Plague Diary, 4/23/20

COVID / Plague Diaries / Uncategorized

Day 44 of my confinement.

They said, if you wanted to keep psychologically fit during the crisis (and if you wanted to sell your house without having to repaint the interior of your coat closet), you shouldn’t do the whole Count of Monte Cristo etching-the days-passed-into-the-wall thing, but they also said you shouldn’t study the humanities in college if you wanted a job or get a short haircut if you were a single, heterosexual round-faced woman or mix black and navy blue to a formal event or sing “Edge of Seventeen” at karaoke. And I did all of those things. #sorrynotsorry

The line, though, was hard to muster this morning. Chalk it up to the uncompromising darkness of Sharpie. Maybe I should be using lavender glitter pens. Would that make me feel better? I keep asking myself what would different historical figures do, given.

Last night, I took my mantle-shrine cut-out of Oscar Wilde and set him up against the box lid of the Bruegel (appropriate for plague!) jigsaw I’ve been trying to finish. I had a long conversation with him at about 12:45 am, which, I guess, counts for either prayer or complete nervous breakdown in my line of work. He might have recommended that I use lavender glitter pens to annotate my day-scratches with droll quips. Or he might have recommended that I check myself before I wreck myself when leaning too far into the prison metaphors.

Because, again, my immediate is not so bad, even if today feels about as bleak a day as I can recall. The news is miserable. The prognosis is miserable. There’s only chaos and sad, increasingly impossible unknowns. Sleep is rough and never much of a relief. Even if I don’t read the news, my dreams are Sisyphean. Last night, I dreamed I was running down a grand boardwalk pavilion (a recurrent thing since various youthful trips to England etched the deteriorating Brighton West Pier into my forever subconscious) through a disappearing crowd, as the lights and rides shuttered, and I could feel the tide pulling away the supports, as the pier started to list dangerously toward the water.

I woke up churning, drenched in sweat, all breathless fear and fury sadness. I tried to find some reprieve in the gray spring morning. I tried to find jokes from bed. I went after celebrity gossip (there isn’t any) and fashion (no one cares anymore). I tried not to click on the news update I tried to read through knit fingers about how everything is coming apart. I tried not think , “I’ve suspected this country is profoundly broken for years, a brilliantly lit boardwalk, supported by weatherworn girders that will collapse at the first big storm.” I tried not to think, “Boy, it really sucks when I’m right.” And the pier lists to the right. And another anonymous official in another National Update warns the center will not hold. And I’m all, Dude, seriously, I asked for Wilde, not Yeats.

The shit is bleak, my friends, even though it’s so green outside it feels like you could drown in it, even though my peonies are blooming, even though I’ve already laughed a dozen times today, and this coffee (Gray Squirrel) is such good coffee.

Seriously, it is the best coffee.

Tomorrow, the sun will come back out and I will have Friday cocktails, so don’t fret. Day 45 will be red letter, or at least purple glitter. I’ll remember again how to forget the bad stuff and enjoy the air out here on the far edge of the pier. Sometimes the view is so nice you can trick yourself into believing your world isn’t sinking. Sometimes the view is so nice you can accept that it will probably be okay once it does.

Picture today is not mine because I haven’t really spent much time near the West Pier in Brighton since we all stopped shooting on film, but that’s what it is/was.

As of this writing, 739, 871 people have recovered from COVID-19.

The Author

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