log: 바다 백수

Well, shit. It’s been a minute.

Since we last spoke, I decided I might have pulled the trigger a little early on the whole surrender to the weather thing. It hasn’t actually been that hot or humid. Warm, to be sure, but hardly suffocating. Of course, that all changed last night. 92% humidity and the raw temperature just kept rising through the entire night. And today? Summer arrived.

Been a strange few weeks. Finished the first of my summer classes. Whatever. Like, don’t get me wrong, I like school, but I also sort of hate it. Whole academic industry seems largely like a pyramid scheme to me. But, apparently, my brain needs a license so . . .

The odd thing is, since a lot of the restrictions have lifted, and the COVID numbers are in steady decline, it feels like I just moved to Busan a couple of weeks ago. I’ve felt fine popping into random restaurants, going to things, lingering, so on and so forth. While wearing a mask indoors in crowds, obviously. That’s just how it is now. I don’t even mind. I’m used to the thing and usually wear it outdoors too. It’s easier than carrying it and remembering to put it on when I go indoors. Wife and I even took in a baseball game.

Giants won that one. 13-0. It was an amazing bunch of fun. We had seats in the cheering section so I danced a lot. I have not danced that much in years. I’d like to learn the songs.

It doesn’t feel exactly like I just moved here. I mean, it sort of does. What it feels like is – you know a person online for a few years then meet in person and develop an IRL relationship. It’s that sort of feeling. The place isn’t as alien as it was when I first moved here (not by a long shot) but I’m also, really, just starting to get to know it. And I like it. I love it here.

I’m hunting down dumplings and noodles

I’ve also taken up jogging outdoors. I want to lose some bulk and gain some strength. I’ve always favored full body functional exercises to isolations. I also just enjoy running. I mean, sprinting (or trying to) makes me feel like a little kid. I started off running at night, which I like, but over the last week, without school to worry about, I’ve adjusted my schedule. Reason being? The beach! Swimming. After living here since fall 2019, I finally got into the water!

These days, I jog down to the beach, take a swim, and jog home. It’s about a 3.5km run to the beach and longer than that home. The difference is in the hill. It’s 2.25km down the hill. I don’t like to run all the way down it and I sure can’t run all the way up it. (I’m trying motherfucker, I AM TRYING.) So, all in all, about 7km run during the day (approximately 9km including the walk) and a swim in the middle. I wear a 3.5 kilo backpack. Wear a mask.

Let’s dox myself.

So this is the part of Busan where I live and I’ve marked about where I live.

If you look to the far right and back, that’s the beach I typically run to and home from. There’s another little beach along the coast that I like. It’s a little tough to get to but usually empty except for old people gathering seaweed. But it’s pretty rocky. And if there’s waves, it turns into a white froth and would turn me into a red pulp. So that one is not always on.

But I have a snorkel and mask for when it is. And I forage some seaweed for food. Like, I mean, if the ocean is just going to give that shit away, you’d be a fool not to take it.

If you want to see pictures, Instagram is probably your best bet.

Wife hates me, of course. While she’s at work, I’m on the beach. I mean, I would kill me. Luckily, she’s not that petty and as long as I still complete my housework, schoolwork, run the errands, and all of that background work that supports her career, we’re good.

I just wish she could come to the beach with me during the week when it’s a little less populated. She might be getting a job where she works weekends and has a couple of weekdays off instead. I hope so. She’d never had a job like that so she’s nervous about a lack of weekends. I, on the other hand, have never had weekends. The times I’ve joined mainstream society and had to endure weekends? I fucking hate them. They’re the worst.

This whole week my days have been reading, writing, running, swimming, chores, errands, batting cage, woods, baseball, new dumpling spots, and even a trip to the tailor. (I’ve decided I need at least one summer suit and I’m having a linen one made. More on that at a later date, probably.) Right now, my major problem is – I would like a pair of swim trunks I can run in or a pair of running shorts that I can swim in. Something that will dry out pretty quick. I’d like to be able to lighten that backpack a little.

And, I’d also like to get a few more subscribers to The Doomtown Gazette. It’s good right now –like, honestly, if you subscribe, thanks so much, it rally helps and is really appreciated, you folks actually keep my bank account functioning– but three more subscribers and I think I could justify subscribing to a certain AI illustrator that I like. And that shit? That would be like me getting a drum machine. I could work with that!

