229 Minutes

That’s how long I was sitting in line to get tested for Covid-19 this past Saturday. 229 minutes. For those of you who don’t feel like doing the calculation, or if you’re like me and are not good at third grade math or just don’t have the ability to run numbers in your head as quickly as Sir Isaac Newton, that computes to three hours and forty-nine minutes.

Nearly four hours to receive a covid test. It takes less time to run the Boston marathon. Or to take a round trip flight to Wisconsin from New York. But don’t take a trip because we are in a pandemic. You probably shouldn’t do any marathons either. This pandemic is a killjoy.

I could have saved myself four hours

Long story short, I wanted to be tested because Friday night I felt like I was coming down with a cold and woke up Saturday morning congested and headachy and exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that renders you incapable of doing anything outside of rolling over.

I also had a dream that a friend’s cat was talking to me.

I know many people who came down with the dreaded ‘rona and it started out the exact same way…cold-like symptoms and weird dreams.

Unfortunately, there was not one single appointment at a local walk-in clinic or pharmacy inside of 72 hours and my PCP doesn’t have weekend hours. My only option was one of those places you see on the news where the cars snake around for what seems like miles.

Every time I see this madness on the evening news I am astounded. It always reminds me of one of those apocalyptic movies where people are trying to get out of dodge en masse. I swore that would never be me. But there I was. Stuck in a line of cars, but without an apocalypse or zombie to be had.

What does one do for four hours while deliberately waiting for someone to shove a ten-inch Q-tip up your nostrils?

In my case, I spent an hour talking on the phone with my parents, did a little Facebook scrolling, texted some friends complaining about the injustice of it all, and enjoyed a little people watching.

In 229 minutes I saw a car overheat and get towed away, I saw a man walk up the long line of cars with a red gas can. Not sure if he was selling gas or if he just simply ran out. But darn. That’s not a bad side gig.

I myself only had a quarter of a tank of gas leftover from when I filled my car in September, so it could happen. There are stranger things. I mean, I was willingly waiting in line for 229 minutes to have my brain tickled. Saturdays sure aren’t what they used to be.

Where was I? Oh yeah, people watching.

I watched the teenager in the car in front of me get out of the vehicle, walk down the hill, and come back with food an hour later.

I saw a man get food delivered to his car. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that. I was so hungry by the end of this, I was close to exiting my vehicle and start grazing on the fir tree to my right.

I did panic a bit when I realized that if I had to go to the bathroom, I wouldn’t be able to. Turns out there was a bathroom at the three hour mark, but it also turns out there was a note on the door. Not sure what it said because I couldn’t see from my vantage point, but my guess is it wasn’t, “Welcome all who could potentially be infected with the Covid-19 virus, please come on in and sit a spell so you can continue to spread your germs all over the universe.”

After three hours, one of the nice volunteers came up to my car to scan my online registration, thanked me profusely for doing so, and stuck a Post-It note on my windshield with my test number. She told me I was almost there with “only” about another hour to go.

When I got close enough to see the front of the line, I started timing how long it took for one vehicle to get through the actual testing area — anywhere from a minute and a half to two minutes. When I pulled up, I was done in well under a minute.

In other words, register online for these things if you can, people. It will save a lot of time for everyone.

The lady who administers the test and looks as if she is going to do a mold remediation on you instead of a simple nose swab, greeted me with what I could gather was a smile on her face even though she was working her butt off in the wind and cold all alone to test 400 people. I appreciate her.

But I wouldn’t blame her one bit if she lost her mind and ended up shoving that Q-tip all the way to the temporal lobe and killed us all. Wow. That took a turn. I’ve been watching too much Netflix. Maybe Disney Channel would be a better choice.

The Verdict: The specimen that was collected from the deep recesses of my face on the end of that ten inch Q-tip has determined I am Covid-19 negative. Should have done the cover test (see meme above).

The Year of the Pity Party

I am a self-proclaimed Party Animal but these days the party is more of the pity type. I used to “party” as they say, but something by way of a pandemic has put a stop to that.

Who am I kidding? Lately, the animal in me has been of the taxidermic variety anyway, but it felt weird saying Party Dead Animal.

Oh never mind.

Ok, so it’s not just MY party but I was invited against my will so that gives me the right to cry about it. Credit for meme goes to weheartit.com. Also, yes I see the typo.

With the exception of the first ten, maybe eleven weeks of this year, 2020 has been a complete asshole. Aside from the obvious, there have been more things cancelled than any of us care to discuss.

In my own personal life the first thing to go was my only child’s graduation from college. It was disappointing enough not to be able to see her walk, but then not seeing family and having to cancel our swanky rooftop restaurant reservations just added to the frustration.

