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I have a cold. I feel mildly uncomfortable. My throat kinda hurts. My nose has a bit of pressure on it. There’s a tinny taste in my mouth, but it could be residue from my vape pen. I just feel a little run down. Like the change of seasons is what’s most affecting me. The only difference is this cold is documented by my company, and now I have to work from home for a week until my 10-day quarantine, issued as guidance by the U.S. Center for Disease Control, is up. Yes, my Covid test came back and showed that a SARS-COV-2 VIRUS is currently in my system. When or where I got it exactly, nobody knows. That plane I was on just felt gross. But thankfully I feel fine. I’m at least well enough to write all this down. And it’s not my style to stop working just because I’ve got a little case of the sniffles.

Would I still have gotten this novel virus if I had an injection of antibody assistance prior to infection? Maybe. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities. The shot doesn’t stop me from getting it, it just lessens my symptoms if I do. But that’s neither here nor there. ‘Cuz I’ve got it. I’ve gone this long without getting it, but I guess this time it found me. Every test I’ve taken since the beginning of the year came back negative. I spent four days at the southern border of the United States and I still spit clean. But none of that matters now. What can I do other than thank God I’m able to knock this thing out with a little bit of Day and Nyquil? I’m annoyed I can still taste and smell things because maybe I’d be less inclined to eat and actually drop a few pounds.

Oh well. None of it matters anyway. My co-workers are going to know. It’s all going to go through the grapevine. Legally they cannot name me, but they do have to be informed that a colleague tested positive. It’s going to be so obvious as to who it is, they can’t help but draw the correct conclusion. Now, we’re all adults, I don’t think anyone would actually rag on me or say “I told you so.” At least not to my face. And any person who does want to go there is free to do so. Just as I’m free to not listen to it. Because I can’t concentrate on the past right now. I can’t worry about what everyone thinks of me or my character now that I’ve got the big, bad coof. I’d rather focus on a new path forward, since the one we’re on isn’t working anymore. More people than we think can at least admit to that, even if they won’t say it out loud.

I just find it strange that we can’t decide if cases are surging or not. Or if we can celebrate Christmas this year. The news tells us one story, while our realities tell us something different. Like why do we have to hear when a famous person tests positive for the virus? We hear about their recovery process, when they got it, how they got it, how they felt while laid up, if they even were. Of course, most of it has to be a need for attention. Why else would you share your medical status if you weren’t looking for a little bit of acknowledgement? (Hint, hint).

I just wonder what the day looks like where all of this is no longer relevant. My show won’t have to banner breaking news like “FULLY-VACCINATED JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID.” We won’t discuss which flavor of the three vaccines on the market you had injected into your body. I’ll never have to preface an opinion by announcing, “Well, I’ve had covid, so…” One day, most of us will just remember what it was like to have a bad cold and not have to talk about it anymore.

Sometimes it all feels so terribly bureaucratic. Everything about this virus is written down and documented because it has to be. It’s how the corporate structure works. And part of me doesn’t mind as much as I thought I would. I understand. My job is important to me, so I’m doing what they’re asking and not leaving my house for the next ten days. At this point, it just feels like good, common sense. If I have to “quarantine,” I will. I’m putting on a mask and gloves when I head out to the garbage chute. I want to feel responsible as I nurse myself back to health, because it’ll also make people around me feel safe, too. I finally get what they mean when they want you to do things in the name of “public safety.”

One day these procedures may be a thing of the past, but part of the protocol may still stick around. So as much as I don’t want us to have to keep talking about this virus, a part of me knows we still need to. Because it’s a reality I’m dealing with right now. I’m just sick of how they’re making it all about status; vaccinated, unvaccinated, anti-vaxxer, pro-vaxxer, covid positive, public safety, the greater good, keeping us safe. It’s all just noise in a world that was decimated by something so unthinkable as an illness they might have purposefully foisted upon us. I’m actually trying to avoid writing these phrases the media has silently agreed upon, like “anti-vax/mask” or “the unvaccinated.” It’s too creepy for me. Too permanent-sounding. I’d rather we just call things for what they are and get away from the labels. I’ll be the first to admit it’s a little difficult to do in an industry whose purpose is to give the viewer the most information in the least amount of time. The slang we’ve picked up makes it easier to reach people. I’ll continue my mission to write around it, but for now I have to admit, there’s something satisfying about talking about how my unvaccinated ass caught covid and all I got was this lousy stuffed nose.

If I told my story to most people, I bet you anything they won’t feel bad for me for getting sick. But I’m not really sure anymore. I don’t know if people have a stigma against someone whose had it. That part isn’t really discussed. We’re all so focused on not getting it, we’re not questioning the strange things they’re asking us to do to prevent transmission. All of it has simply been accepted. In this city, you have to make sure your vaccination status is uploaded to the Excelsior app so you can show it to the maître de. Or butcher. Or museum guard. It’s like they need to put this particular virus at the forefront of everyone’s minds all the time because they don’t want anyone to become infected by it ever again. I mean, that seems like their endgame here. But a part of me believes they know they’re chasing an unattainable goal. When a majority of the country has already been inoculated against the virus, at what point do we say enough is enough? We did our part, now let’s get back on with it? Why are we stretching this mindfuck so thin that we’re simply accepting all the dystopian weirdness that goes along with it?

The goal has turned into finding comfort in the system rather than letting the people decide what’s right. And that is not a world I want to bring my children into. They need to know a free society, one that doesn’t make decisions for you and allows you to choose your own happiness. This one they’re trying to create right now ain’t it. And a part of me knows it’s all coming to an end sooner than they think.

I’ve been focusing on the long-term lately. What I truly want out of life and what it’s going to take for me to get it. Although getting sick with Covid is certainly a setback, I’m trying to see the positives in all of it. Being home for a week means getting to clean and spruce up my nest. I have everything I need here and can get it delivered if I don’t. I’ve got a sweet little feline roommate to keep me company. And there’s enough frozen pasta in my freezer to last me a lifetime. So for anyone concerned about me, I’ll be fine. Anyone who’s wondering, you’re going to be fine too. We’ve all entered a door a we can’t go back through at some point in our lives. This is my moment. I’ve got the sickness, it’s sucks, oh well, I’ll be fine. Hopefully no one else around me gets sick, and we can all go on with our lives.

Now that I’ve gotten it off my chest, hand me those tissues, would you?

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