Life, mid-pandemic

By Caitlin Kelly

Nope, we are not “post” pandemic!

I now keep masks in my purses and the car and almost every pocket. I do not like wearing a mask, especially going 100 rpm in spin class, where it’s mandatory.

I wonder when (if!) we will ever be free of them.

But I also think we’re going to keep getting hit with variants for years and we will need to keep getting vaccinated and paying attention.

We are lucky and grateful to not have gotten this disease.

So, here’s how life is for me and Jose these days:

— I’ve booked flights and hotels for a month’s stay in California in June. I cannot sit here one more minute dreaming of all the travel I’ve missed for the past two years! I’ll be celebrating my birthday with friends, then doing a solo driving trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, meeting up in each place with friends who live there.

Work has been a variety of things: coaching other writers, doing three Zoom webinars with a younger friend in Tennessee (we each made decent money when 35-47 people showed up at $25/head), sold my first story to the Financial Times, and blogging for two design websites.

Entertaining! I have so so so missed having people over, so I had two colleagues up from New York for tea. It was a perfect afternoon, with little sandwiches and treats and two kinds of tea all served from my 19th c tea set. We’re seeing friends in the city next week at their new apartment as well.

Culture! I’ve seen two plays recently and two concerts. The weather is less punishing and, as mandates ease up, it just feels safer.

Inflation. So fun. This week’s groceries (including non- food items like cleaning products, paper products and a bunch of roses) $290. For two people. Gas has jumped to $4.49 gallon where we live, up to $6 a gallon elsewhere. Nothing to be done but deal with it.

Fear. Fear of, oh you know, nuclear annihilation. Where are our passports? Is there anywhere safe while Putin remains in power?

Grief. Ukraine.

Social life starts again. Sort of.

Professional events. We’re attending an industry dinner soon (dressing up!) and I’m speaking May 1 at an annual journalism conference.

Of course, we know dozens of people who have gotten COVID, thankfully none who died.

I lost my beloved breast surgeon to long COVID as she got it before the vaccines were even available.

I fear, seriously, for the millions who are now suffering from long COVID and whose lives are radically changed and worsened, from brain fog and crippling fatigue to heart issues and more. No government seems to have realized its impact, and I see people being denied disability benefits they need to survive when they can’t prove the problem.

Between war and climate change and inflation and COVID — how are you doing?

42 thoughts on “Life, mid-pandemic

  1. I have more hope than you do about COVID. But I wanted to say I ran into you in Deborah Copaken’s wonderful new book, which I highly recommend to anyone for a variety of reasons! And I wanted to ask you if you’re the one I gave a ride to many years ago in the Boston area, who’d had a Honda Del Sol?

      1. David Holzman

        I don’t remember how we ran into each other. But I gave you a ride, at night, probably in my ’93 Saturn SL2 (stick) as my memory says it was that car, which means it would have been before November 2004 (when I got an Accord), but probably not before 2000, because I’m pretty sure my mother was gone) from somewhere in town to Lexington, Woburn (most likely one of the former), or Bedford, or Burlington, one night. And I distinctly remember you telling me about the Del Sol.

        I’m guessing we might have run into each other at some sort of writer event.

        How do you know Deborah Copaken? I love her new book.

        David

      2. David Holzman

        Unless there’s another writer named Caitlin Flanagan who had a del Sol, it was to whom I gave a ride. And same about the appearance in Copaken’s book. But I can’t remember the context of the mention, and the book is over 400 pages long (although I’m pretty sure it was in the last quarter of the book).

      3. DAvid HOlzman

        Oh! OK, then it wasn’t you in Copaken’s book. It still may have been you to whom I gave the ride. I had been thinking for years that there were two Caitlin Flanagans, and it’s possible that I somehow affixed the wrong Irish surname to you, leading to my confusion on that. I’m less certain I gave you that long-ago ride, but still pretty certain. Del Sols were never common, and I remember that distinctly, and you look familiar.

  2. Everyone around us is now travelling again, but we are still cautious. We have decided to stay home and host a refugee family instead – big change, but certain to expand our lives. Keeping the masks on as long as needed.

  3. I’m doing pretty well. Work’s the usual, and they’re talking about sending us back to the office. I’m skeptical on that, because I’m not convinced we’re out of the woods yet. In other aspects of life, I’m moving at the end of my lease and the search for a new home is progressing steadily. And finally, the writing career is going well, with three books coming out this year and having just received a grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council. That last one is going to be really helpful with marketing those books.

  4. Me? I’m doing well. Had to deal with my spiritual beliefs due to war and children going hungry. So wrong. Very depressing for me. Life in general is good. I have a car with no payment, I can still afford the gas thanks to my publisher. I am trying to begin my 3rd book but have writer’s block (after all, suppose it doesn’t sell?!), horrors! And I am hoping to interview cast members for my 4th book, on the TV sitcom Good Times. May or may not happen. They are either too busy or I am too unknown as a writer. But it’s all good as I’ve been paid. I’m still living in a room in someone’s home. However, I have been saving money for a future move, something I have not done ever before now. I have fans and followers because of writing my father’s biography, and I love them! I am footloose and fancy=free. Daughter grown, I am single, still cute. I am being interviewed on the 24th by a podcaster, with more coming. I have not had Covid. I mask up when going out. I clean everything with bleach. My health is good, my A1c # is good. The hair is thinning quite a bit but I have many hats. For me Life is in Session and in Charge.

