It's been awhile. I'll (mostly, maybe?) leave it at that.
COVID-19 hit us all somehow, whether we got it or not (I didn't). Not for a goddamn moment will I compare my own vague mindfog/writer's block to the struggles of anyone who got the virus, lost someone to it, etc. It's not even close.
Around here, we stayed home, followed all the health/mask protocols, were there for each other when we needed to be, and stayed the hell out of the way of each other when necessary too. We had it VERY easy in comparison to almost anyone. Neither of us lost an income source, or even knew someone who passed away because of the virus.
But it still messed with my head, and it probably messed with yours too even if you were as lucky as we were.
There was a joke-y meme going around at one point in Pandemia about how the pandemic was "an introvert's dream." I sort of doubt that, but I'll tell you one thing for sure: it was not an extrovert's dream, and I'm an extrovert.
The things I do -- other than work (from home) as a lawyer -- to keep my brain firing on all (or any) cylinders all got canceled.
Band practice? Didn't happen other than a couple attempts at outdoor/driveway stuff that was hard to organize and likely enraged my neighbors with volume and a shitty PA.
Gigs? Hahahaha. No. We're not fucking stupid.
Meetups with friends? There were a few outside-'round-the-fire moments, but those got tougher to hold (or enjoy) as winter hit.
Gym? No. Again, I'm not fucking stupid.
Volunteering at the animal shelter? Nope.
About all I did away from my home from mid-March 2020 until my vaccination immunity kicked in early April 2021 was occasionally go grocery shopping -- with a mask on.
Shit, man. I didn't realize how much I missed the most basic/mundane of human interactions -- casual conversations with strangers in places of business -- until those weren't happening. In the beginning of Pandemia, it was particularly desperate and nuts. Fellow shoppers weren't just masked and silent; they were fucking rude. Costco became a place to avoid except on weekdays, or else you could risk some sort of Mad Max remake over a 50-pound bag of beans in Aisle 12. But even after things settled down in that respect, shopping for food was still grim. I remember one particular moment that I recounted in a text exchange with a bandmate in about August 2020:
Bandmate: "Hey, how you holding up in all this?" Me: "Uhhhhh, I don't want to complain but some basic human conversational interaction with anyone other than my wife would be good. My wife is a spectacular human being but I'm an extrovert and I need lots of conversations with lots of people, and there's none of that." Bandmate: "I kinda figured. You're not the shy, reserved type. Introverts are winning at the moment." Me: "Ha. No. I'm not. You wanna know how bad it is? The only conversation I have had in-person with anyone in the last I don't know how long was with a Whole Foods cashier who recognized me despite the mask and she had a very quick, 'Hey, good to see you healthy, etc." convo with me. The result? That night I had a sex dream involving that woman." Bandmate: "Hahahahaha. That's amazing." Me: "I'm not sure that's the word I'd choose. But it's certainly a sign that my brain apparently believed that that convo was about all the mental stimulation I was gonna get so why not run with it?"
Seriously. Dude. Come on, now.
Anyway, I said I wouldn't go on and on about why I disappeared from the blogosphere, but I just kind of did despite myself. What did I do during Pandemia? I worked a lot. I'm fortunate that I at least had that outlet. Some clients got some extra-high-quality work out of me (if I do say so myself). I also mostly didn't drive my wife crazy. Together we watched more TV than ever in our lives. I also worked out a lot and played drums a fair amount as well. That's about it, although I'm sure I have some stories for you that will pop up here with any luck -- just as soon as my still pandemic-scarred brain gets its act fully back together. I'm happy to be (at least allegedly) immune, post-vaccination.
So, I'm back? I think? Band practice is slowly getting itself back together. Everything else will too. Eventually, when it's safe, the mask mandate in New Jersey will be eliminated and a band that I'm in will play a gig, and I'll go see others play gigs too. Fuck, I miss live music. I'm ready.
But no, I don't think I'll be able to get through that cashier's line at Whole Foods without laughing to/at myself.