MY LIFE – Second verse same as the first?

MY LIFE – Second verse same as the first?

“I’d like to cancel my subscription to 2021. I’ve experienced the free seven-day trial and I’m not interested.”

The above came across my Facebook postings yesterday and I thought I would share in case you hadn’t seen it yet, because ... well, just because. Not to sound like a pessimist, because I’m really not, but, geez, Louise, you would think that after the mess of the last year, things would start to lighten up a bit in 2021. Eventually, you know that they must, but at the moment, from where I’m standing, so far it’s pretty much looking like “Second verse, same as the first.”

Seems like every time a glimmer of hope shows up on the horizon a poisonous antidote follows on its heels, the election being a case in point, followed by the sacking of the Capitol, but enough about politics.

I had no sooner shared an encouraging bit of news ... that R.I. had given up it’s #1 and then #2 spot as per capita COVID-19 spreader nationally, dropping down to 6th place ... than the post-holiday figures caught up with reality and today (1/8/21) here we are, back in #2 spot with our arrow boldly pointing back up at the 2 o’clock angle.

There I was, daring to hope that after months of dealing with hair longer than I had seen it in more than 30 years, a trip to the hairdresser might be somewhere in my near future, but nope. Not yet. Ditto the nail salon as I struggle to deal with my ever harder-to-reach toes in an effort to keep them from looking like they could pluck salmon from a rushing stream. And then there’s the whole nail polish thing, never my forte, as I apply polish to not only nails, but cuticles, surrounding flesh, and God only knows what else while standing with one foot on the ceramic tile bathroom floor and the other foot on the toilet seat lid which past experience has taught me are easier to clean in case of spills than was my leather recliner (an ugly lesson well-learned).

I have been double-masking for weeks now, ever since our state numbers began soaring. Not that I go out into the world very often. My children would much prefer if I used a shopping service like Instacart or some-such when I need to replenish my supplies, which might be OK as far as canned goods or dry pasta is concerned, but I’m kind of picky when it comes to perishables. If I’m only venturing out once a week as I mostly have been, I want to read the sell-by dates on milk and bread to make sure they stand a chance of going the distance until my next shopping day. I like to pick out my own meat, picky about good fat marbling on beef and what today’s unannounced specials might be. But most of all, I want to select my own fresh produce. All bananas are not created equal, nor are peppers, carrots, onions and potatoes. And don’t even get me started on grapes! So once a week I take my life in my hands, stuff my double mask into my pocket, and go shopping. Nothing like a weekly walk on the wild side to get my 78-year-old heart beating with excitement.

It pains me to say, I have given up my Sunday morning strolls around the almost empty Barnes and Noble bookstore. But although I still have a pile of books in the “read-me-next” stack on the table next to my recliner (the remaining five books in the Louise Penny “Inspector Gamache” series and a brand new book from my daughter Kathy) it was only by weekly trolling among the new book offerings in-store that I discovered dozens of other books I’ve really enjoyed, none of which I would have ever found other than by browsing in person.

Don’t get me wrong; intellectually, I am well aware of just how fortunate I am. I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and am in good health.

I already know all that. But what I am is socially distanced from my family and, let’s admit it, bored. And like many other people I’ve spoken to, my hair is falling out, a very real side effect of stress. Not that I’m anywhere near going bald, but it feels like it’s snowing hair in my house, which is more annoying than concerning.

I walk, masked and distanced, with my friend Jeanne a few times a week as able. Not quite the same as conventional visiting, but we are two humans talking to each other as we circled either her cemetery (St. Jean Baptist) or mine (Resurrection), which is pretty funny when you think about it. My neighbor Sue and I speak in her driveway or mine. And I am in touch, by phone or email, with family and friends. I am surrounded, in a manner of speaking, with people all over the place, so I know I’m not alone.

And I am not in the least bit depressed. What I am is fed up with it all. Enough is enough, not that shaking my fist and complaining changes anything, but bitching sometimes makes me feel better. That and reading, doing puzzles, knitting, playing the piano badly, and waiting impatiently for all of this to fade away into a past that none of us will ever forget.

Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.