Dear Virus, Can I Get Five More Minutes?

Updated: Sep 22



Dear Virus,

I’ve cut bangs. What more do you want from me?

I’ll admit that it was a desperate move, a desire to enact global change, starting with a falling fringe of hair above my eyes. The wispy cascade also helps to hide the worry lines creeping over the landscape of my forehead. So yeah, bangs. Even my hairdresser, a most trusted advisor, weighed in: “Are you sure?” he asked, scissors poised for the first short snip. “We can always go shorter, but you know I can’t put ‘em back.”

Desperate times call for desperate measures, Virus. And setting aside any deeply held convictions on haute coiffure, we can agree that this year has indeed been a most desperate kind of year.


I’m not usually a pessimist, so this is all new to me. Each day seems to bring a new square on my 2020 apocalypse bingo card, and my dues at the Existential Crisis Club are paid through next decade. What’s next? Will I fall out of love with chocolate? Will the murder hornets return? Will Cthulhu rise from the deep to enslave mankind? The worry, both imagined and real, is exhausting.

***

It’s a grinding, waking kind of nightmare: days and days running that I simply. cannot. get. out. of. bed. I think I’ve hit some kind of endurance wall. Last Thursday, I had to square my childish resolve to stay in bed--a perfect haven of sheets and pillows and soft, safe things--with needing to get up and go to work. I’ve become accustomed to a paycheck, a roof over my head, and food in the fridge. And yet, these things mean nothing to my angsty inner self. She is at once obstinate and obligated, refusing but resigned. The minutes tick by, and a preset alarm rings every three to five minutes.



Get out of bed!

--No. Five more minutes. Pleeeeease. Five more...

Bargaining with an iPhone is madness, and “just five more minutes” is the babbling morningthink of night owls who are forced to be early birds for a J-O-B. Dreamy darkness for another five. I blink and willfully turn my back to the lavender light of dawn. Maybe a half-second later my phone barks, the depressing big dog sound of my last alarm. I peel back the sheets and swing legs over the side of the bed.

Any weekday morning. The rational part of my brain warns that it’s Go-Time, time to pay another piper with another day of grading and essays—real-world business. But my body feels heavy, as if willpower alone could pull this leaded carcass of mine through a rip in the space-time continuum of workeatsleepworkeatsleep ad infinitum. 🏃🏻‍♀️🍴😴 🏃🏻‍♀️🍴😴...

No thank you, Sisyphus. Find yourself another girlfriend.

Last night, I dreamed of Jupiter, attended open house parties on the moons of Io and Callisto. In truth, I should have said no to that third pint of space dew. It’s delicious, but Jupe juice goes straight to my head. When will I learn? Anyhoo... the stars were poppin’, and I lost track of time. Astral projection does that.

A roaring sea of morning comes, alternating rooster crows and the five minute alarms. I’m third-eye hung, suffering after a night of high vibes and in desperate need (that word again! desperate) of an auric cleanser. I may have also left my workaday keychain in the right pocket of my earthsuit, which is still in the cloakroom at Jupiter IV, the best little gin joint on Callisto. I remember slipping into bed just before sunrise, all stardust and nothing much else.

Dog bark. The last alarm. Legs swing bedside. Earthfeet touch wooden floor. Not ready. Not ready. Not ready for the day.

I can’t get a solid read on where or who or even when I am. What I do know is that the mass of material substance that I call a brain weighs 700 pounds on days like this. Coming back to earth, back to reality is heavy business. And the denial of mental density doesn’t make it weigh any less.

But what about this day?


What I can do on days, days like this, is to fluff the pillows and tuck my essence underneath, safekeeping my soul. What I can do is put one foot in front of the other and get into the shower. What I can do is send the human shell to work because time is a construct, and it will be nighttime again... soon enough.




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