Covid-19 Travails

Given the onslaught of Covid-19 variants and stupidity of too many in refusing to follow medical guidelines, it appears that abandoning my Pandemic Accomplishment posts in April was mighty premature.

Once I received my double vaccine along with so many others, I thought good times were on the way, even travelling abroad to Italy and Canada. But it was on these trips that any sense of normalcy was clearly not on the horizon. Crossing the border at Buffalo took took an additional three hours when we had to re-test at a cost of $450.

Canadian Customs form sending us back to USA

And then, when we returned to the States a week later, we were greeted by flashing lights and barriers and informed that the border was completely closed. A few nervous moments later, it was clarified that American residents were actually allowed to return.

The long and short of it is that nobody really knows what the rules are, which leads me to think that we’re going to be staying home again, writing and reading, puzzling and reflecting and of course maintaining with my Fishdom addiction. .

Level 3787, thank you very much

It’s a F–ing Pandemic! Get Vaccinated Already.

How stupid are these 75 million people that don’t want the vaccination? Answer: Very stupid. I am fed up with reading about “the individual’s right to decide what goes into his body” or how the conservative talk show is “regretful” when he gets the disease.

Here’s my suggestion to these 75 hundred million dummies: Ask Siri like you ask her all of your crazy-ass questions like “Is Donald Trump the smartest man ever?” or “Where can I buy a missile?” But this time ask this normal question: “How can I avoid getting Covid-19?” Any guesses on the answer?

The problem is that they believe in “I Am Legend” logic. This supposed cure for Covid-19 is the same as the cure for cancer in the movie and will actually turn us all into zombies. Just you wait and see.

The gag we keep hearing from these 75 million goofballs is that they don’t believe in science. Which of course means that they don’t believe in the sorcery of phones and computers. Yeah, I guess you could say I’m sick of this narrative.

The Rich Are Dicks

I recently completed a six-month on-line teaching contract at a chichi Rhode Island school. The pay was not good nor was the collegiality, and I’m sure they would blame Covid for these shortcomings. This had vague validity before they sent the “small gift of appreciation”.

The cookies

Three cafeteria cookies was their idea of a thoughtful gesture. What is this? Mockery? Abuse? They couldn’t send a book? I taught literature, for God’s sake, not baking.

Pro-Mask Post-Pandemic

The thing is that some people just look better with a mask on. That is just a fact.

Doesn’t the Fearless Girl look better like this?

And so, what are we going to do for them when this pandemic ends? Can’t they still keep their masks on? Or will they be shamed for that? What’s wrong with letting them do that?

Pandemic Accomplishments: Final Edition?

With the pandemic winding down in New York, I thought It time to offer a final list of Pandemic Accomplishments.

Most importantly for me, I completed the final draft of Anori (well, almost).

Soon to be sent off for another professional edit

I applied for 80+ jobs across America (including Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston and New York, Europe (London, Lisbon, Salzburg, Rome, Zurich, Paris and Barcelona to name a few) as well as Kathmandu. Still looking. Hmm.

I travelled to Maine, Oregon, California, Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard.

Sunrise view in Maine

I raised the daily visits for this blog from 30+ views per day to 150+ views per day.

I had both of my knees replaced, had nine Covid-19 tests and was vaccinated.

Those empty train days

I have basically kicked my Fishdom addiction after reaching Level 2865. Although I might check in again one of these days.

Beware the Anti-Masker

I finally got out of the city for some exercise and air. Most on the trails were courteous and respectful regarding the mask. They either already had it in place or quickly slipped it on as we passed.

Others not so much.

When asked how I was doing by an older white fellow without his mask, I replied, “I would be doing better if you were wearing a mask.” His reply: “I don’t believe in that stuff.

Further down the trail, a second man, similar age, ethnicity and lack of mask, replied with a chant, arms in the air, “Vaccinated! Vaccinated! Vaccinated!” I reminded him that I and many others still were not.

