Here we are, rounding up to the last week of the first month of the new year.
On a personal level, this month meant the birthdays of my mother and my husband (with one sibling’s birthday still to come). Also, in the last week, I was finally accepted into a low-income health insurance program! I can go to the dentist again (!!!), which is both awesome and anxiety-inducing. I haven’t had a proper dentist appointment in almost four years since I turned twenty-six and lost access to my step-dad’s insurance; I did have one appointment during my last term of college, but I waited in the chair so long that all they were able to tell me before I had to get to my first class was, “Wow, this is pretty bad and you’ll probably need two appointments just for a cleaning.” So I am understandably nervous, because that was over a year ago. I had an awesome dentist from late childhood until that fateful twenty-sixth birthday–he was ridiculously gentle in his work and just just so fucking nice. I had two cavities that needed filling when I saw him the last day of my twenty-fifth year, but he could only do one that day and I needed to make a second appointment for the other one.
“So here’s the thing. It’s my birthday tomorrow and am getting kicked off of my parents’ insurance.” I didn’t even get the chance to propose the idea I had because he immediately replied,
“Well I guess we’ll just have to bill the insurance today for both, and you can come back in a couple weeks for the second filling.” Fucking legend.
Anyway, the point is I am very sad that I will not be able to go back to him and I’m sure whoever my new insurance sticks me with will not be able to give me the same pain-free experience Dr. S did for so many years. But I am grateful to have the privilege to see anyone at all. (And, for the record, I think it’s bullshit that dental care is a privilege and not a human right. Best country in the world my itching asshole.)
And speaking of ‘best country in the world,’ the US got a new president this month. I am not a Biden or Harris superfan by any means, but 1) Trump is fucking gone, and 2) I do celebrate the fact that not only is there for the first time a woman holding the office of the vice presidency, but a woman of color. It’s fucking stupid (though evil or cruel or oppressive might be better adjectives here) that it took so long, of course, but you gotta keep your expectations real fucking low in American politics if you don’t want to become utterly hopeless under the towering shadow of the greedy power-hoarders playing tug-of-war with the lives of its citizens.
I went personal, I went domestic, and now I want to talk about something more global: surprise, it’s the pandemic!
As I’ve already mentioned, I live in the US. Not only do I live in the same country and state as an upsetting amount of people vehemently against the idea of wearing a damn mask, but it’s in my family as well. Back in March of 2020, either right before or right after the first stay-at-home order, my mother and one of my siblings needed to come pick up a car seat I accidentally kept when I had given my sibling’s kid a ride a couple months before. I washed my hands, put on gloves, put the car seat in a garbage bag, and waited outside for them to drive up. My husband is an artist who often works with noxious chemicals (and sometimes even wears a mask while doing it!), and the only masks we had on hand at the time were respirator masks like this one, so that’s what I was wearing when they arrived. I was expecting them to laugh, sure, because it was early on in the pandemic, but I wasn’t prepared to hear “Are you SERIOUS?” with such disbelief and even a twinge of offense. As I was loading the bag into the trunk, I had to listen to them start in on how this is all blown out of proportion, how they’re just trying to make people afraid, how the flu kills more people every year, and et cetera. The whole thing left me feeling shitty, especially when my mom marched around to the back of the car to proudly exclaim, “I’m your mom so I’m going to hug you anyway!” Thanks, mom, for making it very clear early on that you’d rather be sorry than safe. This is the same woman who didn’t love the idea of my friends and I giving each other piercings when we were thirteen because “it could paralyze you!” and the same woman who didn’t vaccinate the majority of her kids because “it could give you autism! Here, fill out this religious exemption, quick!”
I guess because of the anti-vax thing I shouldn’t have been surprised that she would have this attitude. But we weren’t even at a vaccine at this point, we were talking about a fucking mask. All I can do is sigh at this point.
Which I think might speak to a greater feeling happening all over in places where the virus is still raging. I am freaking tired. I am so tired and stressed. While my household and my family have been so-far spared from any virus-related deaths or even serious complications, I don’t know what the hell is going to happen this year. Will my husband and I ever get to go back to working with the public again, which was our main source of income pre-COVID? When will our savings run out (which we started because we want to buy a house–our chances of that working out were low already, and with the pandemic have down-right plummeted)? Will our landlord have to sell the house we are renting? Have we rode out the biggest wave of infections yet, or is the worse yet to come? What will the tax situation be come April? Will the $600 dollar per person stimulus be the last that we see, or maybe the $1400? What the hell happens when the student loan repayment freeze ends in October, will I be able to make the payments? Did I ever catch the virus, and if so how many people did I asymptomatically spread it to? Will I catch it in the coming weeks or months? What’s going on with the mutated strains? How bad is it really going to get?
I don’t mean to be so negative; I know that I have it damn good compared to so many. But like I said, I am tired. I am worried. And it feels like all I can do is just… wait.