It’s a very happy time, right now. Like deeply happy. It can’t possibly last. But what does?

log: surrender

Surrender is an underrated skill. Maybe because it’s easy. Might be because it threatens one’s ego. When you’re fighting, you have to defeat someone else. When you surrender, you defeat yourself. On purpose. But knowing when and how to surrender important.

Sometimes, you just need to give the fuck up.

After spending last summer struggling through the heat, trying to figure out how to maintain myself and my sense of myself, until I finally dissolved into some sort of punk mess, I decided that this year I was going to just say fuck it and give up. Surrender early, surrender hard, and don’t look back. The second the heat came, my fucks would go.

The heat came. The humidity came.

And I waved the white flag.

But surrendering took some preparation. I was able to prepare. Last summer I saw how uncomfortable I felt with the sort of preppy look that emerged when I just tried to dress down. I was so much happier when I just let myself become a mess and de-prepped with some punk patches.

So this year I, at least, have some idea where this is all going. Having decided on surrender, I was able to get ready for it. Bought some t-shirts. Ol’ Dirty Bastard and The Fall and some others in the mail. These should do me for years.

I’m still trying to figure out the whole legs situation. I have a grand total of three pairs of summer pants –one of which doesn’t fit and another which is white– and four pairs of shorts. So I’m good on the shorts front. Think I could probably use another couple pairs of pants. I’ll have to experiment. Due to the rain, it’ll be good to be able to roll them up.

And I need to figure out something with footwear. I need something waterproof.

But, all in all, I feel pretty much ready.

Other than that, my gym membership expired and, well, I’m not going to renew it. I like having a gym in my life but that place was getting too crowded. Too many people for the space they had and the hours they kept. On top of that, the staff (two body builders) routinely hogged the machines. Like, I hate being like ‘the staff shouldn’t do that’ and Satan knows, I do not subscribe to ‘the customer is always right’ but, like, if there’s a shortage of space and I’m paying, I don’t want to have to wait for a worker to finish with their program before I begin mine. When they started asking customers to move so they could work out? Well, fuck it, I’m done. That never happened to me but I don’t even want the stress of thinking it could happen or seeing it happen. So I’m back to working out in the woods.

I’m also thrilled that I finally got close enough to a sound I always hear in the summer to get an ID on it from my bird call app. It’s a Northern Boobook. A sort of brown hawk owl.

Almost certain!

I’m also trying my hand (or my feet?) at some running. Never really done much running and what I’ve done has always been on a treadmill. Now I’m running on the Haeundae Blue Line. Basically 3-5km runs. To do the 5k means walking about 4km to get to where I start and, after I finish, I have to climb the hill/mountain to get home. But I’m liking it. I’m also trying to get up this hill/mountain that I live on. That’s going to take some work, I think.

after first 5k

I got myself a little backpack and that helps. Haven’t had a backpack since high-school. Honestly, I’m thrilled with the thing for my exercises, Can carry my skipping rope, water, a towel, phone, wallet, headphones, all that shit, and keep my hands free.

This summer, I’m looking forward to running down to one of the beaches and jumping in the water for a swim. Assuming, you know, we’re not in the middle of a plague or some such.

My studies are going well. I’m enjoying my summer classes.

As far as the plague goes, the outdoor mask restrictions were lifted a few weeks ago but the vast majority, myself included, are still wearing ours. There’s not really much of a noticeable difference on the streets, though life and hustle and bustle is returning to the city. And The Mystery Library finally reopened – two days a week– and that gives me a nice place to get out and do some reading with a coffee. So I’m happy with that.

Things are decent.

log: suicide sprints

Odd midnight trip to the woods. I met another human, which is incredibly rare. We chatted. Well, we tried to. His English and my Korean are both abysmal. We managed to discuss animals. We walked together to the outdoor exercise area.

I’d brought my skipping rope into the woods. Although I go to the gym, this summer, I want to add some night-time cardio. Long and short of that is I don’t want to bulk up as much as I have been. I’m going to adjust some of my routines for more of a focus on speed, agility, strength, balance, and endurance. I want to lose a little bit of mass without losing strength.

At the exercise zone, while I skipped, he ran through boxing drills. It’s a testament to the safety of this country that I was alone in a dark forest with a stranger who was punching the air and, not once, was I concerned for my safety. It was just social.

Then this maniac wanted to do suicide sprints on the badminton court. Basically you run to one end, touch the line with your hand, run back, do the same, and you keep doing that. Sounds easy enough. Try it, sometime.

