Look Ahead Ever Look Ahead

I’ve been avoiding you.

Generally speaking, I’ve written an annual report in January or February at the latest, but this year, I’m not sure what to say. I couldn’t make things and mail them places without a recipient building a bonfire or worse. So I’m declaring a year of Jubilee and we will all meet up again next winter for donation numbers, etc., when conditions will be different. In the meantime, let’s gossip!

We may or may not be in the same situations historically, and that may make a big difference in the Too Soon? factor, so I’m picking punch lines carefully. I spent most of a year inside my house, but Pete was an essential worker at the local home and garden center, and our housemate didn’t miss a day of work at a gas station the whole year, so naturally in January, Pete caught a cold, then tested positive on a Monday for COVID. He literally had cold symptoms. As soon as he tested positive, I had about three days or twenty minutes – STOP LAUGHING! – before I got sick. The health department called Pete and questioned him extensively about his whereabouts. I tested positive that Friday and recorded symptoms diligently every hour in case I had to explain the progress of my illness to anyone, but no one, including health departments or my doctor, asked me anything. How could no one be asking questions about my TOTALLY UNIQUE COVID EXPERIENCE? But, friends, no one did.

The first thing I did with my new antibodies was swan around in the Asian market, restocking my freezer and getting over my fear of other human beings. I’d been in my house for nearly a year. I craved frozen pork bao and wonton skins more than I was afraid of people walking toward me in a grocery store aisle. For lunch today, I steamed mini soup dumplings; they were brothy and porky and you should find an Asian market near you with an extensive frozen foods section and buy up your favorites. Life is short, and you should ruin a few shirts with soy sauce.

The second thing I did was make an appointment with my hairdresser. At no time in my life had I ever gone a year without at least a trim. My father’s family was full of Sicilian hairdressers, and my grandmother’s way of saying, “I love you,” was to cry out, “ARE YOU USING CONDITIONER?” My hairdresser is not exactly my cousin, but he could be. Sicily is a small island. Anyway, he sheared many tufts off me and we made an appointment for a subsequent haircut. I glided out of the shop with a plan and a feeling of lightness. I went to that appointment and made another.

A year ago, I thought I would blog frequently and create a record of life in this terrible situation, but what I did not expect was the everyday horror, the exhaustion, the new and different ways we could be alienated from the people around us, the refusal of our cohort to accept responsibility for their part in keeping us all alive. I am still not sure how to deal with people who refuse to mask up or get vaccinated, but I will tell you one thing: I’m keeping a shopping cart between me and them, and I’m watching out for their split ends.

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