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Letter From Home: May
It’s happened. It’s finally happened to me. TO ME. I am no longer one of those freakish weirdos, those pariahs among the civilized and cultured of the world, those absolute out-of-step, don’t-care-who-succeeds-in-Succession, living-under-a-rock LOSERS who have so far not got Covid-19. I did it. I joined the throng. On Saturday evening, like Charlie Bucket unfurling a Wonka Bar in the hopes of seeing that glimmer of gold, I plunged yet another one of those test strips into its accompanying vial of blue liquid and waited to see if that cursed red line would materialize. And materialize it did!
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“Fuck,” I said, aloud, as I think most people do when they’ve had that moment. I don’t know how many tests I’ve taken since the early days of the pandemic when, like, no one was into taking tests, but there certainly have been many dozens. Hundreds maybe? I went on an entire month-long tour where we tested every morning; I’ve followed stringent Broadway union rules on testing during two week-long theater workshops in New York. I’ve taken one or two tests in my day, people. And each one of those test strips, once withdrawn from their little test-tube bath, have come up with a single blue line (or whatever the equivalent is for those foldy fan-like ones). So it was some shock to see the red line. I immediately told my kids.
“I have Covid!” I said, having just put on a mask. I was ready to allay any anxieties they might have, something for which I had been mentally preparing myself since the beginning of the pandemic. I would take on a caring yet authoritative tone: it was scary, sure, but the overwhelming weight of evidence suggested I would be okay, I would survive. Dad was gonna make it through this. Tears of worry would be shed; I would present a face of courage and resolve.
“Oh,” they said. They went back to whatever it was they were doing.
Of course they weren’t anxious about it. Nearly everyone of their classmates has had Covid; their friends, their friends’ parents, some of them several times. Their asthmatic, septuagenarian grandmother has had it. We live in a world that has come out the other end of a global pandemic with a sense of normalization around a still-deadly disease and these kids are the products of it.
Of course, of course: we are incredibly fortunate and are forever grateful for the innovations made in vaccines and treatments for covid in the last three years — my testing positive without those advances would be a very different story indeed. But it’s still interesting to have this experience now, when, not so very long ago, the idea of seeing a red line appear on a test strip might’ve struck fear into my heart and the hearts of my family. Our immune systems vaxxed and triple-bivalent-boosted, with antiviral medications ready and available to us via videochat prescribers, the world in which I have become a covid-sufferer is vastly different from the one in which we were first introduced to the horrors of the virus. We aren’t in a global lockdown, we’re not witnessing our healthcare systems buckle under the demand, we’re not beating pots and pans outside our windows in support of the helpers and the sufferers. Even my meditations on getting Covid, at this point, seem rather quaint and passé.
Anyway, I have covid. That’s the news. That’s the letter from home. I’m fine, I’m a little under the weather but I’m fine. Of course, as is often the case with these things, it’s the life disruption that’s the major hassle and there are some major hassles with suddenly being Covid-positive at this moment in my life: vacations abandoned, AirBnb fees lost, studio time delayed. But all that is imminently survivable. I should be thankful for that.
I do have a few days (perhaps weeks?) of quarantine time as I sequester and recover. It’s like it’s April 2020 all over again. I’d sing a John Prine song for you all if my chest didn’t feel like someone poured pea gravel into my lungs.
Till next time,