The Aftermath

Valencia is in the news back in the US. When I was a kid, it was fun to see Portland on the national news on TV. Like we were famous by proximity. And today this was interesting watching Playa de la Malvarrosa on CNN. Mainly because we’ve yet to venture to the beach since our lock down was officially lifted more than a week ago.

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Playa de la Malvarrosa at sunrise

Malvarrosa beach is just a quick trip on the tram down the way from where we live. A few stops on any given morning and we would be walking along the promenade watching the sunrise. But, of course, those were pre-pandemic days. Now, we avoid crowds. And the tram feels a little too confined, even with mandatory masks on all transit. Sure, we could walk down there but it’s getting hotter in Valencia. It will be 31 today. This summer we may just sit this one out. Let other people enjoy the sand.

If we do go down there it will be just to sit at Panorama Restaurant outside on the terrace, far from others, to enjoy a beverage at a safe distance on the pier.

After having lunch with friends they other day, I was struck by the varying attitudes about what we’re still facing with Covid in Spain as new outbreaks pop up. There were those in the group planning house parties for their country homes in July – extending invitations for us to attend for a long weekend. We’ll be in Galicia, but even if we weren’t there is no way Jeff would go to anything like it until there is a vaccine. There seems to be this ongoing misapprehension that if people are your family and friends they’re totally safe to be around. The virus can’t penetrate your bubble. This is how outbreaks start. The other night we watched the building across the way host a party in the penthouse apartment. More than 30 people mingling under the fairy lights on the terrace drinking wine. It looked like very dangerous fun.

Still, there were other people at lunch who had been out and about quite a bit in the city, getting together with friends for drinks and lunches since phase 2. They seemed less concerned about the possibility of catching this monstrous thing. Mostly, I think everyone was surprised that we’re as cautious as we are – still. Oddly, while we may have some immunity, we’re more afraid of it than those who have not wrestled with the devil. I guess experience is a great teacher. We never want to go through that again. And we wouldn’t want to wish it on our worst enemy.

I find I don’t like talk about what we went through with other people. When I do, it makes me emotional and I cry – which I don’t like. Spontaneously. Maybe it’s PTSD or something. People like to tell you what they know about the virus, and stories of celebrities who’ve had it. I’ve heard ‘You’re lucky you’re not…so and so.’ It might sound heartless but I don’t give a damn about the recitation of it from gossip magazines or headlines. This virus as social currency seems obscene to me. Then, some seem unsatisfied when you can’t remember everything they think you should about those weeks in April. When I answered one person’s question about something, they said ‘Yeah, I already saw that on t.v.’ Like my information wasn’t fresh and new enough to matter – like it was an episode of an old reality show, instead of something I experienced in my real life. One person in the US said to me ‘Well, it can’t be that bad if you survived.’ I wish I was kidding.

I can imagine it’s similar to anyone who has come through a health scare and people pepper them with everything they’ve read about it, but never experienced themselves. ‘I have a cousin…’ or ‘I know someone, who knew someone, who said they…’ Even discounting your experience when it doesn’t align with what they think they know. ‘That’s not what I heard them say it’s like.’ As if you should realign the details, to appease them. It appears some are so freaked out about what happened to you, they can’t deal with it emotionally. No wonder since there are so much conflicting information and evolving stories in the news, and humans don’t like uncertainty.

I’ve been quizzed by people about tests and the meds I’m taking, told they’re completely wrong (based on no medical training at all) and then advised to start on a concoction of vitamins and herbs they recommend. Which my Dr. told me was dangerous and utter nonsense. Laymen are experts on the aftermath of a virus that even medical experts aren’t experts on yet. So, I find it’s best to just nod, keep it to myself, and just listen to them talk. Maybe that’s what they’re looking for anyway. Maybe they’re just afraid and trying to process their own fear. I don’t really know. But I do know this terrible club Jeff and I joined against our will in 2020 is a lonely one, at times. We have each other to talk to when we need to process something about it because we went through it together. But that’s rare these days. If we talk about anything it’s more about the aftermath.

Today is our wedding anniversary. But we’ll stay at home to celebrate, just us. And we’ll watch the Valencian beach on CNN. It’s a small price to pay and I think we’ll be glad we did.

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