  5. Jan Jasper

    Caitlin, I enjoyed reading about all the fun things you’re doing. You’re more adventurous than I – I have not had Covid but I’m being super careful, due to my age (I’m in my VERRRY late 60s, ahem) and the fact that I have no family to take care of me if I got sick. The few friends I’d even consider asking are not local, and they have fairly serious health problems themselves so I wouldn’t ask them to risk themselves anyhow. Yes, this will be a problem as I get older. But I don’t wish to “tempt fate.” I wear a mask everywhere – I recommend Enro, they are not cheap but they’re very well-reviewed. I know some people with long Covid, one has had insomnia for months and she’s miserable. I just won’t take any risks. It’s odd because we know this, the variants, may last quite a long time. I suppose after I get my 2nd booster I may be more adventurous, at least until it wears off, lol

  6. I’ve been trying to do some ‘normal’ activities as well. heading to northern Michigan this week to see family and enjoy the views, visiting with small groups of friends, still in person at school, walking the parks, and seeing an in person movie. sounds like things are going very well for the two of you and hope it doesn’t all go backwards very soon. I’m really enjoying a return to some semblance of my old life

    1. David Holzman

      A friend and I had a big party at my house last June, when it looked like the vaccinations were getting COVID under control before the P’town incident in early July showed that COVID was not under control. I was on the Cape when that happened, had been planning to take the dog to P’town and wander around, and of course, me having caution genes and all, that didn’t happen. Friends and I are still waiting to dance to the soul sounds of the Chicken Slacks at Cambridge’s Cantab, a jernt we thought was going to be history when the virus first came along, but that was purchased and has been open lately. But we’re not risking it.

  7. My beloved and I continue to prepare for our cross-country move but I’m afraid to think of how moving costs (the movers) will increase as gas prices increase. But – all things considered – it’s a small price to pay. We’ll be attending our first large social event in a closed room on April 1st. We’re happy to be socializing but not so thrilled about a large crowd in an already crowded restaurant…so…yeah…we’ll be packing masks. Enjoy California – the weather has been stunning and fire season hasn’t started (knock on flame retardant wood).

      1. DAvid HOlzman

        And the masks certainly greatly reduce the spread of COVID. I edited a paper showing that. In different states that passed mandates at different times early in the pandemic, mask mandates were always followed a set amount of time later (I forget how many days that was) by similar reductions in cases, and then similar reductions in deaths.

      2. David Holzman

        And I hate the damn masks too. Luckily, it’s not necessary to wear them outside unless you’re in a crowd.

      3. David Holzman

        indeed, those of us who are sensible and/or have caution genes do just that. I have caution genes. My parents put seatbelts in the ’57 Chevy in ’60 or ’61. We had the first Peugeot station wagon in France with rear shoulder belts in ’65. My father, an academic economist, showed the guys at the factory how to install them–by solving a simple topological problem.

        I bought Bell hard-shelled bicycle helmet serial #7022 in the summer of 1975, when you had to mail order them, before departing on a cross-country bicycle trip. None of my siblings’ kids, nor my brother and I ever did anything dangerous as teenagers (or ever). Only my sister, who, luckily did not come to grief.

      4. Palo Alto, California to Crozet, Virginia. My beloved had COVID in November. Even his ‘mild’ case was horrible. We’re avoiding it at all costs.

      5. David Holzman

        You’ll be in one of the beauty spots of the east coast, as I suspect you realize. The Shenandoahs and the area around them is and are gorgeous, and nearby Charlottesville is a good small city. And if you should need string instruments, one of my good friends is a luthier in nearby Barboursville (very small town).

      6. I spent my childhood in Pennsylvania and can’t wait to be back on the East coast. We love Charlottesville. Regarding a luthier – maybe about 30 years ago when I played coffeehouses but that ship has, sadly, set sail.

      7. David Holzman

        If Q-town is anywhere near your childhood haunts, you should know that it has one of my favorite bars & restaurant, McCoole’s, which has been around since ~1750, though under various different managements.

  8. I am so sorry to hear of your surgeon. I am afraid to contact my elderly therapist of yore (we were still in contact before covid). SO happy to hear your sane approach to all this. I used the past two years to work on a book, so now there’s no turning back:) A high school reunion coming up that I may avoid. Too many covidiots from where I come from (PA). But nesting has been its own reward, and I hope to have more people for tea or wine in my backyard all year. If you are ever near Beacon, you are more than welcome to pop by! (With a little heads up:) )

  9. We had 5 family members die with Covid before the vaccinations became available. I’m still very isolated since I’ve moved to a new city and have no friends, work or organizations yet but I will be entertaining my first guest in 2 years this coming week! So excited! Will I even know how to have a conversation any more???

  10. I am glad to hear that you have travel plans again! I am sorry to hear of your surgeon. I have been glad to not have to wear masks inside, (except for medical facilities). I will be attending a small concert in the next weekend which I am looking forward to.

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