So I guess I’ve been a little absent recently. Truth is I’ve never wanted to be more absent. I’m tired. I’m fed up. I just don’t wanna. This corona business has tired us all out. It has sometimes felt like we’re on a train bound for nowhere. A one year anniversary seemed unimaginable a year ago. What seemed like a crazy detour from the normal way of life has become the easiest route to get about. Masks, social distancing and managing virtual friendships, schooling and working online are all the norm now: leaving the house it’s now, wallet? keys? phone? mask? You betcha!
When our governor declared everything could open up at 100% and masks were no longer mandated, I felt sick. I personally didn’t think with my extensive Facebook and Twitter knowledge of this pandemic, that we were quite there yet…we needed to hold tight a little while longer just to get us nearer the end line. Vaccinations were hard to track down. Pretty much as soon as they opened a waiting list, it would fill up. Some people may probably feel I was wearing my tin foil hat a little tight but the worry of catching the Rona and being hospitalized whilst our family lived 5000 miles away in a country with equally atrocious numbers….how would I keep the kids safe?
But luckily, it seemed the lovely little Arctic blast Texas experienced, only slowed down the vaccine distribution just as it was ramping up. As soon as we got ourselves dried out and someone put the plug back in, the vaccines started to make their way down here. I went from being unable to even get on a list before it closed to signing up in the morning and receiving word of an available appointment that evening. And judging by the Book of Faces, most of my friends have had similar success. Whilst we feel incredibly lucky to have kept our jobs and health, we know many around us who have not been that fortunate. I know most people fully recover but some don’t: 540,000 families in the US will vouch for that. Technically, we’ve always been able to return to the UK but with quarantine and the risks of exposing everyone, we felt it was a roulette game we didn’t want to bet on. I suffered a sore arm but the immediate relief was far more valuable. I just couldn’t believe by sitting there and exposing my my right arm that I could see all the financial worries, all the physical worries, the isolation, the uneasiness of not being a scientist and understanding the vaccine or disease, the disrupted education for millions of children around the globe including my own, begin to become something of a history lesson rather than a current affair. It seemed incredible this little vial potentially held the key to a freedom I had never previously appreciated until it was taken away. This little needle seemed far too insignificant for the gravity of what it would be giving me back. The peace of mind I’ll see loved ones again one day. It gave me real hope.
And, I can’t wait for this to end. Life goes on in the meantime and in some ways that’s what’s hard. The shared experience is missing. Christmas was strange for us because living overseas means we’ve become accustomed to missing family and using Facetimes to bring us together to celebrate the season. Seeing so many people feel so isolated doing this when it was the first time all year that felt like something was actually normal for us. Does that make sense? The difference is choice I guess. We chose to move abroad. Nobody chose covid isolation. Covid seemed to stop the world for a while but it didn’t stop life. Little things that wouldn’t have bothered me before seemed harder. The inability to reach out and hug a friend when they need a hug. My Dad’s ill and there isn’t a damn thing I can do to help and I can’t get a hug from those who would take my tears and sit silently with me as I learn unwillingly to accept it. I should say that Rich has been a star obviously and there’s a couple who I hope will instead, get rip roaringly drunk with me as we dance our sorrows away to a bit of Lukey. I know they would but times as they are, means I’m relying on cyber hugs instead and frankly, they just don’t cut the mustard.
So in all honesty it’s all felt a bit miserable: 2020 gave way to 2021 but the new year just continued to deal every one a bad hand. The fear of saying aloud you’re not happy because you know others are dealing with greater issues. The hesitation in telling family we’ll probably see them next year because we now know we were wrong when we said it last year. Watching people have their time of their lives on social media as if nothing is happening and wondering if you are just being kookoo. I wondered if people are as happy as they seem: In fairness, I only ever put out the good bits on Facebook. So who is bluffing who?
I don’t pretend to know if this is going to go away soon. I don’t pretend to understand the science behind the vaccine although I fully appreciate it will make a few people very rich. Yes, I did worry that I was going all in on the hopes that this vaccine would resolve an issue some believed to be fake news, a distraction, created far too quickly to be reliable but I so need this not to be a bluff. I’m not gonna fold. I am grateful we live in a world where we have science to fall back on. Modern grave yards are not filled with young children because science found ways of preventing unnecessary early deaths with its strive to hunt down vaccines and antibiotics.
I guess I’m just going to have to go with the flow and hope that this vaccination does what it says on the tin. We saw the boys neurologist this week and he gave me hope things were turning a corner. It was our first in person visit too since the pandemic began so that’s a good sign (although I admit I preferred the ease of logging in on the PC to uttering prayers and curse words as we navigate that white knuckle ride they call the i10 to get there-sometimes I wonder how we have survived Houston traffic, let alone a bloody pandemic). I do feel more positive about the future of the pandemic. I’m keen to get my second shot on Friday and breathe a sigh of relief that I don’t have to worry about people not wearing masks near me. In fairness, the Governor’s mandate has hardly changed things…most folks are wearing them everywhere. For so long, I’ve felt like the thin cotton mask some folks are happily burning, has been the only protection from the pandemic. It gave me a sense of security (and civic duty) when we went out and I’m not yet ready to give that up so we’ll keep masking up for the time being. And hopefully as the vaccination program continues on, we’ll begin to see real progress on the relegation of Covid-19 to the history books! So hopefully we will see England next year!
Writing was one of the good things to come out of the pandemic. I never realized how much I enjoyed it. But recently, I couldn’t find the words no matter how hard I tried. They all seemed like a lie. I have a series of unfinished drafts languishing in my wordpress account that never seemed to be right. But I was chatting to friends the other day and basically, they pulled me out of this funk. Maybe my words are silly, and self serving but I can say hand on heart that reaching out to people and taking a bet that they will not think you daft for your problems, only daft for not sharing them sooner is the main message of this self indulgent ramble! You know who you are and I’m laughing because you keep interrupting my creative flow with your funny texts!
PS: this Spring Break me and the kids learned how to play Texas Hold ‘Em this week so there’s your tenuous song link…Whilst I bet most of us feel like we could raise each other, I’m slowly learning when to hold my anxieties and when to fold ’em.
And PPS: On Greys Anatomy they did this backward hug thing that seems like it may offer a little comfort to those in need so if you’re sad and you see me reversing you’ll know why…I can even beep if it makes you feel a little more comfortable!