We did 15 three minute rounds of suicides together with one minute breaks. I mean, fucking hell. Now, I usually don’t do 15 sets of anything. My basic workout philosophy is, if you can do more than five sets of a thing, you aren’t going hard enough. I don’t know if that’s a good philosophy but it works for me and gives me a frame to operate in. So 15? I only made it through because having a partner makes it easier. And, well, I also hate to lose in that sort of competition. Well, I don’t mind losing but it won’t be for lack of trying. I’ll be a puddle before I quit. When I said that I was going to be sore tomorrow, he taught me some strange but effective breathing exercises. They seemed like Tai Chi but I really don’t know what they were. But you could really feel the breath in your stomach. We finished up, became “sports friends”, and exchanged numbers. He likes sports. We might play catch!

And we walked out together. So, an odd thing about the woods, a thing that I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned, is that the forest where I walk is full of graves. Mound burials. The odd tombstone but usually just large unmarked mounds where people are buried. The woods is basically a cemetery. We walked past two or three mound burials on the way out. He pulled out his phone and started playing Thriller. So he’s a comedian, I guess.

We saw some cops driving around and we goofed on the police for a while. That’s important. A basic contempt for police is vital. It’s something I take for granted in a friend.

So yeah. Odd trip out. And, damn, I’m sore.

In other news, the outdoor mask mandate was lifted today — except in certain environments. I’m going to keep wearing mine. Mainly, I don’t feel like digging around in my pocket to find my mask when I need it. And it’s not like it’s hard to wear or anything so . . .

log: final (hopefully)

벌레 일지 WORMDATE: 16,471,940(+118,504): 834(-16): 21,354(+130 )(0.13%)

On Monday, South Korea lifted all virus related restrictions with the exception of the mask mandate. No curfews, no size limits. The disease level of COVID has been downgraded to the level of cholera and tuberculosis. Hospitals are returning to regular medical function and the president has thanked medical workers for their service. This will, hopefully, be the last 벌레 일지. Hopefully. I remember how badly the last return to normal went so . . .

All and all though, if this is it, I have to say, I feel very lucky to have rode this nightmare out in South Korea. That’s not to say the response has been perfect. In a lot of ways, it could have been better. But, overall, I think the country has done well. We did get hit hard by Delta and then Omicron – one of which fucked with the vaccines and the other, which fucked with vaccines and also spread too fast for Trace, test, and treat to keep up with. Some bad luck.

very early days

The longer this thing dragged on, the less effective the interventions became. Some of that is probably due to uncharted waters. In the early days, South Korea had a lot of experience with SARS and MERS and a playbook to deal with these sorts of things. But, as it wore on, that playbook, which was geared towards elimination, started to get a bit obsolete. Like we did get it down to zero cases in 2020 (I think) but fat lot of fucking good that’s going to do when so much of the world was determined to do nothing at all. Well, that’s being generous. A lot of the world did less that nothing. In some cases, nothing might have been better. Too often leaders just lied, did exactly the wrong thing on purpose, and deliberately, belligerently squandered just about every chance to fix the situation as a matter of policy.

Not that I’m bitter. But I am.

So we now have a much worse version of the flu floating around and that’s just how it is now. At some point, we had a chance to eliminate this thing. That ship has sailed. We’re stuck with a new disease. This COVID thing is endemic.

That word gets tossed around a lot. Often it’s used to mean something like ‘better than pandemic.’ But endemic doesn’t mean a disease is mild or even under control. It just means that you can’t get rid of the fucker. Malaria and AIDS are also endemic. COVID being endemic is not a triumph. It never should have been a goal. It’s a huge fuck up.

But it is what it is. And it’s where we are.

very early days

So where are we? I’d say in about the same situation as before. With a disease, you have 3 big factors: host, virus, and environment.

The host has been toughened up through the vaccines and immunity. The virus remains a bit of a fucking wildcard, spreading through humans and animal reservoirs, and still very capable of some very scary mutations — any one for which might render the toughening of the host moot, and toss us back to square one, but more tired, fucked up, and in worse shape than before. Our best chance at dealing with this situation is about the same as it always has been. We need to modify the environment.

What exactly that means changes but, in general, our environment has to become less hospitable to contagious respiratory infections.

