THIS WEEK IN REFLECTION
This week was all about looking ahead. School starts next Wednesday (Jan 12), and so the Pandemic Taskforce keeps emailing us. Yes, positive cases have dramatically increased on campus. By how much? Something like 9 people in the fall to 20 people now. To make sure everyone arrives safely, we’re required to have a negative COVID test between Jan 7 to Jan 11. And this email was sent on the 5th! The school will no longer provide tests free of charge to all students and employees, so if you can’t find a rapid test at home, it’s $25 on campus, which is one hour away for me.
Thinking myself smart, I checked the inventory of the local grocery store pharmacy online; they had tests. When I arrived, I could not find them, and the pharmacist looked at me like I was a nut bar. There are no at-home COVID tests, he said. The inventory doesn’t match because people stole them all, so it only looks like there are some. Tests performed by the pharmacy staff had a 4-5 week wait. I headed across the street to the other grocery store pharmacy.
Prepare yourself: I entered a sketchy Wal-Mart with so few staff the customer service counter wasn’t even open. Folks were yelling at the pharmacy employees there, who looked like they wanted to die inside while largely ignoring the shouting and continuing to work. No tests to be found, and I wasn’t going to bother those poor underpaid zombies.
Well, I reckoned no need to waste a trip to the sketchy Wal-Mart. I headed for the placemats, hoping to get one of those kind that are slightly foamy on the bottom and put it in my drink cupboard so my cups will stop getting little bits of cupboard wood on the rims.
As I walked past the mega-ultra on-sale Christmas candy aisle, I saw it: a lone box where there should have been red and green M&Ms — a COVID test — and the exact brand I had been shopping for. Was this a Christmas miracle?? I snatched it up and raced to the placemats, grabbed one of those, and concealed my test box underneath. No, I do not steal, I was simply worried someone might argue with me for it, or harass me for it (did I tell you guys about the time a large woman trapped me in a Burger King bathroom and demanded gas money cuz she thought I was wealthy???).
The sticker closing the test box had been peeled back just the tiniest bit, so I was texting everyone I knew, asking if they thought my test was somehow compromised in this completely sealed box, or was I just get a sketchy Wal-Mart rip off? I got so riled up pacing around the store that I realized the security guard was kinda following me, so I tried on a pair of shoes, took my placemat, concealed test, and new shoes to the check out line which was, not joking, about twenty people long.
Indeed, I took my COVID test Saturday morning, and it came out negative like I knew it would. The last person I’ve visited was Cupcakes & Machetes, and that was ten days ago. I put my student ID next to my lil snot test, took a picture of it, and sent it through a Google form. Should I frame it? Include it in next year’s Christmas card? It seems worth a lot; the college isn’t even doing the mandatory weekly testing for the few unvaccinated people on campus because there are no tests available to the school or the local health facilities.
THIS WEEK’S BLOG POSTS
Reading about Odelia in Too Big to Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian was hard because I feel the character was a product of an author who was so influenced by her generation’s cruelty to fat women. As a fat older woman, Jaffarian wrote a fat older female character who was quick to want equality, to earn love without her body entering the conversation, and yet she also judged everyone around her, too. Thanks for sharing your own stories.
And thanks to Canada for selling me The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour by Dawn Dumont so I could read a novel full of improbably events with subplots about residential schools, being queer, and cultural appropriation that danced (pun intended) in the background.
NEXT WEEK’S BLOG POSTS
For years she was simply “Your Fat Friend,” demanding legal equality for people in fat and very fat bodies, which is not the same thing as body positivity. Then, when the book What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon was announced, there it was on the cover: Creator of Your Fat Friend. Review Tuesday.
What does it mean for a deaf person to “pass” as hearing and be congratulated for doing so? What is it like to live with two hearing daughters who didn’t learn ASL, then to go each day to work with deaf students who think they don’t need to learn it either? Joanne Weber reflects on her oscillating identity in the memoir The Deaf House. Review Thursday.
BOOKS ADDED TO THE TBR PILE
Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Today: 200