Looking back at my COVID journal, one year later. April 27, 2020. “Cowlitz county 39 cases, 0 deaths. Columbia remains at 14, 0 deaths.”
By this time last year I had pegged the links to these websites on my browser, so they were only a click away. I used the statistics of cases and deaths to decide whether or not I felt safe enough to leave the house, if any errands were pending. Usually, I just found a reason to stay home. Today, in 2021, I typically do not hesitate if I need to run to the store.
April 28. “A Water Systems company repaired and replaced nearly everything in the well house, and I also had a water softener installed. I put the entire thing on my United Mileage Plus card for frequent flier miles because I have fantasies that I will get on a plane again someday.”
I have an update to this fantasy: I currently have round trip tickets to Rome, purchased almost entirely with frequent flier miles! Whoop! The trip is in September, and I have high hopes that Pedro and I can tour Italy and Slovenia this year. If the pandemic throws us a curve ball, we’ll reschedule. But in the meantime we are trying to learn Italian.
April 29. “Almost a million positive tests in the US – 981,246 and 55,258 deaths. States have already started opening back up. We are all curious to see how it goes. Part of me wants those dummies to get hammered with tons of COVID-19 to prevent them from being able to say “We told you so.” But I guess that’s mean huh? Also, it’s the nurses and doctors that will suffer if that happens, not the people doing it. Pence toured a hospital yesterday without a mask. Smh. Trump suggested injecting disinfectant products to cure COVID-19. There are people stupid enough to have tried it, and poison control hotlines noticed a spike.”
I forgot how many openings and closings there were across the U.S., as states and counties went forward and backward through having the pandemic under control. I do wonder if things would have been any smoother or easier with a more reliable federal government providing guidance. In other words, with any administration other than Trump’s. I think it would have been better, but we would still have seen those back and forth patterns, because we are still seeing them now. Across the world.
Also…for serious. People actually believed that idiot and called Poison hotlines to ask about it. And worse, some actually tried it. Oy. People.
April 30. “I dreamed I was at the Post Office and people in line behind me were crowding me. I was the only one in a mask.”
I had a few of these anxiety dreams, worrying about COVID-19. I’m pretty sure that is to be expected. So many of us worried all day and it’s not surprising that we kept worrying overnight.
May 2. “Tara needed a new strategy for their midterm exam this week, and came to stay for a few days to get away from distractions at home, to be in a peaceful place, and to be with Momma. We ran errands across the river in Longview and it’s interesting to see the difference in customers’ approach to safety, depending on the location. At Target NONE of the customers were wearing masks, except us. That was weird. The employees were wearing masks though. Home Depot and the feed store are other places where most customers don’t wear masks. Home Depot employees did, but feed store employees didn’t. Hardly anyone wears gloves. That is weird to me also. I think gloves are more important than masks. At Fred Meyer, everyone was in a mask. Tara was more diligent than me and scolded me when I touched my face. When we got home they immediately went to the bathroom and scrubbed up. I washed my hands pretty soon after putting stuff away. This trip outside the house was my most relaxed since March. I keep checking the numbers of infections and they are so low in Cowlitz and Columbia counties that I’m not as nervous as I was. Before I leave the house though, I still grab a clean mask, clean gloves, and my container of Clorox wipes. I try to keep the inside of the Jeep safe by not touching anything. I need to save and wash and reuse my gloves though, since I’m nearly out and there are no more on the shelves to buy. I like that several doctors have said that if you set things aside for a couple days, it’s probably safe to touch. I wash my gloves, then set them on the counter. I don’t leave the house again for 5 days or so, and I consider the gloves safe again at that point. Tara recommended I buy a thermometer. I hadn’t even thought of that! So obvious. It’s a great idea and I wonder if there are any available to buy.”
I had completely forgotten about this visit from Tara last year. During this one Tara did stay inside the house with me and we did not wear masks around each other. That changed later in the year. I notice that on May 2 I was still influenced by the early warnings of getting COVID by touching things. I no longer have my rituals, now that guidance has shifted and we are told almost 100% of the danger is through airborne particles, and not those that have landed on a surface. In my area of the U.S. in 2021, people in rural Oregon and Washington still think the coronavirus is a political plot to make America into a “socialist nanny state,” so yeah, most people do not wear masks here, unless the owner of a store is particularly determined and challenges people to wear masks inside. I did try to buy a thermometer, and there were none to be had.
May 3. “Things I noticed: I stopped using lipstick, after using it a couple of times and having it rub onto my mask. Also, Going back to car for mask. I still forget nearly every time, and I see other people do the same behavior: walk toward store, stop dead in tracks, do about-face, and head back to car. I know exactly what they’re doing. Also, grocery stores have enter only and exit only doors, and one-way aisles. I’m so bad at it. I get glared at in aisles and I can’t figure out what the problem is till I’m halfway through the store and realize I’ve been ignoring the traffic signs on the floor and going the wrong directions. Ooops.”