That means some relatively simple things like cleaning and ventilation. It also means some social measures. Allowing remote work, reducing class sizes, and generally better funding of social programs. Better healthcare, elder care, and more rights for the vulnerable and the disabled. There also needs to be better and more sick time. Sick time needs to be expanded, paid, and encouraged. Workers should also have health and safety committees that operate outside of management and have real authority. Workers should be able to shut workplaces down at the blow of a whistle. Fuckery from bosses needs to be limited.

On the level of prevention, I think the WHO needs much better funding and a more robust surveillance network. We also need to reduce and better regulate the human nature interface –particularly in farming–and pull back a bit from the wild world while making the tame world more sustainable and capable of running without so much extraction and exploitation. Zoonotic diseases are no joke. And as long as we keep pressing hard into the wild, more of these things are coming. Worse ones. Bleed through your eyes ones.

To my mind, all of these things were good ideas before COVID and remain good ideas now. With or without a pandemic, they’d make for a better society. The resistance to most of them from bosses who make a buck off low taxes, bad regulations, and inequality is to be expected. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why anyone else would object.

The world is pretty shit. A better one is possible. Like, not for anyone currently alive. It will all worse for us until the day we die. That’s how it will be no matter what we do. As shit as these last few years have been, this is still ‘the good old days.’ It’s all going to get much worse than we think much sooner than we expect. But that’s no reason avoid start fixing things. If anything, it’s a reason to start fixing things. I mean, seems to me, you want it to be ‘gets worse before it gets better’ situation instead of a ‘gets worse before it gets even worse’ situation’ but what the fuck do I know. Improvement is possible. It always has been and always will be. At least, until it just totally isn’t. And I don’t think it requires millions of deaths to see that improvement is also needed. If anything, I think those deaths make it all more difficult. But this is the hand we’re dealt so we just have to play it, I guess.

log: dogday

벌레 일지 WORMDATE: 15,424,598(+90,928): 1,099(-15): 19,679(+258 )(0.13%)

The week . . . Was it last week? One of these weeks got off to a pretty ridiculous start. Woke up early, planning to get a bunch done before noon and then head to the gym. First thing I did? Sat on my glasses. Broke them. Next thing I did? Looked for a backup pair, then took my glasses in to get fixed. They’ll be ready soon. 2 weeks to fix but it’s free.

Of course, this means I’m dealing with an obsolete but still better than nothing prescription. Adds a much needed extra little a bit of difficulty and annoyance to everything. Squinting through my readings and codings, developing headaches. It’s a lot of fun. But whatever. It’s irritating. I’ll live. (He hopes.) And no sympathy for self-inflicted wounds!

Aside from that, things are good. I have a few t-shirts arriving from Etsy. (I bought those well before the strike and, if you don’t know, Etsy is on strike so don’t cross the picket line and don’t scab.) After last summer, I’ve decided to just give up now. Summer will be a mess.

I might be a bit too eager to be a mess though.

On way home from gym.

I jumped the gun a bit today.

In my defense, strange weather. It was somehow both cool and stuffy. Like a little chilly but still humid. You could feel the heat tense and ready to pounce but not the heat itself.

It would have been too hot inside of any of my winter suits. The all-seasons? I’m having a wee bit of a problem where I’m getting a bit too muscular for them. My tailor invited me to take my shirts in so she can take them out. I really should try to get that done this week.

The heat is coming.

Also, Davy Jr. turned 16 today.

I love this fucking dog.

log: COVID DIARY CYCLE 3:

벌레 일지 WORMDATE: 12,350,428(+347,554): 1,215(-58): 14,294(+237)(0.12%)

COVID DIARY CYCLE 3:

Our seven day quarantine ended on Sunday night. Wife is feeling much better though still a little tired and unwell. I’m feeling fine. Took another test. Still negative.

It’s nice to be able to get out of the apartment again. Just being allowed to leave feels good. That alone was enough to lift my spirits and clear the malaise.

All in all, it was a draining week. You’d think that being stuck at home would help me do schoolwork but it had quite the opposite effect. My attention was generally split. Having my wife on Zoom pretty much constantly helped in a lot of ways, particularly once she started feeling better but was still stuck in the bedroom, but it was also exhausting. Also any sort of diet we may have been on (not really a diet, just sort of decent eating) fell apart. Junk food became a highlight. I’m so sick of food right now. I don’t even want to look at food.

