Plague Diary 473: The Emperor’s New Plague

On Wednesday evening, I went back to the county fairgrounds and had my Moderna booster shot. On Thursday morning, I was fine – until around 10:30, when I fell asleep and stayed that way on and off for the next 30 hours or so, punctuated by bouts of fever, complaining, the vague reading of old cozy mysteries, general all over achiness and etc. You know the drill. I know the damn drill. The drill is by now so familiar that it’s almost comforting.

It isn’t comforting.

There I was again in line with my mask. I ran into some colleagues; I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen since before that pandemic. And then I missed two days of work, which will get chalked up to the special code we have in our payroll software for all absences Covid related, because it’s the new normal, baby, and this is just the way it is now.

I wear a mask every day, all day long (I mostly order my masks from this wonderful lady by the way) and I figure I probably always will in public now, for the rest of my life. So will you. It’s not that big a deal, really. Yes, it’s a giant enormous change in everyone’s life but you can’t talk about it, because that’s just the way it is and anyway, you don’t want anyone to think you are anti-mask. For the record, I am extremely pro mask. But wearing one all day, every day, 8 hours a day is. . . it’s not great. I do not love it. I will do it forever but you know what? It sucks. Masks get gross. They need to be replaced; they cost money; they make your glasses fog up and the back of your ears hurt. I change mine halfway through every day which means I need a minimum of 10 comfortable masks a week and I created a whole new laundry routine. We all have our mask routines, now, we know the drill. Such a small thing – small things add up, you know – but here we are and it’s just the way the world is now.

Are you tired? Don’t be tired. What’s wrong with you?

We’re moving on. We’re all about the post Covid world. Never mind that we aren’t post Covid and we aren’t ever going to be post Covid and herd immunity is a complete myth: the hive mind has spoken and Covid is as over as Mom jeans and pleated front khakis and network TV news that the whole nation watches.

Meanwhile, of course, the numbers are beginning their inexorable shift upwards again. People just keep dying. It’s inconvenient of them, because the plague is over, but they do keep on dying, or getting long covid and staying sick, or doing something else, like mourning, that’s bad for the economy and the national spirit. Everything is open and lockdown is a dirty word and we, as a country, as a collective unconscious, have just decided that this is the way things are now. People die. People have always died, but there are more corpses now. More people than before and a lot – probably most – of them are poor, so it doesn’t matter. The hospitals are still full and medical workers are burned out and miserable but the plague is over, didn’t you hear the news? You know, the news, the consensual reality news like we had when I was a kid? The plague is over. Ignore the bodies. They don’t matter.

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In other political news, things are really really bad. So bad. The worst. Living in the End Times is difficult for the old cognitive dissonance detector. Between the plague and the onrushing extinction event – you think you’ve seen bodies, plague survivors? O climate change has such bodies to show you; we are only getting warmed up – and the rise of fascism and white boys doing less time for killing people at protests than black boys do for a pocketed joint, it’s difficult to be optimistic, or, in fact, anything much at all except numbed and silent. I am trying hard to keep my head as deep in the sand as is humanly possible. It’s probably not the healthiest strategy but in the end times, what the hell else is there?

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But life rolls on – at least for now – and my darling granddaughter is four entire months old and perfect. My job is bearable although it turns out that all those miserable novels about overwrought politics in academia were nonfiction. The dogs and the cat have clean bills of health – the cat pissed on my bed AGAIN though and so every night she is locked up in the box room forever. She is lucky that I did not hire an assassin, which I tell her every day. Harvey has taken on the job of being Perdita’s interpreter and if she needs to go out at night he comes and wakes me up. Perdita moves very slow, these days. I am gradually going bankrupt as usual. I still love living here. I’m still taking pictures AND THEY ARE STILL FOR SALE HINT HINT and I used my bottle and can money (i really really really love living in a civilized state, thank you Oregon) to buy a sewing machine! It is tiny and adorable and not intimidating, which is great, and I have already made a pencil skirt which is totally fine as long as you do not look closely at the waistband. Soon I will be making my own damn masks because fuck it, masking, as this post started with, is forever.

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