Love in the Time of Covid-19

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It’s not all toilet paper and hand sanitizer, you know.

 

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Today I reluctantly rose from bed, put some mismatched clothes on my body and headed out. The roads were unusually empty. Stopping at my neighborhood grocery store, I parked and hopped out of the driver’s seat.

Behind me I heard, “Hey! Is anyone coming?”

Assuming this was not directed at me, I leaned into my car to grab my wallet and heard again, more insistently this time, “HEY! Is anyone coming?”

Realizing this was in fact directed at me, I whipped around to see a man in a very new and very shiny cherry red Mustang. He pointed as if to show me that he couldn’t see around the large Amazon delivery van that was parked next to him, and was wary of backing out in the tightly packed parking lot.

“Oh sorry,” I said, and turned to look, the morning sun blinding me as I did.

Shielding my eyes and with a pirate’s squint I said, “Yeah, it’s okay, come on back.” I stood there waving my hand and muttering encouragement while he maneuvered his pretty vehicle through the obstacles. “Yep, keep coming. Yep, you’re good.”

Finally, the driver straightened out the wheel and put it in drive. While pulling away he yelled out the window, “Thank you! I love you!” revved the engine, and was gone.

I stood there for a minute with a perplexed look on my face.

Then laughed.

Then went inside the store. Chicken salad was my goal.

Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

The encounter and the sentiment stuck with me. I could easily write it off as a funny but odd human moment often found in city living. One of those “See, people aren’t so bad” kind of thoughts.

Inside the store, I walked down the toilet paper aisle (the most express way to the deli counter) and saw boxes stacked up. I saw my fellow citizens wearing face masks. I sneezed into my elbow.

While washing my hands for the umpteenth time today, I realized that a funny brief moment of human compassion had all the more resonance today. Right now.

It’s easy to separate: me vs them, you vs me, us against them all, but times of crises have a funny way of bringing people closer.

We’re all in this together. We’re on the same team. It’s us against a virus. We’re all scared. We’re all uncertain. We all just want to have a nice day.

And so this shouted “I love you” from a stranger was about the nicest start to an otherwise beautiful early-Spring day.

I did not shout anything back in that moment, so stunned was I by the declaration, but you know what Red Mustang Driver? I love you too.

Love, love, love. Maybe the Beatles had it right? Love is all you need.

But just in case, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, get some sleep, stay hydrated, and wear your seatbelt.

For when all of this is over and you are mad because I root for the wrong team, vote for the wrong person, or say the wrong thing, just know that I’ll still love you in my own Red Mustang kind of way.

This item first appeared on Medium, find more of my work @karenfayeth over there

Very Good Reasons

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Whew, and wow, and holy cow and other explicatives.

So here I am, back here at the ol’ blog and oh-so-happy to be back.

This past week was the first time I’ve ever taken a break from My Fair New Mexico in the six years I’ve been at this game. It was really hard for me to step away. Really, really difficult.

Writing somewhere around a thousand words a day about whatever is on my mind is what keeps me sane. Well…as sane as I can be. Which isn’t much.

Here’s the low down on the time away:

As ya’ll know, I’ve started a brand new job, in fact I’ve been here just shy of four months. Still a total newbie and trying to make a good impression.

From the day I started this gig, I was told that there was this really Big Deal coming up at the end of April. The big deal is an audit.

A big whopping audit that looks at our department top to bottom. The review includes our systems, our files, the cleanliness of our socks. All of it.

At the end, the head office decides if we get to keep doing what we are doing, or if we are so out of alignment that every project we do requires executive oversight and approval. (there have been entities that have failed the audit in recent history)

Yeah. This is a huge deal. Basically if we failed the audit, our department would face massive cuts, and being the new person on board, well…make your own conclusions.

Only a tiny amount of GIGANTIC stress.

On top of that, my own sub-team had a massive project due on Tuesday of the same week and one of my (senior level) employees was just not getting her job done. Worse, she seemed not to care one whit that we were going to miss the project drop-dead deadline.

