September 18, 2021
I said I wouldn’t get paranoid about the virus again. I lied. Yesterday I almost walked into a restaurant without my mask because I’d distracted myself worrying about other Covid problems. I wake up most mornings exhausted from dreams where I’m struggling against some nebulous, formless foe.
I’ve always been the anxious type. I remember being spooked by a grade-school teacher’s warning that the Russians were about to “bury” us as Soviet leader Khrushchev threatened. In those Cold War days, we had air-raid drills in which we sat on the floor in the hall holding books over our heads: not as bad as active-shooter drills, not exactly reassuring to a kid either.
Though the early days of the pandemic were far more harrowing than my childhood, the rush of activity — finding masks, learning to work on Zoom, relentless hand-washing etc — helped to calm the nerves. Even if things like wiping down groceries turned out to be wrongheaded, it seemed there were concrete, productive steps we could take.
Now that I’m vaccinated and masked, there’s nothing more I can do. Everything else depends on events and forces far beyond my control, leaving me as powerless as a grain of sand on a stormy beach.
Since I’m over 65 and got Pfizer I’ll be in line for a booster before long. I’d trade that for the knowledge that all of us are committed to fighting this nightmare together, rejecting hatred, making intelligent choices, and looking out for each other. Until that day comes I’m living by the words of John Cale. Take care and be safe.
Darkness warmer than a bedroom floor
Want someone to hold me close forever more
I’m a sleeping dog, but you can’t tell
When I’m on the prowl you’d better run like hell
You know it makes sense, don’t even think about it
Life and death are just things you do when you’re bored
Say fear’s a man’s best friend
You add it up it brings you down