Isn’t it amazing how since the beginning of the pandemic, life is technically very eventful but not especially exciting? The 46th president of the United States was inaugurated last month, with a not-inconsiderable amount of drama. The less said about that the better, I think, but suffice it to say, your friends who built an underground bunker in which to weather the coming collapse of civilization must be feeling a little disappointed. Bulk-buying canned peaches and shotguns you have no idea how to use is a lot more fun than watching senators dither about the legal definition of “sedition” on Twitter. Might as well just watch Bridgerton.
The same is true of actual pandemic news. In the last few months, four different COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out. I know several people who’ve had one — you probably do too — and they all admit that nothing feels different. Until a sufficient number of people have been vaccinated to create herd immunity, we’re all going to have to be careful. You may have heard of the new COVID strain(s), apparently both more contagious than the original strain and more dangerous, but only if you’re one of those unimaginably tough people who still watches the news. It hardly seems to have made a dent in the public consciousness. Instead, we’re getting stuck on the inconsequential stuff. The other day, I spent 25 minutes talking on the phone with a friend of mine, comparing our favorite brands of hand sanitizer. We agreed that Purell is the holy grail, but we’ll take anything that doesn’t have that vitamin E oil in it that smells like sweaty feet.
Eager to find out whether there was anything going on in our immediate vicinity that we were completely ignoring, I set up a Google Alert for Iowa City. Absolutely nothing. Something about a report on the use of tear gas during last summer’s protests and a bill that would require all schools to offer 100 percent in-person learning, but who cares about that? I finally got my sourdough recipe right.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 290.