Typically, I would now be in a mad frenzy to get caught back up with my schoolwork but I’m not going to stress it. I work ahead just in case of things like this so I didn’t fall behind. I can get caught up to where I want to be pretty easily. I don’t need to knock myself out.

Aside from that, I emerged to see that it’s the most disgusting time of the year. Life is returning. Birds are fucking in the cherry blossoms. Life is getting reproducing itself so that it might continue on another pointless orbit of eating and fornicating around the sun. The only solace spring offers is that soon it all be worse. Hotter, humid. Just gross.

log: COVID CYCLE 2

벌레 일지 WORMDATE: 11,162,232(+339,514): 1,085(+4): 14,294(+393)(0.13%)

COVID DIARY CYCLE 2:

What day did this start? Monday evening, I think. It’s Friday. Friday? Already?

I had to leave the house yesterday. If you’re a close contact, it’s recommended that within three days you get a test. It’s also recommended that you don’t go out. So choose? Although I’ve been assuming that I have it in terms of my relations with the outside world, inside the apartment, I’ve been doing everything I can to avoid catching it. But, if I tested positive, Wife could leave the bedroom, so I headed down to the clinic and got tested. Cost me 5000W or $4.11. Had my results in 15 minutes. Negative. I’m still fine. Though that was yesterday.

That was actually my first test of this entire pandemic. That’s both a testament to my ability (privilege) in being able to basically stay the fuck home, and to the government’s excellent management of this crisis. For a long time, catching corona in Korea was pretty farfetched, if you followed orders, which pretty much everyone did. Until recently, the tracing has also been good enough to tell you if you’d been exposed and needed a test. I haven’t had any hobbies or occupations that required a test, nor had I been exposed –that I know of– until this Monday. So I made it pretty far before being tested. But that’s done now.

I’ve heard people complain about getting that thing shoved up their nose. Can’t say it bothered me. People are just so fucking dramatic. It wasn’t fun but it wasn’t that bad.

How Wife and I are communicating.

Aside from all that, I’ve been sleeping a little better. The situation at home is wearying. I’m not all that worried about Wife’s health at the moment –she seems to be improving– but there is a bit of effort in caregiving, a bit of tension in trying to avoid Covid and not being sure if you got it or not, and the whole thing makes it hard to focus.

The caregiving is probably the easiest part. That’s just a lot of dropping food and tea off at the door, and being on call. It feels a little strange to give care in this way. Until Covid, locking a sick person away to avoid getting sick hasn’t really been standard in our house. It’d probably even be considered selfish. So that feels odd. But it’s also fairly typical of what the pandemic has been like – it kind of demands the opposite of what you’re used to and the opposite of what might feel right. At the very moment we needed to be together and needed coordinated action, we all had to be apart. Whole fucking thing is like baseball. Every movement is unnatural and backwards. A ball comes fast at you? Go straight at it!

The tension of not knowing whether not I’ve caught it yet, is probably the most tiring thing. It’s not like I spend much time actually thinking about it but the question is always there – a sort of humming uncertainty in the back of my head. It makes it generally more difficult to focus, makes my sleep a little less restful, and, all in all, fucks with my concentration. Some part of me is always paying attention to my body. Is that a cough? Sore throat? So on.

I can’t believe that it’s already Friday. I can’t believe how little I’ve done this week.

On top of that heightened awareness of my body, the whole thing has run me down. And also there’s a lot of yellow dust right now. So having those windows always open means breathing in a lot of this stuff

Today’s air.

That’ll give you a sore throat and stuffy nose. Generally, when the dust is like this, we’re supposed to keep the windows closed. But that’s 2022 for you. Balance the outdoor pollutions with the indoor diseases. Smoke or sick, a mask helps either way.

But the preventative measures are fairly easy. And I think that negative test shows that they have some utility too. Distance, ventilation, bleach, masks, vaccines. Been the same shit from the start. Following them is pretty easy. Though I do get a little frustrated because I don’t think COVID was, as far as pandemics go, all that difficult to manage. For things to have gotten as bad as they’ve gotten? That took a lot of aggressive stupidity. It took a lot of greed, a lot of ignorance, a lot of anger, and a lot of just plain fucking around. For this thing to kill so many people and do so much damage? Whole societies have to deliberately and stubbornly do the wrong thing, wake up and do it again, until, finally, it’s all just completely out of control. Shit was fucked up. Shit is fucked up. None of it was necessary but most of it was inevitable.

log: COVID DIARY CYCLE 1:

벌레 일지 WORMDATE: 10.41M(+475,276): 1,104(-26): 13,141(+384 )(0.13%)

COVID DIARY CYCLE 1:

They say you should always treat people how you want to be treated. So I’ve started announcing dinner time by clanging a fork against a metal tray of food and shouting “CHOW TIME, PATIENT 420-69!” Then I leave the tray outside the door and scurry back to The Purity Zone. Patient 420-69 will send me a message when she’s done.

