Summertime, and the Covid is Uneasy

I’d love to write something that wasn’t about the Covid monster. Not even Covid adjacent. Good luck. It’s summertime, and the Covid is uneasy.

These blogs serve as weekly journal entries. Rumination. Lamentation. Celebration. That sort of thing. Sometimes I get all worked up about a topic. And sometimes I write little jokes that make me laugh. Sometimes I share funny or sad stories about things that happen to me. The stories probably make for the most readable blogs. I can’t really measure readability. I’m too busy ruminating, lamentating, and, thankfully, not lactating. Forgive me. It made me laugh to write the word lactating. Oh, and I don’t think lamentating is a real word. There’s a squiggly red line underneath it on my end. Thanks, WordPress, for the help with grammar. I’m a rare breed. An English major who doesn’t really care about spelling and never pays much attention to the proper use of colons. I can barely define antecedent. Anyway, about writing during the summer of 2020:

It’s hard to get away from the Covid monster. Certainly, the beast dominates my imagination. It has subjugated my routine. Decimated my best intentions. Made me sad. How sad? Here’s a story:

We returned Solomon’s library books to Ferguson Township Elementary last week. The school scheduled a window between 8:00 – 12:00 on a Tuesday morning. A red cart for classroom books. A green cart for library books. Please wear a mask. Practice social distancing. Only one person should carry the books from the car to the carts. That sort of thing.

I woke up early. Went for a run. Was ready to go at 7:45am. I like to get going early to avoid waiting in lines during this Covid-pocalypse. There’s two reasons for this: First, I don’t want somebody to cough tiny Covid-monster molecules all over my precious body. Secondly, and this is probably more important, it annoys me to wait in long lines to do simple chores. So I was rarin’ to go at 7:45am.

“Do you want to come with, Solomon?” I asked my son. “To drop off your books at school?”

Solomon’s eyes lit up. He really enjoyed Kindergarten before the world stopped.

So we climbed into the car. He clutched two piles of books. One pile for the red cart. The other for the green. We approached the school around 8:00. The parking lot was mostly deserted. There was one book on the green cart. Somebody else had the same idea.

I put on a mask. Took the books to the cart. Dropped them off. Returned to the car. Solomon was waiting for me.

“I miss school,” Solomon said. I could see his eyes were red. Tears.

“I know, bud,” I told him. “This sucks.”

I didn’t try to make him feel better. Better to sit in the sadness of a sucky situation than to fake optimism. We talked about Mario Brothers on the way home. Returned to our quarantine.

Covid-monster!

***

The Tanner family did leave the house last week.

“You guys want to go to Starbucks?” I asked the boys.

“I want hot chocolate!” Samson shouted with too much excitement.

Okay.

So I downloaded the Starbucks App. Ordered an Extra Dry Vanilla Cappuccino. A hot chocolate for Samson. Some iced tea for Solomon. An iced latte for my sweet wife Katie. We climbed into my 2019 Honda CRV; a car that has accumulated less than three hundred miles during the last three months. We went for a drive.

“There’s lots of people outside,” Solomon said.

“Yes, they should be home because of the virus,” Samson replied.

“Well, people need to get out of the house, too,” Solomon countered.

Solomon and Samson’s debate about reopening the country was about as sophisticated as what I see on social media and in the news. Regardless, we sped towards Starbucks.

The line was wrapped around the store. It was like a Jonas Brothers concert. I followed the signs for Mobile pick up. Parked in front of the store. A big sign said to put on my mask. So I did. Tread on me all you like. I braced myself for Covid-monsters as I entered the store. Arrows directed me along a path towards the counter. I grabbed a tray of drinks. Said thank you to essential Starbucks employees in masks. Walked back outside. Sanitized my hands and got into the car. Handed out drinks to the family.

We sipped our Starbucks as we drove through State College, Pennsylvania. A small college town surrounded by small green mountains. It was a beautiful spring morning, all things considered.

“This is so yummy!” Solomon said.

“Yes!” Samson said.

“I wish the virus would go away,” Solomon said. “Then we could get Starbucks all the time.”

“Me too,” Samson said.

Me too.

***

Look, I’d love to write about something else. And I get it. It’s easier to pretend like a global pandemic isn’t happening. Open up the malls. The bars and the restaurants. Disassociate. But that seems a little unhealthy to me. Numb the pain with distractions and pretend it is still yesterday? What am I, Holden Caulfield?

That was a clever reference.

So I guess this is just another Covid blog. I’ve got a handful of them now. I could organize them into quite a book. Here’s a tittle: How an Improviser-Professor Survived a Covid-Pocalypse with Two Small Boys: A Story That Does Not Include Lactation.

Man, lactation is a funny word.

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