Every freaking night now I wake up from a dream — in some cases a genuine nightmare — that has two recurring themes: the kind of futility dream we all know, one of my most common, in which you’re trying to get somewhere or accomplish something and everything works against you (the phone won’t dial, there is no clean bathroom); and the feature of people in the dream, strangers, with their BARE FACES HANGING OUT, ignoring me as I exhort them to put on a frigging MASK, for the love of all that’s holy.
In my own home massage office (invaded by bro’s), or in a hotel (why am I in a hotel?). Right up in my grill. Talking. Breathing. Sublimely indifferent.
In the Great War, when men talked about starting to dream of the trenches and the shelling, astute COs would put them at the top of the rota to get leave behind the lines. They knew that the deeper the predicament rooted itself in their troops’ minds, the more would become dysfunctional from shell shock, whatever the oblivious white-feather idiots back home thought of it.
There is no “behind the lines” now. There’s just people with their eyes open, and eejits. My house, now no longer receiving massage clients, left only for walks in the open air at times when I won’t see many people, feels like a foxhole. I dodge to the other side of the street when I see occasional clots of nice, almost certainly triple-vaxxed blue-state liberals gossiping maskless on suburban corners, letting their kids run around screaming out of their Covid holes, as if concepts like “breakthrough infection” and “long Covid” had never crossed their radar.
Wear a freaking mask.