Week Five: The Thrill Is Gone

Female Doctor or Nurse Wearing Scrubs and Protective Mask and Goggles Banner.

Common Words, Terms and Phrases Heretofore Little Used by Most People

  • Mitigation
  • Misophonia
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • PPE
  • Vodka and prune juice
  • Netflix and chill get that thing away from me
  • What day is it
  • The Mayor of Las Vegas
  • I wish I were a squirrel

It’s not even 9AM and I have eaten a bowl of linguine Bolognese with my coffee and almond milk. I’m not going to lie. I thought about having a nice glass of red wine with my breakfast pasta, but we are down to one bottle and I won’t be hitting the grocery store until my weekly run on Saturday when I don a makeshift hazmat suit and squirt hand sanitizer over my entire body every 30 seconds. I’m not really sure what day today is, but I know it’s not Sunday or I’d be having chianti with my cornflakes.

Twenty million years ago, before we locked ourselves into self-quarantine, there were a handful of things I dreaded—things like surgery, doing taxes and demonic possession. Today, I’d rather gurge up pea soup whilst my head does 360s as I’m being wheeled into the OR for a bowel resection than wash my hair. The idea of my head getting wet is suddenly revolting. I have also developed an aversion to laundry. There is something about reaching into a long-sleeved shirt or pair of jeans and turning them right side out that makes me want to kill.

I pray for dreary days now. Sunshine and squirrels cavorting on the lawn, racing up and down trees with brains so tiny they couldn’t measure a six foot distance between them if their rodent lives depended on it—which our lives do—makes me weepy. Give me rain, freezing if possible, and a wind so blasty and biting neither man nor beast can abide it. Then I don’t feel so bad. (Feel free to set this to music. Just make it catchy and irritating.)

We learned this week that billionaires, many of them tech execs, have for years been commissioning the construction of survival bunkers in New Zealand. Apparently, there is no finer place for elite doomsday preppers to escape a pandemic than beautiful subterranean New Zealand. Ranging in price for a bargain basement unit at $3 million, to something more “livable” at upwards of $11 million, the shelters include basics like guns, ammo, bowling alleys and 2lb. tins of $34,500 Iranian Beluga caviar. My apocalypse survival kit includes a Louisville Slugger that I keep under the bed in a split level mid-century ranch in Southeastern Wisconsin, a semi-deflated Bosu ball (the plastic pump inflator thingie has been missing for years) and half a case of expired protein shakes on the bottom shelf of the pantry behind a Nutribullet that hasn’t been touched since 2003. They ain’t getting me without a fight.

In 1823, the poet Lord Byron wrote in the satirical poem Don Juan, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Imagine legions of billionaires emerging from luxurious underground lairs to discover they are the last people on earth. They literally have all the money in the world and very strong boss skills, but there isn’t one person alive who can unclog a toilet.

Carolyn Goodman, the mayor of Las Vegas, is perhaps the stupidest person currently alive since…what’s the name of the guy who just fired the nation’s top vaccine expert and who is also a former New Yorker reviled by New Yorkers? In interviews this week, Mayor Goodman said she wants Sin City open for business now. As in today. Casinos, hotels, sports arenas. Let’s go already.

Unlike scientists, the Governor of Nevada and anyone with a brain, Mayor Goodman is not at all worried about “testing” or people picking up Covid-19 off slot machines that hundreds of thousands of people have just touched, smoking and drinking (which weakens the human immune system), breathing recirculated air and then getting in planes, trains and automobiles to return to their respective homes, families, co-workers and everyfrickinbody else all over the world.

“Let the businesses open and competition will destroy that business if, in fact, they become evident that they have disease, they’re closed down,” she told MSNBC’s Katy Tur, who blinked speechlessly in the wake of the incomprehensible statement like Bambi upon discovering hunters had just blasted Mother to smithereens.

At one point in his interview with Goodman, Anderson Cooper removed his glasses and covered his face with his hands because it’s hard to believe anyone, much less a three-term American mayor, could be so completely and utterly witless. “It reminds me of 1964,” Goodman said, smiling. “I can drive anywhere quickly. There are no traffic jams. It’s wonderful.” Hey Vegas, gotta feel good to know this twit has your back.

Five weeks ago, I did not know that there was a recognized medical diagnosis for my reaction to the sounds some people make when eating. There is and it is called misophonia. Those who have misophonia might describe it as when a sound “drives you crazy.” According to medical journals, reactions can range from anger and annoyance to panic and the need to flee. But I can’t flee, can I? To me, misophonia is the indescribable raging urge to murder, and was even featured on an episode of Criminal Minds in which it triggered a serial killer to assassinate those who slurped, burped, groaned, chewed open-mouthed and made a wheezing/crunchy inhale/face fart sort of noise while eating a sandwich. I can relate.

Every other post on my Instagram feed has the hashtag #cocktails. At 4AM this morning I watched Stanley Tucci make the perfect Negroni from his sumptuous New York abode. If I had clean hair, I’d flip on the phone cam and #cocktail my recipe for vodka and prune juice. (Obviously, prune juice is a substitute for any other liquid whatsoever, but the real beauty lies in its virtue as a dual-action drinkie. In these times of great uncertainty and the disruption of our habits, give the Metamucil and Smooth Move tea a rest and say hello to our old friend the prune.

Apparently, my honey do (and honey do not) litany list is cumbersome to my newlywed husband of four months. I can only think it is irony he’s shooting for when he sticks Post-Its on every surface in the house reminding him to turn it off, turn it on, close it, clean it, put it back, reseal it, don’t eat the last one of it and for godssake put it right side out before throwing it into the hamper. Such a sexy kidder, this guy.

It has become too easy to focus on the aggravations of everyday life in captivity quarantine. If everyone croaked tomorrow except billionaires in 5-Star badger holes, how would I want my last days with my husband and pops to have been spent? I mean, we never know what the future holds. Even in the best of times people get hit by busses and flying pieces of space junk that withstand reentry into earth’s atmosphere. I think a lot of us are on edge—worried about what the days, weeks and years ahead will look like. If this is a jumping off point to a new normal, I think I’d like to jump off being kinder. More patient. Loving.

I’m breaking out my own Post-Its and I’m gonna stick one right on my forehead that says, “Let it go.”

Oh, and I might consider one more while I’m at it. “Wash your hair.”


Be healthy and safe. Loves ya,


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