Adapting

Dearest Rachel –

No, I’m not talking about that EU-to-US plug thingamajig that got half-fried (and fried my surge protector in turn) by the desk-based plug. I’m talking about adjusting to life in stir, especially when you’d been expecting to travel abroad and see the sights.

As I’ve said a number of times already, I was probably primed for this, well aware that I wasn’t quite at full capacity to participate in or enjoy some of what was on my itinerary. But I vowed to do what I could, ‘even if it killed me,’ until that option was taken out of my hands.

So for the moment, I’m dealing with a strange ‘new normal’ that is likely going to become all the more common as plans made earlier in the year (when things seemed to be getting back to pre-pandemic levels) come up against the latest wave in the form of a whole new variant of the now same-old same-old. I may not be the first to be quarantined like this (Viking tells me I’m only the sixth since they resumed operations, which is actually a pretty impressive record for them), but I know I’m not going to be the last, if some of the things I hear about Omicron and its apparent transmissibility are to be believed.

As a side note, I understand that they jettisoned the Greek letter ‘Nu’ after all, since it’s too easily confused with the English word ‘new.’ Rather a pity; at least SNL could have made Abbott-and-Costello type comedy about that for a week or two and actually been funny again for a moment. But it appears they also skipped over yet another letter on their way to ‘Omicron’:

‘Xi.’

Whoops. Wonder why we’re skipping that letter, eh?

You know, the powers that be should have seen that coming. It’s not like the Greeks just put that letter there. It was going to come up, sooner or later. Maybe they should have just stuck with the Roman alphabet: if nothing else, 26 letters are more than 24 (or, in this case, 22, since both ‘nu’ and ‘xi’ are right out).

Anyway, while I do find myself drifting off-topic a lot, I figure I ought to actually mention how to cope with incarceration. And no mistake, it’s a comfortable prison, but it’s a prison nonetheless. But again, whether I have Covid or not hardly seems the point – I haven’t been well, and I wouldn’t wish whatever this is on anyone anyway – and if being put up for a while as I recover keeps it from others, that’s understandable. But how do I (or anyone else), as the sufferer, deal with it?

Let’s start with keeping a schedule. Sure, you could close those drapes, lose all track of time, and sleep whenever and however much you want – and to be fair, if you have symptoms like I do, that’s actually kind of welcome – but you run certain risks when you do that. The outside world is actually going on around you, and may require your input – but that’s going to be on their terms, such as with the local authorities and their ‘track-and-trace’ procedures. They will be calling you, to ensure that you are sheltering in place, and you need to be ready to answer that call. Also, and this leads into my next topic, the hotel kitchen isn’t necessarily open 24/7, so you need to order your meals when it’s available.

Which is the next thing; you do need to eat. I’m sure this sounds like a ‘duh’ moment, but again, I’m talking from a position of having symptoms, even if they don’t seem like the stereotypical Covid symptoms. You’re not always going to feel like eating. In fact, for those suffering from the more stereotypical symptoms – such as a lack of taste – I suppose you might find yourself wondering what would be the point, since nothing tastes either good or bad, and why spend money for something you won’t enjoy. But the body needs fuel, even to just keep running, so you can imagine that it would need that much more in order to work on repairs to itself, such as when you’re combatting an illness.

Of course, there is the opposite issue of eating too much. Admittedly, it’s not nearly the same level of danger as on a cruise ship (where they can – and do – feed you 24/7); on the flipside, if you were still cruising, you would probably be doing a lot of walking around through the ports of call, and burning some of those calories off (maybe not all of them, to be sure, but there is that hope). For those who are of the habit to do so, you can always exercise in your hotel room, but there’s only so much pacing back-and-forth you can do without wearing out the carpet, and I’m not generally talking to those kind of people, because I acknowledge I’m not one of them. And they don’t need my advice.

Well, maybe on my next item, they do. You need to shower regularly. Again, it’s understandable that you may want to lie around, never changing your clothes, or otherwise bothering with hygiene, because you’re not going to be seeing anyone for the foreseeable future. Why bother to look nice for nobody else but you? It just sounds like extra work.

Just trust me on this; you’ll feel better. If nothing else, a warm shower is a tremendous therapeutic, both to loosen your congested sinuses and the kinks in your back from sleeping on an unfamiliar bed that is equally unfamiliar with you. For my part, I’d also recommend shaving. Now, those of you hipsters out there, who pride yourself on your lush beards, I kind of get it, but just keep them reasonably groomed. We all know how ugly Jack Dorsey looks; don’t be that guy. Cleanliness is not necessarily next to godliness – and anyone who thinks that’s scriptural needs to go back and reread everything – but it’s probably closer to it than uncleanliness. What I’m saying is, feeling clean is feeling healthy; it’s a step in the right direction.

Similarly, you’ve brought all those changes of clothes; you might as well use them. Admittedly, the warm weather stuff that I brought to go traipsing about one city or village or forest or another in the 4° or 5° C weather won’t be necessary, but the T-shirts and polos that I brought to wear underneath them for variety’s sake will definitely get some use. After all, you’ve just cleaned your body, why wrap it in a dirty old shirt?

So that’s the morning routine. What about the rest of the day? Well, I can’t speak for everybody, as very few people do like myself, and bring a computer with them everywhere they go. On the other hand, the average iPhone is every bit as powerful as the computers of the last generation. Use them. Keep in touch with the world as you can. Make sure you know what’s going on, lest you wind up some Rip van Winkle when they finally let you out. Granted, you’re not going to be confined for years, just a matter of days, but life around you still just as fast as it ever did, and it’s probably best to just keep up where you feel you need to.

And of course, remember that this is a two-way street, if you want it to be. It’s true that life in a cage is dull, but if you want to say something to someone, that phone line is open, and the Internet is yours. Use it if you need to. It’s what I’m doing, and it’s working for me so far.

Here’s hoping all these rules I’ve set for myself will continue to work for the next week or so. They’re going to have to.

Until next time, honey, wish me luck. I’ll need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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