Missing the deadline would mean incurring the wrath of the Chief Information Officer of the company, a formidable person. At four months of employment I am still on probation, so incurring the CIO’s wrath now wouldn’t be a good look for my future here.

And so I was worried. Really worried. Walk the floor at two in the ay em kind of worried. I was getting little to no sleep, working very long days, and filled with massive amounts of stress and worry. This of course, just a short week after The Good Man and I had finished moving to a new town. So no stress there either. *harumph*

To make the long story short, we passed the audit. Yay! And after some yelling and application of heavy doses of guilt my employee finished the project (just barely), so we dodged that bit of unpleasantness from the CIO. I did get a good butt chewing from my boss for letting it get to the very last minute.

So by the end of that week of hell, more precisely by Friday about 10:30am, I was sick with hundred degree fever and sinus pressure so bad I thought my head was going to pop like a kernel of corn in a frying pan.

Brutal. Just simply brutal.

From Friday until yesterday I haven’t even been on the planet. Between fever and Theraflu I think I went on some sort of vision quest. I may have seen my spirit animal, I’m not sure. And the Theraflu dreams. My god the angels and gargoyles that haunt my fevered mind.

Today I am mostly back. Running at about 80% perhaps which is a damn sight better than where I was last week, but still not good.

And so, my dear and loyal readers, that is where I was when I urgently posted on April 30th that I wouldn’t be writing on the blog for a while.

It made me sad to have to post that and walk away.

Let’s not be apart like that again, ok?

Ok.






Image found here.




Free Association, the headcold version

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In my internet wanderings over the weekend, I stumbled across LunaNiña.com, and the weekly feature Unconscious Mutterings.

It’s simply a good old-fashioned bit of free association, used to learn something more about a (usually troubled) person.

So what the heck, I’m usually troubled, why not play along?

Here we go…

  1. Limited :: Yeah, that reminds me of that really great store in the mall from when I was a youth. I loved The Limited, used to buy all my clothes there. Is that place even open anymore? A quick Google search says yes. That’s so out of my demographic anymore…
  2. Zombie :: Braaiiiiiins! Braaaaaains! Or, what I looked like this morning with a face puffy from a headcold and a red, raw nose. Tiiiiisssue! Tiiiiisssue!
  3. Energy :: As in, I have none
  4. Proof :: Proof? You want proof? I don’t gotta prove nothing to no one!
  5. Hassle :: I’m saying! Don’t hassle me about proof. I’ll give you proof when I’m damn good and ready! (don’t mind me, it’s the fever talking)
  6. Peep :: Does anyone actually like and eat those marshmallow Peeps? They must, because the stores are filled to the ceilings full of those vibrant hued sticky blobs. Look, I love sugar as much as the next guy, but those things are gross. Give me a Cadbury egg any day of the week!
  7. Jogger :: Which is what I’ll need to become if I keep snarfing down the Cadbury treats.
  8. Hunt :: Where in the hell did I put the TV remote? I swear to god I think The Good Man took it. I’ll whup a knot on his head! Don’t make me hunt you down! Oh…there it is, under my left buttock. I can’t help it, I’m sick. : cue the pitiful music :
  9. Career :: I hope I still have one after being sick three times in seven months. My boss is very patient, but this morning he said “You are sick *again*?” Yeah…..
  10. Plants :: The plants are digging the sun. All the little leaves and buds are alive and kicking. Spring is springing up everywhere, I love it! Not that I can enjoy it today as I’m on the couch snuffling and feeling sorry for myself. : sad trombones :


Ok, ok…enough of that….. I seem to be stuck on a meme, and not a very good one.

Onward into the day. Waiter, I’ll take a bathtub full of Theraflu…nighttime flavor.

Oooh yeaah.

Today’s incoherent ramblings brought to you by:




Time Has A Funny Way…

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There is an episode of Futurama (oh god, I’m going to quote Futurama) called “How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back.” It happens to be my favorite Futurama episode ever.

The episode is an homage to the bureaucrat, which appeals to me in a weird and sadistic way. At one point, the head bureaucrat is inspecting the locker of Fry, the show’s ne’er do well.

