The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer:
Dear COVID journal, it’s been more than a year since I started you. Two years? Could be a decade. Not sure. I now wear a loincloth, eat small game over a fire in our TV room and have taken to etching my daily accounts on our wall with stone chisels.
And yes, I wore this same ensemble to bed yesterday. Are sweatpants supposed to make cracking sounds when you bend at the knees?
I blame Zoom for what happened earlier. I went for a bike ride, mask on. Neighbor, Edna Quigley, shrieks. Like she just saw a flaming javelina on a unicycle. My mistake. Remembered my mask. Forgot my pants.
Coronavirus question: Is “Toobin” a verb?
Dr. Fauci on TV says this’ll be over by summer. Then we can play together, hug our friends and talk about something other than this Godforsaken virus, like “Why has it been 122 degrees for the past hundred days?”
On an errand to buy black market Cottonelle, I drive past a strip mall. In the parking lot I notice a long line of cars, orange cones, yellow tape, a tent, and people in lab coats with gloves.
Vaccines?! Immunization pop-up?
Fifteen minutes later the kid in the white coat with the clipboard tells me I’m in line at Chick-fil-A. I order a Pfizer sandwich, the Moderna fries and a small AstraZeneca to go. Hold the chloroquine.
We are marooned on a hostile planet. While Ellen’s growing potatoes on the floor of our living room like Matt Damon in “The Martian” I’m talking to “Alexa” the way “Dave” talked to “HAL” in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” asking her, “When will we be receiving our next transmission from the grandkids back on Earth, HAL?”
I get an app alert. I open the pod bay door and search the stars for the other space station.
Monday means Zoom. I occupy Paul Lynde’s square on our workplace “Hollywood Squares” with my co-workers Charo, Peggy Lee and Rich Little.
I ask my boss, Joan Rivers, what day it is. She says, “Blurs-day.”
She’s right. What day isn’t “Blurs-day”?
What month is it? No-wonder? Skip-tember? Never-ender?
Checking our mailbox is a major event. Our postal person dreads me. Masked, I lie in wait, armed with three topics: 1. the weather, 2. the mail, and 3. vaccination schedules. And two lemonades, desperate for a “chat” and junk mail about discount cremations.
A delivery truck passes by. I salute every Amazon, FedEx and UPS delivery truck as if they were jeeps full of Yanks liberating Paris, tossing smokes and chocolates at we civilians weary of the occupation by this coronavirus.
Tried to register today. I’m 65. Have to wait. Googling for “vaccines,” I get lost online and order two cases of Bactine Pain Relieving Spray by mistake.
Fetching that delivery from the porch, I notice our front door resembles the entryway to a MASH tent. On the small table next to our door are enough masks, hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprays and sterile wipes to last us until we defeat the killer robots from the future.
Below our little entryway pandemic triage table is our recycling bin, which is full of empty wine bottles. Many, many, many empty wine bottles. The Pandemic Grigio was sweet, but Johnson & Johnson’s COVID Cabernet was the best.
Our three cats, Finn, Tubbles and Nala are watching me type. One’s homesteading the printer, one rules the towering bookcase and the other owns the “in” basket. Not a thought in the skulls of those three owl-faced felines. Finn tiptoes over my kkkkkkk-k-k-keyboardddddddzfdwy5 and reclines beneath my computer screen.
Wild thing, you make my heart sing.
How is it I love these creatures who are as indifferent, cruel and merciless as a virus?
I go for a long walk. I say to the dog walkers, ”Nice of that dog to take you out for a walk.” I get a “Beautiful day. Got your shot?”
“No. I got Chick-fil-A instead.”
“What? How are you?”
“Stay safe and strong. Be well.”
We talk like Marvel superheroes. It’s the effect of the mask.
Didn’t tell them I’m waiting for my shot. I’m 65. Vaccinated neighbors and friends come up to me, in masks, and whisper alternate routes to the needle.
“Hang around. Sometimes they have leftovers.”
“Do you know the terrifying alley behind the dicey clinic a block over?”
“Psst. Try Chick-fil-A.”
I walk, masked, with a hermetically sealed friend to Starbucks. As we order, a young guy behind us says, “It’s on me.” Turns to the couple behind him. “You, too. In memory of my friend, Chachi. Died yesterday from COVID. Gave me a small inheritance. Paying it forward. It’s on him.”
“Here’s to Chachi!” say a room of masked strangers on a painfully beautiful day, when the crystal clear blue sky and the perfect afternoons cannot counterbalance the pall of the cold numbers.
Ever onward. Tomorrow I’m going on a bike ride. Pants on.
David Fitzsimmons: firstname.lastname@example.org.