OMG Omicron! A Dispatch from Covid Central, USA
By Naomi Serviss / New York City
Started feeling crummy a couple days ago.
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
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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
We are going to need more Pine-Sol.
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.
Overprocessed Extra Noodle Lipton Noodle Soup.
Ice cream, gelato or Ben & Jerry’s.
Ginger ale has been good.
Murray’s Sturgeon lox couldn’t hurt!
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!
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?
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