PNW Coronavirus Chronicle #7: Do Whatcha Wanna

It’s a long list of back-logged prompts this time, both mine and UnOLWG’s:
I don’t want to; a town with no future; elegant or crude; a white gown; it’s “coo-pon”; are my seams straight?; community pool; cocktails; groovy; kick up your heels; a barroom in New Orleans; every week


Well, I’m fully vaccinated. It is not a fail-safe, I know, but I can’t stop feelin’ groovy, like strutting in a Mardi Gras parade behind a 2nd Line band blasting out “Do Whatcha Wanna”.

Parades aren’t allowed yet, so I instead celebrated with my first trip to the hair salon in 19 months. Kissed those long locks buh-bye and sent them on their way to being a wig for someone in need. The next treat was a meal inside a restaurant. Then, it will be a weekend road trip to see a dear friend and her new home. Every week, it is going to be something I haven’t done in the past 14 months.

I live on the other side of town from where the mass-vaccination site is set up, and I hadn’t been through downtown since the initial shelter-in-place order. At that time, it was every bit like driving through a ghost town. All that was missing was grass growing out of the cracks in sidewalks and trash drifting in the breeze. The shockingly eerie scene ignited the news media’s wild imagination, declaring the pandemic a harbinger of The End of City Life.

But driving through the city this time, regardless the continued restrictions, the downtown looked every bit back to normal. Crowds were out and about, traffic jams stifled every arterial, and lots of large “We’re Open!” signs plastered on storefronts. Though the past year unarguably demonstrates that an alternate universe is doable, people are nevertheless clamoring to get things back the way they were.

Take our condo complex’s pool. Last year we were not allowed to use it. I think it was overkill, but the county health department declared all community pools, public or private, closed. Whatever. Our residents didn’t care. They brought their beers and pitchers of Long Island Ice Tea to the patio to enjoy some appropriately distanced company in the summer’s sun. Hey, all it said was that the pool was closed. It didn’t say anything about sitting on the patio. An elegant solution to an absurd situation, if you ask me.

While the pandemic continues to lord over us, I expect we’ll continue to evaluate the pros and cons of conducting our lives “in-person” vs. “distanced”. At work, we occasionally discuss (in-person more and more these days) what “hybrid” presentations would look like for our programs. It’s funny to have to classify events, or give them terms. Imagine having to categorize a common event as, say, a wedding, as “in-person” or “hybrid” or “virtual”. It makes the assumption that events are always “in-person” feel strangely old-fashioned, like silk stockings with back seams.

Anyway, I don’t want to keep waxing philosophic. Suffice it to say that I will keep it smart and respect that the COVID-19 don’t care what any of us wants. I will, however, continue to climb out of the shell of 2020 to do whatever things we can get away with doing. Don’t need no coupons to incentivize me!

PNW Coronavirus Chronicle #6: Meditative Rose

Salvador Dali “Meditative Rose”

Sure, this year has been miserable. I am prone to the philosophical in such circumstances, and this year, I find a few things to ponder, others to celebrate and a couple to embrace.

One: “May you live in interesting times,” will no longer be a clever thing people say if we become accustomed to unprecidence and absurdity from here on out. What will define surreality, or an alternate universe if we do? Fun to speculate in fantasy fiction, but not so much to actually have to live.

Two: Being forced to stay away from others in turn forced me to get close to myself. I am no longer put off by taking a look inward. But, I do wonder at the long-term effect of actively avoiding others, considering that we are moving ever closer to the 1-year mark with only the smallest of hope of relief in the near future. So, I’m establishing a Zoom Gather Night for friends and family. It feels more engaging than just a phone call, and certainly more immediate and connective than email or texts. And, I hope to broaden that circle with new acquaintances. How? Good question!

Three: Masks. At first, I hated the thing. It was the closest I ever want to know what it is like to be claustrophobic. Now? The other day I had to laugh when I realized I still had my mask on well after I’d returned home. I look forward to not having to wear one, but I am glad I finally adapted.

Four: I am tired of the phrase, “the new normal.” I have no issue with its helpful intent: Accept that change is sometimes permanent. But, in regards to this year? I hope human history will prove out once again, and that this is more like a shift in direction rather than a new set of standards.

Five: What do I like about this past year? Oh, boy. A lot! That shift in direction I just mentioned has nevertheless brought about several things I find useful and positive. One is the irrefutable proof that working from home is productive. Hopefully my employer will keep it an option. The other is creativity. Bottom line, it’s my favorite thing about this year. Being forced to think creatively coupled with the challenge of problem solving on the fly has done more for my sense of well being than anything I’ve ever tried to chase away the blues. Well, except maybe music, singing and dancing. That works pretty good, too. 🙂


The (2? 3?) UnOLWG prompts this week are: couldn’t hardly breathe; Oh Boy; I got tired.