It’s easier to think of her as Patient 420-69 than as my wife, or really even as her, or human or anything. Really, I should start using “it.” At any rate, it has a good appetite tonight.

It has five pills to take three times a day and more pills if those pills don’t work.

Day One has been a nightmare although things seem to be settling down a little now. During First Cycle plus Some, I only had three hours of sleep and those three hours were garbage.

Stress about a water heater, mainly. You see, we were supposed to get a new water heater today. Ours dates back to the Chosun era, it is perhaps the oldest water heater in Korea, and, as such, it just doesn’t work. Been a winter of cold showers mixed with the odd blast of scalding hot. But we can’t actually talk to our landlord. We have to go through Wife’s boss to speak to the landlord. And the Landlord speaks no English and my Korean is shit.

Now, it’s kind of like Wife’s boss is renting the place and we’re subletting it from her but, not really, and I don’t want to go into the weeds on the numerous differences between the Korean rental market and what North Americans are accustomed to. But, what’s relevant is, the landlord and the boss are always fighting. These two women hate each other’s guts.

And here we are in the middle of that.

Boss or Landlord? Pick your fighter!

But with the positive Covid test, we can’t have anyone in the apartment. We are bound by law. So last night, we asked the boss to call the landlord and tell her to cancel coming today. Or, at least, let her know about the test result and that there was a sick person here. I mean, if she and everyone else involved wanted to chance it knowing about that, I’m not going to stop her. But she has to know. That’s only fair, right? That’s only decent, right?

Boss refuses to do that. She’s like “it’s fine”, which is her general attitude towards everything that doesn’t directly affect her. And I’m like, “pretty sure it’s not fine at all” which is my general attitude towards everything. And I’m not going to lie for her. I’m not going to coverup a covid case. Aside from the plain fucking immorality, that’s the sort of shit that could get us thrown in jail or kicked out of the country or both. I don’t even have anything to gain except, maybe, a week of hot water. I can make fucking do. My goal in any crisis is to navigate it without embarrassing myself too badly. I am not with this ridiculous little caper at all.

The whole thing is just so completely stupid and petty. And it’s just the sort of thing that you know is going to be a problem. All night, I could see the problem coming. The problem would arrive at 9:30AM. The maddening thing is that it’s such an easily avoidable problem. It could have been avoided with one phone call. I’m pissed at the boss. Like, we don’t have enough going on with the whole covid thing, she has to add this shit to our lives? And because I want to keep this place even after my wife switches jobs, I tell my wife, “look, I am throwing your boss under the bus on this one.” That’s fine. We’re in agreement. Fuck this.

So I write a note in Korean. I can speak a very little bit but I can write more, and with the help of translate, I can kind of get across what I want to say most of the time. I write and print a note. And wait. And wait. And can’t sleep. And 9:30 comes.

A workman comes to the door. I thought it was going to be the landlord installing the heater. I give him the note. He reads it. Makes a call. And he’s out. No muss, no fuss. He’s happy I told him, it’s no big deal, they can come back when the quarantine is over. Fine. Cool.

I go back inside and relax. That was surprisingly simple. I feel a weight lifted off my back. Even feel a little proud of myself, as one does when they do the right thing.

Then the doorbell. And there’s the landlord. And she’s pissed.

I give her the note. And she loses her damn mind.

And after a while of that, I’m like, it is what it is. But she’s put the note in her purse and I’m like please give me the note back. Because, I had to put things on paper but I HATE LEAVING EVIDENCE. She pulls it out and starts to hand it to me but gets suddenly suspicious and stubborn. And she doesn’t want to give me the note back. So I’m like, this is something I’m saying to you, not something I want you to present to my wife’s boss. Like, if the boss asks, I’ll tell her and I’ll tell her straight, but I don’t want my side of things represented to her by her nemesis. Would you? Like, our visas depend on work.

