F. YOU, COVID!!
Dear freaking virus,
I’m not sure if we have already met, given that 80% of your victims are asymptomatic so let me introduce myself. I’m a female, thirty-something, single, living in a condo in downtown Toronto. I’m not one of your typical targets. Even though you’ve started to throw some curveballs with your nasty variants, so far, I’ve been spared. I’m youngish, in good shape — at least according to the charts, my mirror would beg to differ — and don’t particularly feel threatened by you. Nonetheless, I’m one of your casualties.
One like many others, because as you know, we’re in this (shit) together.
You’ve been (con)tact-less and hit us hard since you first (officially) appeared on our Canadian soil, in March 2020. We’ve played hard to get; measures taken by the government and local officials successfully flattened the curve. For a while, we had a good grasp on you as we experienced much fewer cases than many other countries. I felt so lucky to be here. Almost guilty to run outdoors when others were home-bound.
The drastic measure enforcement worked kinda fine for almost a year. Most of us complied without questioning, either out of fear, compassion, or blind obedience. In the meantime, this over-careful strategy backfired as our economy plummeted into austerity and our overall mood turned gloomier than Morticia Adams. A dire sacrifice considering that deaths are forever on the rise.
I was one of these diligent followers but yesterday, I rebelled… Because C-virus, if you’re not willing to play by the rules, then neither am I!
The duvet under my nose was starting to look like Tom Selleck’s chubby caterpillar, therefore it was time to act. Waxing my mustache was a “non-essential” duty according to officials. So, what was I supposed to do? Shave it? Accept my masculine side? Sure, facial hair has never been trendiest, but I already have more balls than most guys I date, I have to draw the line somewhere…and it’s certainly not going to be under my nose.
Beauty salons have been considered luxuries for our mostly male-dominated government representatives. But was it truly necessary to close them? I doubt so. These businesses are perfectly equipped to have enhanced sanitized processes. We go to beauty salons to look prettier; we don’t do it in a cramped garage at the back of a dirty alley. It would have been far less risky for me to get rid of my excess hair at my usual parlor rather than in the pop-up esthetic cabin ‘miss ladybird’ had set in her bedroom.
As you imagine, it was tricky to find a beautician currently operating, but I was desperate. I didn’t know ‘someone who knew someone who knew someone’ so I raided Kijiji and found a woman waxing at home. When ‘miss ladybird’ opened her door, I wasn’t sure if she w(h)ore a very short dress or if she had merely forgotten to wear pants that day. No shaming here; many of us lost big chunks of sanity with the pandemic you created. She wore a mask, but I never saw her wash her hands. If she used alcohol, it was probably to flavor her tea, but unlikely as an antiseptic for the massage table.
I felt uncomfortable but couldn’t complain, I had no other alternative.
Her quick five-minute job was efficient but left me dirty. I intended to do the bikini area with her too but refrained and resorted to leaving the carpet matching the rest of the house.
You got it, I’m overdue for a haircut. Hair salons aren’t allowed to open for another month — at least — so I better grow some patience too. After all, why open them for the public when the officials in charge seemingly have their personal hairdressers on speed dial? We are all in this together…
However, some enjoy the luxurious perks reserved for business class while the rest of us fight for the last chicken meal in cramped economy rows.
Last year, out of desperation, I asked an acquaintance to give a shot at cutting my hair. She used a kitchen knife. I still bear the sequelae; I inherited an impressive several inches difference between both sides and almost lost an earlobe in the process. The anniversary of the haircut is coming but this time, I’d rather go to a professional. Bless me, I found one still operating…sort of.
I recently stumbled upon a salon operating behind garbage bags taped onto the windows. The owner was standing in its doorway, late one night. Our conversation sounded odd and not only because he was completely baked.
Me, “are you open?”.
Him, “depends who’s asking?”.
“I’m not officially ‘working’, but if you want a haircut, I can help you out. Come inside”.
For some reason I can’t explain (likely because my brain has been trained for months to uncritically obey orders), I followed him. I gulped a huge lump of saliva when he locked the door right behind me, “just to be safe”. Being trapped inside a ghost-town hair salon with an unknown man high on marijuana felt wrong. Yet, deep down, I wasn’t truly worried. At least not because of him. He wasn’t harmful; he was just trying to keep his business going.
I was actually far more scared that the police would burst open the door of the salon, flash a torchlight into my eyes, and throw me in jail.
