to stay sanitary 

There’s two homeless people on the subway today
1 Lying on the bench the other with his garbage spread everywhere 
Sickness and filth 
Everyone seems uncomfortable 
I’ll change trains at the next stop
I might change cars or just wait for another train
I can’t do anything about neglected people
Mental illness
A failed healthcare system
A failed Care system
My eyes burn from the smell
I’m getting off this train
I moved cars
I want gloves
I don’t want to touch the rails
I’ve wrapped my jacket cuff around the pole
There’s dirty tissues on an empty seat
No one wants to touch it
I got my marriage license this morning
We’re getting married on Friday
I don’t want to wait until May
The city could be shut down
I want Dana on my insurance 
She’s freelance
Has Oscar
If something happens it’ll cost us a small fortune
I can’t take that risk
Our May date could at the peak of the spread
We just don’t know
Better safe than sorry
We’ll have a fun day
It’s the only day of the week that’s supposed to rain
I hear that’s good luck
That’s just what they tell people
Our families are coming in
My sister can’t be there because they were in Italy and have self quarantined
My brother in law isn’t allowed to go to work for two weeks
We’ll probably postpone our honeymoon 
Our healthcare system isn’t set up to handle this
It’ll bankrupt people
This is why we need better care
It’ll be a wake up call
Greed has no place here
There is only life
And death
It won’t be the last pandemic
It’s mild
And that makes people complacent 
And that makes this bad
The mortality rate
It’s only two percent they say
It’s as contagious as the flu they say
The flu kills 60,000 Americans each year
The flu is .1% 
This could kill 20X that
1.2 Million a year
It’s 3% in Iran 
That’s 1.8 Million
Who knows what’ll happen
It’s all anyone talks about
In the coffee shop this morning
“20% of our supply chain comes from China.  We might not have product after April”
The Fed just cut interest rates
Maybe it’s a good time to refinance my loans
If they close the museum I hope I’ll be able keep my job
If I stick with my current loans I can always defer until the economy picks back up
I’ve already deferred while I was freelancing
It cost me tens of thousands of dollars in interest in the long run
I hope it was worth it
I’ll pay it off by the time I have to pay for kids tuition
That’s insane
I’ll never stop paying student loans ever again
That’s insane
I probably should have moved to Tahiti like the song says
I’d be just as poor but warm
I’m almost to work
Just a little late today and I got a marriage license
The woman at the desk was hilarious 
The whole situation was depressing 
We got in through metal detectors 
The waiting room was dank
Just chairs lined up and false walls with glass
Just like you’d expect from a borough govt building
The woman checking us in had a breathing problem and she didn’t speak up
No one wanted to be there
But people did want to be there
The woman at the window was cold at first
She perked up when we asked where the ceremony was going to be
She looked up towards the ceiling and spread her arms
Right here in this beautiful room of course
We were all in on it
We knew it was absurd
She lightened the mood
She took us to the chapel
It wasn’t glamorous but it was better
There were a few couples there
They looked young
I felt old and out of place
But Dana looked happy
She smiled
And teared up
It wasn’t glamour but it was nice
It felt weird and silly
But it was nice
We kissed on the street and went to separate trains
Heading to work
That was the strangest part
To just go to work like nothing was different 
I miss her now
I love her

I keep hearing people talk about the future
“In a couple of weeks”
I don’t know what the world will look like in a couple of weeks
Day by day things are changing
Anxiety is growing

People are starting to panic
More people are testing positive 
About the only thing that’s alright right now is the wedding on Friday
It’s appropriately apocalyptic 
The municipal building at borough hall is already a scene 
The wedding on Friday and this dog I’m sitting next to
Those two things
The dog left
Just the wedding
I’m not convinced about the future
But the birds are chirping and children play
It can’t be the end of the world
Everything seems so normal
Except all the impending doom
So much impending doom
We decided to shut down the interactives in the museum
Devices for every visitor
Touchscreens that don’t get sanitized except for the mornings
All places of filth
I worry about the visitors, and the staff who just trusts that everything is clean and wonderful 
What about the part time staff that pay for their own insurance?
What about the groups of schoolchildren who unknowingly spread whatever lingers with them?
Shut it down
I don’t want to be part of the problem
I don’t want to create breeding grounds 
I want to keep this thing at bay
The hard part is not knowing whether I’m overreacting 
It’s all logical though
Get married
Get health insurance 
Stop handing out communal toys
Stop spreading anything
How is this so hard?
The unknown is the hard part
The good part is I haven’t had to fight for any of it
People seem to feel comforted by action
I don’t want to wait for someone to tell us what to do
I want to do what’s right and hope that people understand
They’ll understand 
I can’t protect the world


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