We end up in a tug of war over the note. In the hall. A physical tug of war. Me and this little old lady! And she’s doing this sort of very loud, fake crying, shouting thing that people sometimes do here. I do not like that noise. I’m immune to tears, fake or otherwise, but especially fake. Tears do nothing for me. So I’m like – “why are you like this?”

And I end up snatching the note from her hand. We argue for a while longer. I don’t even know what the hell we’re arguing about. But we are really having a good time of it. I’m all like — “What, you want to get sick? You want Corona? Why? Why? What’s wrong with you?” I don’t know what she was saying. I’m sure it was pretty fucking awesome.

My previous sly pride in doing the right thing?

It’s fading rapidly.

Fighting with an old woman in a hallway will do that.

So, anyway, I’m just like, fine, fuck this. I leave. I go inside. I walk to the window. She’s in the yard, staring up at the window. And I’m like . . . The fuck? Like what is even happening?

Wife tells me she has her medical test report. I’m like, maybe if I show her that, we can make some sense out of all this noise. So I grab that and head downstairs. I find her in the yard and I show her the paper. I tell her to take a picture of it. She’s like, naw, that’s cool.

And then things are just like fine. We talk. She tells me she knows that I’m true, that I’m being honest, and she’s not mad with me. But she spent two hours in traffic and one on the subway to get here. And I’m like, yeah, I get it. That’s why we wanted the boss to tell you.

She makes a call, I’m like – do you want a cup of green tea? And she’s like yes. So I go upstairs, make her a cup of tea, bring it down. But she doesn’t want the tea. She has to leave. But she apologizes for losing her temper and I apologize for losing mine, and we end up exchanging numbers, and setting up another day to do this thing.

I think that we’re friends now?

log: Covid Comes Home

9,582,815(+209,169): 1,030(+97): 12,757(+329)(0.13%)

Case numbers have started to rapidly decline here. Means we’re probably past the Omicron peak. But, in some ‘one day before retirement’ type shit, Wife has caught COVID.

After a couple of rapid antigen home tests missed it, a test at the doctor’s office caught it. They gave her a huge bag of pills (free of charge, thank you, South Korea) and sent her home. Right now, she’s sick in bed. Quarantine for the next 7 days, if all goes well.

I still feel fine. Tired and I bit of a headache but that could just be how I usually feel, and it could be a lot of things. I’m assuming that if she’s got it. I’ve got it –partly because that’s what she’s been shouting at me for two months (“IF I GOT IT YOU GOT IT”) and partly because, well, I’m locked indoors in a one bedroom with Covid.

So, we’re stuck at home for at least a week. With me bleaching door-handles and the like because, yeah, if I don’t already have it, I’m probably catching it. But I’m sure af not trying to.

In practical terms, this means masking, handwashing, distance, locking Wife away in the bedroom, and bleaching surfaces. It also means leaving a window open, having the aircon fan on. But because it’s still fairly chilly here, currently 6도, the heat is also on. It’ s a fucking madhouse, basically. Probably futile but I’ll do what I can. With any amount of luck, I’m hoping I can delay catching the shit for a moment. Hopefully, she’ll be on the mend as I’m going down and we can baton the caregiving duties. Hopefully.

The dogs are a little upset by the whole thing but, all in all, handling it better than I would have expected. Davy keeps waiting for Wife to come out of the room but she somehow seems to get that, for the moment, she has to be in the room. She isn’t kicking up a fuss. And Lobo? Well, Lobo doesn’t care. As long as I’m around, Lobo is happy.

I’m not all that stressed. Some of that is that I pretty much expected this to happen. Wife works in a high-risk area and it just seemed like a matter of time. The other thing is, we have more than enough toilet paper in the house. More than anything, I’m aggravated with my Wife’s boss. That’s a bit of a long and complicated story and currently involves a water heater subplot, and I’m not going to get into any of it here, but, suffice to say, I’m aggravated.

This isn’t, however, a story with a lot of blame. It’s just one of those things.

And although I am maybe a bit worried about how this can all turn out, that’s not a thing that I have much control over. Basically, I just look after my wife, try to stay capable of doing that, and monitor the situation. I won’t lie, Long Covid frankly scares the shit out of me, but it’s not as if any of us are given some sort of vote about what version of shit we get or even how much of it we have to eat. We just get a plate and a spoon.

To be completely honest, I might even be a little jealous of Wife. Wasting away in a room, having my food passed into me on a tray, was always my dream. She gets to live it.