Mental Mom Visit

COVID: capitalizes cruelty.

COVID: maximizes misery, abbreviates action.

COVID: encourages everyday entropy, inspires indoor inertia.

COVID: leaves all those prior, tried and true daily routines that were punctuated with meaning to rot resoundingly in a wide open mass grave.

COVID: captions every newspaper photo of strangers unwisely proximate with an emoji of Darwinistic glee.

COVID: makes certain primal human desires seem ironically toxic.

Hugs and handshakes have gone the way of social white rhinos: grasping, espresso warm touches have been rendered functionally extinct for all science heeding people. They say it is not forever, at least.

But secondsminuteshoursdaysweeksmonths pass by in a panic pulsing, frantic headline gazing blur, and not much changes in the biggest big picture. Curves flattened in one place continue to climb like Andean pandemic peaks elsewhere. Hospitals in one privileged country are not overwhelmed and an abundance of ventilators sit patiently waiting for fresh hacking users, while in another, hotter region, in an acutely broken nation, latest COVID corpses are deposited as vulture bait on plastic tarps, outside shabby clinics where the power goes out twelve hours a day.

Eleven weeks and we are not any closer to physical contact with those we do not share a domicile with. Well, fuck you, Fauci, for always being right, and yet never remotely smug about it. I am sure, now as always before, you would relish being wrong about something that is so profoundly wrong.

COVID, mas que nada, is error epitomized and it has no intention of righting itself soon. All seven continents of guilty humanity have been laid low by a microscopic menace that can only be seen with laboratory lenses able to bore through steel fences.

So, in the midst of this simmering madness, it is finally time for a Mental Mom Visit. The moment has come to sink deep into cranial chambers and traverse the exactly four minutes it takes to arrive at her building, which is much taller than any other edifice in our area of undistinctive peri-urbanity.

First, I see myself driving slow and extra cautious throughout this short distance, turning right into her complex, and then parking. Next, I am masking up like some wild Tombstone bandito about to storm through the creaky swinging doors of a Wells Fargo that is dustier than a pharaonic tomb. But that is too grandiose of a simile, and I am not taking this slight risk in order to steal hard working frontier person money.

I open the Subaru door with grave apprehension, for that World is instantly closer now, and on its rancid, ruthless breath floats a Virus which knows no limits. That world I cannot begin to control or predict. Still, I make my way across the impeccable pavement of the parking lot, not seeing a single soul outside. Ahead of me, there are seven floors of luxury apartments with dozens of gray haired legends huddled haplessly, fearful of what lurks so cryptically beyond their curtains of drywall.

All seven continents of guilty humanity have been laid low by a microscopic menace that can only be seen with laboratory lenses able to bore through steel fences.

I picture myself walking into the blingy brass foyer of Mom’s building, then using my plastic keycard to activate the front door. I am in the lobby now, too bright and cheerful for our present dystopia, almost convincing me that the outside world has not become so impossible to exist in. There is nobody there, not Lisa smiling fakely through her adult braces behind the reception desk, and no renegade octogenarians straddling a cozy lounge chair and gambling that, because they have survived every other ravage of these past 8 heartbreaking decades, they have little to worry about.

It is thirty yards to the elevator, and I think I can make it without coming close to any of these sinister surfaces that look so pristine they could be photoshopped, surfaces that reek of aggressively wiped Clorox. I press the up button with my sole in an unusual athletic feet, immediately hear the middle elevator’s inoffensive bing, step haltingly into the empty car, and repeat my earlier athletic feet to order a trip to the fifth floor. I have been holding my breath now for at least 90 seconds and am probably turning a shade of Caribbean blue.

Not going to exhale yet. My Mom needs to see me, she has been left all alone for ages in a well stocked apartment with countless cable channels, a pampered castaway marooned inside an executive suite. I exhale loudly, dramatically.

I tell myself I cannot be symptomatic, that this kind of surprise will surely be welcomed by her. It is me, your only son, your eldest child, bearer of the family name that originated in some plague ridden hovel in medieval France and then stowed away to England and Ireland, on leaky boats.

I step out into the fifth floor hallway, where the newish green carpet is spotless and not a sound can be heard, save the buzzsaw of a blender in 506. Somebody making a smoothie that is likely delicious. Also, I can smell the savory incongruity of a holiday turkey being roasted somewhere. Still not a single person in sight. I head down to 502, give a firm takenotice knock, and wait for what seems like an entire season for Mom to approach on the other side.

-Yes, I hear her offer, cautiously. -It is me, Mom. Surprise. I could take it no longer. I lost your other half last year, and I know that you need the hugging’n’handholding of your beloved family like a parched camel must find her oasis. Let me be that oasis, chucking a degree of caution to the wind. My Mom turns the lock ponderously, pulls open the door with hesitation, and then I see her lush gray dome, and polished crystal ball eyes, and a smile so big it could vaccinate against any and all doom.

All seven continents of guilty humanity have been laid low by a microscopic menace that can only be seen with laboratory lenses able to bore through steel fences.

Rampant recorder of a riven world that always shoots a tractor beam of Hope.

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