Dear Covid

Dear Covid

By Roman Dial

Dear COVID,

You are simply so random that I don’t know where to start.

Maybe at the beginning in December ‘19 when I got deathly ill after the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco with its 25,000 attendees mixing and breathing all that recycled air where it seemed that one in ten conference-goers came from China?

That sickness put me and Peggy in bed for a week.

Or when you spoiled my book release hopes and dreams?

How about when you threatened to crash my field-work plans?

Or forced me to teach online? Which I hoped I’d never have to do over my 30-year career.

Since you came to town, I’ve spent so much time on my butt in front of a computer screen that I got butt-sores (now calluses) and a right eye that can’t see worth a damn.

Yea COVID, you suck.

The only thing worse had to be the leader of the free world who somehow seemed as if he just wanted to take away freedom and replace it with hate. Between his viral hate and your viral threat keeping everyone home to foment on the internet mind viruses (aka social media) about him and you—well, things just went way out of control.

But there were silver linings: all the wildlife that came to town.

The realization that I take up too much space on a shrinking Earth: Do I need an office miles from home?

A cabin for the weekends?

A place to go workout?

To eat out?

To watch movies?

To see the doctor?

To teach classes?

Do I really need to fly so many miles and be rewarded for it?

How many tanks of gas do I need to shuttle myself around?

How many more buildings do I need that are as often empty as they are occupied, all with heating, plumbing, lighting, and parking?

And other insights, too, that only come from culturus interruptus to status quo: like masks that force me to see only the eyes of the people around me.

Maybe, like some kind of unhealthy relationship that disrupted my other relationships, you showed me that those other relationships were damaging, too.

But of course, the best thing that came out of this year that we will long to, but never can, forget is Poppy, our puppy, now nearly two, who kept us laughing and smiling and playing outside and inside, who seemed to bring as much joy and pleasure as you, COVID, brought isolation, fear, and fatigue.

This is the nature of natural disasters. They can be so very bad that they are good.

Your truly,

Roman

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