Chaos Attraction

In Which I Am Around People Again

2020-04-28, 9:50 p.m.

You had to go to Kaiser today.

You had stolen a medical mask from work on the last day and put it in your paper pouch, but you couldn't find it today. Figures. You put on your designated outdoor clothes. You last showered on the 23rd and are due for another one, and suspect you smell a bit, but figured it would be a waste to shower before you go and then need to do a panic shower anyway when you return home. Also, what with all the face masks being required now, are they even going to be able to smell you? Fuck it.

As for masking up: since the ones you ordered weeks ago STILL haven't even SHIPPED yet (you expected late, but they told you they'd arrive at the end of last week before this, and ahem, no,): You put on a paper towel, folded, and over that some cut up pantyhose, and then the towel over that. It was pretty secure, actually. You went out to mail Mom's cards and Reggie the neighbor was going outside. You were going to go back in his direction but said "I'll go the other way." He said, "I have a mask" (it was not on) and you said we have to be paranoid, and "I hate this." Reggie wandered off to do an outside phone call, without a mask on.

You get there five minutes before opening, park where you usually enter, then realize that they've blocked it off with hazmat tape and are limiting where people go in. You drive around and wait in the car until 8:45, waiting to see when people go in. Various people were just sitting around with masks on outside the facility, waiting for it to open. You saw two people who you assume are staff strolling in the back, through an open door, without masks.

When you walk in, it's like a hazmat tunnel. Three nurses at different tables. You tell them what you are in for and hold up your card from a distance. They ask if you have a fever or cough. You say no. They pass you a sticker (what for?) and pass you on. The lady wants to take your temperature and you're all "how am I going to do that? My mouth is so thoroughly covered right now," but they just hold up a gadget to your forehead and deem you fine, and you go in.

Caution tape everywhere. Circles on the ground denoting six feet. Security guard with a mask on. You go to the line for the front counter, where they have six feet away circles to stand on. You realize that once you have to go up to the counter, you can't actually do that. You hold up your medical card and ID, shaking, to the lady, who tells you to sit in Medicine 2. It's the first time you've been near to this many people since March 17.

The water fountains are caution taped off. Most of the chairs have been removed. Ditto the tables and magazines. You try to sit in one far away from the lone other person in Medicine 2, who gets called in shortly after. You're afraid to touch ANYTHING so much as you need to pull out your phone or book to distract yourself, you just sit there folded up as tightly as possible. When the security guard comes to sit at his station, you have to move farther away. You have nothing to do for a half hour but dwell with your panicky thoughts and watch the front counter staff.

For the record: the front counter staff literally only put their face masks on when someone comes up to them to be waited on. Otherwise they have them OFF, hanging around their necks or ears. Some have cloth masks, some have actual surgical ones. They are sitting closely by each other. They are chatting like it's usual. A third woman comes up and her mask is tied at the top but NOT at the bottom, which is hanging open. A fourth woman comes by and she's properly medical masked, but then she walks up, takes it off, and drinks some Starbucks while they all chat. A fifth woman walks by and she's got the mask over her mouth but not her nose.

For the record, the security guard and the random nurses walking by in the halls and the few other patients in here are operating properly. But seriously, the front desk staff?! YOU WORK IN A MEDICAL FACILITY. YOU HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH THIS FOR LONGER THAN I HAVE. WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU JUST ACTING LIKE IT'S ALL COOL AND CASUAL?!?!

"Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake is playing at the counter, which reminds you of the time when you sang that at karaoke, and when you got a sign after that, which makes you sad. How everything has fallen since then. Also, "Here I go again," indeed.

Then you get called in for your shot, by a nurse with no mask, and she's all "Oh yeah, I don't have a mask on, I should get one," (literally) and then, thank gawd, she calls in a properly masked nurse to take care of you. Your usual shot nurse isn't there today and you worry if she's all right (she's definitely over 60) or just retired early or had the day off or what. But this girl from Pediatrics is the only one who seems to be on the ball today, as she actually goes to get gloves before she touches you. Getting this shot is the first time you've been touched since that week in March and will be the last time until you need to get another shot in July. Too bad getting shots isn't exactly a fun touch, but at least the cramps from hell won't come back. She's nice and on the ball, thank god, and you tell her that the entire front desk staff is not masked up properly.

But they're supposed to be, she says, it's mandated as of yesterday, everyone has to have masks on at all times here unless they're alone in their office. I say they are not following it, they're taking them off. She is actually upset and says she will tell people. Normally you're not a stool pigeon sort but under the circumstances....

Anyway, you get out of there, you drive home. Fucking Pitbull, of all people, has written some kind of virus-busting song about beating this that is playing on Sirius. Fucking Pitbull., a guy who you have never exactly thought of as a brain trust, has done this. What a world, what a world we live in. You don't know whether or not you even like this or are just too busy being gobsmacked.

You park your car and see a jogger going by, so you wait to get out until she passes and wait even longer until she goes upstairs to go down the hall. You get inside and you wipe off everything, you take off all of your layers of mask to wash them, you bring your outdoor clothes into the shower with you, down to the pouch you brought your ID cards in and your fanny pack that you kept the phone in even though it was under your shirt the entire time. Paranoia, paranoia.