Then I started to put the pieces together. I wasn’t feeling so down because of a lack of grooming and personal style. No. I mean yes, but not only! I was revolted because I was no longer free to care for my very own body; this is the kind of dictatorship you, freaking Covid, have thrown us into. No wonder why we aren’t feeling good.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the strategy that officials set in place:
Single ladies not feeling pretty → no dating. No dating → no proximity. No proximity → no virus spread! QED. Quod Erat Demonstrandum (= That which was to be demonstrated, cause yeah I have time to geek out on Latin now).
I’m sure our politicians have the best intentions. After all, why would they deprive themselves of taxes? Except, if it was for an even greater darker ulterior motive… But let’s not even go there.
Do you know how many friends I’ve lost because of you?
Good mates who became so obsessed with conspiracy theories that they could no longer have a two-minute conversation without including the words ‘Illuminati’, ‘reptilians’, ‘New World Order’,… I even made my own bingo out of it. (And I’m not even counting the ones who transitioned to higher realms. Blessings to them ❤).
As a result, I did like many other unmarried people of all ages and backgrounds, desperate for social contacts, and ventured into the virtual dating sphere. And I could praise you for that, dear Covid, because thanks to you, I managed to have a boyfriend for almost two months. But wait till you hear more…
Last January, I matched with a cute guy through a dating app. As we were under stay-at-home order, we never met but we Skyped daily for at least an hour over the course of several weeks. I loved the companionship and felt we could indeed be together, even if apart. I was okay to sacrifice the candle-light dinners in restaurants, the bodies glued on the dancefloor, the groping in a dark cinema room, and all the rest.
For a while, the frustrating non-sense about shutting down all ‘auxiliary’ places didn’t matter. I had someone else to share the ‘ups’, ‘downs’, and ‘further lower’ with, and it soothed me.
Sadly, the relationship didn’t last. Human touch was a basic need I couldn’t get pass. My counterpart seemed to deal with the issue just fine, wanking under his desk over our video chats. Maybe his PornHub membership was an expense he couldn’t afford. I got it, many struggled financially. Still, I wasn’t so happy to oblige and thus ended things quite brutally. Being a free cam-girl for needy souls didn’t satisfy my personal cravings for intimacy.
Following this, I dropped the idea of seeing anyone. Fathoming a kiss with someone made me feel like a black widow. A ruthless (and hairy!) creature, killing her lovers after mating. Unable to know whether I was one of the asymptomatic carriers, I wasn’t willing to bear the toll of potentially contaminating someone else and his entire family, so I chose to stay off dating altogether.
At least, that’s what I told myself. In reality, I was terrified of undressing in the presence of another human being. Especially because, to cope with the emotional rollercoaster of the pandemic you created, I’ve been binging. Sweet gluteny stuff, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight,… and all-day snacks. That impacted both my silhouette and, by ‘doughball’ effect, my self-esteem.
I found relief in blaming the weight gain on the gyms closed. I could petition to have them re-opened with reduced capacity, using partitions, and liters of sanitizers.
Just like cinemas, museums, and others,gyms obviously aren’t the cause of the increased contamination rates as they’ve been closed forever.
Only I’m not gonna do that. Sticking to my couch isn’t for my highest good, but why should I care? For once, you’ve provided me with a good excuse not to exercise. Usually, it’s plain laziness. My body isn’t beach-ready but it’s not like I’m gonna tan on the Mexican coast any time soon anyway.
Or is it? Right now, even despite the toilet paper stock we’ve made, it doesn’t look like we’ve got our shit together, but things may change soon enough. Oh yeah sucker, we found a way to tackle you. Not a definite cure that would wipe you out of our lungs and planet Earth, but at least a temporary fix. A vaccine. Technically, three of them. Sure, the distribution of one has been paused here, and we can’t get enough of the others to vaccinate the bulk of the nation, but watch out cause we are fighting back.
So just wait until I get through someone on the city Covid helpline and get my appointment secured for some time hopefully before next December. And bam! It’ll be your turn to crap your pants and shiver.
Then, we’ll re-open our frontiers, clubs, and beloved beauty parlors. Once back “in control” of our bodies (with the addition of a vaccine that originally most of us didn’t want but are now desperate to get by any means), we’ll finally resume our lives where they trailed off.
