SHELF LIFE: My Pandemic Diary: March 25, 28, 30, & 31, 2021

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Some kids ran through the stacks today, squealing and giggling. After being trapped inside a year, I imagine a spacious, new, empty library is a magical place to expel energy. But legit. You could hear them across the cavernous floor.

I approached them in the religion section, where they pulled out books and shoved them back wherever they pleased. They hushed and elbowed each other when they saw me.

“See those squares up there?” I pointed to the ceiling. 

Six curious brown eyes followed my trajectory. 

They nodded.

“When you reach a certain noise level, a claw comes down and SCOOPS up the noisemaker—” 

They jumped as I emphasized SCOOP and clamped my fist, raising it high above their heads. 

“ . . . and takes ‘em into the ceiling.”

They stared at me wide-eyed.

I shrugged.

“We’re not sure what happens after that.”

You could’ve heard a fly fart.

“So you must be very quiet.” I eased my claw forward and they back up in tandem. “Do you understand?”

Okay fine that didn’t happen. 

I mean the kids were noisy as hell and running and pulling books off the shelf but I hushed them and det was det. The other scenario would be kinda funny but I value my job so best to capture it here. Also, it’s super nice to serve the public again. I just think my fiction is tryna poke through all this real life. 

And det’s okay.

Sunday, March 28th, 2021

Last night I had a hankerin’ for fish & chips. In the nearly 20 years Christopher has lived in this country, we’ve never quite managed to get it right. We don’t have a deep fat fryer or the little metal basket thingy for DIY. But I do have an innovative husband.

Christopher stuck a skewer longways through the cod. Then he tied twine to both ends of the skewer so it looked like a little fishy handbag. Then we dipped the cod into the batter recipe this British lady swore by online: 

1 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

10 oz dark lager

Then dip the battered cod into the boiling oil. 

You can’t see me kissing my fingers. But doused in malt vinegar, dipped in mayonnaise it was PERFECT. We watched a stellar game of football ( West Ham / Arsenal) with greasy lips and happy hearts. And this morning I made a pot of coffee and read my book with thunder rumbling in darkened skies. Now I’m making gumbo because we’re headed over to Patrick and Tecla’s for the afternoon.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

I got my second Pfizer shot today. I took tomorrow off in case any weird reactions. I’ve spent the morning reading and prepping a nourishing soup in case I don’t feel like cooking the next few days. Christopher already said he doesn’t like it because it has turmeric. So basically I know what I’m eating the next several days. Alone. 

I started my Zora Canon bookLAB assignment last night. Things I Should’ve Told My Daughter by Pearl Cleage. And then I think of a day at least 10 years ago when a colleague approached my cubicle with a book. 

“I know this is very weird,” she said. “But I’m supposed to give this to you.” 

She handed me Jaycee Duggard’s book, A Stolen Life.

 “I don’t know why,” she said. “But it was a really strong feeling and I was clearly told to share this with you. So I am, but I need it back.” 

Well. Color me intrigued. I read it. Not really sure what the message was but prayed it didn’t involve abduction and sexual assault. Thinking about it now, it’s an articulate girl capturing her experience on paper in a no-nonsense-here’s-what-happened kinda way. Same with my current read, Things I Should Have Told My Daughter, which buzzed in my fingers as I chose it from others in the pile. It gives me umph to keep writing even though it feels of no major importance. Somedays I feel ‘who cares what you have to say’ and other days I’m like, I have lots to say.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

I think my magic collagen soup worked. I have a sore arm and mild aches but not much else. My friend in Galveston got her second Pfizer yesterday and told me she woke with fever and violent chills in the wee hours. We’re basically just resting. Christopher is working on a submission for a public mural here in town. Feels futile to be honest. Still. We power on. If artists waited for everyone to pat their head and tell them they matter, no one would ever create anything.

I’m validated and motivated by Cleage’s book. It’s just so nice to read about writers needing to write. How useless and constipated we feel if we don’t. Writing here has been healthy, liberating and a MUCH more appropriate place than Facebook. My feelings needn’t be curtailed or misunderstood by likes and comments. And really it’s not a weakness to care. I care a lot. The weakness lies in taking it personally, and I’m working on that. Okay, I’m off to edit photos for my darling. He’s in a much better mood today. 

But he still won’t eat my soup.

8:07 pm

I’ve spent most of my day supine. Chills and fatigue hit this afternoon and didn’t really let up. I watched — read, rather— a long movie, The Girl Who Played With Fire, then the making of Unorthodox, and finally, Crip Camp, which kinda sucked the air out of my self pity. Poor Christopher has done all the teen taxiing today despite not feeling awesome himself but that’s the sort of man he is. So now I’m in the bright kitchen for a change of scenery and pray everyone comes home in a good mood because I just can’t. You never know with teens what you’re gonna get. It’s hormonal attitude roulette.

Provided nothing weird happens health wise I’m back at the library tomorrow which is good because I miss it. My friend in Galveston said she puked on top of everything else and I’m just saying a big ol’ energetic NO to that.


You are reading select entries from SHELF LIFE: My Pandemic Diary.

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