Things Seem Like They're Getting Bad Again, Yeah?

Here's some COVID advice from someone who spent 18 months alone the first time we did this

Young woman in medical mask stay isolation at home for self quarantine. Concept home quarantine, pre...
the yellow wallpaper

It seems to me like just about everyone’s boyfriend etc. has COVID right now, even though they’ve been triple-vaxxed and were being “super careful.” I don’t believe them, but it’s okay at this point: I’m triple-vaxxed, but I haven’t been super careful since the spring. I wear a mask in stores and on the train, but that’s about it now. I try to be honest, and I’m not a tough-love sort of person. It’s impossible to get tested with any sort of expediency in most cities right now, and if I were a more dogged reporter, I’d probably use this space to say that I think pop-up testing centers like CareCube are mostly criminal enterprises. The Biden administration is not doing a great job of hiding their contempt for people begging for help.

I can’t offer solutions to slow the spread, but I can offer advice on what to do next based on mistakes I made last time I was worried, when I spent nearly 18 months alone with a beautiful bag of dirty laundry in Utah. Please, learn from my mistakes.

Stop buying things. You already bought them last time around.

  • Expensive pajamas don’t make you sleep better (you will be functionally dead while using them, anyway) and they don’t make you look any dreamier to your perceived crushes online. Your crushes are probably off having quarantine sex with other people.
  • This bullet point worked before the world’s end too, but if you’re looking to see who is fucking without you, Venmo is the most detective emoji app there is. People are not taking much care to hide who they’re paying back for that post-coital cigarette on the Venmo feed.
  • If you own one good kitchen knife and a hard surface you can use as a cutting board, you’re probably fine for the culinary experiments segment of the quarantine day. Garlic presses and box graters are so hard to clean.
  • You do not need a work-from-home monitor-and-chair set-up if you intend to lay down all day

Instagram is evil and to be avoided at all costs, but for a different reason than the Senators were told

  • I was doing A LOT of front-facing Instagram Story work last year and when I look at the “memories” tab on there and see what I was up to December 2020, I feel sorry for the girl laying there. I was somehow both wan and puffy, and I do think I lost all sense of self-awareness.
  • It didn’t feel like ego death, though. It felt like boredom, which is maybe what that guy meant when he was talking about the whimper at the end of the world.
  • And then for awhile I was making a lot of TikToks about sneaking Starbucks into the Park City Public Library I was allowed inside for two hours a day, masked in a solo study room, and when that failed to go viral, my feelings got even more hurt.
  • You have to stop buying pants off Instagram.

You’re not going to get better at anything, so you don’t have to do the reading books/doing puzzles charade

  • Seeing friends or going on some dates if you find yourself isolating for mental illness reasons rather than Omicron reasons, at this point, seems much more important than honing any skill or trying to improve yourself alone.

Medicate yourself against all the ills of the world

  • Something for waking, something for mood, something for sleeping, and most important, a new jab in the arm each time each time you can.
  • It’s not ideal, but sure, yeah, I’ll get ten booster shots if they’re free and they offer three percent more protection against my fear of the grocery store each time.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy doesn’t work. I graduated from it many years ago and am still ill. Get some pills.
  • Like CareCube, I find the concept of self care to be a racket, so I’m not going to tell you to try and be easy on yourself or do “opposite action” for overwhelming emotions. I’m not even going to tell you to stop laying down so much.
  • Death is inevitable. Feel old yet? You might as well not do things that make passing time less comfortable in an effort to make it count a little more.
  • We’ve stopped counting.