Not alone, I’m sure, in finding triggers from life in the time of virus. Electric shock moments that zap me into spaces I don’t want to inhabit anymore.
Having to wear gloves conjures up the horrors of Sunday mornings living with my grandmother. Scratchy crinolines, white cotton gloves, hat of “plastic” braided straw. Elbow in my side if I swung my patent-leathered mary-janed shod feet; harder dig if I forgot the admonishment to never sing the hymnal words aloud.
Face masks/facial coverings bring me back to an air-less, dark bedroom during my time of the “pox;” chicken pox. Endless-baking-soda-mustard-powder-baths. Absolute terror when I read the section on my disease in Doctor Spock’s Baby and Child Care, the 1957 edition – a common baby shower gift from another era. (A voracious, precious reader I gobbled adult books from an early age). “Masks. Gowns. Gloves. Isolate the infected,” as I remember it.
Feeling the anxiety in the air, as thick as any miasmatic virus, as I roam the aisles or wait in line at the grocery store. I approach the necessities of shopping as an adventure; a safari in Jurassic Park. Raptors lurk in the empty paper product shelves; t-rex stalks the meat counter. Brontosaurs munch among the lettuce and tomatoes. These creatures I can handle with my handy sword and shield. It’s the anxiety monster, fed by the panic of everyone in the store, that hovers by the check-out.
Away from other peoples’ vibes, cocooned in my borrowed “shelter in place,” place – I slip into bad habits – beer and potato chips to stave off the un-contemplatable future. Each time I devolve into a frenzy of salt and alcohol, I swear – NEVER AGAIN. Resolve that dissolves in the ennui of afternoons and the need to numb-down the buzzing-dragon-tail-flaying inside my body and my mind.