A pandemic diary: Last call
May 18, 2022
Booster number two is in. Unlike the other shots, this one brought no particular sense of relief, hope, or civic duty. Instead, I had short-lived but tangible side effects: a sudden lethargy and weariness in my bones, which sums up how I feel about the pandemic in general.
Two years on, the federal government — the one I voted for — has no idea how many cases are out there. The money to replenish vaccines and treatments is about to run dry. While deaths have remained relatively flat in the current wave, we’re still losing more than three hundred souls a day and will soon hit the ghastly milestone of one million. The “authorities” sound like the flight attendant who comes on the intercom when three engines have fallen off the plane and the fourth one is on fire, and says “Please do not be alarmed. We will resume our beverage service as soon as possible.”*
I’m not waiting to resume anything. This doesn’t mean dropping my mask or partying with superspreaders. I’m just making the most of what I’m lucky enough to have right now, which is plenty. A comfy home office with a view of the birds and the trees. Dinners on the deck in the quiet spring twilight. Time to write the stories that find their way into my head. A hard drive full of music my wife and have loved and collected all our lives. Each other.
Some call this attitude “ romanticizing your life,” and say it started with Covid, but for me it’s a return to the ways I learned from my parents. They were blessed with Midwestern grit that got them through a flu pandemic, a depression, and a world war. They were grateful for simple good times and didn’t waste them quaking in fear about the future. As my mother always said, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
This is the last chapter in my diary, at least for now. I’ll certainly go on blogging about other important topics (like football). I just don’t have the energy to keep plunging into these waters and wouldn’t want to give y’all a half-hearted effort. I hope it’s been useful. Take care and be safe.
*This is an inexact version of a line from Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galax y series. I couldn’t find the original.