Not Enough Insulation. Too Much Conduction.

January 7th, 2022

Monday morning. The first “normal” day of the year. I dropped my kids off with not a small amount of trepidation, and I’m back at my desk, ready to dive into work, finally. It’s been weeks since I have had what felt like a routine workday.

But first, to obsessively load and reload the one website where I’ve been successful buying Binax tests lately: Every few minutes, no matter what I am doing, I come back to the page and hit the button until, a few hours in, inventory magically appears. I immediately buy six rapid tests, feeling a thrill not unlike in the Beforetimes, when I used to occasionally manage to buy front-row tickets to a show if I played it just right. 

But this is no Avett Brothers concert. 

In fact, this can’t be real life. This must be hell. Is this hell?

I actually have Avett Brothers tickets to a venue in Brooklyn for next November. It was supposed to happen this past November, but without a word of consolation, the venue postponed the concert for a year. Nothing is for sure right now. Nothing is a given. This is poison for those of us who quiver in the face of uncertainty.

Two years into this pandemic, I know I should be getting better at it. But somehow, with every day that passes, I feel worse. It’s not just the fear of getting sick — or that my daughters will get sick. The sensible part of me knows that they will be fine, particularly since they are fully vaccinated, healthy kids. It’s the constant uncertainty, the never knowing, the anticipation. The looming. 

It’s also the jarring sense that no day is ever for sure. I may have my iCal days stacked like Tetris blocks with deadlines and meetings and work sessions. But there’s no guarantee that any day will ever go the way I have planned. Of course, there never has been. But COVID has made that Buddhist reality impossible to ignore. For the working mamas among us, the hypochondriacs in our midst, and those of us with bona fide anxiety disorders we’ve worked our whole life to control and manage, it’s almost asking too much. A mentor of mine described this sort of biological makeup as “Not enough insulation. Too much conduction.” 


Meanwhile, while putting away the Christmas tree ornaments, I managed to embed some shattered ornament glass into the ball of my foot. Jon got down there with some tweezers and a headlamp — and his implacable, dispassionate RN resolve — and removed the visible shards. But days later, every so often, when I put my foot down just right, a jolt of pain shoots through my body that’s so sharp it’s almost thrilling.

I know I should soak my foot in epsom salts or maybe use some of that hardcore “drawing salve” I made a few years ago from charcoal and witchcraft, but there’s some part of me that actually enjoys the pain. It pulls me away from the heady anxiety and into my body in a way I really appreciate. It’s like yoga, but 2022 style.


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