Three years ago today the world changed. Looking back on my first Covid-related posts here they sound so naïve and even crazily optimistic. Especially this first one where I said the lockdown was officially going to last a minimum of 15 days, and perhaps longer. Ha. Try three months. I also remember then talking with other friends who were concerned about losing work during one of the busiest times of the year, but hoping we’d be able to recupe some of that by summer. HA. Hahahaha. The only thing that happened by summer was that I was cut off from the meagre government assistance I was initially promised. Little did I know on that mid-March day in 2020 that my business was about to completely shut down for a year and a half. Good-bye savings, hello debt.
During that first year a few very kind and generous friends pitched in to help me with paying rent and bills and for that I will always be grateful. I finally got back to work in September 2021 (after getting the first two vaccine jabs) but then shut down again Dec-Feb when Omicron hit. And after that… well after that was when we started getting cut off from any useful information about Covid as governments stopped testing and publishing statistics. That was about a year ago. We’ve been flying blind ever since.
To wit… I can only do as much as makes any sense to me. Which is to mask in as many situations as possible and not go to crowded spaces, to sit near open windows and doors when I’m out at tapas bars (it’s my job!) and otherwise try to reduce risk. I have barely travelled since early 2020 and all those trips have been work-related. I haven’t been going on holiday. In part because I’m broke, but also because going on holiday isn’t actually necessary. Because guess what? We are still in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic. IT IS NOT OVER.
I realise I am now in the minority as the rest of the world has decided to embrace the “new normal” state of total denial that millions of people horrifically died from this virus, and they continue to do so on a daily basis, so that they can pretend this never happened. It’s over they say. Because that’s what they want to believe. Hey, I’d love to believe it too but you know what? It’s not over. It is so not over in so many ways that I sometimes feel like I’m living in…. actually I don’t know what I’m living in. What is this world? What happened to it or was it always this way? Were people always this selfish and uncaring? I’m beginning to think that yes, people have always been like this, only “generous” as long as they aren’t inconvenienced in any way.
I managed to avoid getting Covid for about two and a half years but finally succumbed in mid-October 2022, just two weeks away from my second booster. Dammit. And okay, after one feverish night and a couple of days feeling a bit crappy that was the “worst of it” though I tested positive for over ten days. During which time I stayed home and kept all the windows open. My flatmate and I stayed in separate rooms and wore masks when having to use communal rooms like the kitchen and bathroom. It was what most people would call “mild covid”. Well fuck that shit. There is no such thing as MILD COVID.
Covid is SARS-2. Which is scary as fuck.Which the media has played down since day one. It’s a Biolevel-3 airborne virus, which means you cannot get near this thing in a controlled scientific setting without total PPE including a full body suit, glasses and gloves, Hepa filtered powered air-purifying respirator and what not… yet we were told it’s totally fine to go out if we keep 6 feet away and wear masks. Oh, and wash our hands.
And then shortly later we were told it was okay to stop wearing masks. That thanks to the vaccine the risk of actual DEATH if you caught Covid was reduced and so that was okey-dokey. Reduced. Well try telling that to the hundreds still dying every week from Covid… oh wait, you can’t.
I know people who have now had Covid multiple times and who think that’s fine because they only had “mild” cases and feel they somehow dodged a bullet. Some even think they are building “herd immunity” (which doesn’t actually exist btw).
Hello Long Covid and all that hardly anybody still knows the fuck about includes. Hello immune system being totally fucked over making way for forgotten viruses to totally fuck YOU over. Hello young previously healthy people dropping dead from strokes and heart attacks. Hello I can’t move my legs, I can’t hear, I’m too tired to get out of bed, I can’t remember anything, I can’t smell or taste, I don’t know how to go on. All after having had “mild covid”.
These days I am living a “between here and there” life. “Here” is where I feel relatively safe, so mostly at home. Or out walking and shopping (still masking in all shops). “There” is when I have to work or do work-related things that involve meeting with other people, travelling, being in groups, often in situations when masking isn’t possible. At those times I just decide fuck it and hope for the best.
So between being extra careful day-to-day and the sometimes throwing caution to the wind when it means having to work or travel or attend a work-related event… I keep hoping I’m striking a (lucky) balance. And so far – except for that one time! – I have avoided the dread virus. I keep testing once a week, just to be sure I’m not positive (in which case I would stay home until I tested negative again) and I test before I travel. Least I can do.
Sometimes I’m almost nostalgic for those early pandemic days when everyone pulled together, when it honestly felt like we were all in this together (BECAUSE WE WERE) and we behaved like we all cared for each other. In many ways that was quite a beautiful time. But then suddenly everyone remembered they somehow DESERVED their summer holiday abroad and all was lost.
It’s been three years. Three years today. And I just feel this immense sadness that we didn’t learn the most important lesson from this terrible global catastrophe… that we should be caring about each other. Because we’re not going to make it otherwise.
I don’t get it either, as you know. That hits about nostalgia for the early days when (most) everyone was pulling together, except for those fringey few who show up every time bad shit happens and claim that it was “staged” by “paid actors.” Now you can hardly distinguish between them and the amnesiacs who have apparently forgotten the entire first year of the pandemic.
I’m currently masking everywhere and seeing a small curated group of clients in a workspace with major mitigations, more preventive measures than any doctor’s office I’ve had to be in since it all started. And grimly anticipating a brewing confrontation with the in-law equivalents, who are in the okey-dokey crew and seem determined to remain ignorant of what the risks actually are. It sucks when you have to compile a list of links to information about how bad shit actually is and hope your family members will be willing to read them versus choosing to remain uninformed so they can hector you to come visit. We explain to them that we don’t eat in restaurants (or in the presence of other people, period), that we don’t go to plays or exhibits or any of the things they like to do when they come (sometimes I glumly suspect that the “visits” are not about us but about having someone to drive them around DC), and that they would be traveling from coast to coast to sit masked in our yard and talk for a while. And that would be it. And then a few months later, after NOTHING has changed (except for the worse, as far as protective measures go), they push again. After spamming the Engineer’s whole extended family with dozens and dozens of photos of them doing everything amid crowds of people unmasked. Sure, honey.
I’m so tired.