We’re All Mad Here

 

I wear masks. Disposable. Cotton print. Functional. Boring.

When I ordered them, I thought the plague, and thus the mode of dress, would be temporary.

Seeing no end to the madness, however, I’ve decided to dress in style.

To an English major, style looks like like this.

 

Shakespeare knew about plagues. He lived through them.

The article ‘He Didn’t Flee’: Shakespeare And The Plague begins this way:

During the 16th century, a young couple in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, lost two of their children to the bubonic plague.

The pair barricaded themselves inside to protect their 3-month-old son — William Shakespeare. . . . 

Waves of the bubonic plague killed at least a third of the European population across centuries. A year or so before Shakespeare wrote “Romeo and Juliet,” a powerful plague struck London in 1593.

Theatres closed for 14 months and 10,000 Londoners died, says Columbia University professor and author James Shapiro.

The writer reminds us that the ending of Romeo and Juliet turns on the plague: Friar Lawrence sends a message to Romeo in Mantua that Juliet isn’t really dead. But his emissary, Friar John, is suspected of lodging in an infected house and is quarantined–and so Romeo never gets the message. And believing Juliet is dead, he kills himself; seeing him dead, Juliet kills herself. . . .

Shakespeare lived because his parents quarantined themselves. Two of his characters died because a third was quarantined by the authorities.

I’ve been mostly barricaded in my home for twenty months, leaving to go only to medical appointments. The same for my husband; he picks up groceries at curbside. We get a lot of meds through the mail.

I’m grateful I’m in a position to stay home. I’m grateful for workers who make it possible for me to have food and other necessities.

I’m grateful for vaccines and boosters, for scientists who develop them and people who take them.

I’m grateful for masks and people who wear them.

Shakespeare was right about so many things. I wish he were right about this: We shall every One be mask’d. 

If everyone were, maybe we could stop being masked sooner.

The next stylish mask I’m going to order quotes the Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carroll‘s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

We’re all mad here.

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As always, I’m delighted when readers comment. But comments claiming that wearing masks or refusing vaccination limits freedom, or anything of that ilk, will be deleted. Too many people have died, too many are behaving responsibly in an attempt to stay alive and to keep others alive. Feel free to disagree with me, but do it on your own blog. 

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Illustration by John Tenniel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

#AtoZChallenge 2020: V Is for Vision, Victims, & Videos

Regarding vision: I need new glasses.

I purchased the ones I’m wearing three years ago, about a year after completing several months of chemotherapy. I’m not surprised that my vision has changed since then. I am surprised that distance vision has improved.

I take my glasses off when I drive, a no-no in the sight of the law. If the DMV ever opens again, I’m going to run right down, take the test, and get the corrective lenses restriction taken off my license.

If the ophthalomologist ever opens again, I’m going to run right down and get a new prescription—clear glass (polycarbonate?), with a near vision bifocal.

Although, who knows? Given enough time, maybe the near vision will straighten itself out, too.

Regarding victims: I’m not one.

I’m sitting in my living room with husband and cats, a view of trees and grass, occasionally a dog leashed to its walker, squirrels skittering by. TV, laptop, e-reader, wi-fi. Food on the shelf and on order, retailers ready to ship or deliver. Taking care of myself, being taken care of.

I’m not having the time of my life. I miss sitting in a coffee shop with my critique group, attending Sisters in Crime meetings, wandering through bookstores, going to movies, doing what I want, when I want. I need a haircut and some new clothes, or I would need new clothes if I were going anywhere.

I’m classed as high-risk, so venturing out can be scary. I’m sad. I’m worried. Some days I’m depressed. I can’t imagine a future any different from today.

I’m angry at government corruption and mismanagement and negligence in the face of the pandemic. I’m angry at ignorance and stupidity and selfishness and cruelty displayed by people old enough and smart enough to do better. I’m angry at the arrogance of Rugged Individualists who proclaim that the government has no responsibility at all in this crisis, that each person is responsible for his own survival, period.

In fact, I’m a lot of things.

But so what?

I haven’t lost my job. I’m not waiting for an overdue unemployment check  or worrying that my business will fail. I’m not a single parent homeschooling my children while working from home, or while not working at all.

I’m not a doctor or nurse or respiratory therapist. I don’t clean hospital rooms or keep the A/C operating. I don’t do other essential work and wonder if my mask and gloves are protecting me, and whom I need protection against.

A friend’s mother has died of COVID-19. A former student, now a medical doctor, has COVID. A cousin can’t visit her husband at the nursing home where he lives; they’ve been married more than sixty years, and she can’t visit him.

I haven’t lost someone I love. I haven’t been barred from seeing someone I love.

My husband is here with me and he’s well.

I’m bored, and I need a haircut.

If I want to be a victim, I’ll have to come up with a lot better excuse than that.

Regarding videos: Laughter may not be the best medicine, but it’s good for the immune system and the emotions and can be an effective painkiller, and a movie that makes you laugh is a joy forever.

My favorite old joys forever:

The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

My Fellow Americans

And a favorite new joy, The Imposters. It’s so funny, it ought to be old.*

*The Imposters was released in 1998, but I didn’t hear about it for a long time.

My Fellow Americans was released in 1996, so maybe it’s new.