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  • Pamela Beason

The Lingering Effects of the Covid Year

I should be completing my next novel, but I’m having a hard time getting back into it. I blame it all on Covid. I’m still suffering from it. No, not the disease itself, thank God, but the year+ of quarantine restrictions.

The quarantine seems to have affected all my friends differently. One, a part-time university instructor, wrote to me that the time out was a period of tranquility for her. She didn’t have to rush anywhere; everything was quiet and unpressured. Other friends found closer bonds with their spouses and families and seemed to be having a lot of fun whenever I saw them on Zoom. A few writer friends found the time to complete whole novels. Many people loved connecting on Zoom.

One man I connected with over the internet said the quarantine hadn’t changed his life at all. It’s a good thing we weren’t actually face to face, because I really wanted to slap him right then. I’ve ended up feeling sorry for him. What kind of a life could he have if the quarantine restrictions didn’t change anything?

Although I began the lockdown period with the intention of doing all sorts of marvelous household projects, I fizzled out after swapping out four faucets and redoing the caulk around my bathroom vanity. Time spent under a kitchen or bathroom sink is not quality time, believe me. I’ve never been so grateful to the women plumbers who made videos on YouTube. Videos that were detailed enough to actually show the hidden piece of plumbing you needed to latch onto with your wrench, and videos that included tips on how to loosen fixtures that had been in place for 20 years. Handymen on YouTube, take a lesson.

I did bond more closely with my cats, who now consider me the best piece of furniture in the house. They kidnapped a variety of creatures in their attempts to entertain the household—moles, mice, a baby possum, a tree frog, even an earthworm. That last was pretty pathetic, I thought. What self-respecting hunter carries in an earthworm? I liberated them all, although the snarling pissed-off possum was a bit of a challenge. I never knew before how fast moles can dig. Those creatures vanished back into the earth in less than a minute.

Bowman Bay, Deception Pass, 6/20/21

I share my house with two furry housemates, and I missed my human friends from my hiking and kayaking and writing groups. But I especially missed adventures—kayak camping and hiking with groups, hanging out at a local brewpub afterward to enjoy the camaraderie.

I did do a lot of hiking and some snowshoeing in the last year, but only with a friend or two—fellow hermits who I knew were staying safe from infection. I haven’t been counting, but I’m sure I’ve already done at least 50 outings just this year. Heck, I’ve done two in the last five days. Today I saw a friend I hadn’t seen for over a year, and I saw two others that I’ve only seen once. I have to curb my enthusiasm so I don’t scare them away, when I’m thinking Wow, a different face for a change, someone different to talk to!

Snow scene Mt Baker June 17 2021

The overall feeling that the quarantine has left me with is a sense of the clock ticking. A sense that I have only limited time left to accomplish all the things I want to. I’ve always been impatient, but I’ve also always been diligent about getting things done. Now, every minute that I’m not doing something I really want to do feels like a minute I’m wasting.

Hiking east side of Cascades in snow-free zone 6/13/21

My problem with writing is the need to sit in front of a computer to do it. I’m sick of that scene. It’s hard to keep my fingers on the keyboard and my imagination in my fiction when it keeps galloping off to other places I want to be. I never need to Zoom with anyone again. I want new experiences, new people, new food, new adventures. I need variety, and I need it now!

How about you? Are you still suffering aftereffects from the Covid shutdown, or did you find a cozy tranquility in the stay-at-home restrictions? Just don’t tell me if the last year didn’t change anything in your life, or I’ll want to slap you.

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