Sunday, March 15, 2020

An only lightly sad story from the early days of the pandemic

What's the old curse?

May you live in interesting times.

This pandemic sure is interesting, and everyone alive and old enough to be aware will remember things about these days of the pandemic for the rest of their lives.

Some of those things haven't happened yet, maybe most. 

It's too interesting.

Today is an impossibly gray day in Minnesota, the one day off I have alone. As a rule I'm a little too interested in the news of the World, but today I turn away from it for awhile. It's just a bit too dark for me. It's too interesting indeed.

As I have told you, as your friends and colleagues have joked on the square, as the CDC insists, as your workplace advises, as the mass media urges, as is faultlessly correct and beyond debate:

Wash your hands.

So in the course of the past week I have washed my hands.

At the library I work at I wash them so often they become dry and red. They crack and burn. By the end of the day just the water of the sink hurts them. They sting. I try using gloves, but when I take them off I always sort of feel like I should wash my hands. 


And washing my hands, to make sure I do it long enough, I sing the Happy Birthday song.

I like my birthday, and one day I came to the sad realization that though I'd sung Happy Birthday dozens of time to myself, it wasn't, indeed, my birthday. This made me feel a little sad.

On Monday my friend Richard was volunteering at the library. It was his birthday. I tried to buy him a drink at our coffee shop, but they insisted on giving it to him for free. We sat and had pleasant conversation, much of it not about coronavirus even. Then I had to get back to work. 

I have one regret.

Would that I had said to Richard "Before you go I have one small favor to ask. Come with me to the sink."

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