A pandemic diary: Now it’s personal

Map of USA showing spread of coronavirus.

In less than 24 hours last week I learned that two friends have the virus, one in a hospital, the other recovering at home. I worry about these good people and can’t do much for them except hope. I knew it was only a matter of time before the monster struck inside my circle. Even so, there’s an extra trace of fear and uncertainty in my gut, an ember that won’t burn out.

What’s scary is that I’m running out of ways to escape this thing. Last visit to a store without curbside pickup? In March. Mask and / or face shield? Hell yes, every time I walk out the door. Medical office visits? Only important ones, like a crown for a cracked, aging tooth. Offline contacts besides my wife? A big red zero. I’m about ready to seal off the bedroom, hook up a feeding tube, medically induce a coma, and set the alarm for spring. First, I’d have to mail my ballot for November and set the DVR for football — any team, any level, anywhere — though it’ll probably come up empty.

Being an introvert makes it easier to cope with the loss of social activity. Ironically, it also helps that I went through a similar drought in high school when I was one of the geeks* and parties, girlfriends, etc. were for other kids. Today, college students fear covid will wreck the best years of their lives. I sympathize up to a point, but if they survive they’ll have many years left to enjoy. People my age were in the fourth quarter of life even before the pandemic, and in this game, “sudden death” doesn’t mean “overtime.”

Stuck at home, I’m missing things I’ve wanted to do for years and might not get another crack at because, as one of my journalism school classmates put it, other people’s stupidity is killing us. If you see yourself in that mirror, don’t bother trying to pollute my page with your moronic, half-baked, crackpot comments. They’ll never see the light of day. This isn’t a debate, motherfucker. I told you it was personal.

*Or would have been a geek, had the word been used in those days. See also nerd, weirdo, and goon, all of which I remember, and of course, “circus freak who bites the head off a live chicken.”

More from the diary

Sex and violence and then some
Falling dominoes
New nightmares and old memories

Originally published at http://davesswan.wordpress.com on August 4, 2020.



Writer, editor, ex-journalist, all-around communicator. Comfortable in real and fictional worlds. Always on the lookout for a great story.

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