i decided to get tested for COVID at a mobile clinic on monday, though my peek-a-boo symptoms seemed to have more to do with generic winter-cold bullshit and being 43 than with a breakthrough infection. around ten in the morning i queued at the van on delancey street that's become a portable building and froze my ass for two and a half hours, along with a bunch of canadian teenagers who were sure their friends were sick, someone named alfonso whose results were handed to me along with my own, and someone smoking so, so much pot. i requested the rapid test and the PCR, and alfonso and i eventually got the all-clear. how about that! (i still haven't gotten the results of my PCR test.)

on christmas eve i woke up with phlegm and a sinus whatsit that burned off like marine haze over the course of the day, but as we were to head out to see licorice pizza at nitehawk before settling down for a long winter's nap, i took one of the at-home tests i almost accidentally snagged on wednesday en route to my bookstore shift.* it was so positive it was almost a little insulting: that pink line was downright lurid, like one of the savage primitive markings the cat is forever giving joe. (it's a lousy way to treat someone you like, steve!) i took a second test that was even more vivid than the first, our very last one indicated that joe was negative for the time being, and that was that. i got a gift-card refund from the movie theater, the bar we visited on wednesday told me they'd toss my FYI on their pile, an email to the bookstore's volunteer coordinator went unanswered. my debate with joe biden went ahead as planned, of course.

i had a quick and dirty stress-cry yesterday morning (or was it sometime on christmas eve?) about the idea of being trapped here while joe just ordered in wine and boozed through the boredom of quarantine, which is not something he would ever do but something he joked about when we'd talked about my getting tested last weekend. i do not find that funny at all, and he does not enjoy it when i joke about being a grown version of the kid with chickenpox who abruptly scores playdates with everyone in the neighborhood (did families in your town do this? did the ones in ours really do it?). i suppose we could have requested one of the hotel rooms the city is providing for people who need to isolate from their families, but the idea that joe could dodge exposure after having been holed up in this apartment with me is just laughable. god knows how long another PCR test for me would take, and i'm not interested in infecting a bunch of my neighbors while attempting to get one. we have a few weeks' worth of cat food, a respectable pile of clean underwear, one full carton of soymilk.

i used to open my eyes when i was lying on the ocean floor waiting for a wave to pass over me. the physical sensation itself is moderately uncomfortable, but the way i felt powerful and ever so subtly aquatic when i did it was addictive. science, diligence, and patience are a helluva cocktail.

*a woman at the duane reade register beside me asked for them while i was buying the diet dr pepper i'd been craving ever since i saw a fake trump elector carrying one at the wisconsin state house on a cable news segment. i bought two (boxes of tests; just one soda, though knowing what i know now–).


LPC said...

You have such an illuminated mind. All I can say is that I hope you and Joe both feel well, and you feel better soon. xoxoxox

Hannah Mae said...

Yes to chickenpox hangouts! My own case was so mild (three pox, says my mom; I don't remember) that I was subject to many of them, to no noticeable effect. Some bloodwork 35 years later confirmed immunity, and did you know there's a vaccine now and kids don't even get the pox anymore? I'm so disappointed; I had a whole plan about videocalling my niece and nephew when their turns came, wearing head-to-toe polka dots.