From the moment that I leave my apartment, it’s a constant game of chess between me and COVID-19. If I touch here, I can’t touch this. If I touch anything, I can’t touch my face. A mask. I always wear a mask. Triple layered or KN95s. But, not the ones that are fakes. Check the list. Get the ones that are approved. Wear it in public and with others. Wear it with those who refuse to wear anything. Remain diligent. Remain disciplined.
I am both and I cannot catch my breath.
Soap. Lots of soap. Wash for twenty seconds. Double it to be sure. Clorox Wipes. Lysol wipes, if you can find them, but you can never find them. Purell. Where’s the Purell? How could they run out of Purell? All they literally have to do is make more. How could they not make more? What does the dollar store have? Assured? Sure, I’ll take it. Give me as many as I’m allowed. Toilet paper. What happened to all of the toilet paper. Apparently, people shit a lot when they’re nervous. I’ll take what I can get.
Food: wipe it down. Household items: wipe them down. Spray the door handles, the steering wheel, car seats, couch cushions, even the walls. The walls? Yes, spray the walls because in the process of arriving home, removing my mask, and finding the nearest sink to wash my hands, I may touch the walls. We all do it. We touch things without thinking because it’s part of our process. It’s part of our everyday lives, but this isn’t everyday life. This is life as it is. This is life in this moment and while we refuse to believe that things won’t change, for now this is it. This is what we have. So yes, wipe the walls. In between the time I take to walk through the door and wash my hands, I may touch something and I’m afraid of touching it again and infecting myself, or you, or anyone. Because we touch things — that’s what we do.
Like the lady in the park that removed her mask to lick her fingers, to turn the page of the newspaper.
We touch things.
We do things that may seem normal, but they can literally mean the difference between life and death and that fact is terrifying.
I am beyond a place of blame. It can go all around. I am solely in the realm of heightened intensity. I feel it when I wake up and it’s both debilitating and exhilarating because it keeps me going. I only average three or four hours most nights anyway because I have immunocompromised members of my family and I am a caregiver. I take care of those around me and I keep them safe. This Is how I do it. The only way I do it.
Food: wipe it down. Household items: wipe them. Spray the door handles, the steering wheel, car seats, couch cushions, even the walls. Yes, the walls.
And I. Cannot. Catch. My. Breath.
The anxiety of this virus — of this past year, is consuming. I cycle between hopeful and most probably insane because I just received my second dose of the vaccine and yet there are more strains; strains that are stronger than the first because that is what viruses do. Viruses adapt and I am having difficulty adapting. I want normal. I want to care less and be out more. I want to spend time with family and friends without the looming guilt and insecurity. I want to hug my loved ones; those who I haven’t seen in over a year because of guidelines and safety protocols. And, I know that we all want the same things, but sometimes I need to remember to just focus on how I feel because how I’m feeling is terrified.
I’m so anxious and in a genuine way. Not the gimmicky 90s R&B type of way, but in a nervous energy type of way. The kind where I can still make cheesy jokes about Ginuwine, yet I don’t want to laugh or for you to laugh. What I want can only be given in time, so I’ll wait. I’ll wait for all of my people to get vaccinated. I’ll wait for some semblance of normalcy, and I’ll live in the best way that I can.
Food: wipe it down. Household items: wipe them down. Spray everything.
And, I’ll try to catch my breath.