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A friend, a porter in the local nursing home, had to get tested after a resident passed away suddenly, possibly from Covid-19. We met him the day before his test, walking on the other side of the street with his pregnant wife and their dog Tiger. He seemed calm, and afterwards, I couldn't write or read, I gulped down two whiskies that night, and I smoked, heavily.

The malaise followed me into the week, this sixth week of lockdown. I bought a book of sudoku puzzles, something I never would have done in my pre-pandemic life, and worked through half of them, compulsively. Laying the numbers down felt reassuring: here was certainty, however fleeting and useless, in this banal act.

Meanwhile I stayed in my feelings, letting words for them surface, only for them to dissipate, because I couldn't put the book down and uncap a pen and write them down. The weirdness was perfectly encapsulated by what someone said on Twitter: "You are watching people got through withdrawal from the emotional addiction to the myth of uncertainty."


I think of Mom. Serene, unlike her restless daughter. She had lived in several refugee camps before settling down in San Diego. She had already endured incredibly anxious and fraught times, when her whole world changed, and she lost her homeland. She had lived for years in uncertainty, in bewildering flux, and so many people in the world have lived like this. Why should I ever thought of myself exempt from this?


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