So overwhelming. Everything. Like we need one gigantic miracle after another to give us some sort of light at the end of the lockdown tunnel. A gigantic miracle that never seems to come.
“You know how the South Koreans did so well with the corona? Kimchee. They put it up their noses. Worth a try, don’t ya think?”
My friend Rebecca. I don’t believe her. And why should I? It’s happening to everyone. Corona Cuckoo.
“Um, you mean the pickled cabbage with enough hot chilies to choke a horse kimchee?” I ask.
I can hear her sniff when she says, “Yep. It’s up there now. I can feel it doing its thing.”
I wonder what she means by ‘doing its thing.’ Scorching her nasal membranes beyond recognition? Throwing her into a coughing fit so she thinks she finally has it?
By now you’ve heard worse. So have I.
I decide, when it comes to miracles, I need to think smaller. Just look for one tiny miracle every day. Something you can take to bed. Sure, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. But he also took a couple of fish and fed a legion of folks. My Grandmama Louise did that every Sunday and she couldn’t even cook.
A siren screams down the street. Twice in the past half hour. Nothing unusual as I live within a mile of two major hospitals. But lately every time it happens I think of the first reel of any contagion movie I’ve ever seen.
I spoke to a friend of mine, one of a married couple, both tough as nails, fiercely independent thinkers. “We both thought we had it. I mean, we sorta knew we didn’t. That first week. We’d get up every morning and take each other’s temperature. We had a temperature-taking database of sorts set up in the kitchen. We both finally realized it was a lot like that time I had sympathy vomiting after watching that little girl barfing on the plane.”
I live in one of the biggest cities in the world and, not only do I not know anyone who’s had it, I don’t know of anyone who knows anyone who’s had it. Of course how would we know with the lack of testing. Yes, it’s a real thing. And we have to do what we’re doing. And here we are. Crazy as F. Every last one of us.
We hung up and seconds later, a buddy I’d done a play with eons ago called me to see how I was doing. “I’m worried about my ailing dad,” the buddy says. “And if he doesn’t make it, who knows if I could even go? Or if there’d be a funeral? I guess there would be some internet service instead.”
I’m thinking about how I’d die all over again if someone had to throw me an online memorial. I want folks to physically mourn me. I want there to be pain, suffering, and gnashing of teeth. Although I kinda like the idea of some schmo I hardly know leaving something in the comments section along the lines of, “No talent hack with stupid hair. I hope he rots.”
In the shower one night, I accidentally stick a finger in my nose while I’m washing my face. The finger should have been clean. I mean, I washed my hands before I washed my face. Maybe I didn’t wash for the full thirty seconds. Maybe I only washed twenty. And I’m certain I didn’t do the scrubby part on my nails. I wonder if this is it. Some news guy said it’s not so bad then BAM it hits you like that.
When I’m working on my laptop before bed, I realize for the first time ever that I do this thing where I rest my mouth area on my arm when I’m thinking. And then I realize the part of my arm in question is the same part of my arm I turn the faucet on with. What in four hot fiery hells could be living there? I make my way back to the bathroom, wash off my mouth – then my arm – and flop back down on the couch. I’m so tired of washing my hands. This Corona Cuckoo is exhausting. There’s this nutty balancing act of awareness where I find myself doing my best to be mindful of my glorious existence while attempting not to be overly mindful of where my forearm has been. I turn on the TV, praying for one of the partner’s dumbass cooking shows. Instead there are two buxom blondes talking about vitamin suppositories and how, in this frightening time, it can be a great defense against – well, everything. “I thought there was only one way to get the vitamins and minerals my body needs to fend off flu and disease. Until now.”
I make a mental note to tell Rebecca she may wanna shove that spicy hot kimchee up her butt instead.
I look at my overwashed hands in the light of the laptop, so paper-thin I can almost see through them. When I was little I went to see the Dark Shadows movie with my sister. There was a scene where vampire Barnabas comes at Dr. Julia with his hideous ancient hands when he finds she’s given him some kind of amped up aging potion. Our parents were traveling and my Grandma Bess was staying with us. Late that night, she had to sooth me with a warm compress from nightmares while over her shoulder my sister did a crappy impression of the dejected vampire with pretend wrinkled hands over her head – “Juuuuulia,” she silent-whispered so Bess couldn’t hear – “you have betraaaayed me!”
I close my laptop and tuck my hands underneath me.
Just before bedtime I stop by the fridge, planning a pinot gris nightcap. When I grab the last bottle from the refrigerator door, I notice there’s only a sliver left. I decide to put the bottle back. As Grandma Bess would have said, “Just enough to make you mad.”
Looking for something else to soothe my late night worries, I’m still in the refrigerator door. Thinking of all the big things we need. How badly we all need to heal all those who are sick. And those who are sick in the head from all the nonstop scary being pumped into our souls on an average day. Online funerals. TV doctors. Scary hands.
Before I can close the door, a glint of glass snatches my vision. Something behind the bunch of bright red radishes my friend April would have given me crap about for not having disinfected.
A bottle of Sauvignon I didn’t even know I had.
I hold it up to my face, the twinkling of the dining room chandelier catching itself below the label. Before I can grab a glass from the cabinet, I’ve already put it back.
For now, I just like knowing it’s there.