Tag Archives: pandemic blues

Back to the future

Something extraordinary is going on.

I am, almost sixteen years into this shit, happier than I have ever been.

I love my dog, my kids, my friends, my home. My life, though still full of uncertainty and challenge, feels incredibly rich. I am making art, writing, working (part time consulting), back in the habit of reading–starting with Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and now Moby Dick. I curtailed a bad habit I’d fallen into–drinking too much–a side effect of the pandemic and, well, despair. Thanks to some patrons? donors? dear friends? I am enjoying a subscription to Hello Fresh and am cooking really tasty meals. I am growing hair, toenails, eyebrows and eyelashes. My skin–initially a mess secondary to binimetinib, is under control with the help of antibiotics, clindamycin and Retin A. Just another adolescence.

The two environments I have been primarily limited to over the past year–studio and apartment–are both spaces that feel safe, comforting and inviting. This is due in no small part to the many friends who have feathered my nest in a variety of ways. Practical things, like a pair of air purifiers. A weighted blanket, that has provided so much comfort. Hats, chocolate, books, flowers, wine, music. Things that smell good. Lotions, creams, oils. These gifts have all added beauty and grace to what was an incredibly difficult year.

My exercise bike is finally getting used. I’m trying to teach Kumo English and in return I am attempting to learn dog. Too long a luddite, I am committing myself to greater computer literacy and a good friend has signed on as tech support. And hygiene. Not personal, again computer. I need to clean up my desktop. And my emails.

Because I am on a combination therapy, the side effect profile has been complex. Historically I have been shamefully noncompliant when it came to filling out my drug diary. I am amending my ways as I feel any information I can provide per the relationship between dosing and side effects is now critical.

I am starting to go through my closet. I need to lose a little more weight before I start trying things on again, but I am looking forward to that time when there is a reason to dress up again. After years of thrift shopping/hunting for vintage clothing, my wardrobe looks a bit like a costume department. I can’t wait to banish my sweatpants to workouts.

Dinner with friends. Movies. Dates. These are all in the future tense but I am beginning to feel a sweet anticipation.

Regular life. What a beautiful thing.

What we’re missing

Several weeks ago I ordered a CD of one of my all-time favorite albums, Keith Jarrett’s The Köln Concert. Back in the seventies I played that record so many times that the vinyl surely acquired more grooves.

The first time I gave it another listen I was driving in my car. That music is so incredibly evocative of a particular time for me; young, in love, free spirited. You know, nineteen. What caught me off guard was that my strongest emotional response was to the applause at the conclusion. The sound of an audience–the idea of a crowd at an event–it brought me to tears. Had I not been behind the wheel, it would have brought me to my knees.

I mean, damn. Sitting side by side with others in an auditorium–and I had the privilege of seeing Keith Jarrett in concert–was something I had taken totally for granted.

Now, almost a year into relative isolation, I miss my fellow humans something fierce.

Six feet from everyone. Masked. And after every interaction–no matter how socially distanced–sanitized as well.

This evening I was on the way to the pharmacy when, quite unexpectedly, my little bubble burst. It was cold and raining and I noticed a man hitchhiking. I immediately recognized him. Although I don’t actually know this person, when I walk Kumo he often passes us on his bicycle and always says hello. He is also either developmentally disabled or has suffered a brain injury.

Without thinking, I pulled to the side of the road. Sweeping aside the detritus in my front seat, I opened the passenger side door and asked where he was going. He was wearing a mask and I put mine on as well. It was only after I started driving again that it occurred to me that what I had just done–under the circumstances–was unusual. And maybe not the best decision for either my passenger or myself.

However I got him to where he was going. And after he said both goodbye and thank you, I burst into tears.

It is sad, so very sad, that this pandemic has necessarily compromised our humanity. We are not solitary creatures. The pack is our preferred mode. And I, for one, can’t wait to return to it.

Now read this NPR transcript and weep. First, the wonderful anecdote regarding the unlikely genesis of The Köln Concert. Followed by a story about Brian Eno, another of my favorite musicians. And then, unexpectedly–a segue into a tale regarding the London Tube with a moral so fucking apt for all that is happening in our lives at the moment.

We will get through this. And someway, somehow, we shall be better for it.



Summer, when you leave why must you depart so abruptly?

It was just a couple of weeks ago that I was sweating myself to sleep. This afternoon I crawled into bed with the heating pad turned on high just to get warm.

There is something disconcerting about the sudden change in temperature. It’s as if the season broke up with us, minus any preemptive conversation.

I mean, yes, I did voice my complaints during the last heat wave. Not vociferously, but I was a tad grumpy. The thing is, that was a passing emotion.

Now it’s already getting dark by eight…which will soon be five (damn daylight savings). The truth is I am far more productive when the days feel endless and the temperature is balmy. And the end of al fresco dining is going to put a real damper on my barely there social life.

Is it too late to apologize? If we clap could we have an encore? Or could you just take your time with fall?

Because this girl’s really not feeling winter.