2020: Always Remember The Bad

2020 was a distinctly bad year and is burned into my memory. It wasn’t just the pandemic, although that sure had a motherfucking big role. Not will I soon forget the dark days of New York’s Covid Spring, the eerie silence punctuated by the banging of pots and pans at dusk.

Soldiers returning to Javits Center transformed to a medical center for Covid patients.

2020 was a lot of other bad things too.

I was attacked on a Zoom call in front of the entire faculty by an angry woman who claimed that I discriminated against black students. It didn’t matter that none of it was true nor that she knew none of the students nor even that many, including my black colleagues, called immediately afterwards to express their outrage. It was ugly and awful, and I had just been laid off. I was never given the chance to respond nor ever received an apology.

I received a call from my mother’s caretaker with the news of my mother’s death. It wasn’t sudden – it was more of a relief – but the image of the fire escape stairs and the multitude of drinks along with repeated viewing of the climax of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (my mother’s favorite opera) are indelible memories. As was the Zoom funeral that followed.

Ragnar Kjartansson’s Bliss played the climax of La Nozze Di Figaro on a loop for 12 straight hours.

I had both of my knees replaced and was stuck in a hospital room with no air conditioning, the bedsheet sticking to my back. They didn’t do anything about it until a day later when they noticed that my temperature was high, and I explained the connection.

Brooklyn Hospital Center halls

I lost ten pounds in eight days. Hospital food always lives down to its name. That would have been a good thing to remember except that I gained it all back and then some.

Writing Process: Characters of the Covid Age

This Covid Pandemic is carving pieces of people away. In an attempt to maintain a semblance of normalcy through posting images, completing puzzles and asserting that all will be well, a feeling of identity loss dominates instead. Or thinking that anyway.

The need to belong somewhere – friends, family, a team or bar – has been eroded by life being moved onto the screen. This has created a sense of mutation, a half-shell of selves turned sideways into paper-thin abstractions with cartoon broken arms, modules and warts sloping out in disturbing and hopeless directions.

This isn’t a one-dimensional thing, but a sputtering prick into the bubble of self-awareness where one thinks of being half-asleep in a dream, shruggling (shrugging & struggling) with the accusations and denials of one’s most obvious flaws made obscene and dull. And it’s only getting louder.

Pandemic Accomplishments: Month Nine

Despite the recent excitement of vaccine and Trump’s repeated failures at the polls and courts, the pandemic drags on. I learned to appreciate the term “Toxic Positivity” over these past days. As Uncle Joe says, a dark winter awaits, meaning that I have learned to reflect more regularly on the utter of pointlessness of this existence and, ipso facto, survived multiple waves of depression and despair.

Mouse blends back into his environment at the Bronx Zoo.

On a more concrete note, I had my bank account cleaned out by a fraudulent check and await the fire marshal’s clearance to helped my wife salvage what we can be from her office which was destroyed by fire.

The remains of Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village, New York.

On a more positive note, I have applied for jobs in all five New York City boroughs as well as Paris, Helsinki, Lisbon, Lucerne, Lugano, Rome, Newport, Atlanta, Havana, Cayman Islands and Kathmandu. I have also rewritten the first 110 pages of Anori, with some satisfaction.

Eternal me

On a more moronic note, I have achieved Level 2234 of Fishdom and came, oh so close, to getting the Ghost Robot Fish.

Words to Convince People That Covid-19 is Still a Thing

Covid-19 Exhaustion has set in. The distancing tape is peeling, masks are hanging and the stores and subways are packed again. What is going on?

I guess all of the signs have been up too long, and we need new words to remind us that the pandemic is still here.

Perhaps we should send dead people to walk the street?

Or maybe a sign like this: Do we not remember what happened in March? Do we not remember being stuck in our apartments? Do we not remember the silence of the city? The empty streets? The death tolls? Are we that fucking stupid?

For all the complaining about Trump, maybe we deserved him in the end.