You try not to cry when you get home. You end up doing so anyway while you write this. You're glad you told work you weren't back on shift again until 10 a.m. so you have some cry time. You listen to your neighbor coughing up a lung again, but now he's sneezing several times as well. Fuck.

In an hour, you have your therapy appointment, you straight up yell at your shrink when she asks why you, of all people, being a crafter, haven't made a mask yet. You yell at her that everything you read about mask making has confused you and broken your brain and you can't deal with it any more. She is unthrilled with that and is all, "How am I supposed to know that everyone's asking you that?" (I dunno, logic?! you think, but don't say it aloud.) She says you can choose to be butthurt about something or choose to do something differently, and she doesn't think it's helping you to choose butthurt and that you're making assumptions. You say this is true, but you can't exactly know the difference between ghosting/disappearing/"go away Jennifer" hints and any other options that may be going on either, so what are you supposed to think? You're just not sure if doing anything is a good idea or not, or just going to get ignored and you get even madder. You can vacillate on this fucking shit all day, but instead you later go watch this video instead (deck #3).

Later, your new online friend Claire offers to send you a mask. You take her up on it.

I have no explanation as to why I had to write that in second person, but I did. Wouldn't continue to be written while in first person, anyway.

In other news:

(a) My missing book that I thought was stolen was delivered today, with a knock on the door and everything. I gave a good report to USPS for that. Not sure what happened, but it's here!.... and now I wait a week to open the package. (Happily, webcam is lost in the ether? Fingers crossed!)

(b) I had a nice conversation with my boss about various stuff, including the possibility of electronic Important Documents actually happening in the future, which would be GREAT and something we desperately need. I don't know how the money is going to go, but I guess other Big Shot Offices I deal with are having some effect? I wish I'd been invited to this meeting about it, mind you (then again, that was when I was at Kaiser), but still, yay. On the other hand, we discussed how Grandboss thinks we're going to be able to mail international stuff that needs to come to our office first. I asked if she had ANY way to work that out and that appears to be "optimism!!!!" because Grandboss is already plotting that we will go back to the office soon. (This seems especially strange since she moved to effing Ohio!) To which my boss and I were all, uh, have you READ the news?! No, that's not happening! We discussed how technically the SIP in this county is running out as of May 1, and I verified that they have said they are going to extend it on the website, but haven't given a new 'deadline" yet.

(c) I got ripped two assholes today over email. One of them was from Tigress, of all the surprises. She handed me a new thing to process--okay, fine, not hard--and then I was all, do I tell her it's done and have her proofread or what, or is she going to give me crap and say "Did you email Person A to do her part yet?" instead? I reasonably assumed I would be given some crap and emailed Person A, and then Tigress told me I have to kiss ass and suck up (basically) to Person A when asking her to do something ("she's doing us a favor"). Uh....isn't that part of the job? Like normally when I email her about most tech stuff, it's "Hey, can you get to the whatever sometime? Thanks in advance."

And speaking of Person A, I unfortunately had to email her about something else that she is always a prize pain in the ass about. It's something that I rarely have to ever deal with (say, once every 3-4 years and suddenly this year there's multiple requests for this dumb thing right now, and frankly, I don't remember how the hell it's supposed to go when someone suddenly wants it) and she is nitpicking the everloving shit about the entire thing and ripping me a new one for every step of the request. Goddamn. You know what? Someday I am going to disappear where no other people can ever find me, and none of these people who have complaints about me will ever be able to make any again. And that will be glorious.

Well, at least I actually had like an hour or two to get my own work done, as the email pile was either slow or handled by Tigress by the time I got back to work. So there is that. I also emailed Hamster Girl about the hamster playset I saw yesterday and she said that hamster #5 had died and she has given up on hamsters. Alas, if I could only make her kid this set, then the hamster will never die.... Well, maybe in a few years.

In other activities, I signed up for some online survey chronicling coronavirus trauma with daily surveys (whee, fun!?) and filled out some NYT survey on being alone. I called my cousin Linda since she tried to call me yesterday during work, and we talked for nearly two hours. She basically feels like I do about virus things, i.e. Not Leaving The House and crying a lot and doing a lot of crafting. So that went well. Nice to actually have a relative who wants to talk to me. I did suggest Zoom in the future, so we'll see. Mom also emailed me video of Aidan opening his birthday presents. Robert wants to rehearse with me and Brian again tomorrow.

I watched Homebound, Episode 1: Connect! today. Here is more about it.

"“Craig’s character is getting ready for a Zoom work call, and he’s made a tragic mistake,” Rilette said. “He calls his friend Maboud to help, but Maboud also has recently been to a conference where someone was sick and has a slight cough and is a little worried about himself. The whole thing is set back on March 16 right as we all started to quarantine.” The "tragic mistake" is that Craig has somehow turned himself into a potato, which is a fun thing to watch even as Maboud starts to develop a cough. I enjoyed it and look forward to more of this experiment.

But anyway, while I watched this, I was thinking about The Deconstruction and what to do for it, and thought, "Maybe I could write a script...." I haven't signed up to make it official yet, but god knows today alone would make a vlog entry script...

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