On this day in 2020, Laura worked her final full day at her office with the City of Pittsburgh, came home and began to set up her home workspace in our kitchen. She’s in that workspace right now, working.
This is what we consider our demarcation of the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine.
This is day 1, year 2.
I distinctly remember sitting in Eat n’ Park one night with some of our niblings having dinner and just chatting. A sense of foreboding came over me. It was early January 2020 and I was overcome by this gripping fear that we took Eat n’ Park meals for granted, that future generations would not know the experiences tied to this Pittsburgh institution. That this lifelong Pittsburgh ritual of going out to a family friendly restaurant with familiar menu items and little pretense would *poof* be gone. I shook it off, but later wondered if I had some flash of what was coming?
We’ve been very fortunate that Laura could work (mostly) from home, that our income and housing were not impacted, that we didn’t get the Covid. We are fortunate to have received dose 1 of our vaccines so far. We have a car so picking up groceries of takeaway curbside has not been an issue. Our exposure has been very, very limited. We have each other for company (plus, we got married) and we have a big backyard for the occasional socially distant visit.
But still, it has been devastating.
I was very sick in the summer 2020 due to a toxic reaction to one of my medications.
Our beloved little pooch, Ana, died a sad death and because of COVID-19, we could not really comfort her as she slipped away. I know she’s a dog, not a person – but this will haunt me forever.
My parents tested COVID-19 positive, but they are recovering.
I have to be tested twice because of symptoms, both tests were negative.
Working from home isn’t all it is cracked up to be, but going into the office certainly isn’t a big improvement. I like having Laura home because I know she’s safer and I enjoy being around her, but I’m sorry she has so much extra stress to manage.
Watching, worrying, wondering about the outcomes of the election, the racial justice protests, the trials, the fate of local LGBTQIA+ organizations and businesses, the health of our family and friends and neighbors has just been an ongoing period of constantly heightened anxiety that’s very hard to manage. The tension builds and builds without any real relief. Yes, there were moments of hope, but not enough.
So here we are an entire year later. There’s still so much unknown. Will enough people get vaccinated? Will people still comply with social distancing safeguards? Will spring break and amusement parks cause another wave? Will I ever get to go out to breakfast again? Will the vaccines work in the long run? What about kids? Exactly how do you trial test vaccine dosages on toddlers?
Now I fear not going back to Eat ‘n Park because of the anti-vaxxers and Trumpies so prevalent in this region. A restaurant chain that eliminated table bussers and cashiers is not likely to invest in staff to intervene when someone gets rowdy. I don’t expect someone making below minimum wage (plus tips!) to intervene if a jagoff starts shit. I joke that restaurants should have masking and anti-masking sections, like they used to do with smoking and non-smoking. I don’t know what to do with salad bars. Maybe just cancel them?
I do not subscribe to the theory that this is a lost year. I do not want to lose a year, ever. I do not want to repeat the ‘collective forgetting’ tactics used after the 1918 Flu Pandemic. I want to honor my survival skills, acknowledge my actual losses, and learn my lessons.
As of today, 536,000 people in the United States have died while 29.6 million cases have been reported.
Worldwide, 2.67 million people have died with 121 million cases reported.
In truths that she learned
Or in times that she cried
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she diedIts time now to sing out though
The story never ends
Let’s celebrate remember a year in a life
Day 1, year 2.
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