I’m cleaning out all the irritating little receipts from my wallet today, and it’s weird what’s making me nostalgic.
“Two steak tacos” says one receipt. Now, part of the nostalgia is because the receipt is from TacoDeli, a place that is ½ restaurant and ½ religion for me. But the real pang was just…oh look. A restaurant. Remember when I could go to restaurants?
I continue on through each crumpled piece of paper: unremarkable chains like Costa Vida, special occasion dinners at Lucky Fins, overpriced hippie shit at Wild Root. Each one is a marker of a thing I was able to do. I was disabled then too, but even so I could occasionally go out. My life was so limited even before. But at least my fears were only about me. “If I walk downtown, will I have such a bad energy crash I won’t be able to make it back? If I commit to a dinner, will I have to cancel?” Now I’m afraid of everything.
You would think that well, at least this time I have company. Before, I was sick and nobody cared. Now everybody’s sick and everybody cares — except the people who have the power to do something about it.
Is it better? No, not really, it is not better.
The last few days I’ve been totally freaking out. We had a flood in our kitchen that overflowed into the living room. Normally this would be really irritating and inconvenient. But now? It’s a choice between keeping the wet carpet, that might develop mold and mildew and make me sick — or having maintenance in to fix it, and risking catching Covid-19. So a bad night with a little bad luck becomes a crisis.
Last week Wil’s car died. He had to have AAA come to the garage to jump it. We aired out the garage, but I still didn’t go down there for days. Too afraid.
Today we were in the garage with the door open. I heard a neighbor talking outside nearby. How far is she? I wondered. I can’t see her. Is she 10 feet? 20 feet? Is she upwind? Is she wearing a mask?
I just panicked and left.
My husband doesn’t understand. Rationally, he said, we’re safe. But then he panics in other ways, that seem irrational to me.
I just want to deal with the stresses of me being disabled and my spouse being unemployed without also knowing that at least 5% of Boise is actively infected with a deadly virus, right now. I feel like disability and job-searching are enough, thanks, but hey maybe that’s just me.
Back when we had it under control in Idaho, I could almost handle it. But now that the plan seems to be, “Let them all die and let God sort it out,” I just can’t. There is no plan. There is no strategy. Insane protesters show up without masks at health board meetings. We’re just supposed to let the state burn.
I don’t think people know what it’s like to get sick from something, and just never get better. You don’t die all at once, but a little at a time, over years. There’s the year I realized I was never going to be well enough to have children. There’s the year I had to give up my music career. There’s the year I have to give up being able to function consistently enough to hold any job. And so many other daily disappointments and heartbreaks, until you think you just can’t bear it anymore.
People don’t understand that death isn’t what they need to be afraid of. Sure, the death rate is low. But it’s causing strokes, lung fibrosis, kidney failure, and so much more.
The young just don’t get it. So they’re cavalier.
I was cavalier once, too.