Today is the one year anniversary of my first quarantine post.
“The pandemic is over!” says everyone. “We don’t need masks or basic hygiene anymore.”
No, it fucking isn’t.
At this very moment, there’s a picture of Ann Arbor’s bustling main street on CNN with the headline, “Michigan should be shut down.” But we won’t shut down, because actual adult babies will freak out, and when they freak out, they do crazy shit like plot to kidnap our governor, who is just doing her best. If I were running this shitshow, I would’ve ditched these ungrateful hordes months ago.
My best friend Stella, who has the sunniest personality and laziest immune system of anyone I know, has Covid. So does her idiot boyfriend and everyone in his band. Stella’s idiot boyfriend thought performing with his band in a crowded bar on a Saturday night was a great idea. Stella was hesitant, but she’s a people pleaser. Even though she’s in a high risk category, and has been battling health issues due to said lazy immune system as well as her diabolical thyroid for months, she went to this bar—wearing a mask that she never took off—and promptly got super sick 24 hours later.
“I don’t want to play the blame game,” she told me over the phone, her voice ragged from coughing.
Well, that’s one of my favorite games, but it turns out that Stella’s idiot boyfriend isn’t entirely responsible for this. A woman who knew she had Covid was at that bar as well, and she sat right in front of the stage the entire night. “Why should the fact that I’m bubbling over with a contagious and deadly respiratory virus stop me from having a good time?”
Well, joke’s on her, I guess, because she had to listen to Stella’s boyfriend’s band.
(I’m sure they’re very good, I’m just bitter).
A and I went on a grocery/pharmacy run for Stella, who can’t really eat anything due to aforementioned health issues, but since we were picking up takeout for ourselves before heading to her house, I grudgingly offered to pick up dinner for the idiot boyfriend.
Did I give Lumi two of his fries? Of course I did. And they were big ones too.
“He has a band? And a podcast?” said my friend Jessie. “I would’ve given Lumi all of his fries. And his food.”
After dropping everything off on Stella’s porch, we took the dog through the car wash while playing the ride music from Pirates of the Caribbean, singing along during the foam wash and putting our hands up for a pretend drop at the end, then we drove in circles around the abandoned Wendy’s while blasting the theme song from Haunted Mansion. And that was our pandemic Saturday night.
A and I are not playing around. We spend our evenings watching HGTV shows and applying A’s legal knowledge to movies, like Shrek (“You know, Fiona being an ogre would be grounds for an annulment”), and Air Force One (“The Vice President shouldn’t have to consult the Constitution to figure out who’s in charge, they should know it by heart”). I’ve also learned that for the last twenty years, A—who is a brilliant, accomplished person with many degrees—believed that Glenn Close played Old Rose in Titanic, “with a lot of make-up,” instead of 87-year-old Gloria Stuart.
“Glenn Close was 50 years old in 1997,” I said.
“Well, she is a very good actress,” said A. “Isn’t she?”
A got her first dose last week. I asked her which arm she’d prefer, and she said, “I’d get vaccinated in my face if I had to.” She got her shot at a CVS, supervised by the giant beady eyes of a shelf full of Beanie Babies.
I’ve been vaccinated since January (benefit of temporarily working at a hospital), but my parents only got their first shots a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been especially anxious to get my parents vaccinated since they’ve been driving me to and from work. My driving restriction is up soon, which means I’ll miss out on such tranquil moments like getting stuck at a railroad crossing for twenty minutes while my parents point to every. single. shipping container and say, “Was THAT one stuck in the Suez Canal?” “What about THAT one?” “I bet THAT one got stuck” as I try to smother myself with my own mask.
My dad got vaccinated in a parking lot by an Army medic, who saluted my dad since he’s an Army vet, a fact which my dad manages to work into conversation only every few hours.
My dad has also been asking the cat to sniff him because “the cat will know if the shot took.” He did not have any side effects after the second shot, but my mom’s immune system shares her flair for the dramatic.
I texted to ask how she was feeling and she replied, “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m between a 15 and ‘Would someone please put a pillow over my face.'” She was glad to endure it for the sake of immunity though: “I started to sing ‘We are the Champions’ to my antibodies. Busy little blood proteins!'”
Our blood proteins are busier than ever, but they can’t turn this around on their own. Someone has to be an adult. A lot of people have to be an adult. And for some reason, that’s too much to ask.