Woke up this morning feeling better, thinking, okay, I won’t need to have a pipe cleaner shoved into my brain today.

But as I sit in meditation, I feel all sorts of strange stuff in my body. Is it real, or just my mind acting up and getting all paranoid?

Somewhere in the course of my 30-minute session, I know I’ll be heading out into pouring rain. Up My Nose wins.

When We Say “Up My Nose,” How Far Up Are We Talkin’?

I drive to Chelsea, which takes about 25 minutes from my house, especially in the rain. After a detour at the hospital, I’m redirected to the test site.

In case you haven’t done this, here’s how it works, at least in Chelsea: You get to the test site, you call the desk and answer a few questions. Then you wait in the parking lot til they call you back. For me, that was less than 15 minutes. I listened to a podcast on the origins of the English language. In my extreme nerdiness, I eat up a lecture on Indo-European semantics. Sexy stuff.

But truthfully: As I listen, I get nervous. My breathing isn’t as deep; nerves, or actual plague? My left bicep aches; muscle strain (from too many chadarandas?) or plague? These and many other “this or plague” musings occupy me more than, to be honest, the fascinating story behind why Germans changed all the p’s in Greek and Latin to f’s.

And then they call. I drive into my place in line, open my car window, and pull my mask down so that it still covers my mouth. The technician sticks a very skinny and smallish cotton swab up my nose after she tells me that she’s going to do just that. She has to keep it in there sort of swabbing away for 10-15 seconds, a lot like a throat culture

Of course it’s not fun. But it’s honestly not a big deal either, and, in my case anyway, I’ll take it over a throat culture. My sister Becky had said as much, but she doesn’t even cry if an air conditioner falls on her foot, so I was skeptical. It feels to me exactly like when you jump in the water without holding your nose, and the water goes straight up into your sinuses.

I take a couple of breaths before she does the other side. Done. “That wasn’t as bad as I thought,” I tell the technician.

Behind her face shield and mask, she says, “One woman told me that her friend told her it was worse than childbirth.”

“Oh, PLEASE,” I say, feeling very macho.

“Yeah,” says the technician. “That friend must have had some excellent child-bearing drugs.”

In 36-48 hours, I’ll have my results; they only call if it’s positive. Fingers crossed.

Well, I Do Have Something

Here’s the thing: I have some kind of a bug. Do other bugs dare to roam the earth while COVID takes our names and kicks our asses? I guess I’ll know soon.

The cookbook I’ve been working on is close to finished, and I honestly don’t mind having an excuse to sit in my cubby on the couch and watch an episode of Mrs. America along with some PBS stuff. The American Masters episode on Miles Davis was particularly awesome, and I’m game to watch the ones on Mae West and Toni Morrison.

When I see Mae West, and the show’s title, “Dirty Blonde,” I remember a woman named Claudia Shear, who wrote a play of the same name that did pretty well in NYC some years back. She used to take my aerobics class when I taught at Joy of Movement in NY. She helped me get a job at Standard and Poors doing data entry in the 80s, on those old PCs with the black screens and green letters; it’s a wonder I didn’t go blind. When I moved to Florida to take care of my husband Karl after he became terminally ill, she wrote to me from Perugia, Italy, where she’d gone….I’m not quite sure why. She wrote great letters. It was like having a 19th century correspondence.

When I moved back to New York, I ran into her on the streets of Soho. She told me she’d written a show called “Blown Sideways Through Life,” invited me to it.

I didn’t go. I had a rough time resettling into the city with my 2-year-old daughter in tow; anyway, that was my excuse. The show was a huge success, and I called Claudia and we had a nice talk, and then I never heard from her again. I did see her for the only few minutes of Friends that I ever watched. Anyway, I’m wondering if she’ll be in the PBS thing. It would be a kick to see her.

I wonder about a lot of people who never showed up on Facebook, or who I never bothered to look for and vice versa. They still pop into my head fairly often. I wonder how many are still alive, and if any of them have COVID.

The 4 p.m. Blues

Damn. This should be a wine night.

But I’m achy as hell right now, despite mass ingestion of Advil. No issues breathing, but my throat feels a little sore.

I try to migrate from freaking out that I have the plague and am going to die For Sure to thinking how nice it will be to have a little bit of immunity. Said immunity may not last, but, well, I won’t have to worry about getting it for at least a little while once I survive.

Of course, I’m mostly worried about my kids.

Meanwhile, the online portal that gives me my results still hasn’t given me a passcode to get in, despite registering as soon as I got home.

I watch two episodes of Mrs. America, which honestly I don’t even like that much. I don’t need more ugly politics. Yes, everyone in it is wonderful. I find the writing so-so, but maybe I just have a little brain fog. I dunno. But I watch it anyway.

Mae West, I’m sure, would’ve been more fun.

And Then, Things Get Better

I decide to take an Epsom salt bath, and emerge feeling less achy. I never do get to Mae—there’s always tomorrow. We decide to watch The Old Guard instead. Steve makes popcorn, something he is completely awesome at. In the entire batch, there’s one virgin. It’s amazing.

up my nose

The movie deserves the praise that’s being heaped on it. It’s got a lot of layers, though, and about halfway through I admit I was thinking, this is ok, but it’s no Mad Max: Fury Road, which Steve and I have decided we need to watch annually.

But after a set-up that is nicely paced—fast enough but not afraid to take its time—the movie gets super-rich. There are a lot of themes here: betrayal, obligation, making the best of a really lousy hand. There’s Charlize, who seems to be from another planet with that face and body, and there’s KiKi Lane, who I love as much as the camera does, which is a lot. There’s the only kind of immortality plot I like, where everyone sort of hates being immortal but they’re pretty much stuck with it. There’s a satisfying comeuppance and a great soundtrack.

Most of all, there’s Gina Prince-Bythewood at the helm, with Terilyn Shropshire doing a superb job of editing the fine cinematography of Barry Ackroyd and Tami Reiker. Three top positions traditionally taken by men and filled by women for a big budget movie that’s obviously on its way to being a franchise. Sweet.

Although it’s still no Fury Road. That’s good. You really only need one Fury Road.

Health Check

Steve has been pumping me full of vitamins, and I have to say I feel better. Still achy, but a lot less, and the sore throat’s not just receded, it’s gone for the moment. We have a thing we stick one finger in and it measures our blood oxygen. Mine is excellent.

I mean, I dunno what else I could have. But I hope it’s something that doesn’t start with a C. I’ll know, hopefully tomorrow.

The Marcus Aurelius Moment* for 15-July, 2020

From Samuel Becket, via my first husband Karl: that we’re on earth, and there’s no cure for that. To which I add, we’d be silly to sit here and whine about it. Let’s make it ours, baby.

*In the first part of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman ruler details what various people in his life have taught him. To read the full intro to why I care about Marcus Aurelius, click here.