And Now…the Double Mask

Everything was normal last January, in a hysterical election-year kind of way. The political flyers for Democratic presidential candidates piled up on our mail table. I considered cutting them up and making a Bernie-Pete-Elizabeth-Amy-Biden jigsaw puzzle. All this was before the pandemic.

I knew “pan” from the Greek, but I had never heard of a “pandemic.” “Epidemic” was as far as my “TV MD” had taken me. (The syllabus includes “The Quarantine” episode on Chicago Hope, “Legionnaires, Part 2” on St. Elsewhere, and the influenza episode on Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman.)

I got sick late in January 2020. I wrote here cheerily in February:

Alas, I have a touch of the flu. Between napping and meds, I haven’t left the house. Not surprisingly, I’m too sick to concentrate on Lucy Ellman’s never-ending novel, Ducks, Newburyport, which surely would have elevated me to the rank of a reigning intellectual had coughing allowed me to concentrate.

I am sure it was the flu. There were no reported cases of Covid here. But wouldn’t I have panicked if I’d been reading the news? The devastation hadn’t started yet.

And now I still can’t take in the “pan” thing: I can’t take it in that there’s nowhere to travel, that we’re not allowed in Europe, but even if we were, there’d be nothing open, so why bother? The whole world is sick.

And NOW THERE’S THE DOUBLE MASK. Today I watched a how-to video on double-masking. You need a surgical mask for the first layer. That means buying MORE masks.

First they said masks wouldn’t protect us ( there was a shortage of masks for health professionals), then they told us to wear masks (though, confusingly, they said it would not protect us, but would protect other people from us), and now I suppose one mask will protect us and the other the other people.

Yes, I’ll do my bit. I’ll wear two masks gladly.

But we’ll be so very happy when this pandemic is over.

“So say we all.” (Battlestar Galactica)