There are three ongoing conversations in my head all the time. One is about The Who and how I am managing him during all of this. The second is All of This. And another is My Face. It’s late and I’m not sure I have the energy to get through them all, so I should start with the least palatable one (to me.)
1. My face. I’m looking at my face all the time these days. So much more often than I ever did before. There was always the first look in the morning — the close examination in the magnifying mirror in the bathroom. Checking to see if any zits cropped up overnight that needed attention, looking to see how my rosacea fared while I was sleeping. Then there was probably a distanced glance in the full-length mirror without my glasses on while I was getting dressed. Once more, if there was time, up close again, in the car before going into the office. A quick swipe of the mascara wand. Eyeliner. And that was really it. Maybe I’d check my hair while washing my hands at work, but more often than not, it was a cursory rinse and then a minute under the air dryer before I was back at my desk.
This new lifestyle (and my inclination was to write my new lifestyle, but it’s not mine; we’ve all got it) is forcing me to basically look in the mirror almost all goddamn day. And it’s not a flattering mirror, either. It’s either the phone or the laptop, both from terrible angles. If I don’t stack my device on top of a pillow on top of a box on top of my lap, the image of myself I’m constantly staring at is reminiscent of a Hutt gangster from Tatooine. (I only knew that because I googled. Full disclosure: I’ve seen Star Wars exactly twice: once when it first came out, in a drive-in movie theatre in the late 70s in footie pajamas in the folded down backseat of my dad’s Gremlin and then again last week.)
So, yeah. My face. My big, enormous, red-nosed stupid face is constantly on my mind because it’s constantly staring at me. It’s a lose-lose. You have to be stuck inside with yourself for the foreseeable future and also? You have to constantly look at your pasta-fed, pasty-ass face while you’re doing it.
2. All of this. It’s self-explanatory, isn’t it, though? All of this? These days, I am having visceral reactions to red counties turning yellow and businesses opening up before it’s time and photos of people in other states sitting next to each other like it doesn’t matter anymore. I keep thinking I should cull my Facebook feed to only include the people who think like I do so I don’t have to see things like people going to get haircuts, having family barbecues, heading to the shore.
So, there’s that. The agita. Also, there’s this: tonight, before I came up to bed, I shuffled into the kitchen to put my PBJ plate in the sink (this is a new ritual: the nightly PBJ.) I cycled through the following thoughts in the space of two seconds, in this order: It’s so clean in here. I’m glad I did the dishes earlier so I don’t have to do them now. I swear I didn’t do the dishes every night before this. I do dishes all the time now. I cook a lot of meals. I should put in an Instacart order because we’re running low on eggs. Why do we eat so many eggs? Instacart is so expensive. I wish there was another way that felt safe to me. What would I buy right now anyway? Chicken, I guess. We keep eating the same thing. I don’t have the impetus to think up new recipes. Or even to look them up. I am so. sick. of. all. of. this.
Then I shut off the light, shut off the tv, came upstairs, checked on The Who, and came in here. It’s the same every single night. I go to bed at the same(ish) time, wake up at the same(ish) time, eat the same(ish) foods, talk to the same(ish) people, play the same(ish) board games with my family, work on the same(ish) craft projects, and then repeat. The nothingness is exhausting. The ennui is real.
And, y’know what? Even though I am complaining about the repetition and the boredom, I actually don’t want it to end. I don’t want to be one of those people in other states sitting next to people like nothing ever happened. And isn’t that a kick in the ass? To both want something desperately and not want it desperately at the same time? All of this. That’s what I mean.
3. Turns out I was right. I don’t actually have it in me to write about all three tonight. The last one will have to wait.