After a few full and somewhat exhausting days, I woke up on Wednesday morning with a sore throat. Times being as they are, I took an at-home test, from the stockpile I have accumulated. It came back negative. I went out for a somewhat gentle bike ride and didn’t feel too bad. I dug out the thermometer that got daily use in 2020 and ascertained that my body temperature was normal. Since I was also scheduled to officiate a big wedding at the weekend, I also went and took a PCR test at the same place I had gone last time I felt a bit off. It also came back negative.
During the morning I talked with someone going to Tassajara for the first time, about how you can’t really plan for what the experience is going to be like (I loaned a couple of hot water bottles; even though it will probably be pushing a hundred degrees at the beginning of the practice period, they will come in handy come November). Nor could one plan for what to do afterwards, as so much might change over the course of the three months.
I used that theme in my midday class, and then, on my way back from the farmers’ market, sirens abounded, and I crossed a thick band of smoke blowing east from a building fire just a few blocks from where I live – something else that nobody would have planned for or expected.
In the evening I went to Kim’s talk, in the Buddha Hall, fully masked as everyone except Kim was, enjoying the ruckus of crows beforehand, her delivery of a challenging topic (how practice helps us deal with time), and the new moon setting over the street as I walked home.
The next morning, I still felt a bit off, more of a headache than a sore throat, still no temperature, another negative test. I went to work in the East Bay and didn’t do anything too strenuous. On the way back home I picked up my city bike from another expensive episode: I had left it locked downtown for a few hours on Sunday while I had been out, and when I returned, someone had stolen the handlebars and stem, so I had to pick the remains of it up – luckily including the new fork and front wheel I had just paid for – and take it home on the streetcar.
On Friday morning, after another pretty heavy sleep, feeling that perhaps I was just suffering from an old-fashioned cold, I took a third at-home test, and it came back positive. There was a flurry of messages and emails: friends, people I had been in contact with during the week, the wedding party, people I was supposed to sit with on Monday. The bride was understandably cautious, with pregnant friends due to attend the ceremony, so I had to leave them with my script and a last-minute search for a replacement, which they seem to have found. I canceled my rental car, and settled back to rest.
I certainly had a bunch of other nice plans for the weekend, mostly involving clocking up more miles on the bike after many weeks of lessened activity, but that will be on hold for a few days at least. There is plenty of lemonade to be made though – I had been craving time to plan a few more roams, and I spent several hours poring over old maps and history articles (I am getting urges to explore some more of the city’s watersheds, which are generally hidden in plain sight in the lowest lying parts). I have other non-strenuous projects that I have put aside from being so generally busy, and I don’t feel bad about putting off cleaning my place, which I had intended to do on Wednesday before I decided to conserve energy. So far the worst hardship has been running out of my favoured coffee beans, and having to break into my back-up stash of mediocre Trader Joe’s coffee.
For quite some time I have felt like a lone holdout as almost everyone I knew caught a dose of COVID this year, but apart from generally being cautious, I think that has purely been fortuitous. I may have had a mild dose in March 2020, at the same time that my then-partner began experiencing a life-changing bout of long COVID. While I am naturally concerned that there is still much about the disease we don’t know, and that I may suffer more long-term damage, thus far, it is just sickness, and I will practise with being sick.