Nothing Gonna Break My Stride

I held off as long as I could, but 2023 began with my first experience with COVID.

Spending the short, dark, post-holiday days without going outside at all, mostly sleeping, was quite disorienting. I honestly can’t say I’ve ever experienced such a long illness, certainly not in adulthood.

Around Day 8 I was sick of watching movies and feeling both physical and mental fatigue. But I just kept resting, not pushing.

And then, on the first day of the New Lunar Year, I tested negative. I knew my impatience at being cooped up was signaling I’d healed a great deal. I pray that the Year of the Rabbit is gentle for me.

So I went a little wild to celebrate testing negative, for me at least: Two days in a row of a fun drink from a cafe taken on a long walk.

It’s strange to be in public again. I keep catching myself staring rudely at other people, and they catch me too. PLEASE EXCUSE ME! It is so wonderful to be around other humans, and see their outfits and style, and know that they are going about their days, having their priorities and goals. I spent faaaaaar too much time watching movies and TV as an outsider, peeking in. I need to learn to how interact again.

So, I got to cherish one four-mile walk in Collingswood and the next day, four miles in Haddonfield.

I suppose I need to say that it is lucky that I was testing neg for The Vid by the time my next sinus/dental appointment rolled around, because those things have taken 3+ months to book.

My health insurance has me languishing in some Kafkaesque red tape, so I won’t get into it, but suffice to say I have to seek DENTAL CARE ONLY out-of-state. Not any other type of care, but for the teeth stuff I gotta cross state lines.

I’ll roll with it. Since I already have to take sick time off work, and pay to park in Center City, I have promised myself that on the days I am ambulatory (and not all loopy with anaesthesia), I will enjoy Philly and walk four miles. And look around in wonder.

I think it’s worth preserving my observations in this weird state I find myself in: Bewildered by a labyrinthine heathcare system (I have “good” coverage and it’s still been a nightmare) and completely broken from all socialization after isolating at home during a two-week illness.

Everything is strange and fascinating!

A bouquet in a puddle! What is even happening?

Yesterday I watched a car that was parked illegally so interfere with a SEPTA bus’s ability to turn, that the bus had to shut down and completely block a narrow one-way street. One road, just completely out of service to cars for a while (though I could pass on foot, and rubberneck openly, I AM SORRY I’VE JUST BEEN SO BORED). Some sort of metaphor in this, about a total shutdown sometimes being the only way …

But I also recommend the bustling good cheer of the deli counter at Middle Child for lunch on a weekday.

They make a damn fine veggie sandwich, but it’s also a treat to sit less than 6 feet away from the cooks as they sing along to “If It Makes You Happy” by Sheryl Crow playing on the speakers. They played it twice in fact, because everyone was having such a good time.

And then also the art you look at while you eat is a caricature of the ghost of Queen Elizabeth farting on a sandwich in heaven? Sure?

Philly people have the best style:

I’ll end by saying: I’ve made this my anthem for 2023.

Before the new year I’d been having minor health stuff taken care of, and some work stress, and the winter months are always hard for me emotionally. Sometime in December 2022 I heard “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder on the radio, and yes it’s a synth ear-worm, but I also decided that was the energy I was taking into 2023. I don’t want to say that this only invited MORE things into my life to try to keep me down. But it sure feels like that in the last week of January of this new year.

I don’t know if I have ever had an Aquarius Season so chaotic, and it’s only just got started.

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