Sure, it won’t be that easy. Firstly, because vaccines are only protecting the ones receiving them, not preventing us from transmitting you to anyone else. Given how self-conscious I am, I’ll basically have to wait for everyone on the planet to be vaccinated before indulging again in carnal activity; by then my hymen would have reconstructed itself.
Still, abstinence isn’t the worse thing I foresee. It seems logical to assume you have more variants in stock for us. Super-mutant molecules for which our vaccines will be useless are likely to seasonally pop up in the coming years.
Will there ever be light at the end of the tunnel, or only temporary relief over summers? Lucky for you, they barely last three weeks here!
To say that it’s a bummer is an understatement. And yet, humanity has survived other pandemics. So, surely, we’ll get out of this one too (and hopefully before 2041). But in the meantime, how can we get a grasp back on our lives? Yoga didn’t really do the trick for me so, how can we stay safe and sane?
I bet that we’ll succeed once we’ll stop making so much fuss about you.
Stop making you the focus of our news broadcast and the highlight of our conversations. Because truly, it’s not about you, it’s about us.
It’s about facing the reality and intimacy of death, accepting our mortal condition and our lack of control over our destiny. It’s about surrendering.
Giving our power to the Source of everything, God. Not religion. Just God. As we live in “educated” times, I’m not sure that using the word nowadays is acceptable, so I’ll just call it Universe or Source, for everyone’s sake — people are already losing their lungs, and I’m not as cruel as you to forcefully shove something so big down their throats.
We have done our best to protect the most vulnerable, and I’m not saying we should stop but, obviously, our approach didn’t work.
Sharing used to be caring. Now sharing is killing. However, staying at home is dying slowly, miserable and lonely.
Still, I can’t complain; I’m blessed not to be stuck with an abusive partner or in a cramped family home where there isn’t an option for privacy.
By now you must be familiar with human psychology. You’ve hung around us so much you must have noticed that by being pressured with more restrictions, our souls are only yearning for more freedom. Ultimately, more and more people will reclaim theirs and stop giving a fuck about everyone else. And as a result, the next wave is probably gonna turn into a tsunami!
I may not be smart enough to get the bigger picture or your ulterior motives but recently I understood something. Pandemics are merely a different form of natural disasters. So, you, dear virus, are nothing other than a divine creation to lighten up our footprint on the planet. A snoozed Big Bang.
What I learnt about pandemics came from books. Back then, stuck in the history classroom front row seat, confronted by what I believed, was the worst plague — my teacher’s horrendous breath –, I remember foolishly thinking that, if our ancestors weren’t smart enough to avoid hanging near disgusting rats they didn’t deserve to survive. It was Darwin’s law.
However, we knew better this time around, we understood hygiene basics, had enough communication tools to warn people, and yet we still failed. In the grandest way! We not only got a bunch of people to croak, but we also tipped over our economies, enhanced racial tensions, frosted international relations, created irreversible psychological damages, and fostered an ecological disaster.
Well done, Covid, thanks to our willing help, you scored better than all your predecessors reunited.
If I were to give a name to this pandemic, I’d coin in the “groundhog lungadrama”. I hope my fellow mortals will remember that the expression originated from me. I didn’t ® it but would love for my name and legacy to remain eternal.
I wish I’d done more during my time on Earth, but you took us all by surprise and I bear no longer the illusionary reassurance that I’ll live past ninety. So, trying to get my few minutes of glory here, just in case I meet you one of these days and you get the upper hand.
I’ve come to terms with admitting that there’s nothing we, fragile creatures easily wiped out by a bad cough, can do against pandemics. Of course, every existence is precious, and if the Universe grants us the gift to live, then may it be. Nonetheless, death is also a part of life, and we ought to accept it. Sucks.
But don’t believe you won. You brought a valuable lesson along with your germs: every single day should be cherished as there’s no certainty about tomorrow. The best thing we can do then is to go with the flow, and enjoy as much as we can while we are on the ride.
Love more, love more, love more. Forgive. Laugh. Accept the flows. Pray for the lows to pass. Make the most out of the circumstances. Bless the simple pleasures. Share. Help. Understand. Care. Appreciate… and, LOVE MORE, always, always more!
Loving you and everyone else, 6 feet apart — at least for now.
(Hopefully not) yours truly,
…and as always, Many thanks to the Annette Street Writer’s Group…