A Year with COVID

It’s been exactly a year since they – the mayors and the governor – put out the “safer at home” order that locked down Los Angeles County due to the pandemic.

And man have things changed.

Hard to believe that, a year ago, I was working in a hotel and just getting the hang of my new job. That’s history now, although it was cool being on a clear career path. Now I’m a ‘reality TV personality’ and a sports teacher to two awesome boys…plus a baseball tutor to two other pupils. I hope to get more pupils very soon, but, so far, things have been slow in that direction. Joyce said things’ll pick up when the schools finally open (and that’s gonna start happening soon, I understand) and the kids’ll be having regular sports again.

I still remember how fuckin eerie everything was when they locked us down the first time. Roads were empty, but Target was pretty dang crowded with all those jerkoffs hording toilet paper. (I mean, seriously, what the fuck was the deal with that? Joyce says it was people trying to control something in the face of something they couldn’t control. She may have been right.) I reckon it’s not too terrible, though: you’re always gonna need toilet paper. And hand sanitizer…remember how you couldn’t get that? (Don’t forget that they’ve been saying all along that soap and water is supposed to be more effective than hand sanitizer…although I’ll admit that I do keep hand sanitizer in the shitbox. I used to do it even before Joyce gave me the deluxeass Cup Phone with the hand sanitizer holder for Christmas.)

Looking back, we gotta be honest about something: they really fucked up and got a ton of shit wrong. Think about masks, for starters: I remember that Dr. Fauci told everyone in March that they didn’t need to wear them. Then he changed his mind and we all had to start wearing them. Here in California, that means all of us, although I understand that people aren’t that careful about it back home and people there think we’re crazy here. (Which we probably are, with our schools still closed and shit.) I used to think that Dr. Fauci was the most trusted man in America, and joked that he ought to be running for president. Now I’m not so sure about that. He’s changed the rules on us too many times…and got way too caught up in talking shit about President Trump after he left office.

Ok, I know that we didn’t know a whole lot about the virus a year ago, and that’s one of the reasons why there have been so many policy changes. But another reason is that the people in charge – that means Dr. Fauci and our governor Gavin Newsom and the mayors in LA County – didn’t know what they were doing. They still don’t, bottom line.

The one thing that’s really changed in a year is that we’re a lot less scared than we were when it started. I remember that it was March 23 when the wife of the couple living next to Keaton slipped in the bathtub and needed to go to the hospital with a broken leg. When the ambulance arrived, Keaton was over at my place, and our first thought was, there goes the first case in our apartment complex. It was a relief to find out that it was a broken leg and not COVID, but, back a year ago, they were making us feel like it was going to be the next Spanish Flu and that mortality rates were going to be comparable to that.

And, let’s be honest, they aren’t. Yes, half a million people in this country died from COVID, and I don’t mean to suggest that I don’t think COVID is a real disease, because it is. But it also didn’t turn out to be the kind of devastating pandemic they were saying it would be. Lots of people got the virus and survived: it’s really proven mostly a danger to the elderly population, people like Meemaw and Mrs. LaSalle, and I’m all for being super, super careful about people like that. (Mrs. LaSalle should be getting her second vaccine this week; that’ll be a major load off all our minds. Meemaw just got her first shot last week.) So, in reality, younger people not in high-risk groups could have been having semi-normal lives all along. I’m not saying masks and social distancing should be thrown out the window like they were doing at spring break and shit like that, but you can have masks and social distancing and still be able to go to restaurants…and keep your business in business.

I also don’t want to say anything against an employer who’s been nothing but super good to me, but I’ve got a feeling that Maya is wrong where the boys are concerned, and that the virus isn’t a danger to them like it is even to someone my age. I know we need to protect Mrs. Bedrossian, and the bubble was only a reaction to what they were saying on the news, but, after a year of lockdowns, I’m starting to ask myself big time whether the lockdowns were necessary. They were barely locked down back home, and I don’t think that Tennessee did any worse or better than California when it came to infection rates and mortality rates. (I just checked: the mortality rate for California is 1.6% and the one for back home is 1.5%. That really shows how little people in charge still know.)

It’s been a very hard year for me – I may not have shown it all along, but wondering if I was ever gonna get a call to come back to work every day when I woke up really was getting to me. At least the extra unemployment let me hold onto my place until my lease was up and an alternative presented itself. I’m not in as good a place as I was last year, I mean as far as my career is concerned, but, who knows?…Meemaw keeps telling me it’s all for the best and I’ll eventually understand how it all makes sense to the Good Lord. Maybe I’m supposed to be a realty TV personality at this point in my life, instead of a desk clerk at a luxury hotel? Or maybe it’s because Jacob and Matteo (and also Cody and Noah) need me more than rich hotel guests do? I’m not sure the Good Lord really watches reality TV, though…and I sure hope He doesn’t read trashy books like the one that bitch wrote about Maya and the rest of us, although I guess He at least knows that we didn’t do any of that grossass shit the book says we did.

One thing is for sure: if you’d told me a year ago that the next year was gonna play out the way it did and that I’d end up living in a reality TV star’s pool house after a video of me climbing out of the pool went viral I’d of told you that you were fuckin nuts. But, well…here I am.

With zero expectations as to where I might end up a year from now. I just hope I’ll have had a meal in a restaurant before then lol.

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