Diary of My Plague Months

Diary of My Plague Months

Making pandemic lemonade

By Annis Pratt
Current Contributor

I have not worn a bra in two months. However, I wear a mask every day on my daily walks. But nobody else wears a mask. I have a pleasant (6-feet-apart) chat with a young woman who is not wearing a mask, at the end of which, she says that she is a nurse anesthetist at the local hospital. I rush home to wash my mask.

I have always felt naked without lipstick. With a mask over my mouth every time that I go outdoors, I do not need to put on lipstick.

My mask leaves me breathless from walking uphill, and it gets all foggy when I breathe excitedly while bird-watching.

My engagement book reads like a Wile E. Coyote cartoon–Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!

Zoom is intrusive: it lets a whole committee into my home office. And then, when they disagree with me, there is no place to run.

I discover that I can mute them: all of them!

Carol tells me that, deprived of her volunteer comings and goings, she cleaned out her garage “right down to the gnat’s eyebrow!”

(I am moved by no such impulses.)

I am not changed in any way by social isolation. But I can no longer get into the bathtub without my rubber duckie.

You know those bras I have not worn? I cut one up to make masks, but it sure feels weird to stick my nose where my nipple used to be.

As I wait on the sidewalk for my friend to come out for a (socially distanced) chat, I realize that in my tweed cap, black jacket, mask, and umbrella, I look like a British robber ready to cosh her.

Instead, I devise an outfit consisting of a pink windbreaker, a pretty cotton mask, a baseball cap, and sunglasses to look less threatening. I look so utterly anonymous that I post it as a joke on Facebook. In the park, a dear friend comes running up to me.

“How did you know it was me?” I ask.

“Oh, I recognized you from your picture on Facebook!”

Annis Pratt has a cottage on the Betsie River. She has been a bird watcher since 1947 and finds the banks of the Betsie an absolute bird paradise. She is author of The Infinite Games Series of adventure novels about a marshland folk who are threatened by the draining of their homeland and of three non-fiction books about the way that myths are used in literature. She is a nature writer, a columnist for the international e-magazine Impakter.com, and was an early contributor to The Betsie Current, back in the 2005-06 days. Visit AnnisPratt.com to learn more.

Featured Photo Caption: Annis Pratt, the author, ready to meet a friend for a socially distanced walk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Annis Pratt.

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