So yesterday I had a sick day. I made a sub plan, dropped Drew off at school, and drove to urgent care in my boots and sweatshirt. My hair was gross. I had a gross-sounding cough and my body was worn out.
I sat in the waiting room, then was ushered back by a guy in a mask who kept calling me sweetie even though he was probably, like, thirteen.
Whatever. He’s a nurse in a pandemic—he’s worth 2 of me.
The doctor was also very nice, even though his mask looked like Bane’s. He asked me all the relevant questions about fever/shortness of breath/vomiting. No, no, no. Then he noticed my hands.
They’re cracked and dry, and look like they’re peeling—like their protective covering is worn and needs to be replaced. Blood shows through the cracks. I look like the ground in a drought, I thought.
“Your hands look dry,” was all he said.
“Yeah…I’m a teacher. I wash my hands a lot.”
“Oh, good for you. What do you teach?”
“Third grade.” It felt so abnormal not to be with them. When you teach, your internal clock is locked on school-day coordinates. They were all in Spanish now, they’d be going to Art…
“I could never do that,” he chuckled.
“Doctors always say that!” I exclaimed, as I have before. I think my third blog post was about this very thing. “And there you are giving shots. I would never trade places.”
He shrugged. “It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher,” he said genially.
I had some kind of respiratory infection; he gave me an antibiotic and steroid.
I went to Walgreens—the lane was full and it took ages. I drove through Dunkin Donuts and consumed a donut, a bagel, and an orange juice without touching anything.
It’s a talent I’ve really perfected over the last 18 months—look, no hands! I open doors with my elbow and foot, keep my hands in my pockets or sleeves, and remove my glasses by shaking my head back and forth over a flat surface until they fall off. I can’t remember the last time I touched a light switch.
It will probably be a quaint thing my son and his kids can laugh about when I’m gone—a generational thing, like thrift or hairspray. Something that dates me—, “My mom was never the same after 2020,” my chapter in Andrew’s autobiography will start.
Anyway, I went home and laid down on the sofa in the quiet house. I realized I was actually sitting and thinking, for the first time in ages. I’m so busy, you guys. My son is in school and I want to be such a good teacher and I want to keep my house clean and I want my folks to get good Christmas presents and I gained seven pounds this year…
I realized I hadn’t written any blog posts in so long, I couldn’t recall when. I wondered if I wanted to do it anymore.
It’s almost 2022–and 2020 did a number on me, guys. My hands have never looked this bad. I’ve always had dry skin on my hands in the winter, but this year they’ve cracked and bled like I was a Downton Abbey scullery maid. The hand washing, the hand sanitizer, the Lysol…it’s so much easier to just not touch things.
I realized that I was being melancholy.
Spotify says my mood this year was ‘Wistful and Uplifting’. I listened to Limelight by Rush like 150 times…what’s that about?
Yes, I spent a lot of 2021 worried about the pandemic and about Drew starting school. Yes, I got sick even though I spent all that time avoiding germs and people. But I also spent a lot of time discovering things by accident.
I read Rebecca—it’s really good. I re-learned how to make bread. I drove on highways without thinking and discovered this super cool overpass that Andrew likes. I discovered steamed teriyaki chicken buns. I realized The Nightmare Before Christmas is a metaphor about staying in your lane.
I tried to read Dune. I got, like, 100 pages in. I walked in on my husband watching the movie from the 80s, and I left when some guy was going to have to milk a cat—my husband cried, “That’s not in the book!” Yeah, no kidding.
I got tested for Covid a bunch of times and felt the icy fear that accompanies a cough…and I got used to it, I guess.
What is this post about? Well, team, it’s about the fact that life is hard but doctors and nurses are making it better. And so is Andrew. And so are books and chicken teriyaki and Limelight by Rush. And so are you.
Thank you for reading this, even though I haven’t written in a long time and I’m not very funny at the moment. I see the stats—I know you still read old posts, and I appreciate it. I hope it makes you feel less alone, less weird for worrying about things. Less weirded out by Dune. It’s just weird, you aren’t going crazy.
God bless, team 🙂