Saturday night.

Today, for once, was marginally productive. I bought a bunch of maple syrup at the local grocery store and spent about an hour at the post office, filling out 10 address labels and customs forms. The little presents will go to my five family members in the US. I also bought them each a wacky singing card with a dancing moose because this is Canada, eh. (Financial stability is not having to worry about the price of shipping or novelty greeting cards.)

That was my first grocery run in two weeks. It was a lot less manic there this time, a lot more empty. They were playing old-timey Christmas songs throughout the store. Normally, I’d be mildly peeved about the cheesy holiday music so early in December, but this time around it was almost comforting. An echo of the world from the previous century, from before the pandemic, when life was a little bit easier. Sure, they all lived under the constant specter of nuclear annihilation, but you know what I mean.

Today would’ve been our one-year anniversary if xgf and I hadn’t broken up. Ye gods, I miss dating… Any human contact or interaction, really, but dating… It mildly gladdens me to know that there are others in the same boat. When vaccines roll out and when the world reopens, there will be so much catching up to do for everyone that it should more than make up for this lost year. Until then, though…

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I fluctuate wildly and rapidly between all sorts of indoor distractions: books, video games, health experiments, music, comics, TV shows, learning new languages, etc. That hobby carousel sounds chaotic, and it probably is, but that’s also the only way to keep from getting the dreaded cabin fever. I won’t run out of things to do anytime soon, but it’s important to keep distracting myself, to find new ways to ignore and depersonalize from the endless stream of ever more horrifying news.

And so, new project: growing out some damn eyebrows. I’m not sure if that’s some sort of genetic mutation or if my three big sisters pinned me down and plucked out my eyebrows when I was a kid, but there’s not much going on there. You can kind of see some hair trying to grow, but it mostly blends in with my skin tone, to the point where strangers on the Internet ask “what the hell happened to his eyebrows?” when they see my picture. Heh. A bit of online research has led me to organic castor oil, which allegedly helps folks regrow their eyebrows if applied routinely and consistently. Well, it’s not like there’s anything else to do, eh? If it fails, it fails. If it works, the way I look is going to change rather dramatically, and for the better.

In covid news, I’ve just found out that my step-nephew (my New York sister’s adult stepson) caught covid two weeks ago. He’s an extrovert and probably got it from his cousin, who felt sick but never got tested. The nephew was really sick for two days before recovering, but he’s still testing positive. Fortunately, no one else got sick. With any luck, that should convince my sis and her husband not to fly to Miami for the holidays. (Literally any other sunny place in the world would be better than Florida at this point.)

And a good friend of mine in Reno had to wait eight days to get her covid test results back. Good news: she doesn’t have covid. Bad news: ye gods, it’s been nine months, and it still takes them over a week to process covid tests. That’s tardiness to the point of uselessness. This is, admittedly, just one anecdote, but I don’t think it’s an outlier. This isn’t merely inefficient and counterproductive: the delay in processing also takes a mental toll on those who have to wait and worry all that time. There is no way to quantify or even estimate the full impact of something like this happening to millions of people all at once…

Try to stay safe out there, y’all.