Caught in the middle

I’m in the middle of two longings, Reader: one is to be in the UK, and one is to be in New Orleans, and I can’t do either.

This time last year, I was preparing for my sabbatical research trip to England and Ireland. I had planned everything out: my research appointments, my entertainments, my touristy things in Ireland. I was going to meet a friend and have Alice in Wonderland tea and it was going to be brilliant. Going to Ireland for the first time, especially after my DNA test revealed I’m 50% Irish? Priceless.

But Covid happened, while I was in England, and I had to rush home a week early before everything shut down. We were the first international flight home to Chicago that day, I think (it was a way early flight, and we got in before noon). We walked right through. I saw the pictures later of security, hundreds of people waiting in line. I’m grateful I had none of that.

And so I went home, and quarantined for two weeks, and hunkered down for the next nine months. I sunk into a deep depression and lost a lot of work time, like a lot of people did, I suppose. The only place I went was to New Orleans for my grandmother’s funeral, and it was in and out, masked.

I’m a homebody by nature, but I’m an extroverted introvert which means I do need people sometimes. And I’m without a proper schedule right now, which is the worst way for Amys to be. I spoke with my therapist yesterday and she reminded me, as I told her I was sinking into another depression, that Amys do not do well with unstructured time.

And Carnival season is beginning in New Orleans, with the advent of King Cake Season on Jan 6 (Gentle Reader, I’ve already ordered two for delivery). And while Mardi Gras is canceled, it’s a time of year I always want to be home. Mardi Gras, when you’re a local, is a family holiday. And I miss my family.

I miss my friends. I miss restaurants. But mostly, I miss days when 4000 Americans didn’t die. The center will not hold, Friends. The center will not hold.


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