The bureaucrat extracts a baseball cap from Fry’s locker, and says, “Why is there yogurt in this hat?”

Fry replies, “I can explain. See it used to be milk, and…well, time makes fools of us all!”

This quote, “time makes fools of us all” has become a fave with The Good Man and me. Oft quoted and certainly true, time does make fools of us all.

And here’s what’s got me thinking this way…

After being sick both in October and for the first two weeks of November, I have been unable to shake a powerful and chronic cough. The gasping, almost retching, cannot-catch-my-breath sort of cough.

After being commanded by both The Good Man and my coworkers, on Friday I went to see a doctor. She was convinced I had Whooping Cough until she noted on my chart that I’d had a tetanus shot earlier this year. These days a Whooping Cough booster comes along with a tetanus shot.

So, after ruling out Whooping Cough and giving my non-stop cough a good listen, my doctor has determined that I have developed “hypersensitive airways.”

In laymen’s terms this means I now have asthma. I’ve never had asthma a day in my life, but evidently you can develop this problem at any time. It’s not expected to become a permanent condition, and with medication, I should be able to recover.

My medication takes the form of an inhaler used four times a day, a regimen I’m not enjoying in the least, but I’m sticking to quite adamantly.

You see, this health issue comes with a heavy load of baggage. Like back the truck up, get a U-Haul, step aside, “damn that’s a lot of baggage” sort of heavy.

Almost six years ago, my father passed away from complications of pulmonary fibrosis. It is believed he obtained this condition from the inhalation of beryllium in the course of his career at Sandia Labs.

In the years before he passed away, I watched my father struggle to simply breathe. Just bringing enough oxygen to his scarred and battered lungs was a battle. It was heartrending.

I thought then, “your breath is nothing to take for granted.” But then time moved on. I went on about the matters of living my life. The lesson became less important.

This year when I got a winter cold, I got the resulting cough but I ignored it. I coughed my way through it and it went away, mostly.

Then I got sick again and it went right to my chest and set up home.

Right now, typing this, I breathe with a wheeze. I’m able to get air into my lungs, but it’s hard to breathe deep without dissolving into a coughing fit.

What my father had was a disease of the lungs. What I have is a temporary inflammation of my airways. It’s not the same, I know. But right now I kind of feel like time has made a fool of me.

I know better. Perhaps the lesson needed to be learned again.

Professor Time comes with a reminder: Breathing is nothing to take for granted.

Photo by Maria Herrera and provided royalty free from stock.xchng.

Side Effects

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Hazy thoughts
Dizziness
Dancing to Sinatra ballads with orange and blue plaid elephants
Tiredness
Excess saliva
Weird thoughts
Paranoia
Visual sparkles
Suddenly fluency in dead languages (Sanskrit mostly)
Dreams of flying
Walking with a tilt
Thinking I’m walking with a tilt when really I’m upright and the world has tilted
Understanding Dostoevsky’s work
Spontaneous giggles
Itchies
Refuting Nietzsche, adamantly, while wearing clothing upside down and backwards
Crossed eyes
Hair dysfunction
Voices telling me to buy more spray cheese
Sore toe
Sudden infatuation with sprinkler heads
Driving in a zig zaggy manner
Attempts to capture the many bats flying around the office (but not in that “Fear and Loathing kind of way)
Craving limes
Ability to converse with refrigerator
Ability to burp in three part harmony
Thirsty

——-

These are but a few of the side effects experienced that were not printed on the back of the Robitussin Bottle. Maximum strength.

Buyer beware.***

***Yes, I managed to get sick again. That’s twice in two months. I’m mostly over it but can’t stop coughing. I’ve decided that Robitussin is evil and shouldn’t be sold over the counter.

I have to stop riding the pink dragon. It’s altering my mind.

In a conversation with The Good Man, I ticked off the list of things to watch out for (as in, a bad reaction to the ‘Tussin). Aberrant behavior, moodiness, blackouts, etc. He replied, “How would I tell any of this apart from your everyday life?”

That is not a good sign.