I sent the event coordinator at said restaurant an email stating, “I’m sure this will be over in a couple weeks so let’s discuss then.” If an email could collect dust, I can assure you it would look like those stuffed animals your mother always complained about.

Anyway, it wasn’t over in a couple weeks. It wasn’t over in a couple months. In fact, here we are over eight months later and not only is it not over, but I feel like we are going backwards. We are nearing December and there is no proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not necessarily afraid of the dark, but tunnels scare me on a good day, forget it if the lights go out.

What was I saying? Oh right…cancellations.

Then there are the birthday celebrations. Perhaps not as heartbreaking since we all get a birthday each year, but still disappointing nonetheless. I was going to put my pandemic birthday on the list of things to tell the grandkids one day, but it turns out we will all have a pandemic birthday. Some of us will get two. If we get to three I’m leaving. Although there really is no place to go except the middle of the ocean or the moon.

Seeing that the only thing that will keep me above water is a weak doggy paddle and the fact that space travel scares me more than dark tunnels, I’m kind of in a bit of a situation.

Weddings had to be cancelled, postponed or relegated to a field with the happy couple and an officiant with a bullhorn.

Ditto for funerals. Except without the happy couple and bullhorn. The non-funerals make me sad most of all and does nothing but conjure up thoughts of Eleanor Rigby.

Then we had some cancelled holidays.

Easter came and went without so much as an Easter bonnet. Our traditional family gathering was cancelled. The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus had to be contained to a 12″ computer screen and chocolate from our stash of leftover Halloween candy.

The Fourth of July for us consisted of catching a peek of some dime store fireworks the neighbors lit off. And that was only if we were lucky enough to be looking out the window at the right time.

Thanksgiving would be normal, right? Wrong.

Another large family gathering cancelled. I was not happy about this development because now I have to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the first time in my life. I don’t even know how to defrost a turkey. Is there such a thing as Thanksgiving chili? I’m pretty good at that.

Then to add insult to injury, after much deliberation and anguish, the only child I was speaking of earlier had to be uninvited to come home because it was too much of a risk. That brought on many, many tears from me. Sure, some of my emotional distress could be blamed on menopause. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Finally, we have the mother of all holidays — Christmas. The resurrection of Jesus had to be put on the back burner, but no way will we still be in this pandemic for His birth. Or will we? I guess there could be a Christmas miracle. A Christmas miracle in the form of a vaccine, perhaps?

I could go on and talk about New Year’s Eve, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We rang in 2020 and look where that got us.

COVID-19 Random Thoughts – Self-Quarantine Day 7

I thought I was done talking about this, but I’m not. I’m never done talking about anything. Just ask my family and friends. I bet it takes all the energy they have to not throw tomatoes at me during a movie. I feel the need to give commentary even when not wanted. Or needed. Is that the same thing?

Today my day started with making a smoothie and putting a wooden spoon into the running blender. A friend suggested I strain the wood-splintered smoothie, which I proceeded to do…right into the sink. How was your day?

So, here goes my Coronavirus Random Brain Dump:

  • Most restaurants and bars are shutting down across the entire country. Think about the enormity of that. People aren’t gathering anywhere (except Florida beaches but I don’t want to talk about it). It probably hasn’t been this quiet since Columbus didn’t discover America.
  • Less cars on the road equals better air quality. Less pollution. Less gas being used. Less mileage. Longer car life. Has anyone seen the pictures from Venice? Soon enough the Hudson River will be safe enough to drink from. I mean, I know Venice doesn’t have cars. Potato Potawto.
  • Toilet paper is something I will never again take for granted as long as I live. At least until September, anyway. If I run out of it, I don’t know what I’ll do. Wiping my backside with moss really doesn’t do it for me. Growing mushrooms out of there isn’t a trend I would be too keen on participating in. Mushrooms may be hard to find right now, but I’ll take my chances.
  • This event is an extrovert’s worst nightmare. I have been feeling squirrelly since day two. Please send help. Just send it in a hazmat suit.
  • I’m getting so conditioned at practicing social distancing that when I see characters on television hugging or standing close in a group, I scream at the screen, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? SIX FEET, PEOPLE! SIX FEET!!!”
  • I haven’t seen this many kids outside playing and riding their bikes since I was twelve.
  • I think I have tennis elbow by repetitively looking at Coronavirus memes on my smartphone.
  • I really hope the virus outbreaks shrink as much as my pores have from not having an opportunity to wear makeup.
  • If I don’t start shaving my legs soon, there WILL be mushrooms growing. Moss not needed.

That’s about it for today. Stay safe out there, and please don’t do what they are doing on TV. Or in Fort Lauderdale. For the love of God, practice social distancing. Thank you and have a nice day.