Sunday, December 19, 2021

Come and get me, COVID


     Is it me, or have things kinda ... shifted the past few days? Slipped, degraded, deteriorated, soured. 
     Thanksgiving was here, and it was busy and great. The day after omicron showed up and suddenly, wham, better and better suddenly became worse and worse. Even those of us with our three shots — vaccinated and boosted and ready to rumble — pretty much have nowhere to go. We lost our horizon, as I like to say. Suddenly the clear skies grew murky. Again.
     Okay, that's melodramatic. A lot of that, too. Drama. Things are not so bad, at least for me. Just last weekend, when I dwelling darkly on how we weren't going anywhere or even having the prospect of going anywhere, I decided, "Heck, fuck it" and told my wife, we've got to get out of here, if only into the city. Chicago is right there, let's poke around, as much as safety allows. She'd never been to the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. Let's go, let's grab some lunch first. So we made reservations at a nearby restaurant—5 Rabanitos, about two blocks away—and headed out for lunch then the museum.
     That was a good call. There was nothing wrong with me that a good avocado, scallop and shrimp ceviche couldn't fix, followed by honey-glazed chicken and roasted vegetables, washed down with a horchata. Food helps.
     The Mexican museum is really an under-appreciated wonder. Colorful, provocative art, particularly the COVID-themed Day of the Dead exhibit, which I wrote about when it opened.  Art helps. 
I have to share George Rodriguez's "Mictlantecuhtil Offering," above and below, with its friendly little skulls and bottles, not of vaccine, but of COVID.
     Mictlantecuhti, by the way, is the Aztec Lord of the Dead. Fearsome, but also friendly. At least in this representation. Which makes sense, since it is not so much death that we are afraid of, that is rattling us, most of us, but how the rampaging illness is constraining of our lives. We aren't used to hardship. It's hard. But that's okay. Because we're strong people, and what's the point in being a strong person if you never get the chance to show of your stuff?
     That's not my original thought, it's Seneca's, digested years back and spewed forth now. But it fits. COVID is either never going away, or at least not going away anytime soon. So the trick is to neither lose our lives, by dying of the disease, but also not by so constraining our existence that we might as well be dead. Of course you have to get your vaccines and mask up — not for yourself so much but for the benefit of other people, an aspect that seems to never even occur to a lot of idiots.
     But you have to also grab food and fun where you can. Live while you are alive — which is also not me, but I can't place who said it. 
     This started out bleak, because honestly, with the early dark on Saturday evening, I felt pretty bleak. But you can be plenty bleak on your own, without me piling on more desolation. So I figure, skew into the light. No matter how long this lasts, most of us are going to be fine. So let's be fine. Or try to be.


  1. As far as I know, I haven’t been exposed to the dreaded covid, but having a rapid test proving negative yesterday brought me a little respite. On to our 4 year old granddaughter in NJ in a few days, masked and vaxxed.

  2. Shouldn't take needles risks, but some things are inevitable. As Lear put it: "We are to the gods as wanton boys with flies. They kill us for their sport."


  3. I wish I could quit my job as a home health nurse. Every day going into stranger's homes. In Flori-duh. And having to use public restrooms because I can't make it all day without peeing. Omicron is as contagious as measles and I do not want to end up dead (unlikely) or disabled with long covid(much more likely). But I need the money and the health insurance

    1. With more and more people taking the tact that Neil describes. Fuck it! Hey I just got to go do something. Undoubtedly your job will just get busier and busier. I'm sorry for you but grateful. The people that are doing the bulk of the work caused by this virus are truly heroes.

      As more people become fatigued and just simply unable to continue to hunker down ,social distance and mask infection numbers will rise and along with this comes illness and death.

    2. To be fair, FME, there's a huge difference between the nature of Neil's carefully-calculated "fuck it" described above, and that of selected Trump / DeSantis groupies in Flori-duh, unvaccinated and maskless. (He said, having last eaten inside a restaurant in July...)

    3. when it comes to this virus or any virus political persuasion or geographic location dont matter. look at the maps and numbers. this virus doesn't care what you think, ignores what you do, and doesn't listen to what you say.
      the rise in virus fatigue will increase cases as people rationalize behavior they wouldn't have considered a year ago.

    4. As for my personal behavior, I'm with you, FME and this December is not shaping up to be much different for me than last year's. I agree that there are many who are being less careful than I think is justified, but I'm on the overly-cautious side to begin with. However, I've seen plenty of charts indicating that political persuasion and geographic location *do* matter, to a certain extent. It's not a coincidence that this virus has disproportionately affected people who are not vaccinated and who don't wear masks. That doesn't mean that it *doesn't* affect those who are vaccinated and who do wear masks, but it's not like folks who take precautions are no better off than those who don't. Some people, such as our host, who are rationalizing behavior that they "wouldn't have considered a year ago" are doing so because they've had 3 shots that they hadn't had last year. Maybe that's a miscalculation -- there's no way to really know, precisely, which is part of what makes this situation so annoying -- but it's not necessarily unreasonable. While I'm on the very conservative side of this spectrum, I just don't think it's logical to paint *everybody* who is less conservative than I am with the same brush.

    5. I agree.

      then I looked at the maps in the New York Times today and the states with the highest vaccination rates currently have the highest number of cases.


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