11 April, 2021


( ...originally typo-titled "bleated," which might be kinda appropriate too)

I was going to write about getting the vaccine when I got the second dose two weeks ago (Pfizer). I had imagined--based on my unexpected emotional reaction to the first dose--that I would have Feelings. First shot, we'd gotten a spot unexpectedly, because a coworker posted on Facebook that a nearby vaccine site was accepting appointments right now for educators and we jumped on that. After that jab, I realized how much stress I'd been under, and how even one shot made me feel like...not that things would return to normal, not that everything was okay now, but...like there had been a pressure, a discomfort to which I had become so accustomed I no longer noticed it, and now it was gone. I noticed the negative space of it, the place it had carved out in my psyche. I thought that the second shot would herald a return of that feeling, but it didn't. I was just relieved. 

That was two weeks ago. If there is such a thing as officially vaccinated, all the immunities as in place as they will be... we're there. Our region is coming out of restrictions, things are reopening, and great! But I am in no real hurry to go back to the restaurants I haven't been to in over a year. I've grown accustomed to the take-out sandwiches on Friday "date night." It feels weird to think about removing a mask in public. And eat in public? Egad. Visiting a zoo might be nice. Or a museum. Or a store that isn't faithful Trader Joe's. But be around people? No, thank you. My latent agoraphobia has taken root this last year, hard.

(I better get over that before classes start in the fall. Because barring a new pandemic, they will. We've been super lucky here--the UCs have shut the fuck down and stayed that way for in-person instruction. How delightful to have official policy dictated by science and public health, instead of political toadshit.)

And I wasn't going to write about any of this, sweartogod. I was going to write about The Patchwork Terror and how, in his quest to eat all of Tinycat's scarfed-and-barfed breakfast, he chewed a big chunk out of the first clapotis I ever knitted. And how I did not quite freak out because he's not Idris: he shreds and gnaws whatever he eats to tiny pieces, even wee bits of kibble-treats, so I was pretty sure he hadn't swallowed long strands. (He never did throw up a damn bit of it. Where has it gone? The obvious answer--through him--has not manifested. He either reduced that wool to tiny pieces and digested it along with his food or it's still sitting in his gut, making itself into the grandmother of hairballs.) 

But also, ferfuckssake, I was upset, too, at the destruction. The loss. That clapotis--hours and hours of knitting, out of a indie-dyed colorway--is irreparable and irreplaceable. Of course PT was, is, more important, and I would set fire to the clapotis myself to keep him safe, but he's also fine, and fortunately not inclined to chew on textiles unless someone has thrown up on them first. This is a one-time catastrophe. 

But then, as I began writing, I realized--the worry, the fear, the anger, the guilt about being angry over a ruined thing on which much work had been spent, the grief over what was destroyed--felt familiar. This was a fresh wave of it, sure, but that's why I noticed it, after so long being numb to it. It's what I felt last spring. 

Anger. Fear. Guilt. That sinking, sick feeling of knowing something is irreparably mangled, and there is nothing to be done for it except figure out a way to salvage what's left: make it, if not beautiful, at least defiantly functional. Somehow. Wabi sabi. (And even if it's not beautiful again, ever--the clapotis will be warm. It will be of use. And it will be a story). 

I wish I could say that I think the world, post-pandemic, post the 45th president, will be like this clapotis. I don't think it will, though. We can't wabi sabi what's happened. We won't be past BLM because we're not past white supremacy. We can't get past anti-science insurrectionists because they're still crawling all over the Capitol. We can't even get people to take the fucking vaccines. I don't know how that sort of damage becomes functional again, that it can be patched. I hope I'm wrong. I don't know what happens if I'm not.

In the meantime, I have a clapotis to mend. 

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