We go back to school tomorrow–with an extra day at the start and an extra day at the end, this winter break ended up being more like two and a half weeks, and I feel like I don’t even remember where we were before. I spent part of my afternoon going through my notebook from December, making a list of things to take care of at work this week and next, and it feels like a lifetime ago. We’ll have to re-construct our morning routine; given the temperatures we’re facing in the next couple of weeks, I’ll have to re-examine my commitment to walking to school No Matter What. (Our commute is now fifteen minutes, walking, but the walk is straight up a pretty steep hill. Driving would be about five minutes, but with similar hills involved; which is a worse choice if we have a scary-cold freezy-icy morning?)
I never sleep well the night before going back, whether it’s going back after summer vacation or winter break or whatever. So I already know that I’m not going to sleep well tonight. In an exciting twist, I didn’t sleep well last night either! That might have been covid-testing anxiety. Dec and I made our way up the hill this morning for return-to-school “gateway” testing. For the first time, the school is using rapid antigen tests instead of lab-processed PCR tests, probably because PCR tests take so long to return results right now. (Remember back in the day, when we didn’t all have to be public health experts? I miss the time when I didn’t know so much about the different types of covid tests.) We presented ourselves in the lobby at 9am on the dot, filled out some forms, went to a little table and had the nurse walk us through how to take a rapid test. She’s clearly done this a million times– she explained some of the steps as “stirring the pot” and “wringing out the mop.” We left our tests and forms with another nurse who reminded us that if the results are negative we won’t hear anything; if the results are positive, they’ll know in ten or fifteen minutes, and they’ll call us. They wanted to keep everyone moving out of the lobby as fast as possible.
I didn’t expect the tests to come back positive, mostly because neither of us has any symptoms, but you never know. I keep saying “oh, we don’t really leave the house” except we do, we’ve eaten at restaurants a few times lately, we saw family for Christmas, we go to the grocery store and whatnot. (To get ahead of this, the tests did not, in fact, come back positive.) We’re all as vaxxed up as they’ll let us be, we upgraded everyone in the household to better masks recently, and I feel okay about our general risk profile, but you never know. So I figured we’d test negative, and even if we tested positive we’d be unlikely to get really sick, etc etc, whatever, I still didn’t sleep last night.
(Not that sleep always helps, I’ve had such weird and vivid dreams lately. All of them completely stupid. One of the really cool young teachers in the English department was doing a project on Hugo Munsterberg and wanted to read my dissertation; my mother joined a country club and when I went to have lunch with her there some lady told me that people like me don’t belong there, and then I got lost in a hedge maze; dumb stuff. My brain needs new and better inputs before it can give me new and better dreams.)