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OMG Omicron! A Dispatch from Covid Central, USA

By Naomi Serviss / New York City


Virulent Variant: Omicron has conquered the Big Apple
Virulent Variant: Omicron has conquered the Big Apple

Started feeling crummy a couple days ago.


Nothing site-specific,


more an enshrouded malaise


with a stomachache.

Still, did my early morning


Central Park walking routine,


but with a shoulder chip.


Felt a little off.


I was testy to Albert,


the 86-year-old, backwards-walking


familiar stranger


I see most days on the path.


Some might nail him with a dirty old man peg.


I think he’s a lonely old man


who doesn’t grasp boundaries.


He’s also a dirty old man.


But considering the unpleasant


unseasonably warm and rainy weather,

I gave myself permission to have the vapors.

With a side of gut-itis.


Then my sinuses kicked in


and I blamed a head cold.


It seemed far-fetched to think it was


the dreaded virus!


But the virus I’d envisioned


as a crippling mystery,


was coming home to roost!


Why me?


Why not me?


After all, I was vaccinated, boosted


And had little contact


with outside-my-building folks.


I masked up outdoors regardless.


Even in the Central Park sanctitude.


So why should I “waste”


an extra testing kit I had


on a cold?


Covid home tests are hard to come by now
Covid home tests are hard to come by now

We Zoomed with the kids last night.


I quasi-bragged I had a mild cold.


And didn’t think it was necessary to test.


They rightly thought I was being an idiot!


So, today I did it,


as suggested by that big sneaker company.


A home Covid test determined I was positive.



Yikes!


I realized


the exhaustion was for real!


Not hypochondriacal this time!


But seriously, folks, this was the virus?


Headachy? Maybe my pallor was a tad off.


Zoom eye bags don’t count.



The author recuperating at home
The author recuperating at home

I told José,


the best Upper West Side doorman,


because he knows my routine


better than my husband Lew.


We see each other


when I bring Janis out


for her morning and afternoon walks.


He’s going to keep his distance now,


with my help!


I had fallen


into a pleasant habit


of bringing him herbal tea midmorning.


Sometime a Brookie from Trader Joe’s.


Heavenly.


A marriage of fudge brownie and cookie=Brookie!


At the pandemic’s early stirrings,


I frantically bought José


boxes of powdered Vitamin C.


He deals with a million people!


He needs whatever!


We chat a few times a day and text each other.


I hope he doesn’t catch my drift.


José’s scheduled for a booster


and the last thing he needs


is to get sick now.


Tea service is on hold.

I’ll avoid him as much as possible,


even though it pains me.


When José returned from Puerto Rico,


he brought me a cool T-shirt!


Nina would be jealous if she knew,


maybe I won’t include that.


I jest.



I know I’m a lucky girl.


My symptoms are mild,


I’m not online overbuying!


Except from maybe Chewy.com.


I don’t have to do the dishes!


Win-win!


We are going to need more Pine-Sol.


The author and her buddy Carol pre-diagnosis
The author and her buddy Carol pre-diagnosis

And I had to tell


my theater-loving pal/neighbor Carol


of my result, because two weeks ago


we hung out in her immense


prewar original everything apartment.


In the meantime, I feel no guilt


for letting the dust accumulate


a little more this week.


If the two-year-old’s toys


litter the living room,


so it goes.


Her barking I could live without.


Tomorrow, at sunrise, at 7:19 a.m.,


the hammering resumes next door.


Literally, out our bedroom window.


A 22-story lux condo is going up,


Three gorgeous brownstones sacrificed.


Let’s squeeze more New Yorkers in!


I guess my sarcastic mien


hasn’t been unduly affected


by Covid’s reach.


Cravings:


Restful sleep


Overprocessed Extra Noodle Lipton Noodle Soup.


Prescribed by Drs. Ben and Jerry
Prescribed by Drs. Ben and Jerry

Ice cream, gelato or Ben & Jerry’s.


Something soothing.


Palatable.


Ginger ale has been good.


Murray’s Sturgeon lox couldn’t hurt!


Thanks, benefactor!


Covid is no laughing matter,


it’s slain hundreds of thousands of Americans.


Unvaccinated folk are beyond my ken.


I’m forever grateful


for the dreamers, artists and scientists


who were gobsmacked by this pandemic


and created a vaccine!


I remember


the little polio-vaccine-infused sugar cubes


we took in elementary school.


We lined up


in Ogontz Junior High School’s lunchroom,


rendered speechless by the big kids.


The warm smells of processed meat wafted.


My children were


vaccinated when necessary and


it was both traumatic and miraculous.



Why wouldn’t people welcome science’s fruits?


It’s rhetorical.


Meanwhile, I have


the extraordinary Beatles documentary,


Get Back to finish


and a few books to crack open.


Right after a short catnap.


 






Naomi Serviss is a New York-based award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Highroads (AAA magazine), in-flight publications, spa and travel magazines and websites, including BroadwayWorld.com

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