Well, hello again! Welcome back to the Plague! We all thought it was over, but surprise, surprise, it is not.
To recap the last four months, I got my second shot, was duly quite ill for a day or two and then went on about life. I . . . saw friends, once. Livin’ large! We had a heat dome; it sucked hard. I spent the month of July in Asheville and halfway through that month my daughter had a baby. Well, not just A baby, the most wonderful, beautiful, incredible baby EVER, or at least since her mom and her uncle were born. It was much more humid in Asheville than I remembered it being.
DOOM OF THE DAY: Climate change! Heat domes in the PNW; 90% humidity and temperatures that don’t cool down at night in the Appalachians. I never did like summer much and now? Now it’s pure doom with added doom sauce.
But the hell with climate change. One doom at a time. Let us return to our regularly scheduled doom. Plague!
I flew to Asheville* in early July when people weren’t really talking so much about the delta variant. Masks were just beginning to come off everywhere but not on planes. That’s a good thing but, ya know what? There’s only so much a mask can do when you are jammed in between two people closer than sardines ever even get in a can. However. I made it to Asheville intact and kept my damn mask on whenever I went indoors. I was most thoroughly alone in that. Asheville was packed to the gills with celebrating people, all maskless and proud of it. I was not one of them and neither was my daughter. We wore masks. The people at the hospital wore masks. You might consider that they know what they are doing but, no. The plague is over! Celebrate! The numbers were creeping up but oh well! Stores and bars and restaurants were packed and nobody, nobody was wearing a mask.
As the plague numbers climbed and the government either stuck their fingers in their ears and yelled LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU or, conversely, and honestly I’m not sure which is worse, FUCK YOU AND YOUR MASKS AND SHOTS LET’S KILL EVERYONE, I got on another plane. Again I was jammed in closer to my seatmates than I have been to another person in like a decade. Sorry, tmi. Still. The first person I sat with was coughing and sneezing all the way from Asheville to Atlanta. That’s only 45 minutes, but, ya know, sitting on someone’s lap for 45 minutes is intimacy.
Back to Oregon where the weather is lovely and the government is firmly in the LA LA camp. Nobody here was wearing a mask either and I tentatively, slowly, took off my mask at work. Turns out most people have chins! Who knew! That lasted two exciting days and then we were told that masks were coming back on the following Monday. This is because my workplace is sane and also, despite the fact that Clatsop County stopped texting everyone the Covid numbers (LA LA LA IT’S OVER IT’S OVER) they were climbing at terrifying and exponential rates.
On Monday I wore my mask and I was fine.
On Tuesday I woke up coughing at 5 AM and my day went downhill from there.
I called in sick to work.
I could barely move; I was just so tired. It was like being zapped by the ennui fairy: I could not get out of bed. And when I did, I had to get back into it pretty quickly, because not only was I exhausted and dizzy, breathing was complicated.
This went on for three fun filled days.
On Friday I went to get a Covid test at the drive through public health site. It opened at 10 am and I got there at 9:45. I was the 14th person in line. More cars started arriving and more, and more and more and the Sanitation people came over to complain at us about how we were blocking the road to the dump. More cars arrived. I tweeted at the newspaper but nobody ever replied. LA LA!
I got my test and went to get gas and then went home to bed because that was exhausting, sitting in the car and all.
They called me that afternoon and told me my test was negative.
I spent the weekend coughing and imagining all the other things I must have if I didn’t have Covid, like lung cancer or another pulmonary embolism or maybe RSV or possibly a curse, leveled by yet another angry witch.
On Monday I went to the doctor. My brain was starting to work again and I could stay out of bed for more than 40 minutes.
Congratulations! he said. You have Covid.
No I don’t, I said, the test was negative.
Yeah, he said, the tests are wrong a lot. You have all the symptoms and you SOUND like you have Covid and, hey, I’m pretty sure you have Covid. Don’t go near anyone for another week at least.
So here I am. Breakthrough Covid. Was it the plane? Was it my workplace during those two unmasked days? There is no way of telling. The only thing I can tell you is that the mild variety of Covid is no fucking joke. I’m slowly getting better, here, but I basically lost a week to the ZAP you have to stay in bed witch.
And I suspect, despite the LA LA people and the earnest Twitter statisticians asserting that it is so so vanishingly rare, that I am very far from alone in my breakthrough Covid.
I’m hearing a lot of coughing in the neighborhood.
We all have it now, kids.
Happy Doom! Ain’t life grand?
- ASHEVILLE ASIDE: I found that, oddly enough, while I miss my friends and family, I do not miss the town itself one iota. See that river and those happy tubers? The chance that they will all get sick is very high. Higher if it’s rained recently, which it has, because it rains every afternoon. The locals, by and large, don’t go in the river. (There’s a reason for that. Agricultural runoff is not your friend. The locals go tubing in the Green River where it’s cleaner, not the damn French Broad.) But it’s also a metaphor. The locals don’t go in the river and they don’t go downtown because it’s 100% tourists all the time and hellish. The locals don’t eat out because they can’t afford it and the locals don’t buy houses because they have all been priced out of their hometown and, well, Asheville is a good cautionary tale.